Well it’s much more potent than your typical pot for starters! Wax is vaporized or used for dabbing providing a quicker, stronger and potentially more intense high. Most high quality “street” cannabis has a THC content between 10 to 15 percent with the highest strains containing 23 to 24 percent THC. A dab of concentrated cannabis “wax” by way of comparison has a THC content of 80 to 90 percent! This is why we love wax and why the authorities are worried about it…
Many people refer to all butane hash oil concentrated cannabis products as “wax.” Wax however is a soft, cloudy, non-transparent oil pressed from cannabis trichomes in order to maximize the percentage of active cannabinoids such as THC as well as CBD. Wax that is gooey with moisture is often called “budder,” whereas soft, brittle wax is called “crumble” or “honeycomb”, according to leafly.com.
The Wax and Wane of the Weed Wax Controversy
Wax marijuana is apparently so hallucinogenic that it is “more like LSD than marijuana,” according to Frazer Pa Police Chief Terry Kuhns. L.A. teenager Josh was at the center of the controversy after he was hospitalized for marijuana hallucinations after he sipped off a vaporizer pen. Two 36 year old medical marijuana patients were also hospitalized in Detroit. And there is even a very rare known instance of a woman named Jessi who had to be rushed to the hospital where she was fortunately saved after the esophagus of her windpipe swelled up to the point that she couldn’t breath after taking a dab hit. Alan Shakleford MD pointed out that a sip of hot coffee can actually cause epiglottitis like Jessi’s. Better informed seasoned stoners scoff at the ill-informed hallucinogenic claims.
Hash History 101 Through 710
Cannabis has been found in ancient Egyptian mummies. Ancient Egypt likely suffered severe hash shortage crises as people in the region still do today during times of famine and drought. Famine and drought are the likely causes of what is known as cannabis interruptus, a term that hemp historians regularly use when referencing cannabis in archaeological evidence. One of the first recorded descriptions of cannabis was in the 5th Century B.C. by Herodotus, “The Father of History” who described vaporization. “The Scythians take some of this hemp-seed and throw it upon the red-hot stones; immediately it vaporizes and gives out such a vapor as no Grecian vapor-bath can exceed; the Scythians, delighted, shout for joy.” The first modern hash oil factories were set up in California and Afghanistan in the 1970’s by groups of hippie radicals known as The Brotherhood of Eternal Love. The lessons learned in those factories have much to do with why weed is so much stronger now than it was back in the 60’s when all mom and dad had to smoke were bags of “bunk weed” full of non-smokeable stems, seeds and leaves from Mexico.
Controversial ice water extraction advocate Matt Rize made what he described as the “strongest, worst tasting” BHO that he had ever tried during his early hash experiments in the late 1990’s. He subsequently became a fully sworn solventless bubble hash “Ice Wax” evangelical. A canadian hash maker named Marcus “Bubbleman” Richardson became famous in the 1990’s for mass producing the mess bags people now use to make ice water hash which is why many people still call it bubble hash to this day.
Butane hash oil specifically “has been around since the year 2000, so people have been dabbing for a decade now and there haven’t been any real problems reported yet” according to Daniel “Big D” de Sailles, a partner at Top Shelf Extracts. Nikka T. from Essential Extracts was first exposed to bubble hash on the California pot farms he grew up on and made a pilgrimage to Amsterdam in 2005 in order to study 200 year old European recipes from legendary innovator, educator, cannactivist and Hash Queen” Mila Jansen.
The modern market for wax really began to explode from the underground in 2009 when pipe makers began making custom equipment to vaporize wax. Cannabis trim, the leaves and the stems, which contain some but not enough active cannabinoids quickly started becoming a source of profit for pot farmers thanks to hash oil, especially if they needed to salvage badly molded crops or plants infested with spider mites. Moldy marijuana does not become moldy wax according to David Babtkis from StuckUp Extracts who also reported that “the majority of growers that come to me, come to me when they fuck up their crop.”
