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Cold Start Dabs vs Reverse Dabbing

Published: January 10, 2024

Cold Start Dabbing vs Reverse Dabs Explained

If you're considering expanding your consumption of cannabis concentrates from infused pre-rolls to something more potent, you might want to get into dabbing. With more than half (58% of respondents) of a U.S. survey reporting that they've dabbed at least once in their lives, and over 45% doing so regularly, it's clearly a great way to up your concentrate game.

Undeniably, cannabis concentrates are popular, with their sales reaching $2.4 billion in 2022 — so why not try out a new method? You've probably heard of the two terms that seem like game-changing techniques: cold start dabs and reverse dabbing, which are essentially synonyms. Here's a closer look at the details!

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Dabbing the Old Way

Traditionally, dabbing involved dropping concentrates on nails heated to extremely high temperatures, which could be throat-searing and uncomfortable. People sometimes overheated their nails to a scorching 1,000°F, which was definitely not pleasurable. Overheating dabs wasted so much concentrate that it defeated the purpose of enjoying cannabinoids and terpenes.

If you've been dabbing this way, you might have noticed that you haven't been getting the most out of your dabs. You end up trying out different concentrates or strains without realizing that your method is the problem. Well, fear not because there's a smoother, more flavorful path to explore.

Getting Started with Cold Start Dabbing: Everything You Need to Know About Reverse Dabs

Cold start dabbing, also known as reverse dabbing, flips the script. Instead of adding concentrate to heated nails, you'd load the nail with concentrate before heating it. This method also uses lower temperatures (approximately 350°F-500°F) to heat the nail or banger. Less coughing, more savoring of the strain type.

You can rock it old-school with a torch or level up with an eNail or temperature gun for precise control. Try thinking of cold start dabbing as a cousin of vaping — the only difference is that dabbing exclusively uses concentrates, while vaping can include dried herbs of any type or strain.

What Tools Do You Need for Cold Start Dabbing?

Now that you're ready to embark on your cold start dabbing adventure, ensure your toolkit is on point. Here's what you'll need:

Dab rig: Your trusty sidekick in the dabbing journey. Choose a rig with a solid build for optimal performance.

Quartz banger: The heart of the operation. Opt for a quality quartz banger with a bucket design; it ensures an even heat distribution, which is crucial for a successful cold start.

Dabber: The wand of dabbing magic. Pick a dabber that suits your style, whether a simple tool or a statement piece.

Carb cap: The finishing touch for your cold start masterpiece. A well-designed carb cap is essential for controlling airflow and maximizing flavor.

Butane-filled torch: Choose a reliable torch to bring the heat. A consistent flame is key to achieving the perfect temperature for your cold start.

Q-tips: Don't overlook the importance of cleanliness. Q-tips are your go-to for keeping the quartz banger spotless after each dab, ensuring a fresh flavor every time.

Optional: Insert for Cold Start Dabbing

Inserts are compact additions to your setup and offer a multitude of benefits, starting with keeping your banger spotless for a seamless experience. Inserts excel at supporting low-temperature dabbing, vaporizing concentrates through induction rather than direct contact, and eliminating cool-down time entirely.

While inserts may add a couple of steps to your dabbing routine, such as dropping and removing them, the perks far outweigh the learning curve. Inserts are a cost-effective way to preserve precious cannabinoids and terpenes, ensuring a flavor-packed hit every time.

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What Steps Should You Follow for Cold Start Dabbing?

With these steps, your cold start dabbing ritual will balance precision and satisfaction:

  1. Prepare your arsenal: Ensure all parts of your rig are ready to roll, with extra attention to a sparkling, clean quartz banger.
  2. Dose up: Load your chosen dab onto the dabber, ready for the magic to unfold.
  3. Chill the dab: Gently drop the loaded dab into the room-temperature, pristine nail, setting the stage for a flavor-packed experience.
  4. Cap it off: Seal the deal by placing the carb cap on the nail, unlocking the full potential of your concentrate.
  5. Fire up the torch ballet: Direct the torch flame a few inches from the banger's base, initiating the dance between flame and concentrate.
  6. Embrace the magic moment: Gracefully withdraw the torch as you witness the concentrate bubble and vaporize (around 10 seconds).
  7. Inhale and rotate: Take a deep inhale while rotating the carb cap, ensuring a full chamber clear for a smooth exhale.
  8. Exhale elegantly: Release the flavorful clouds and savor the accomplishment of a perfectly executed cold start dab.
  9. Q-tip cleanse: Embrace the post-dab ritual by delicately cleaning the banger with a Q-tip, leaving it pristine for future sessions.
  10. Chill and reflect: Let the banger cool completely, allowing time to reflect and anticipate your next refined dabbing experience.

Pros and Cons of Cold Start Dabbing


  • Time efficiency: Cut preparation time significantly, enjoying a dab in a fraction of the usual duration.

  • Enhanced flavor profile: Lower temperatures preserve cannabinoids and terpenes, resulting in a richer, nuanced flavor experience.

  • Equipment longevity: Reduced stress on equipment translates to cost savings and less wear and tear.


  • Concentrate waste risk: Residue on the nail post-inhalation may lead to waste; thorough cleaning is crucial.

  • Sharing considerations: Patience is key when sharing; the nail must cool between turns.

  • Wait time for successive dabs: Multiple dabs in succession may require more waiting time.

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Final Words

Cold-start dabbing offers efficiency and heightened flavor profiles, allowing enthusiasts to enjoy a quicker and more enjoyable dabbing experience. As you explore the nuances of this technique, whether with or without inserts, remember that finding your perfect balance is the key. Gear up, dab responsibly, and elevate your experience with the artistry of cold-start dabbing.

Shop Cloud Cover Cannabis at your local dispensary for the best weed pre-rolls, vape cartridges and cannabis products. Happy dabbing!