Named for its viscous, sticky, amber consistency, marijuana wax is a potent cannabis extract. With THC concentrations up to 90%, wax is most commonly sought out by recreational cannabis users that have built up a high THC tolerance or medical patients looking for immediate and long-lasting relief.
Wax is extracted by washing cannabinoid-rich plant material with a solvent, usually butane. That’s why you might also hear it referred to as butane hash oil (BHO). Extracting cannabis wax is not for the amateur. That’s because working with butane, a highly flammable gas, is dangerous and can lead to explosions if not done properly. The safest way to get cannabis wax is to buy it from a reputable brand and a regulated dispensary.
So what do you do once you’ve gotten a hold of top quality wax? In this article, we’ll break down the many ways you can consume wax as well as how to do so safely.
Safety Tips Before You Consume Marijuana Wax
Marijuana wax typically contains between 70% and 90% THC. That means it is extremely potent. The benefits of this potency include almost immediate and powerful medical relief and recreational effects.
However, high-THC products also increase the likelihood that you’ll experience the side effects of THC, including paranoia, anxiety, and dry mouth.
Follow these safety tips to mitigate the risks of consuming cannabis wax:
- Go low and slow. Always use a very small amount of wax, even if you are a veteran smoker. Think half the size of a pinky nail. Take a slow pace between dabs. Wait a minimum of two hours before taking another hit.
- Don’t mix substances. Because alcohol can intensify the effects of weed, consuming both substances can lead to green out.
- Choose a safe environment. This is particularly important if you have never consumed wax before. Since you aren’t sure how your body will react, it’s a good idea to consume wax in the most comfortable area of your home (preferably a place where you can easily lay down).
- Keep company. In case you have an adverse reaction, it’s a good idea to have someone around who can help calm you down or get you medical attention if needed. If you can’t have anyone in your home, at least let a friend or two know what you’re up to so they can check in.
- Stay hydrated. One of the side effects of THC is dry mouth. Keep water nearby to reduce that discomfort.
Whether you are looking for powerful medical relief or amplified recreation, the responsible consumption of marijuana wax can be a great addition to your cannabis experience.
How to Dab Marijuana Wax
Dabbing with a Rig
The most popular way to consume marijuana wax is to dab it. Aptly named, dabs are very small amounts of cannabis wax smoked with a dab rig. A dab rig is a special type of water pipe consisting of a glass body, a nail (or banger), and a mouthpiece.
Like other inhalation methods, cannabis wax can be inhaled after heat is applied to it. Unlike other inhalation methods, you’ll need a blow torch to light a dab rig. It sounds (and looks) a lot more dramatic than it actually is. Here’s how you do it in three steps:
- Step 1: Use the blow torch to heat up the dab nail for about 30 seconds. Then wait about a minute to let the nail cool down to a temperature that won’t combust the wax.
- Step 2: After the minute-long cool down, use a dab tool to scoop a tiny portion of the wax (think half the size of a pinky nail) and place it on the nail. When the dab is placed on the nail, it will immediately sizzle into an inhalable vapor.
- Step 3: As you dab the wax onto the heated nail, simultaneously inhale from the mouthpiece.
Dabbing with Knives
If you want to dab, but don’t have a dab rig or a blow torch, you might have everything you need in your kitchen cabinets for a knife dab. Here’s how to use knives to dab:
- Step 1: Take two butter knives and simultaneously heat their tips on a stove burner until they are red hot.
- Step 2: While your knives are heating, cut off the bottom two-thirds of a 16.9-ounce water bottle. Then cut one square out of the side of the bottle. This square is a slot that the knives will be able to fit through. Keep the top of the bottle standing mouthpiece up on a table.
- Step 3: Use a dabbing tool (you could use a paper clip if you don’t have a dab-specific wand) to scoop a small amount of the wax onto one of the heated knives. Slide the knife into the square slot you cut out of the bottle, then place the other heated knife directly on top of it. Squeeze the heated knife tips together so that the dab is sandwiched between them and inhale from the bottle’s mouthpiece.
How to Vape Cannabis Wax
You can vape cannabis wax for a combustion-free inhalation method. A high-quality, portable dab pen is much more convenient than toting around a dab rig and blow torch.
Here’s how to vape wax using a dab pen in four steps:
- Step 1: Take off the top cap of the dab pen to access the heating coils.
- Step 2: Use your dabbing tool to place a very small amount of wax onto the coils. If you put too much wax in the heating chamber, the excess will drain into a reservoir.
- Step 3: Prime the wax by turning the dab pen on just enough to slightly melt the wax into the wick.
- Step 4: Replace the top cap and take a 5-second hit, keeping your finger on the power button. Alternatively, you can put your vape pen in your pocket or bag for later use.
Wax is versatile enough to be ingested in other ways, too. You can roll a little glob of wax into a joint, spliff, or blunt, causinging the joint to burn slower and packing it with a more potent punch. This is known as a twax joint, and it is popular among those who want to try an old-school smoking experience with a more intense high.
You can also smoke weed wax by:
- Using a nectar collector, or portable dab rig
- Combining it with flower in a bowl
- Using a knife dab
How is wax different from other concentrates?
The marijuana concentrate family is extensive and includes shatter, wax, resin, rosin, sugar, sauce, hash, and oil. All concentrates are extracts that have been processed to concentrate the plant’s potency, delivering a more intense experience than straight-up dried marijuana buds.
What differentiates marijuana concentrates are the texture and viscosity of the product. Marijuana wax is opaque and malleable, while shatter is glossy, brittle, and translucent. However, the potency, aroma, and flavor profiles of waxes can be identical to shatter or oil. The consistency of wax isn’t necessarily an indicator of flavor or THC levels.
Variations in post-extraction processing lead to these different consistencies. Wax is formed by whipping. Aggressive whipping leads to crumble, and a short whip lends itself to a creamy budder. Wax boasts a clear advantage over other concentrates: it’s easy to use, rendering dosing and smoking easy for novices.