Dabbing is an advanced technique of using weed. Because concentrates carry such high doses of cannabinoids, those brand-new to THC would be advised to stay far away from the dab rig and cling to more beginner-friendly modes of cannabis use, like pre-rolls or edibles.

However, if you are ready to take the leap into dabbing, there are some serious mistakes you need to avoid to ensure you have a good time. Here are the most common blunders beginner dabbers make and how to dab safely yourself:

Overheating the Nail

Just like you don’t want to put a blowtorch to your pipe’s bowl, you don’t want to heat the nail of your dabbing rig too much. Doing so will cause your concentrate to combust, which makes all the delectable cannabinoids degrade and the vapor harsh and unpalatable. The ideal temperature for vaporizing concentrates is between 315 degrees and 450 degrees Fahrenheit, which is much higher than it takes to decarb flower but much lower than a red-hot nail.

Overloading the Nail

Your nail should be hot before you apply your concentrates, and you need to be careful not to add too much of the good stuff all at once. Overloading the nail causes the temperature to drop rapidly because your concentrates are not the same high temperature. Plus, excess concentrate on the nail can catch on fire, create buildup and otherwise damage your rig, so you shouldn’t ever be using more than about a crumb-size dab, especially when you are a beginner.

Hitting the Dab Too Hard

Concentrates are much, much more potent than regular weed — for example, if typical flower has THC content between 15 and 30 percent, standard concentrates boasts over 60 percent. Especially if you are accustomed to low doses of THC through products like tinctures or edibles, you might not be ready for the full force of a dab. You can build up THC tolerance by finding extremely potent strains of weed from Washington, D.C. sellers, and even after that, you should dab lightly, using a small amount of concentrate and taking one small sip at a time.

Burning Yourself

Dab rigs get hot. While the nail should be the only part of the rig you are actively heating up, the rest of the contraption tends to become hotter, as well. You don’t want to handle an active dab rig as you would a bong; instead, take your hit and keep your distance to ensure you don’t end up with big, nasty burns.

Dropping Your Concentrate

You should only be handling your concentrate with a dabber tool, but using such a tool doesn’t really come naturally. It is pretty common for beginners to drop the dab before they reach the nail — and unfortunately, doing so basically makes that bit of concentrate unusable. It is well worth your money to use an expensive dabber tool, which makes handling the concentrate so much easier. You might also try to find a dab rig with a wide bowl for the nail, which increases your target size.

Dropping the Rig

Proper dabbing technique entails gently pressing your mouth against the mouthpiece, holding the rig by the base and using your other hand to place the concentrate. If you have your hands in the wrong positions, you are at risk for dropping your rig, which will cause it to shatter, dent or otherwise sustain damage. Dab rigs aren’t usually the sturdiest tools, so you always want to handle yours with care.

Moving Too Slowly

The nail does not remain hot for long, which means the time between heating, placing the concentrate and inhaling could be seconds or fractions of seconds. If you move too slowly, your concentrate will evaporate into the air around you instead of releasing vapor into the rig’s chamber, which means you will waste your investment. It might be useful to have an old hand at dabbing show you their technique, so you can get the timing just right.

Swallowing Vapor

The human body was not intelligently designed, and the best evidence for that is that your eating hole and your breathing hole are the exact same. As easy as it is to get food trapped in your airways, it is even easier to accidentally swallow air. Unfortunately, if you swallow your dab’s vapor, you are likely to feel pain and severe nausea. Fortunately, you can avoid swallowing by taking shallow hits from the rig, which gives you more control over your inhale.

Dabbing is an advanced cannabis maneuver, but for those unfulfilled by flower, edibles, oils and the like, it is a natural next step. As you practice dabbing, you will gain proficiency — but not before you make at least one of these mistakes.