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Media 丨 2021.09.15

Everything You Need to Know About Cannabis Wax

Introduction


THC wax, sometimes known as dabs, is one of the most popular forms of cannabis extract today. Wax holds many unique properties that make it popular with some consumers. In particular, wax has an extremely high THC concentration compared to other cannabis concentrates. Its high potency is helpful for users who prefer to carry a small amount of cannabis product with the most significant psychoactive effect. Suppose you are looking for a cannabis concentrate that is the highest in THC and are indifferent about preserving the CBD and terpene content of the cannabis. In that case, wax may be an option to consider. There are a wide variety of wax products on the market, with a range of consistencies, THC content, and consumption methods.


Moreover, the wax market has been impacted in recent years by new regulations in various states against wax with higher levels of THC concentration. While the method of “dabbing,” or directly heating the wax, remains popular, vaping is also a popular method for consuming wax. The cannabis wax market in the United States is one of the most exciting sectors of the cannabis industry for consumers and investors. 

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Cannabis Wax

Source: Vaporizing Cat


What is Wax? 


Wax is also known as Butane Hash Oil or BHO. The name BHO comes from the process used to create wax from the cannabis flower (Wilcox, 2020). Butane is used as a solvent passed through the cannabis, separating the resin from the plant materials. Then, the excess butane in the mixture must be evaporated. Evaporation is accomplished by putting the concentrate into a vacuum oven set at a low temperature. 


While wax producers often perform this process manually by-passing butane through a pipe filled with cannabis, modern producers rely on extraction equipment that fulfils all of the steps in a closed loop. In addition to being more efficient, this process is now considerably safer, as butane is highly flammable and can easily cause an explosion without proper handling. 


Finally, the concentrate is whipped to introduce air into the mixture and give the wax its characteristic consistency (Weedmaps, 2021). The resulting extract is composed of pure cannabinoids, including THC, CBD and terpenes. However, THC is the most concentrated cannabinoid to remain, with wax featuring between 60% and 80% THC concentration. Wax is an opaque mixture that has a similar sticky texture to clay (Wilcox, 2020). The texture of wax sets it apart from other BHO concentrates such as budder and shatter. It can be vaped using a special device or dabbed using a heating rig. 


The Psychoactive Effects of Wax


Due to its extremely high THC content and lower relative CBD, terpenes, or other cannabinoids, wax provides a more potent psychoactive effect than other forms of cannabis (Smith, 2021). On the one hand, the high potency of wax can allow users to consume higher doses of THC in one sitting, which some consumers prefer. This high potency is also preferable for some medicinal users with severe medical conditions (WayOfLeaf, 2020). On the other hand, the higher potency of wax should not deter users who prefer a less intense experience. These users can simply consume a smaller dose of wax to achieve a similar high from smoking without consuming any of the excess plant matter that has no psychoactive impact. Compared to smoking, consuming edibles, or vaping cannabis oil, consuming wax provides the purest experience of cannabinoids on the body.


In addition to THC wax, CBD wax is another option for consumers who wish to find a purer cannabis concentrate but who do not wish to experience the psychoactive effects of THC. CBD wax is created from cannabis with low THC concentrations. While CBD wax does not cause the same psychoactive high as THC wax, its high concentration can cause strong bodily effects. At high doses, CBD can also cause drowsiness. For this reason, another use for CBD wax is as a sleep aid (Shannon et al., 2019). If you are looking for a pure experience of the natural cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant and none of the excess plant ingredients or added ingredients, THC and CBD wax may be worth considering. 


Wax in the Cannabis Market Today


The wax market has been swiftly evolving along with cannabis markets in US states that have legalized recreational consumption. Over the last years, the overall market for cannabis concentrates, including wax, has risen more quickly than the cannabis market, representing a growing market share for concentrates (Schaneman, 2021). The mature cannabis markets in Colorado and California have demonstrated a particular shift towards purer concentrates. As stated by Mike McDonald, president and CEO of the California-based firm Ammonite, “cannabis connoisseurs are always looking for better-tasting, purer, more-potent concentrates (Schaneman, 2021).” With one of the highest cannabinoid concentrations of all cannabis products, wax is often the concentrate to meet this demand for higher purity and potency. 


At the same time, the wax market has dealt with some concerns over the safety of high-potency concentrates. These concerns have led to some increased regulation over the last years. Responsible dosing is the key to safe cannabis consumption, regardless of the level of potency. The cannabis industry has vehemently argued that higher-potency concentrates are not more dangerous than other forms of cannabis. However, this has not stopped some politicians from insisting that higher-potency concentrates are more hazardous to the public, particularly young people.


For example, setting potency limits on cannabis products in the medicinal market has created a serious debate in Florida. However, no measures have been passed due to opposition from governor Ron DeSantis (Demko & Fertig, 2021). In Colorado, legislation was passed in June 2021 to cap purchase limits for THC concentrates at 8 grams per patient 21 and over and 2 grams for those 18-20 years old (Hindi, 2021). This bill is intended to curb the purchase and sale of large amounts of cannabis concentrate to underage consumers, which politicians have identified as a particular concern. Nonetheless, all evidence shows that responsible wax consumption by adults is just as safe as other cannabis consumption methods. 



Methods for Consuming Wax


There are two main methods of consuming wax: dabbing and vaping. The correct method for you depends on your emphasis on a smoother and more discrete experience. Dabbing refers to the method of heating the area where the user will place the wax before placing it and inhaling through a device that usually resembles a traditional bong (Lepkoff, 2018). The term dabbing may cause some confusion, as wax is often called “dabs”, and vape pens for wax are often called “dab pens.” However, the term dabbing refers to a specific consumption method and is separate from vaping wax.

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Dabbing Hash Oil

Source: Wikimedia Commons

Vaping wax is the most popular method of consuming wax (Lepkoff, 2018). Wax is vaped by placing it into the chamber of the vape device and then inhaling through the device. Vaping wax provides the same concentrated high as dabbing, with some increased benefits that have made it very popular with consumers. As opposed to dabbing, vaping is smoother due to the more even heating of the wax. Moreover, many consumers find vaping wax preferable due to its portability and discreteness compared to dabbing. Finally, the temperature control capabilities of some dab pens can also improve the wax consumption experience by allowing for customizable dosing. 


Conclusion


Wax has left a substantial impact on the cannabis market for several reasons. Its high potency allows consumers and producers to carry and move larger amounts of THC at a much smaller weight. This potency also gives wax a distinctive high enjoyed by many consumers who desire a significantly higher dose of THC. Although some politicians have raised public health concerns over THC concentrates, responsible dosing is always the most critical element of safe cannabis use. Whether through traditional dabbing or the enhanced capabilities of vaping devices, wax can be an enjoyable addition to the consumption habits of all kinds of responsible adult cannabis users.