These days, cannabis enthusiasts can choose so much more than dried flower. With legal restrictions easing around the globe, technologies used to process other botanical materials, like coffee, have made their way into the cannabis scene.
Within the last several years, wax has taken the weed world by storm. But, what is marijuana wax, exactly? And, perhaps more importantly, how is it made? Simply stated, marijuana wax is an incredibly concentrated form of cannabis used for dabbing and vaporization.
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What is Marijuana Wax?
Marijuana wax is a concentrated preparation of cannabis essential oil. While some cannabis extracts feature honey or glass-like consistency, wax features a texture almost akin to a flakey clay. Opaque and easy to manipulate, a high-quality wax is soft and features an amber coloration.
Wax is also among the most potent cannabis extracts and features superior flavor when compared to many other essential oil preparations, including glass-like shatter. Though, shatter may feature a greater cannabinoid potency overall.
Wax is potent, with THC levels ranging from 60 to 80 percent THC. Compared to the amount of THC in a single joint, this percentage is colossal. As you might expect, the high from cannabis wax is also much stronger.
Wax is smoked using a specialized water pipe called a dab rig or an oil rig. To smoke cannabis wax, a dollop of wax is loaded into a metal wand-like tool, which is aptly referred to as a “dab tool” or “dab wand”.
This small glob of wax is placed onto a heated hot plate, which is referred to as a nail. Of course, this nail is quite different from one that you would use when building a house. Instead, a dab nail is often made out of heat-safe titanium, quartz, or ceramic and it is used in place of a traditional flower bowl when smoking extracts.
What Is Marijuana Wax?
A form of hash oil concentrate that is created when a solvent is washed over cannabis plant matter, cannabis wax resembles ear wax, and though it may look aesthetically unappealing to some, it boasts some of the highest THC concentrations.
Marijuana wax can contain up to 90% THC and provide you with a truly one-of-a-kind high. Wax can also be ideal if you suffer from a serious medical condition and are desperate for fast relief from your symptoms. Of course, cannabis wax can also be prohibitively expensive – it can cost as much $50 for a single gram from some dispensaries.
How Is Cannabis Wax Made?
Marijuana wax has a DIY feel to it because it is entirely possible to make it at home using solvent-based extraction techniques. However, we don’t recommend attempting the process because if you don’t know what you’re doing, there can be serious consequences (some of which we outline in the ‘Dangers’ section below).
If you do wish to proceed in making cannabis wax however, the first step is to take your marijuana buds and pack them into a tube or pipe. Then, you force your butane (or another solvent) over the plant material. This fluid bonds with the psychoactive THC in the buds and pulls the compound from the plant.
Next, you allow the butane to evaporate until there is nothing left but an oily, potent substance – your richly concentrated cannabis wax.
As the butane leaves most of the plant’s compounds behind, what you’re left with is an immensely powerful, heavy-hitting concentrate. It provides a high unlike any joint or bowl you’ve ever hit in your life. Also, depending on the specific conditions (temperature, humidity, etc) of the extraction process, you can create a variety of cannabis wax textures, including things like shatter, budder, and crumble.
There is also a lesser-known method of making cannabis wax by using isopropyl alcohol. With this “quick wash” method, you submerge the weed in alcohol for a short period before draining it through a micron sieve.
Then, you strain/filter the liquid several times and allow the alcohol to evaporate, thus leaving behind a sticky, super-concentrated THC extract. You can either let the alcohol evaporate on its own, which takes about 24 hours, or you can heat the solution to speed up evaporation.
How to Use Marijuana Wax
There are a number of ways to enjoy cannabis wax, but it must be prepared in certain ways if one itends to consumed the wax in a vape or a joint. Cannabis wax is extremely sticky, which is what sometimes makes it hard to handle. Popular ways to consume this concentrate are to sprinkle a little on top of the cannabis in a joint, adding an extra boost, along with adding the wax to a vape or even a gravity bong. The three most common ways to use cannabis wax are as follows:
Dabbing is probably the most common way to consume cannabis wax concentrate. Sometimes, “a dab” is used synonymously with “taking a hit of cannabis wax”. A dab rig is required to dab cannabis wax, which heats the concentrate to pretty insane temperatures with the use of a dab nail.
