What is wax?
“Wax” is a type of cannabis concentrate named primarily for its appearance and texture. Somewhere between gooey, liquid concentrates like hash oil and solid, brittle concentrates like shatter, wax has an opaque appearance and a thick but malleable, wax-like texture.
Depending on variables such as extraction technique, moisture, and temperature, wax can take on a number of different forms ranging from more liquid, runny wax to more solid, brittle wax. The runny end of the wax spectrum includes products like “budder,” which is known for being very malleable and squishy, almost to the point of being a very thick oil. The solid end of the wax spectrum includes things like “crumble” and “honeycomb,” which are starting to approach the texture and consistency of something like shatter.
Regardless of these differences, all wax concentrates fall somewhere in between oil and shatter. For many consumers, this middle ground makes wax especially easy to work with—not so fragile that you run the risk of breaking it into tons of small and hard to use pieces while also not being so runny that it's difficult to scoop up and maneuver onto a dab nail.
What are the different ways to smoke wax?
Wax's unique and easy-to-use consistency makes it a very versatile concentrate. You can smoke wax in numerous ways, including:
- On a dab rig.
- Using a nectar collector.
- In a wax vape pen or another concentrate vaporizer.
- Added to a joint, spliff, or blunt.
- Combined with flower in a bowl.
- Using a rudimentary knife dab.
Consistency matters: Choosing the right tool
Within the world of concentrates, there are numerous consumption methods, like taking a dab or vaping. While you can always find a way to make any of these methods work for virtually any type of concentrate, certain consumption methods tend to work better for certain types of concentrates. For example, hard and brittle concentrates like shatter can be easier to drop onto a hot nail than super runny oils, while oils can sometimes be much easier to use in a vape pen than a solid chunk of shatter. As much as possible, try to match your concentrate with whatever consumption method makes it easy to vaporize.
Step-by-step: How to smoke wax
Use your blow torch to heat the nail to the desired temperature. Remember, hotter temperatures produce harder-hitting vapors that also tend to be a bit harsh on the flavor, while lower temperatures tend to give you gentler clouds of vapor with much purer flavors.
Once you've got the nail heated to the right temperature, use a dabber to scoop up a small blob of wax. Spread the wax around the hot nail and start drawing in through the mouthpiece. If you're using a carb cap, place it over the top of the nail while continuing to draw in with your lungs. When you're ready to take your hit, lift the carb cap and clear the vapor from the rig.
To consume wax with a nectar collector, be sure you've got a clean surface on which to spread the wax. Since you'll be dealing with high temperatures, be sure it's also a heat resistant surface. The best options are trays or dishes designed specifically for this type of dabbing. Typically, these products are made out of quartz, glass, silicone, or other similar material.
Start by placing a small dab of wax onto the tray or dish. Now use a blowtorch to heat the nail of your nectar collector to the desired temperature. When it's hot, put your lips to the mouthpiece, begin to inhale, and drag the hot nail across the wax. As soon as the nail touches the wax, it will instantly vaporize. Be sure you're pulling in with your lungs the entire time so you inhale all the vapor without letting any escape.
The process of dabbing with an e-nail is almost the same as consuming wax with a regular dab rig. The key difference is, instead of manually heating your nail with a blow torch, you'll use an e-nail to electronically heat your nail.
Once your rig is set up and ready to go, use your e-nail's interface to input the temperature you want. As soon as the nail is hot enough, scoop up a dab of wax and spread it onto the nail as you begin to inhale. If you're using a carb cap, place it over the nail. When you're ready to take a hit, remove the carb cap and clear the chamber.
There are numerous different concentrate vaporizers currently on the market, and the specific steps for using them varies slightly depending on the vaporizer you're using. So be sure you familiarize yourself with your vaporizer before using it.
In general, though, the process of smoking wax with a vaporizer involves dropping a dab of wax into a heating chamber or spreading it onto heating coils. From there, you'll turn the vaporizer on, input the temperature you want, let the device heat up, and then use the mouthpiece to inhale the vapor being produced inside the device.
Step-by-step: How to take a knife dab
What are knife dabs?
Knife dabs are a rudimentary method for consuming concentrates. In general, this should be considered a last ditch effort if you have no other way to dab. The process involves heating metal knives on a stove or with a blow torch until they're red hot, using those knives to vaporize wax, and then inhaling the vapor.
What you need
Here's what you need to take a knife dab:
- Two metal knives.
- Stove or blow torch.
- Plastic bottle.
- Scissors or knife for cutting the plastic bottle.
Step 1: Make your mouthpiece
Before doing anything else, you need to make a mouthpiece. The simplest way to do this is to cut a plastic bottle in half. Discard the bottom half but keep the top half. This will serve as a funnel for capturing and inhaling the vapor as soon as it comes off the knives.
Step 2: Get your dab ready
Scoop up a small chunk of wax and place it on the end of one of your knives.
Step 3: Heat your knife
Heat the tip of the other knife by either placing it on a hot stovetop or by hitting it with a blow torch. Either way, heat it until it's glowing red. Once it's there, remove it from the heat and let it cool slightly—you don't want it to be too hot or you'll scorch the wax.
Step 4: Vaporize the wax
Put the mouthpiece in your mouth and hold it there with your lips or teeth. Now, in one hand, hold the knife with the wax on it. In your other hand, hold the hot knife. With the mouthpiece hovering above the knives, carefully place the tip of the hot knife on top of the other knife, sandwiching the wax in between them. The hot knife will instantly vaporize the wax. As the vapor rises, use the mouthpiece to suck up all the vapor. Repeat the process as much as you like. If the hot knife cools down too much, simply reheat it and start over again.