Is Butane Safe to Vape?
So butane may be great for the wallets of our growers since it gets whatever good stuff is still left in bad weed, but is butane good for our bodies? Alan Shackelford MD, and Bob Melemede Ph.D. both agree that “it’s an irritant, but that’s about it.” Dr. Malemead didn’t find any evidence of harmful effects from inhaling small amounts of hydrocarbons such as butane anywhere in the National Library of Medicine database either.
BHO Wax still has a lot of critics from within the cannabis community such as the controversial bubble hash maker Matt Rize who coined the derogatory term “BHOTard” to refer to anyone who “blasts flowers” into concentrated cannabis wax in their backyards. (We don’t advocate attempting to make BHO wax at home at all, however we will never call you a BHOTard). Rize argued on his instagram account that all butane hash extraction methods leave contaminants in concentrated cannabis wax in order to promote his own ice extraction tutorials. Rize created Ice Wax, one of the first forms of dabbable water hash in 2010.
Rize’s suspicions about BHO wax appears to have a sound scientific basis in spite of the cannabis community’s suspicions about his seemingly altruistic self-promotion. University of Davis Chemistry Professor Don Land says that he sees weed wax that is dripping with more solvents than cannabinoids based on his work with Steep Hills Laboratories, a Marijuana Dispensary testing company. Conclusive studies have yet to be done on the possible negative side effects of inhaling residual butane from contaminated wax according to Kymron deCesare at UC Davis.
Removing cannabis from the Drug Enforcement Agency’s list of schedule 1 drugs would make it much easier for reefer researchers and marijuana wax makers to conduct the medical research necessary to solve the solventless vs butane debate and to ascertain the safest ways of producing BHO without any residual solvents. We agree with Alan Shackelford who says that cannabis concentrates should be provided in a variety of ways since different patients have different preferences for treating a wide array of medical afflictions.
The main reason why marijuana wax makers and patients like BHO is because of its higher THC content. “When you look at the percentage of cannabinoids per weight, it seems you’re pulling out more THC with butane than with ice water” according to William Breathes, cannabis critic for Denver’s alternative newspaper Westword. Nikka T argues however that there isn’t enough data to prove that BHO extracts THC out of weed more effectively than ice water extraction. Nikka T also claims that solventless methods retain terpenes which are responsible for helping your cannabis express its unique aroma as well as the euphoric and sobering qualities associated with Sativa and Indica more effectively without having to worry about any residue left.
Doctors Shakelford and Melemede agree that vaping or dabbing pesticides and herbicides is more dangerous than inhaling butane which is why it is also very important to make sure that your wax is made from organically grown marijuana like all of ours is. Dr. Shakleford points out that it’s extremely important to use stainless steel and food grade plastics as opposed to PVC piping and random buckets from the Home Depot in order to avoid extracting unwanted chemicals into your wax even if you’re using ice water extraction methods which are perfectly safe to try at home since ice cubes aren’t known to cause explosions.
What are the Costs, Benefits and Science of Wax?
Neither the controversy over inhaling butane nor the public safety hazard of explosions and fires due to homemade butane hash oil making have hindered the growth of this new marijuana market. You can expect to pay between $70-$100 for $15-$20 dollars worth of green cannabis buds and even more if you’re a patient on the East Coast who needs to buy it illegally according to Kyle Tracey, CEO of Growlife Inc.
Is it worth it? Choking down a whole joint isn’t ideal for someone who’s battling nausea for example according to William Breathes. “Vaping one little hit of oil or solventless wax is so potent all at once, it’s great medicine.” You’re also getting a lot of extra goodies that come out in those solvent extracts according to Dr. Melamede. You’re specifically getting the trichomes which contain the active cannabinoids as well the terpenes which naturally occur in all kinds of fruits and vegetables with known antioxidant properties, assuming your dabbing or vaping well-made weed wax.