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What Is a Dab Pen?

Unveiling the Mysteries of Dab Pens: An In-Depth Review

Medical cannabis is evolving—and so are consumption methods. Tinctures, edibles, and new smokeable products (like resins and oils) have changed the game for people looking to heal with THC.

Dab pens are a relative newcomer to the medical marijuana scene: They’re a portable yet powerful solution that can help medical marijuana patients administer doses easily from wherever they are. If you’ve never used one, you’ve come to the right place.

In this guide, we’ll shed light on the dab pen: we’ll explain how they work, how to use them, how to maintain them, and some of the benefits of using them in your healing process.

Dab Pens Explained

Dab pens (also called wax pens) are compact, handheld vaporizing devices.[1] They’re specifically designed and engineered to heat up cannabis concentrates—these concentrated products are sometimes called “dabs.”

Using a dab pen (sometimes called “dabbing”) is technically smoking. But instead of inhaling combusted smoke (from burned flower, for instance), you’re inhaling vaporized smoke. To create vapor, dab pens heat up the concentrate product enough to convert the solid to a gas, which you inhale.

Dabbing has roots in glassware. Traditionally, dabbing looks like this:

  1. Placing a small amount of concentrate onto a piece of heat-safe metal, like a skewer
  2. Heating up the quartz bucket on a piece of glassware with a blowtorch
  3. Holding the metal piece up to the hot quartz, vaporizing the concentrate
  4. Inhaling through the mouthpiece to consume the vapor

Needless to say, this process is pretty complicated. It requires tools you might not have (blowtorches and metal skewers), and “dab rigs” can be pricey.

Luckily, dab pens are changing the game, giving patients simpler access to smokable concentrates. While there are a few different kinds, dab pens share several key components:

  • A storage compartment for the cannabis concentrate
  • A heating element
  • A mouthpiece for inhalation

Since they heat up to a highly specific temperature, dab pens should be cleaned more frequently than traditional vape pens for optimal performance.

Understanding How Dab Pens Function

While dab pens can differ in design, brand, and extra features, their core components and how they function remain the same.

The atomizer (sometimes called a “chamber”) is where you add your concentrated product of choice:

  • Shatter
  • Wax
  • Batter

All of these vary in physical consistency and THC concentration, so talk to your dispensary or pharmacy about the products available and how they’ll perform in your specific pen.

The heating element, typically powered by a rechargeable battery, raises the temperature of the concentrate so that it becomes a vapor.

Your dab pen will also likely have a button that you’ll use to activate the heating element before inhaling.

Mastering the Dab Pen

The process of learning how to use a dab pen may seem intimidating at first, but with practice and a grasp of the basics, you can take advantage of this practical and efficient dosing method.

Here’s a step-by-step breakdown of how to use a dab pen:

  1. Confirm that your dab pen’s battery is fully charged.
  2. Remove the cap and unscrew the atomizer—the component where you place the concentrates. Add concentrate, but make sure not to overfill the compartment.
  3. Reattach the atomizer and the cap.
  4. Press the power button to start your dab pen and begin heating the element. (Note: some models function by inhalation alone.)
  5. Position the mouthpiece against your lips, press and hold the power button, and inhale gently. Release the button after inhalation.
  6. After use, switch off the dab pen and replace the cap to avoid potential leakage.

Keeping Your Dab Pen in Optimal Condition

Routine cleaning is crucial to ensure the longevity and performance of your dab pen—and to keep your concentrates clean.

For the cleaning process, you’ll need cotton swabs, rubbing alcohol, warm water, and paper towels. Then, follow these steps:

  1. Set your pen to the highest temperature and tip it upside down over a paper towel to melt off any leftover concentrate.
  2. Prepare a small bowl filled with isopropyl alcohol.
  3. Once the atomizer cools, disassemble the device into its key components: battery, atomizer, and mouthpiece.
  4. Dip a cotton swab into the alcohol and gently clean the inner surface of the heating chamber, steering clear of the coils.
  5. Clean the battery thread with a cotton swab soaked in alcohol.
  6. Use another swab dipped in alcohol to clean the mouthpiece.
  7. Let the components dry completely before reassembling, and using the pen again.

Drying shouldn’t take long. And, because alcohol evaporates quickly and doesn’t leave residue, there’s no need to rinse after cleaning.[2]

Pros and Cons of Dab Pens

While there’s a learning curve for using dab pens and they need regular maintenance, they’re more accessible and adaptable than traditional dab rigs. The operation of a dab pen is as simple as loading the concentrate, adjusting the temperature, and partaking in the experience.

However, cannabis concentrates are extremely potent, featuring high levels of THC and other cannabinoids. This means they’re best suited for experienced users or those who require high potency for their therapeutic needs.

Dab Pens: A Simple, Effective Method for Medical Cannabis Administration

Dab pens are convenient, efficient, and relatively user-friendly. They offer patients easy access to THC concentrates on their healing journeys. However, dab pens may be best suited for those looking for a more potent recovery tool.

If you’re interested in learning more about medical cannabis as a treatment for PTSD, anxiety disorders, and other issues, you’ve come to the right place. At TeleLeaf, we connect people ready to recover from trauma and anxiety with the resources they need to understand and access medical marijuana’s healing potential.

Learn more about our mission, and start your path to healing with medical cannabis today.


[1] The Cannigma. How to Use a Dab Pen.

[2] MG Chemicals. Isopropyl Alcohol.

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