Marijuana concentrates are growing in popularity because of their heightened potency – whether you’re looking for a way to relax after work or rapidly treat chronic pain, concentrates like wax are an excellent option.
In fact, cannabis wax is one of the most sought-after concentrates because the highest quality versions contain a THC content that’s equivalent to 15-20 joints! While there are plants available with a THC content of 30%, many wax concentrates have over 90% THC.
“Weed wax” goes by several names, including Butane Hash Oil (BHO), honey oil, and ‘710’ (which spells ‘oil’ when you turn the number upside down). It is made by essentially blasting the plant’s material with butane (or another solvent) and extracting the THC into a gooey, highly-concentrated resin.
The finished product has a sticky wax consistency (hence the name) that can be used in various ways — and trust us, it is the most powerful weed you’ll ever use.
In this article, we look at what cannabis wax is, how you can make it, what some of the various methods for using it are, and what the most common benefits (and possible dangers) are.
What is Cannabis Wax?
Cannabis wax is a form of hash oil concentrate created when a solvent is washed over marijuana plant material. It looks a lot like ear wax, but once you get past the occasionally unappealing aesthetics, you will surely enjoy using it.
Why? Because cannabis 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?
Cannabis 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 other 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 that 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 Cannabis Wax
While there are numerous ways to enjoy cannabis wax, you won’t be able to use the extract in a joint or a vaporizer if the substance is too sticky and hard to handle. Some people like to sprinkle wax on top of their weed in a joint for an extra kick, while others like to do the same with gravity bongs or vaporizers. In any event, here are the three most common ways to use cannabis wax:
Dabbing is no doubt the most popular way to consume marijuana wax. So much so in fact that cannabis wax is often simply referred to under the umbrella term of ‘a dab.’ Dabbing weed involves the use of special equipment (a dab rig) which is heated to immense temperatures.
A dab nail can be made of glass, ceramic, titanium or other materials, and is heated using a specialized blowtorch. Add a dab of cannabis wax to the hot nail surface, and it vaporizes immediately. Then, you inhale the vapor as you would with a traditional bong. However, the heavy-hitting high is anything but traditional.
Most vaporizers these days are portable, and it is important to invest in a high-quality model if you want to actually “vape” your wax rather than combust it. Choose a vaporizer with a ceramic or quartz crystal heating chamber, and preferably one that has titanium coils to circumnavigate the issue of accidental combustion. Simply put, a good vape pen allows you to enjoy marijuana wax without the smoke.
SPRINKLING IT on A JOINT
Another super popular way to use marijuana wax is to sprinkle it over flower when you’re rolling up a joint or packing a bowl. However, be advised that this is most easily acheived when using crumble wax. If you try to use something like buddy or resin, you’ll create a nasty, sticky, frustrating mess that’ll probably end up mostly on your fingers than inside the joint.
What Are the Benefits of Cannabis Wax?
The most obvious benefit of cannabis wax is enhanced potency. When made correctly, wax will contain little or no butane at all, and a ridiculously high concentration of THC. Dabbing the wax may reduce the risk of lung damage associated with smoking, and the effects can be nearly immediate when it comes to the relief of chronic pain and other symptoms.
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 Cannabis Wax… And 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 which 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.
Oh, 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.
Cannabis Wax: Final Thoughts and Considerations
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!