Cannabis Science

What Does a Dab Pen Do to You?

woman using a dab pen

There are so many ways to consume cannabis these days. You can fire up a bong, bake an edible or reach for blunt. However, you may be interested in trying something relatively new, like a dab pen. Naturally, you’d have so many questions. You’re probably wondering what a dab pen is, what a dab pen can do to you, and how to use a dab pen. Don’t worry, we’re here to answer all your questions. 

Photo: Unsplash

What is a Dab Pen?

A dab pen, otherwise known as a wax pen is a small portable device that heats up cannabis concentrates such as dabs, for consumption. It’s a more convenient way to consume weed concentrates than the alternatives like a dab rig. 

dab pen

Dab pen (Source: Marijuana Investors Summit)

You may be wondering what the difference is between dab pens and vape pens. The main difference is that dab pens are used for cannabis concentrates such as wax or shatter while vape pens are smaller and used to vape cannabis oil cartridges or even dry flower. 

How to Use a Dab Pen

If you’ve just bought your first dab pen, you’re probably super confused about how to use it. The good news is, using a dab pen is pretty simple.

According to Elevate Holistics, the first thing you have to do is charge up your dab pen. Once it’s charged, set it to your preferred temperature which is usually between 420°F and 550°F. Then using a dab tool, load a small amount of your cannabis concentrate into the chamber. Once you get to the desired temperature, hit the dab pen and brace for the effects.

Effects of Using a Dab Pen

The effects of using a dab pen will vary from person to person since everyone experiences marijuana differently.

The marijuana concentrates often used in dab pens use potent marijuana, in other words, they’re pretty high in THC.  People who dab also tend to inhale all of it in a single breath. That’s the recipe for a very quick and euphoric high.

Besides a high, using a dab pen can give you munchies, red eyes, and therapeutic effects such as pain relief.

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As a matter of fact, Hello MD says, “Concentrates are on average four times stronger than smoking a joint. This means by dabbing a patient can receive a much stronger medicinal dose in one shot.” 

Hello MD notes that dabs can provide rapid relief of pain as well as alleviate insomnia. 

However, dab pens with regular marijuana concentrates (those with THC) aren’t exactly beginner friendly. If you’ll be using it for the first time, start with a really low dose. 

Are Dab Pens Bad For You?

Dab pens aren’t inherently bad for you.

However, that doesn’t mean you may not encounter negative side effects. After all, everyone experiences weed differently. 

In addition to that, you may be at risk for cannabis dependence due to the high levels of THC.

The National Institute on Drug Abuse says, “ [C]oncentrates can deliver extremely large amounts of THC to the body quickly. The risks of physical dependence and addiction increase with exposure to high concentrations of THC, and higher doses of THC are more likely to produce anxiety, agitation, paranoia, and psychosis.”

Dabs are also not ideal for people who may want to lower their tolerance. 

If you usually have a bad reaction to cannabis products high in THC or you’re trying to lower your tolerance, dab pens with THC concentrates may not be for you.

But, you don’t have to give up, you can use CBD concentrates in your dab pen instead. If you don’t opt for full-spectrum concentrates then you’re unlikely to get high. However, you can get relief from nausea, pain, and insomnia. 

Regardless of what you choose to put in your pen make sure it’s from a reputable source. Otherwise, you may encounter dangerous contaminants. 

Hello MD says, “It is important to choose cannabis extracts that are high in quality in order to not receive any adverse effects from dabbing, especially with those who may have compromised immunity.”

How Long Does a Dab Pen Stay in Your System

There is no universal time the weed from a dab pen will stay in your system.

There are many factors that affect how long marijuana stays in your system such as metabolism and the frequency of use. 

Healthline says, “The length of time that THC stays in your urine can vary, depending on multiple factors. The more you use cannabis, the longer it takes for traces of THC to leave your system.”

If you’re worried about drug tests, the table below should provide some answers for you. 

Drug TestTime 
Urine first-time or infrequent use: 3 days
four uses per week: 5 to 7 days
daily use: 10 to 15 days
multiple uses per day: more than 30 days
SalivaUp to 72 hours for chronic cannabis users 
Blood2-12 days usually but up to 30 days is possible 
Hair 3 months 
Source: Healthline 


What does a dab pen do to you? Well, it can provide a quick and potent high if you use cannabis concentrates (as opposed to CBD concentrates). However, cannabis concentrates being high in THC can cause negative side effects such as anxiety as well as increasing the risk of cannabis dependence. On the other hand, you can get rapid pain relief and a reduction in insomnia.


About Trevann

Trevann is Stoner Rotation’s Jamaica-based lead writer for the Science section of our cannabis blog. She graduated with honors receiving her Bachelor of Science degree in Molecular Biology from the University of West Indies, Mona. For the last three years, she has covered some of the biggest questions around cannabis and health underpinned with research from supporting studies, medical journals and scholarly articles. Got something on your mind? You can reach her at [email protected].