Guest article by Eren Christen. Eren is a content manager, which is a platform dedicated to providing all the information that people need to know about cannabis and its benefits. If you know cannabis has the medical benefits you are looking for already, you can see a Leaf well physician today!
Cannabis dab wax
Cannabis dab wax is a soft, opaque oil that lacks transparency after being extracted from the cannabis plant. Its molecules crystalize due to the results of prior agitation. Also, its irregular molecular density does not allow light to travel thus leaving a more solid and non-transparent oil. Wax may vary in consistency, depending on heat, texture of the oil and moisture. The oil is key on making wax, as for runny oils often compose the known “Budder wax” while more dense and gooier oils are used to make “Crumble” and “Honeycomb”.
Marijuana “dabs” or wax are highly concentrated and potent, not advisable for novice users. Many of those who look to get their hands on this particular product tend to smoke or vaporize it, sometimes it may be ingested. To smoke wax, a water pipe or vaporizer would be ideal if homemade. However, if purchased in a store a simple bong would do just fine.
What is dabbing?
Dabbing is one of the preferred methods to consume wax. Typically, with a blow torch, glass pipe, and a nail (a small metal plate connected to the bang of the pipe). The torch heats the nail before placing the amount of wax to be “dabbed” or inhaled. This creates a combination of vapor and smoke of concentrated THC. Note that wax should be consumed in moderate amounts to reduce potential negative side effects.
Benefits and risks of dabbing
Being a highly concentrated product, Dab is usually 60%-90% concentrated THC, for those who value immediate effects and a strong high sensation wax may be ideal. Also, most dabbing methods are practically odorless compared to other combustion methods, which is a great asset for those who are seeking a more discreet alternative to marijuana consumption.
Perhaps the only positive health aspect of consuming wax is its reduced damage association to the lungs in comparison to traditional marijuana consumption. However, although dabbing may be slightly gentler on the lungs when compared to smoking cannabis, there is no definitive evidence to suggest that dabbing is any safer.
Medical marijuana smokers however, may find immediate relief from chronic pain and depression from dabbing their recommended strains. Medical cannabis is often prescribed by a professional so it seems that medicinal users may be the most apt users for wax.
Cons of Dabbing
Dabbing or wax consumption is often subject to mass production nowadays. If the oil used is not crafted with the appropriate standards and caution wax may contain very high levels of butane. Butane in large and uncontrolled doses is very harmful, especially for those who are allergic to it and other hash oil toxins. In rare instances, there have been reports of lung injury from inhaling butane hash oil (lipid pneumonia).
Consuming wax isn’t risk free, and the negative side effects of cannabis may manifest more often than less when using such a concentrated amount of cannabinoids in one sitting. Increased heartbeat, paranoia and in some cases an unsettling tingling across the body are some of the most common to experience. For those who are prone to it, psychosis and hallucinations may occur with high doses of THC. Edibles, dabs and other concentrates may also be associated with cannabinoid hyperemesis syndrome, but again, there is more small-scale and anecdotal evidence for this than any definitive studies.
Dabbing is also rather expensive for those on a budget – the cost of the product itself is above average in comparison to other cannabis-derived products. Investments on a blow torch, nail and dab rig are necessary and can be expensive. Those who want to vaporize oils will need a vaporizer that is adapted to heating up concentrates. There’s also the risk of developing a high tolerance to THC. The body may become accustomed to this level, thus requiring the same or higher levels of THC in order to achieve a similar relief.
How is wax usually made?
If you were a weed wax pro, you’d make your product through butane extraction. “What is butane extraction?” you ask. Here’s the skinny.
Butane extraction involves forcing butane (duh!) through a container full of marijuana bud. The butane acts as a solvent and separates the essential oils (made up of cannabinoids, terpenes, trichomes, and flavonoids) from the cannabis plant.
Those oils held in solution along with the butane are called butane hash oil (or BHO for short). But you wouldn’t want to dab with this stuff because butane is toxic. That’s why the next step is so important.
Once you’ve soaked your plants in butane and dissolved all the canna-goodness, you allow the butane to evaporate out of the solution. That leaves behind a highly-concentrated oil that, when it dries, hardens into either shatter or wax.
