Marijuana wax refers to a potent cannabis concentrate that has been agitated during the extraction process, causing the oil to crystallize and solidify. The consistency and texture of wax can range from gooey or creamy, referred to as budder, to something harder and flaky, known as crumble or honeycomb. Higher-quality waxes tend to be softer and amber-toned.
For cannabis connoisseurs and those looking to experience an intense high with a superior flavor, wax can offer a potent psychoactive experience. With high cannabinoid concentration and THC content averaging between 60% and 80%, a little wax goes a very long way.
Cannabis wax is generally smoked using a dab rig but can also be vaped. It’s a user-friendly concentrate that’s easy to work with. Unlike shatter, it doesn’t break into small, unusable pieces and it’s firmer than oil, which can be difficult to keep on a dab nail.
How is wax created?
Wax is a type of butane hash oil (BHO). Butane gas is used as a solvent to extract the major cannabinoids and terpenes from buds and trimmings. Butane is highly flammable and unstable, and the possibility of butane explosions make DIY extraction dangerous.
Commercial cannabis extraction facilities use closed-loop equipment to safely extract cannabis oil. Wax is made by packing marijuana buds and trimmings into tubes and then flooding them in butane. The butane separates the resin (the desirable part of the plant) from the raw plant material. After several steps of heating, condensation, and vacuum purging, the result is a sticky cannabis concentrate that cools and hardens into a waxy substance.
How do you use wax?
Dab rigs can make it easier to use wax while enabling the user to activate the cannabinoids and terpenes properly. That being said, there are numerous ways to smoke wax.
Dab rigs and oil rigs
Consumers most commonly smoke wax using a dab rig or an oil rig because these allow the smoker to experience the effects almost immediately. Rigs are similar to bongs but have been designed specifically with wax or concentrate use in mind.
Wax requires significantly higher temperatures than regular flower to combust. To dab wax, a small blowtorch is used to heat the small surface known as a nail to the desired temperature. When the dab nail is ready, a glob of wax can be scooped up with the dab tool and spread around the nail.
Heat-stable materials such as quartz or titanium are used to make the nail and the dab tool, or dabber. Wax vaporizes on the hot nail surface while the user inhales that vapor through the mouthpiece.
Some smokers also opt to use a carb cap. The cap regulates airflow and vaporizes the wax at a much lower temperature. When you’re ready to inhale, lift the carb cap and inhale the vapor from the rig.
Dab rigs are also available in electronic formats, making it easier to control and regulate the temperature.
Wax vape pens
Vaping wax is comparable to vaping flower. While vaping requires higher temperatures than should be used for flower, experts recommend avoiding overheating. Hotter temperatures tend to produce vapors that taste a little harsh, while lower temperatures deliver gentle clouds of vapor with purer, smoother flavors.
To vape wax, drop a small dollop of wax into the vaporizer’s heating chamber or onto the heating coils. From there, turn on the vaporizer, heat to the desired temperature, and inhale the vapor produced inside the device.
WAX, BHO or Shatter?
Cannabis wax — also known as weed wax, Butane Hash Oil (BHO), and honey oil — is one of the most popular (and potent) forms of marijuana concentrates today. Used for both recreational and medicinal purposes, cannabis wax is made by heating the plant’s materials with butane (or another solvent) and extracting the THC. The finished product has a gooey wax consistency that contains a THC content of 30%, but many wax concentrates have over 90% THC. That’s the equivalent to 15 to 20 joints!
How can I make cannabis wax at home?
Making cannabis wax at home can be very dangerous, so it’s recommended that you purchase it already made. However if you still want to proceed with the DIY approach, following are the steps you’d take:
- Take your marijuana buds and pack them into a tube or pipe.
- Place your butane (or other solvent) over the plant material. The fluid will bond with the psychoactive THC in the buds and extract the compound from the plant.
- Allow the butane to evaporate until there’s nothing left except an oily and extremely potent substance. That’s your cannabis wax.
Depending on specific conditions (i.e. temperature and humidity) of the extraction process, you can create a variety of cannabis wax textures such as shatter, budder and crumble.
- Dabbing. Dabbing is the most popular way to consume wax. Dabbing involves the use of a piece of equipment called a dab rig, which is a specific type of pipe or bong. You’ll also need a dab “nail” that fits your pipe or bong’s gauge. Some dab nails are made of ceramic and quartz, but titanium is most common. In addition, you’ll need a dome, which is the glass hood placed around the nail to trap the vapor before it’s inhaled. Finally, you’ll need a mini-blow torch, the kind that’s used for crème brulee, and a dabber, which is the glass, metal or ceramic tool used to apply a dab.Assuming you’re new to dabbing, it’s recommended that you start out with a small dose of wax no larger than a crumb. Although it may not look like much, it’s still going to pack a punch that’s much stronger than you’re used to.The process of dabbing begins by turning on your torch and aiming the flame directly at the nail. Note: nails and glass domes become extremely hot during the process. So, take caution when handling them – and always wait for all pieces to cool down before touching.Once the nail is hot, turn off your torch and place the glass dome over the nail. After you let it cool for about 45 seconds, take your dabber, apply the dab directly on the nail inside the dome, and inhale slowly. Then exhale and enjoy!
- Vaping. Vaping is another popular way to use marijuana wax. For optimum effect, choose a vaporizer with a ceramic or quartz crystal heating chamber, and preferably one that has titanium coils to prevent accidental combustion. As with vaping weed, vaping wax allows you to enjoy the experience without the smoke.
- Sprinkling the wax on a joint. The third most common way to smoke wax is to sprinkle it over flower when you’re rolling a joint or packing a bowl. This is most easily achieved when using crumble wax. Using something like buddy or resin will create a nasty and sticky mess – and you’ll end up getting more on your fingers than inside the joint!