Cold Start Dabbing: Q&A with John Bailey
Updated: Aug 29, 2022
In June 2022, Higher Learning LV conducted an exclusive interview with John Bailey, an executive coach from Las Vegas and founder of The Mindset Genesis. Bailey practices a form of cannabis vaporization called cold start dabbing that, technically speaking, differs significantly from traditional dabbing.
Is cold start and low temperature dabbing truly healthier and more flavorful than traditional high temperature approaches to the vaporization of cannabis concentrates? Below, Bailey shares his approach to dabbing and why he thinks it may be a good option for many patients and consumers who enjoy cannabis concentrates.
John Bailey from The Mindset Genesis
John Bailey on Cold Start Dabbing
Higher Learning LV: "On a recent episode of the C3 podcast, you introduced listeners to an interesting approach to the vaporization of cannabis concentrates (commonly called dabbing) known as the 'cold start.' Can you define cold start dabbing for our readers?"
John Bailey: "In my experience, cold start dabbing is flipping the process in the opposite order of traditional dabbing. Some refer to it as 'reverse dabbing.' In the cold start approach, I load my extract first onto the heating surface I will be using before I add heat. Options include quartz, titanium, and ceramic. Personally, I'm a fan of quartz.
"In my experience, cold start dabbing is flipping the process in the opposite order of traditional dabbing. Some refer to it as 'reverse dabbing.'"
"Once the concentrate is loaded, I then heat my quartz nail, or banger, bringing my extract up to temperature—instead of just throwing it on a hot surface. This can be done with a traditional butane torch, digital e-nails, or my personal go-to, a portable dab rig. The torch is obviously much less accurate than the e-nail, unless one is using some type of precise temperature gauge."
A digital e-nail
HLLV: "What are the primary advantages to a cold start approach to dabbing? Why would it appeal to patients and lifestyle consumers and, theoretically, give them more for their concentrate dollar?"
JB: "Where it is great to throw a juicy steak or any type of meat right on the searing hot grill or pan to get that flavor and moisture locking burn, this is not the case with cannabis extracts. The old school way of 'flash dabbing' is extremely volatile. Inhaling anything at high temperatures of 600° F (315° C) to 800° F (426° C) is just terrible on your throat and airways.
"The hot searing pan method obliterates terpenes at a fast rate and produces more smoke than vapor. And don't forget the production of harmful chemicals that accompany combustion at 451° F, including Benzene and Naphthalene."
"Also, the hot searing pan method obliterates terpenes at a fast rate and produces more smoke than vapor. And don't forget the production of harmful chemicals that accompany combustion at 451° F, including Benzene and Naphthalene.
"You know, the stuff that is found in mothballs and manufactured from coal tar? Not exactly things you want to inhale voluntarily. Also, patients must be cautioned that hot dabbing can produce an intense effect that hits quickly."
HLLV: "Are there temperature ranges at which the cold start approach to dabbing is most effective? Are there temperatures at which this approach simply does not work?"
JB: "Well, I think it's a range that is most effective. The idea of one temperature to rule them all doesn't really make sense. It's really the entire process, not just the bloom of the flower that makes it so masterful.
"To fully captivate the harmony of terpenes and cannabinoids, I suggest that readers start pulling [inhaling] at the lower end of the heat up. This is why I like digital e-nails. In addition to the superior accuracy of premium models, users don't have to worry about blowing a torch near their face when inhaling.
"If your choice is a torch and banger, you'll need to get really strategic with your timing and heat up. Heat until you see visible vapor and continue heating for a few seconds, with care not to overheat. Then torch-off to begin the inhale. For those with an electronic device that may have a temperature display, I would start pulling at about 330° F (171° C) and cut it off at no more than 450° F (232° C).
"To be on the safe side, I recommend not exceeding 450° F when dabbing. Inhaling vapor past 500° F merely increases the risk of the emergence of harmful chemicals and carcinogens."
"Some people go up to 500° F. For myself personally, being in the industry and around the technology for the last several years, I don't trust the temperature precision on most electronic vaporizers. Unless I have tested them thoroughly with multiple temperature probes!
"So, to be on the safe side, I recommend not exceeding 450° F. Inhaling vapor past 500° F merely increases the risk of the emergence of harmful chemicals and carcinogens. Given my last statement about temperature accuracy, prolonged use at higher temperatures just isn't healthy. It's critical to use hardware that can accurately achieve and maintain vaporization temperatures and not exceed them."
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HLLV: "In an 2022 episode of the C3 Podcast, you analogized enjoyment of the terpenes and cannabinoids in cannabis concentrates to listening to an orchestra and the idea of wanting to hear all of the instruments, but also to hear them in harmony. Can you explain your orchestra analogy in greater detail?"
JB: "I was a band nerd in high school. What I learned about playing drums and percussion in orchestra and symphony bands is that what makes it masterful is timing.
"I was a band nerd in high school. What I learned about playing drums and percussion in orchestra and symphony bands is that what makes it masterful is timing."
"When everyone is hitting their notes and is on time, it creates a melodic harmony that moves people emotionally, physically, and sometimes spiritually. Knowing this, don't you think the more than 400 chemical compounds in the cannabis plant—many of which affect its aroma, taste, and overall appeal—is perhaps a Mozart concerto in one strain and a Beethoven symphony in the next?
"In more than seven years of tinkering with vaporization devices, I have explored creative ways of applying temperature. I truly feel that there are way more approaches to activating the terpenes and cannabinoids in cannabis concentrates and loose-leaf flower than we typically assume. If that gives some perspective, the temperature conversation is where we begin to play the concerto.
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"One must also consider that the targeted chemical compounds, terpenes and cannabinoids, each feature their own optimal temperature for vaporization (something called their boiling point) and that they all overlap in some way. Some terpenes and cannabinoids sit at the lower end of the temperature spectrum, while others require a much greater temperature to achieve their boiling point and vaporize into an airstream.
"Other confounders include the fact that the exact mix of terpenes and cannabinoids in each batch of cannabis is different. However, it can be assumed that when these chemicals commingle with the neurotransmitters of the human endocannabinoid system, they create the most beautiful orchestra of effects.
"The more we start breaking down the complexities of temperature in concentrate vaporization, the more we will unlock the exact experiences that we want to achieve."
"The more we start breaking down the complexities of temperature in concentrate vaporization, the more we will unlock the exact experiences that we want to achieve.
"I believe the cannabis plant will continue to reveal new songs for those courageous enough to approach it with measured insight and an understanding of the underlying mechanisms of things such as molecular boiling point and the point at which potentially dangerous chemicals such as carcinogens begin to appear."