A kind of cannabis concentrate named for its appearance and texture. It has an opaque appearance and a thick, malleable, and — surprise, surprise — wax-like consistency.
What is wax?
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 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.
Where can you buy wax?
Wax can be purchased from licensed dispensaries. Because wax is one of the most potent forms of cannabis available, it doesn't come cheap.
If you're new to wax, purchasing from a storefront can mean access to expert knowledge on potency and flavor. Budtenders can also offer invaluable tips on how to dose and use wax effectively.