History of Dab Rigs

Today, if you go into a head shop just about anywhere you are bound to see one of these newer and complex devises. Whether you call it an oil rig, a dab rig, or a concentrate rig makes no difference as they are all the same thing. They were created as a more efficient way of delivering potent concentrated cannabis either in wax, oil, or butter form to the user. It gives you a cleaner more intense high as many of these concentrates rank around the 75-90th percentiles in potency. They have been a god send to medical marijuana users and an essential piece of equipment for any cannabis consumer. But where did these little babies come from and how did they get to be as popular as they are?

History of Concentrates

If you are like me you might remember back in the day, doing knife hits off 2 butter knives on your parent’s stove. Little did we know back then what a revolution that practice would start. That concept might be old but in reality the practice of dabbing was started hundreds of thousands of years before even that.

Many East Asian cultures were the first to be associated with the practice of concentrating cannabis substances, originally as hashish, which then quickly spread to Morocco, Afghanistan, Nepal, Turkey, The Himalayas and India around the time of 100 A.D. Thousands of years later, its popularity grew when it was put on the shelves of many U.S. pharmacies in the 1800s. The process of ingesting hashish was later perfected for inhalation through vaporization in the 1940s.

One of the biggest parties that documented the use of this practice was a World War II intelligence agency, the U.S. Office of Strategic Services (OSS). There a man named George White would lace cigarettes with hash oil or LSD and give them to unsuspecting people and prisoners and measure the results as part of his various experiments. He would continue to practice these methods throughout the 1950s and 1960s under a CIA program called “MK Ultra”.

In the 1970s an alchemist, D. Gold, was determined to improve hash oil as it was known then. In his book Cannabis Alchemy: The Art of Modern Hashmaking he documented his experiments on creating a translucent cannabis he classified as “honey” oil. He explained that after attempting several different solvents such as isopropanol, chloroform, petroleum ether, ethanol, and many others; the best solvent and a practice that is still used wildly today was pure alcohol and active charcoal. CO2 and refined butane are common solvents also used in modern times.

In 1999, an article titled “Hash Honey Oil Technique” was published by Erowid (link it) that detailed the process of butane hash oil extraction. This is believed to be the first documented reference of this particular method that would later be known as simply “open blasting”. This somewhat controversial and dangerous method would later lead to the creation of closed loop systems (CLS).

History of the Dab Rig

In 2005, an article titled “Beautiful Budder” was published in Cannabis Culture from a Vancouver native that went by the name “Bubbleman.” In this article he discussed how he and his colleagues created an amber glass substance and later set it in a windowsill where they witnessed the sample “buttering up.” This development led them to create a device that was available to the public in his Da Kine dispensary in 2003. This discovery lead to a unit that made vaporizing concentrate easier, which in turn ultimately led the dab rig that we know today.

Word traveled fast and by 2010 dab rigs and other hash oil smoking products were introduced to the rest of the world when they where featured at the High Times Cannabis Cup. Quickly after that they were available in dispensaries and smoke shops everywhere.

The Dab Rig Today

As you can see the process of refining cannabis and dabbing has come a long way from the way it was experienced back in 100 A.D. Now you can’t go into a head shop anywhere without seeing at least a handful of these marvelous devices.

Today, modern dab rigs are designed to be as easy to use and as comfortable as a normal water pipe. In fact, it has many striking resemblances to a glass water pipe in the way that they filter the smoke through water to give you a better, cooler, smoking experience. Your basic dab rig is designed to have a 90-degree angle in order to allow the smoker to comfortably use a butane torch and place the dab in position without having the risk of burning their fingers or damaging the glass piece itself.

Many models come with another ease of use innovation which is the electric nail; more commonly known as the e-nail. This allows you to simply heat up the glass nail to your desired temperature via an electronic device and then your place your concentrate on the heated nail or cup. As most concentrates are so potent it usually only takes one hit to equal the same effect as if you just smoked an entire joint.


Due to the increasing popularity of concentrate vaporizers the smoking community has naturally embraced the dab rig. These concentrates offer a smooth and relaxed smoking experience with a stronger potency. This has made it a great solution for both medical and recreational marijuana smokers everywhere.

It is easy to see why this concentrate-creating technology is moving forward at an exponential rate. One great part is that it’s also become more and more affordable for the everyday user. With that in mind, now would be a great time to stop by 710pipes

and check out the wide variety of oil and dab rigs we have available.