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Everything You Need To Know About Wax (Dabs)

Home » Marijuana Addiction » Everything You Need to Know About Wax (Dabs)

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With the use of marijuana increasing, more people are learning about wax or dabs, which is a term that depicts marijuana that has been concentrated to be vaporized. People are smoking wax dabs because of its high percentage of THC and additional cannabinoids. Whether it’s the newbie pot smoker curious about all the buzz or the long-time pot smoker who simply wants a stronger hit of marijuana, dabs are simply another form of marijuana that’s raising some questions among the medical community. Wax dabs are made by extracting the THC and additional cannabinoids in marijuana using a solvent such as carbon dioxide or butane.

WHAT ARE WAX DABS MADE OF?

The result is a sticky oil that people refer to as wax or buds. That wax will then be heated on what is called a “nail”, and the vapor will be inhaled through a “dab ring.”

Dabs can be quite potent because of the higher levels of THC, which means that the potential to get highly stoned inhaling the vapor is great.  It’s not the same as extracting the CBD from the plant, as CBD will not get you stoned. Dabs are created for the purpose of experiencing the euphoric, mind-altering state that is associated with marijuana.

IS DABBING DANGEROUS?

Yes, dabbing can be quite dangerous. The extraction process is not for amateurs. The worst thing that could happen is an explosion due to the various flammable gases.  If you’re familiar with how people make meth, think about extracting dabs in a similar fashion; using chemicals and solvents at high temperatures. Because the temperatures used for the extraction process can exceed 400 degrees Celsius, burns can occur easily, as well as the potential to inhale dangerous gasses.

Dabbing is also dangerous because of the high levels of THC that you get from the extraction process. Some extracts are testing as much as 80 to 90 percent THC, which can result in a very intense high that can be very uncomfortable or dangerous.

Typical marijuana that is smoked is about 12 percent THC. The butane hash oil (BPO) or wax, can be smoked through an oil pipe, glass bong, or water pipe. Some people also vape the dabs using a vape or e-cigarette. The wax can also be put into edibles but is even more dangerous due to the intense way edibles affect people.

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CAN DABBING CAUSE MARIJUANA ADDICTION?

Marijuana isn’t one of the most addictive drugs out there, but it can certainly be addictive.  The potency of THC in dabs increases the chance of becoming dependent on or addicted to marijuana. In fact, one study reported that those who use dabs are more likely to have an increased tolerance for marijuana, and experience withdrawal symptoms when they go without the drug or try to quit.  Some common marijuana withdrawal symptoms include:

  • Headache
  • Increased anxiety
  • Agitation
  • Mood changes
  • Sweating
  • Depression
  • Fatigue
  • Stomach ache

CAN YOU OVERDOSE FROM USING WAX OR DABS?

Many people and even medical professionals that say you can’t overdose from marijuana, but now that dabbing is in the picture, people are changing their minds.  The concentrated amount of THC in the wax makes it is possible to get so high that you pass out or overdose, especially if you’re using edibles.

Think about it this way. In relation to alcohol, beer has, on average, about 5 percent alcohol. Grain alcohol can be up to 95 percent alcohol. It’s almost straight ethanol, which if taken in large quantities, can kill you.

The wax or dabs from marijuana are likened to that grain alcohol, super concentrated and very strong – strong enough to overdose. Can you die from an overdose?

Marijuana concentrate being taken out of a container with a small spoon

If the THC levels are high, you can pass out almost immediately, and as with any drug, there’s the potential to die.

However, even if you don’t die from the hit of THC, you put yourself in danger of having an accident. In fact, one man died after dabbing marijuana, as he became so high that he passed out and hit his head on the floor. The trauma to his head killed him.

WHAT ARE THE SIGNS OF DABBING OVERDOSE?

If you or someone you know has used marijuana, dabbing, or some other way, knowing the signs of an overdose might help determine the need for treatment. The following are signs of marijuana overdose:

  • Passing out
  • Showing signs of psychosis

MARIJUANA OVERDOSE? WHAT SHOULD I DO?

If you suspect someone has overdosed on marijuana, call 911 immediately.  That person should be evaluated and monitored by a physician. Once the person resuscitated, it wouldn’t hurt to have them talk to an addiction specialist to discuss their drug usage.  Though many people might tell you that marijuana isn’t addictive, the truth is that it can be addictive for some people. These people may need addiction treatment.

How to smoke wax

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.

marijuana contrates wax dabs
“Wax” is a type of cannabis concentrate named primarily for its appearance and 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.
taking a dab
You can smoke wax by using a dab rig. 
  • Using a nectar collector.
  • In a wax vape pen or another concentrate vaporizer.
  • Added to a joint, spliff, or blunt.
joint with wax concentrate
You can add wax 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

Dab Rig

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.

man taking a dab
Spread the wax around the hot nail and start drawing in through the mouthpiece.

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.

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