CBD dab wax graphic

What is CBD Wax?

CBD wax is a concentrated solid form of cannabidiol. It is extracted from hemp and cannabis plants. CBD concentrates like wax and live rosins are usually consumed in a dab rig.  CBD dabs can also be consumed in a vape pen or even added to food as part of a meal recipe.

What Is A Dab Rig?

A dab rig is a pipe designed for the purpose of vaporizing cannabis concentrates like wax, resins, and live rosins. Dab rigs are usually made of glass. Dab rigs filter cannabinoid vapor through water to cool the CBD vapor and remove impurities. Most dab rigs use a butane torch to superheat the concentrate and convert it into vapor. Dab rigs are similar to bongs used for smoking cannabis flower.

Electric Dab Rig

New types of dab rigs rely on electrically charged coils as the heat source for vaporizing concentrates. Electric dab rigs have the added benefit of being more mobile than traditional dab rigs. Electric dab rigs are stand-alone units that do not need an external heat source like a butane torch to operate. Given that CBD wax is now legal, you may want to consider an electric dab rig to consume CBD while on the go.

CBD Dab Pens

Using a dab pen is the most mobile and discreet way to consume CBD concentrates. Dab pens are small cylinders similar in shape and size to a pen. They contain a rechargeable battery and an electric heating coil that will vaporize your wax. Unlike dab rigs, pens do not filter concentrate vapor through water prior to inhalation which may allow more impurities to make it to your lungs.

Benefits of Dabbing CBD Concentrates

Waxes and rosins are among the most concentrated forms of CBD available.  Dabbing concentrates provides the CBD benefit of an immediate dose of CBD for fast-acting effects. Dabbing concentrates is also an incredibly efficient way to consume high doses of CBD. Scientific studies show dabbing 394% more efficient way to consume cannabinoids compared to smoking high CBD hemp flower.

CBD Wax: 100% Decarboxylation

Dabbing CBD wax causes nearly 100% decarboxylation. That means nearly all the wax’s CBD is chemically converted by heat into a form available for absorption in the body. As you’ll see in the study below, dabbing is scientifically proven to be a ridiculously more efficient way to consume cannabinoids. In fact, it’s four times more efficient than smoking CBD hemp flower in a joint.

Dabbing Is Safer Than Smoking

Dabbing concentrates is safer than smoking a joint filled with high CBD hemp flower. There is no combustion involved with dabbing wax and rosin. When smoking a joint rolled with CBD buds, you subject yourself to potential health risks similar to smoking tobacco.  Inhaling cannabis smoke does have negative health effects. On the other hand, dabbing vaporizes CBD concentrate instead of burning it so no smoke is inhaled.

What Are CBD Concentrates

CBD concentrates are semi-solid forms of CBD. The most common types of concentrates are wax and live rosin. CBD wax is made by extracting the cannabinoid from high CBD hemp strains using CO2. Live rosins are made by pressing hemp flowers under high pressure and heat to squeeze CBD and terpenes from hemp buds. Waxes have more CBD isolate while live rosins are a mix of CBD and terpenes.

CBD Tolerance

Consuming CBD will cause your body to adjust by building a tolerance. CBD tolerance can build quickly—some studies show CBD tolerance may build within one week. Once tolerance is established, you may need to increase your CBD dose in order to receive the same benefits.  Concentrates are the best way to get a high dose of CBD with the least amount of impurities.

hand held portable dab rig for cbd wax

CBD Dab Wax Medical Study

While it may seem obvious that dabbing concentrates are more efficient than smoking a CBD joint, this 2019 study puts actual data to the conjecture. In fact, dabbing is a 394% more effective means of consuming cannabinoids than smoking hemp buds in a joint. This study has important practical implications for those who need high doses of CBD for pain and anxiety relief.

CBD Dab Study Results

Dabbing wax, shatter, or crumble decarboxylates (makes available) 100% of the CBD in the concentrate. Dabbing delivers a much higher dose of cannabinoids to consumers with less CBD wasted. When smoking a joint made from hemp flower, a significant amount of cannabinoids are allowed to escape consumption in sidestream smoke emanating from the joint. (1)

CBD Dabs vs. Hemp Flower

Dabbing CBD achieves a 75.5% absorption rate of CBD available in the concentrate (wax, rosin, resin, shatter).  Smoking a CBD hemp flower joint only achieves an absorption rate of 19-27% of the available CBD in the hemp flower. (2)

Study Summary

The study authors tested CBD concentrates made from both BHO (Butane Hash Oil) extraction and CO2 extraction methods. (3) Concentrates such as CBD shatter and wax can be made from either BHO or CO2 extraction. Live rosins are only made from rosin press extraction methods where hemp flower is pressed under extreme pressure and heat to extract CBD and terpenes. CBD made from rosin pressing is considered “live” because it has the full terpene profile of the original hemp flower.


The study found that dabbing CBD (heating wax into vapor and then inhaling the vapor) caused 100% of the CBD to be decarboxylated.  Decarboxylation is a necessary part of “activating” CBD. Once CBD is decarbed by exposure to heat, it is bioavailable for absorption. Heat causes a chemical reaction in CBDA that changes it into bioavailable CBD.

Video: First Time Dabbing CBD Concentrate

Definition of Dabbing Concentrate

Dabbing is the process of consuming CBD by flash vaporization. The study used a dab rig and a glowing hot titanium nail that was heated electrically.  Vapor was then inhaled by study participants through a water pipe (CBD dab rig) or directly in a single puff (4).


The study authors measured how much CBD was absorbed by the lungs from dabbing CBD wax vs. smoking CBD joints made with hemp flower. (5)

Study Findings

  • The lung absorption rate was 75.5% of CBD when dabbed.
  • The lung absorption rate was 19-27% of CBD when consumed as a hemp flower joint.
  • The study authors note that considerably less than 19-27% of the total CBD content of the joint was actually absorbed because the study did not account for the CBD that is lost escaping smoke between puffs. (6)

Download The Study


Hädener M, Vieten S, Weinmann W, Mahler H. A preliminary investigation of lung availability of cannabinoids by smoking marijuana or dabbing BHO and decarboxylation rate of THC- and CBD-acids. Forensic Sci Int. 2019;295:207–212. doi:10.1016/j.forsciint.2018.12.021

Study Authors

Marianne Hädener

Institute of Forensic Medicine, Department of Forensic Toxicology and Chemistry, University of Bern

Sina Vieten

Heinrich-Heine University

Wolfgang Weinmann

Institute of Forensic Medicine, Department of Forensic Toxicology and Chemistry, University of Bern

Hellmut Mahler

Landeskriminalamt Nordrhein-Westfalen


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