What is Marijuana Wax & How Does BHO Work?

The Ultimate Guide to Marijuana Wax

In the past five years or so, a new practice has been emerging among cannabis users known as dabbing. Unlike the traditional method of consuming marijuana by smoking and/or vaporizing dried cannabis leaves, dabbing uses marijuana wax, otherwise known as ‘ear wax’ or simply ‘wax’.

Marijuana wax is also made using dry cannabis leaves, but first the THC must be fully extracted from it. That is a process that can be extremely dangerous, and it’s not recommended for beginners. Even those that are highly experienced in the process should only do so under certain conditions.

After the THC has been extracted, the extract that remains looks almost nothing like cannabis at all. Instead of dried green flowers and buds, users are left with a thick, yellow substance that will look like any other kind of wax.

What is the difference between regular marijuana and wax?

Both regular marijuana and wax use the dried flowers, but with regular marijuana, that’s where the process ends. Users will simply crumble those dried flowers into a pipe or joint, light it, and smoke it. But with wax, the process is a bit more complex.

Wax uses dried flowers as well, but they are not what is smoked. Instead, butane hash oil (BHO), also known sometimes as butane honey oil, is passed through the dried flowers. This process pulls the THC, and only the THC, out of the dried flowers, extracting a liquid. When that liquid dries, the result is marijuana wax, which can then be “dabbed” and consumed.marijuana_wax_on_spoon

However, there are more differences between regular marijuana and wax than just their appearance and processes. Wax is far more potent than regular marijuana, with some reports saying it can be four to five times as potent. Wax can also sometimes be hallucinogenic, something never experienced with marijuana. Because of this, it’s thought that in addition to being more potent, wax can also be more dangerous than regular marijuana.

What is the difference between resin and marijuana wax?

In addition to regular marijuana and the resulting wax one can extract from it, there’s also another product known as resin, or live resin. Resin is similar to wax in that it also has BHO passed through it to extract THC from the marijuana flowers. However, it uses fresh, frozen
whole cannabis flowers rather than the dried flowers used to make wax.marijuana_live_resin
Extractors choose to extract resin rather than wax at times due to the fact that the extraction process for wax can result in the loss of some terpenes, or essential oils, of the marijuana plants. Using fresh frozen flowers preserves the terpenes throughout the entire process, resulting in a concentrate that has a much purer flavor, and color. While wax will be thick and opaque in appearance, resin is often a very bright yellow, almost shiny in appearance.

How to make marijuana wax

Making marijuana wax isn’t especially difficult, but it can be very dangerous. Many people have actually lost their homes trying to make marijuana wax, and authorities in some areas of the United States have even called it an epidemic. Because it uses gas, which can quickly fill a space with flammable fumes, making marijuana wax is best done outdoors, far away from structures, buildings, or other people.

The supplies needed to make marijuana wax are:

  • An ounce of marijuana buds
  • An extraction tube – best to be purchased but a tube can be made
  • One canister of butane
  • A coffee filter – purchased extraction tubes will have their own filter, but coffee filters can be used on DIY contraptions
  • Electric stove and double boiler
  • A heat-proof dish to collect the concentrate
  • Pieces of parchment paper
  • Razor bladesultra-pure-plus-butane

The first step in making wax is to grind the marijuana and let it sit to dry for about 30 minutes to one hour. The marijuana should be dry, as wet marijuana will reduce the yield of concentrate produced. Of course, the amount of concentrate will also depend on the amount of crystals present on the marijuana.

The ground marijuana then needs to be placed inside the extractor. It’s important that the buds are pressed down into the extractor, but not too tightly. While the marijuana needs to be packed tightly enough so that there aren’t any air pockets, there also needs to be sufficient room for the butane to penetrate all of the marijuana so that it can become fully saturated.

It’s important that extractors have a filter, as well as a hole at the top and several smaller holes at the bottom. Extractors that have been purchased will have these parts, but in DIY setups, it’s important that they also include these important components.

Once all of the marijuana has been placed inside the extractor, the heat-proof container can be placed at the bottom of it, and the butane can slowly be sprayed inside. This needs to be done carefully, and the marijuana will take at least one full canister of the butane. Once the butane starts being sprayed inside, a liquid that’s green, grey or brown in color will start to drip out of the bottom holes into the heat-proof container. This is the most dangerous part of extracting concentrate, as even the smallest spark of a pilot light can be enough to blow a house off of its foundation.

At this point, liquid will still be left in the heat-proof container. The liquid is the butane that’s left over, and consuming this could be very dangerous. Because of this, it’s important to set up a double boiler – or a pot with a bit of water in it that has another larger pot or heat-proof bowl on top. The heat should be turned on under the pot holding the water, and should be brought to a simmer, without ever touching the larger bowl or pot holding the concentrate. Once the water is simmering, the container holding the extract can be placed inside the top portion of the double boiler. As it begins to heat and get warmer, the liquid butane will evaporate, leaving just the pure concentrate in its place. Once the concentrate has stopped bubbling, wax has been made.

This step can also be quite dangerous. After all, butane – a highly flammable substance – is being placed directly over heat. Because of this, it’s important that this part of the process is never done on a gas stove, as that again could start a large fire. Electric stoves are the only ones that should ever be used for extraction.

Once the concentrate has stopped bubbling and the process is nearly over, a razor blade can be used to scrape the concentrate off of the heat-proof container and move it to parchment paper to cool. Once it has, it’s ready to enjoy!

 

How to Use Marijuana Wax

As stated previously, marijuana wax is typically consumed by “dabbing” it, a process that looks much more complicated than it actually is.

What does it mean to dab wax?

Wax enthusiasts will typically dab wax, as it’s the most effective and efficient way to consume concentrates. Dabbing involves a rig that looks very similar to a bong. One of the big differences is that, in place of the bowl one would typically find on a bong is a “nail.” titanium-dabbing-nailThis nail will be heated anywhere between 550 and 750 degrees Fahrenheit, typically with the use of a blowtorch.

After the nail has been heated, a piece of wax will then be placed onto the dabber, which will immediately vaporize the concentrate. That vapor will move into an oil rig, a contraption similar to a pipe, where the user can then inhale it.

Dabbing rigs range in price greatly from quite cheap (around $50 USD) to very expensive (as much as $50,000 for artistic pieces.)

Those that are new to dabbing, or simply don’t want to invest in a dabbing rig, can also consume marijuana was by using a hash pipe or a vaporizer. While these aren’t as effective as dabbing rigs, and can even have negative effects on the taste and aroma, they are very easy to use and less intimidating for users.

Medical marijuana wax

Vaporizing any marijuana can be more beneficial than smoking it, simply because it does not place the same toxins and carcinogens in the lungs that smoking does. This is true with dabbing marijuana wax as well, but it does come with its own dangers.

Evaporating the butane entirely out of the marijuana is important, as butane can be extremely harmful when it’s ingested. Some people are allergic to butane but even those that aren’t can suffer from increased heart rates, loss of consciousness, tingling skin, paranoia and even hallucinations.

While dabbing medical marijuana does increase the potency, making it even more effective for patients suffering from ailments such as nausea and pain, dabbing isn’t really recommended for medical marijuana patients. This is because the process of dabbing is used to extract THC from the marijuana plants, and most medical patients benefit the most from the CBD in marijuana.

Proceed with caution

There’s no doubt that those looking for the strongest and longest high will find dabbing to be the most effective way to do it. And the process of both dabbing and extraction is fairly easy. However, both can also be quite dangerous, and it’s not something that’s meant for all smokers. Those who want to get into the world of dabbing are advised to do so cautiously, so they can fully enjoy the effects once they do!

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