What Is Marijuana Wax and How Dangerous Is It?
As marijuana use gains popularity across the country, with more states legalizing not just medical but also recreational ingestion of the substance, concentrated forms of cannabis are also gaining popularity. Despite its popularity, marijuana wax and other THC concentrates can be dangerous. This page will go discuss THC wax and its dangers.
What Is Marijuana Wax?
Weed wax is a highly concentrated form of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the main intoxicating substance found in cannabis.
Different types of weed concentrate can have the texture of a:
- Sticky, gummy liquid.
- Soft solid lip balm.
- Hard, dark-yellow solid resin.
Weed Wax Names
Names for marijuana concentrates have some overlap, but there is a subtle difference between them. Some of the names for marijuana wax include:
- Marijuana wax.
- Ear wax.
- THC wax.
- Weed wax.
- Cannabis wax.
- Honey oil.
- Butane honey oil (BHO).
- Black glass.
These various forms of cooked, concentrated marijuana are not edible, but designed to be smoked (sometimes called “dabbing”) or vaporized (vaped).
How Is THC Wax Made?
Creating hash oil, wax, or butter in these high concentrations typically involves butane, an inflammatory agent. Other solvents may be used, but butane is the most common and the most dangerous. The solvent is filtered through a tube containing marijuana leaves, stripping the THC out of the leaves. Butane is then burned off, or allowed to evaporate, leaving behind a sticky residue containing high concentrations of THC.
The process was developed to extract as much THC from leftover, unsellable pieces of marijuana as possible. Because the procedure involves materials that can be ignited, it is extremely dangerous. Inhaling solvent vapors is very bad for the lungs, and working with these materials can cause explosions.
How Potent Is Weed Wax?
THC wax has 40-80 percent more THC per dose than more traditional, dried forms of cannabis. The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) found that, in 2013, the THC concentrations in wax or oil measured around 54 percent. In the years since, the process has likely become refined enough that there are higher levels of THC present, which can cause severe side effects. The DEA has reported that some wax samples contain 99 percent THC, which is a dangerous level for most people.
One “hit” or “dab” of wax, which is about the size of the head of a pin, may be roughly equal to one or two joints, depending on the THC concentration. Dried marijuana leaves rolled into joints, cigarettes, or vaporized typically contain 5 to 28 percent THC.
Side Effects of Smoking Marijuana Wax
Marijuana leaves that are dried and smoked can be addictive enough. Growers have cultivated numerous strains over the decades to focus on specific chemicals, including THC, so wide varieties of marijuana have high concentrations of THC already. These can be very addictive, leading to long-term use, and can even trigger mood disorders like anxiety or depression. Since wax has a much higher concentration of THC, it is likely much more addictive; however, it is a relatively new product, so it is hard to know for sure.
While cannabis can induce psychedelic experiences that may have a negative impact on mood, marijuana wax intensifies these experiences due to the greater concentration of THC in the product.
Side effects often associated with smoking wax include:
- Increased anxiety.
- Changes in sensory perception.
- Poor memory.
- Paranoia or panic attacks.
- Hallucinations, both auditory and visual.
- Temporary psychotic breaks (may require hospitalization).
- Increased heart rate.
- Increased blood pressure.
- Formication, or feeling like there are bugs on or under the skin.
Because oil, budder, and wax are fairly new substances, long-term side effects are unknown. However, it is likely that they are similar to the side effects of smoking dried, leaf marijuana, but more harmful. Addiction, withdrawal symptoms, and chronic health issues are all risks of abusing marijuana wax.
Weed Wax Dangers
While there are no reports of the standard version of cannabis leading to overdose or death, marijuana wax has been known to put people in the hospital. The higher concentrate of THC in waxes and edibles may lead to unintentional overconsumption, which can result in a range of symptoms from cannabinoid hyperemesis syndrome to psychosis symptoms.
Their extreme concentration through the manufacturing process means that concentrates like weed wax are at least twice as potent as dried marijuana leaves. As a result, they can cause nearly instant highs, hallucinations, extreme changes to behavior, and even overdoses. Prior to the widespread use of these concentrated forms of the drug, marijuana has not been known for overdose.
Furthermore, as wax is manufactured with butane, molecules of the solvent can remain in the wax. When smoked, these molecules will move into the lungs, causing harm. Some people who misuse marijuana wax have been found with lung conditions similar to “black lung.”
People who use marijuana regularly may struggle with addiction; however, the growing cultural popularity of cannabis has made the drug seem safer than it actually is. Like alcohol and tobacco, marijuana is addictive, and it can cause chronic health problems when misused. Unfortunately, people who struggle with addiction are likely to escalate their use of substances like cannabis, which may lead them to misuse concentrated forms, such as marijuana wax.
Marijuana Addiction Treatment
If you or someone you love is struggling with misuse of marijuana call us today at . Oxford Treatment Center, American Addiction Centers’ Mississippi inpatient drug rehab, is ready to help you or your loved one get the help they need to get on the road to recovery.
It’s never too late to reach out for help. Oxford Treatment Center offers various levels of addiction treatment, including:
- Residential care.
- Intensive outpatient treatment.
- Partial hospitalization (day treatment).
- Sober living.
Admissions navigators are standing by to help you begin the admissions process and to answer questions about using health insurance to cover addiction treatment and other ways to pay for rehab.