“Dabbing” is all the rage among high-tolerance cannabis consumers. The practice of dabbing is essentially heating a cannabis concentrate — often called a wax — to a very high temperature and then inhaling the smoke. This method can result in consuming cannabis that has a THC level as high as 90%.

Dabbing is known for the strength of its high, flavor, potency, and even the “ritual.” But wax can also be added to cannabis flower and smoked for a milder effect.

And dabbing is not limited to wax. Wax is simply among the more common and popular cannabis concentrates or extractions used in dabbing — and it has several subcategories.

Follow along as we break down some of the more popular wax subcategories — and a few alternative concentrates or extracts that are just as popular.

Cannabis Wax Production, Types

Waxes consist of cannabis plant material that’s leftover after being trimmed and sold as flower. A solvent like butane strips terpenes and cannabinoids from the plant material. This process produces a dense, sticky substance called wax that is exceptionally high in THC and sometimes other cannabinoids.

That wax can come in several forms:

Budder, Badder, or Batter

Earning the label due to its consistency, said to resemble cake batter. It’s thick and dense. It also usually has a golden color that resembles vanilla cake batter. Budder, Badder, and Batter are all accepted terms and spellings within cannabis culture.


Like wax batter, crumble gets its name thanks to its physical characteristics: It is often drier and looser than other popular concentrates. The product is cooked in a vacuum oven for a long time, which helps reduce the risk of contamination by mildew or mold. It’s one of the most potent concentrates — often reaching that 90% THC mark.


Sugar wax is said to have been an “accidental finding” as condensation and other environmental factors turned traditional wax into a concentrate that resembles wet sugar. Its color varies from a light shade of yellow to amber.

Cannabis Wax and "Dabbing"
Photo: Roxana Gonzalez Leyva via 123RF

Other Popular Dabs That Aren’t Wax


Named after its brittle traits — shatter is almost like a glass. It is typically some shade of yellow, and its production, while relatively new, has its roots in the ancient practice of producing hashish. It is cooked in a vacuum oven to make it more pure and crystalline.

Taffy, or Pull ‘n’ Snap

This concentrate is very close to shatter, but may be gooier or stickier due to the manufacturing process.


Diamonds’ solid and crystal-like appearance accounts for the name. They are technically isolates because they are the result of extracting only one cannabinoid (like CBD), as opposed to a concentrate derived from whole plant matter.


Rosin is among the buzziest cannabis concentrates. Rather than using solvents like butane, heat and force of pressure are used to extract concentrated cannabinoids. 

Live Rosin

Fresh cannabis (as opposed to cured) is frozen to manufacture live rosin. It’s then put through an ice-water extraction process and further refined using a press. It’s believed to be the best way to get a “whole plant” experience as none of the cannabinoids or terpenes get extracted in the process.

There’s a burgeoning marketplace of products containing live rosin — from candies to vape cartridges.

So whether you’re consuming budder, badder, batter, sugar, or crumble, you’re technically inhaling a wax. The differences between these concentrates and the others listed can get very complex and technical. Websites like Leafly and merchants like Attis Trading Co. are good places to dive deep into those differences.

Happy dabbing!