What is Cannabis Wax? Not For First Time Smokers

Over the last year or so, cannabis wax has seen an increase in popularity. Sometimes called dabs, BHO (butane hash oil) or, grossly, ear wax, it’s essentially a form of marijuana concentrate that provides a powerful high. It’s rumored to be the strongest marijuana on the market.

But, before you add wax to your grocery list, be sure you know what you’re getting into. Cannabis wax doesn’t always provide just a high, it also provides a “why, God, why?” In short, it’s psychoactive properties aren’t for the faint of heart……or the faint of hash.

How Cannabis Wax is Made

Cannabis wax isn’t like cooking with cannabis or loading a bong or rolling joint. In other words, it’s not something you want to do at home. It’s not even something you want to do yourself, unless you’re under direct supervision from Walter White (and he’s not wearing his whitey-tighties- those are too distracting).

The vapors from the gas can quickly fill a room, ultimately igniting with any type of spark.

If you think your spouse was mad because you didn’t take out the garbage, just wait until you blow up the kitchen.

Cannabis waxProfessionally, cannabis wax is made by placing marijuana into a long tube or pipe then adding butane, otherwise known as lighter fluid. The butane extracts THC into a hardened, very potent glob (or dab) that looks like something your Q-tip pulled out. This is where the name comes from.

After the wax is cool, a dab is packed into a bong and smoked just as you would regular marijuana. Some people also use vaporizers.

Its Powerful Potency

As mentioned above, cannabis wax is potent. In fact, a Fox affiliate in Los Angeles reports that it’s over 80 percent THC – this results in a quicker high (and a higher high). According to High Times, there is disagreement as to whether cannabis wax is more potent than traditional hash. Some people argue that it is (as more THC is pulled out), while others believe it’s too soon to tell: the trend is fairly new. But its strength has certainly been well verified.

Some people have ended up hospitalized, having to be sedated because – in the non-medical term – they were completely freaking out. Psychotic episodes might not be the norm, but they’re not entirely rare either: the hallucinations the wax cause can temporarily change someone’s personality. Its ability to agitate is directly at odds with pot’s otherwise chilled out reputation.

The Cost of Cannabis Wax

You don’t have to be Adam Smith, or have anything to do with economics, to known that a higher high equals a higher cost. Per a feature published in GrowLife, marijuana sold at medicinal dispensaries in Southern California typically costs around 15 to 20 dollars a gram.

For dabs, the price ranges from 70 to 100 dollars. 

The cost has persuaded some people to try to make the wax themselves. But, as discussed above, homemade cannabis wax isn’t like baking cookies. Hospital burn units and fire chiefs have reported an influx of cases of people setting fire unintentionally as they try to learn to manipulate the science. Basically, the wax lab is the new meth lab.

wax, cannabis waxOf course, the danger of blowing yourself up isn’t the only danger of butane. When cannabis wax is made properly, all the butane is sufficiently filtered out during the process, making the product free of butane’s chemicals. But when it’s made by laypeople, traces of butane often remain in the wax. Inhaling it isn’t good for the lungs – extreme and acute inhalation has even lead to sudden death (yet another reason not to try to cook it yourself).

The Popularity of Cannabis Wax

Though it comes with a few horror stories (as does anything that you Google), cannabis wax is popular. In Colorado, people are beginning to experiment with it in increasing numbers. Even so, many dispensaries and websites warn about over consumption and recommend limitations of its use to only those who are experienced. They advise people to make sure the product purchased is legit too.

Not only can poor product contain leftover butane, but it can also contain contaminants such as herbicides, fungi, and pesticides. When these contaminants are concentrated into wax, they become more potent (just as the THC does). This isn’t at all conducive to your health, to put it lightly, as these chemicals can wreak havoc on the immune system and the central nervous system.

The best way to find legit product is to go to a reputable, licensed dispensary; don’t buy your cannabis wax out of the trunk of someone’s car. No, not even if they’re giving you a super sweet deal.

Cannabis Wax for Medical Marijuana Patients

While the potency of cannabis wax may be too much to handle for some people, others not only enjoy it, they need it. Medical marijuana patients, particularly those who’ve used pot consistently and have developed a tolerance, benefit from a more direct delivery system. Some medical marijuana dispensaries in states where medicinal pot is legal sell it for this reason.

PeCannabis wax, shatter ople with chronic pain may require a more powerful high and one longer lasting.
Edibles are an option for the latter, but they take a fair amount of time to kick in: as long as two hours for some people (which feels like twenty hours for those in pain).  Cannabis wax is much speedier: it essentially offers immediate relief. This makes it a viable option for those who suffer from conditions involving acute or intense pain.

Still, the effects of butane (and pesticides) are even more extreme for people already facing medical conditions. This is why so many medical marijuana patients have begun to ask the governmental to test cannabis wax for safety. Yes, pot proponents actually want congress involved. We’ll make an exception, this one time.

Jenn Keeler

About the author: Jenn Keeler is a freelance writer and illustrator specializing in humorous lifestyle articles. She is one of the few people on earth actually using an English degree. Her heart belongs to the Denver Broncos and her husband. In that order.