These specialized nails can be made from titanium, glass, ceramic, or another other especially durable and conductive material. Using a blowtorch, the nail is heated, a dab of cannabis wax is touched with the nail, which then immediately causes it to vaporize and become consumable. The consumer then inhales, much like they would with a bong. The high, however, is far harder-hitting than that of a bong.
A well-suited vape pen made with a ceramic or quartz heating chamber and titanium coils allows enthusiasts to enjoy marijuana wax without the need for smoke inhalation. Be sure to invest in a high-quality model, for this will help to retain the potency and quality of your cannabis wax.
Sprinkling It on a Joint
The final popular method of consuming wax concentrate is sprinkling a little while you’re rolling up a joint or packing a bowl. Honestly, though, crumble wax might be the better option for such a consumption method, but if you only have wax on hand, it can also work. Avoid resin and budder at all costs, however, for it is far too sticky and will probably be all over your hands instead of in the roll.
What Are the Benefits of Marijuana Wax?
Enhanced potency is probably the most obvious benefit of choosing cannabis wax. High-quality wax will possess little to no butane, and an immense quantity of THC. Additionally, because dabbing with a rig turns the substance into a vapor, this method may potentially reduce smoking-linked lung damage. The onset of the high from a dab is almost immediate, which makes it an ideal candidate for chronic pain relief and more.
And if you’re concerned about potential hallucinogenic effects or other adverse side effects of marijuana wax, you can try something called CBD wax. This substance is made from cannabidiol extract, which is a non-intoxicating cannabis compound that’s shown to be very effective in tackling things like chronic pain, anxiety, depression, and a host of other ailments.
How Potent Is Marijuana Wax. Is It Safe?
First and foremost, attempting to make your own DIY cannabis wax can be extremely dangerous. We recommend purchasing it from a legit marijuana dispensary (or if you’re looking for good CBD wax, try one of the vendors that we’ve reviewed on the site).
As you probably know, butane is an extremely flammable substance that can explode if mishandled. On November 22, 2014, Dustin Zablocki and Justin Pick attempted to make marijuana wax, and proceeded to set fire to Zablocki’s home in Minnesota. Two weeks later, Zablocki’s grandmother, Sally Douglas, died from smoke inhalation complications. The two men were charged with third-degree aiding and abetting murder. Please don’t make this same fatal mistake.
Also, the thing about butane is its vapors can fill a room and collect near the floor – where most people don’t detect them until it is far too late. All it takes is a single spark to ignite. Back in 2013, for example, a doctor in a southern Californian hospital said there had been almost 20 victims of dangerous cannabis wax explosions in the region in a matter of months. He went on to refer to it as an ‘epidemic.’
Simply put, even if you don’t start a fire while trying to make cannabis wax, you could die from inhaling too much butane if you’re working in a poorly ventilated area.
Lastly, if you do decide to try cannabis wax we urge you to be very careful because it can be highly hallucinogenic and potent due to the abnormal THC levels. Hundreds of people have been hospitalized after consuming too much marijuana wax, and THC-induced paranoia is a very real possibility, especially if your weed tolerance is low to mid-range.
And one last thing – homemade cannabis wax may also be hazardous if there is a significant amount of butane residue left over in the extract, which could damage your lungs when combusted or vaporized. This is another compelling argument in favor of buying cannabis wax from a reputable company.
The main disadvantages of cannabis wax relate to the dangers of making it, and also to its super-powerful effects. It is easy enough to get around the first issue, though — just don’t make it at home! In terms of the deleterious effects associated with overuse of marijuana wax – negative side effects can include hallucinations, unconsciousness, and extreme paranoia.
That said, cannabis wax can be an outstanding way to combat a wide range of medical problems, and is also a great choice if you wish to get super-duper high in states where recreational weed is legal. However, enjoy cannabis wax responsibly, because its effects are seriously next level!