Sounds simple enough, right? It’s not. Butane is highly flammable and can explode (yes, explode!) with the smallest spark. That’s why we don’t recommend using butane extraction at home to make your own wax.
There are much safer ways to produce some dab goo than to risk life, limb, and residence trying to emulate the pros and their fancy equipment. Don’t do it! Instead, try this non-toxic, non-explosive method for making your own wax.
Why choose wax over other concentrates?
We’ve mentioned that there are several types of concentrates you can use when dabbing. We like wax over shatter for several reasons:
- Wax is easier to produce.
- Wax is easier to handle.
- Wax is easier to measure.
- Wax is easier to use.
We’re not saying we wouldn’t dab with shatter. We’re just saying that if we had the choice, we’d go with wax first because of the reasons mentioned above.
So now that you know everything there is to know about dabbing, dabs, and wax, let’s talk a bit about how wax is made. Then we’ll show you a simple recipe for how to make dabs in your own kitchen.
Rise in popularity
Wax or dabs are very popular among those users who prefer THC. Due to its concentrated nature and high THC content of up to 80%, its effects are not only more potent but obviously faster to act.
DIY Wax – the Solvent-Free Way
The basic idea behind making any sort of rosin in this manner is the application of heat and pressure. If you are lucky enough to have a proper rosin press, then lucky you, and you needn’t follow the below method!
The ideal amount of cannabis to prepare your own cannabis wax in this manner is 2 grams (some would recommend about 5 – 7 g in a rosin press). You’ll need a flat iron, oven mittens, a razor blade and an unsticky parchment paper (aka baking or bakery paper) in half. You may use Hair straighteners for this, but flat irons can be easier to handle.
- Heat the flat iron to a temperature of between 250 and 300 degrees Fahrenheit (121-149 degrees Celsius).
- Split the 2 grams into 4 nuggets and flatten them for better results.
- Fold your unsticky parchment in half and place your bud in the middle.
- Use the mitten and iron to press on the nugget for 3 seconds approx.
- Repeat this same process with all nuggets.
- There should be a resin stain on the parchment, collect them with the razor blade.
- You can use the leftover buds in an edible or to make canna oil. (And no need to decarboxylate it, either – just literally leave the leftover buds in some coconut or olive oil for a week or two, strain out the plant matter and voilà! A simple canna oil.)
You can also use kief to make a similar style of rosin/hash as above. All you need to do is:
- Place kief on the parchment. Roll up the parchment so it’s flat.
- Roll up the parchment into a newspaper.
- Wet the newspaper strip a little bit (damp rather than soaking).
- Using an iron on a low setting, press and heat the rolled up parchment-newspaper.
- Turn the strip of parchment-newspaper, heating and pressing with an iron for a few minutes on each side. Do this until the newspaper is dry.
- Once the newspaper is dry, unroll the newspaper and parchment paper, and you will be left with a piece of rosin.
The above methods do not use solvents to extract the cannabinoids and terpenes, so are considered rosin as opposed to butane hash oil (BHO). They are also “flower rosin” as opposed to “hash rosin”, as it is rosin extracted from flowers. The kief method is also sometimes referred to as hash as opposed to rosin. If you are using a rosin press, you will need to experiment a little with various pressures and temperatures in order to get your preferred concentration.
How to Consume Dabs
If a rig is inaccessible there are various home items you can use to consume your homemade dabs.
Stock the bowl with grinned cannabis and drop the dab onto the weed. The idea is to avoid the contact between the flame and the wax. The heat from the ground strain will help consume the dab into smoke you can inhale with a pipe.
Not all vaping pens are up to this task, you’ll need a separate atomizer for this.
Place the dab with your collecting item in the atomizer and then slowly inhale to get the most of your wax.
Fully enclosing the wax with your ground cannabis, thus limiting the exposure of the dab to the flame.
Making waxes like this can be an expensive endeavour, and it is no surprise that many charge more for rosins, shatters, hashes etc. A high-quality press can ensure that less is wasted because of heat, but these presses can be large and expensive initially. However, in comparison to making BHO, rosins are generally much safer to make and consume. The same with solventless hash, which can be made using ice, bubble bags or silk screens. Many also find BHOs quite overwhelming in terms of effect, so other, less “pure” (i.e. ones that leave some of the plant matter intact in the final product) trichome extraction methods may be more tolerable.