What is Cannabis Wax and How It's Used?

Stephen Andrews
24 Aug 2021

With a relative 70% THC in its contents, it's no wonder why folks go insane about cannabis wax. But what exactly is this product, how is it made, and how and who can use it?

It's called wax due to its gooey texture and appearance. With a sparkling amber color, soft and easy-to-mold, Cannabis wax is a  superior potent cannabis essential oil concentrate. 

Cannabis wax is also known as Butane Hash Oil (BHO), honey oil, and 710 (with the numbers upside down reads as 'oil'). Wax uses butane as a solvent to prepare and extract the THC into a soft, sticky, and highly-concentrated resin. 

Due to its super potency, the popularity of wax has significantly grown in recent years. If seeking to compare how high is getting high from consuming cannabis wax — your average Saturday night smoke is nowhere near wax. Just a tiny bit of wax is the equivalent of smoking at least 15 joints or even more, given that some wax concentrates can boost 90% THC. This means, if you are just getting acquainted with cannabis, you rule out wax from the list of products you want to try out. 

How is Cannabis wax prepared?

Wax uses Butane as a solvent, which is a highly flammable substance and needs to be handled with extra caution. Therefore, this is not the kind of stuff amused hobbyists who bake space cookies should try preparing at home. 

Wax-making professionals use expensive closed-loop extraction equipment to process concentrated cannabis essential oils in sufficient amounts and do so safely. In the process, cannabis buds are sealed in a tube and blasted with butane, which separates precious resin from the rest of the plant material. 

In the final step, the concentrate is spread on a baking sheet and "purged" at a low temperature in a vacuum oven to remove any residual traces of the solvent. Once the excess butane is removed from the concentrate, the substance is left to soften and harden and finally become sticky, waxy, and ready to dab.

A similar process is used to prepare Cannabis Shatter, which is another prevalent type of BHO, although less flavorsome than wax. The difference between wax and shatter occurs as extractors of shatter run the original concentrate through an ethanol solvent. This additional extraction step is known as winterization, and it removes all waxes, lipids, and terpenes that are present in the initial product. Compared to wax, shatter looks finer, like a translucent sheet of candy or a piece of modern art that can easily morph on a shelf in your living room. But don't be deceived by the looks.

Given the meticulous process it takes to produce BHO, it's no surprise wax can be a bit on the pricey side. It can cost as much as $50 for a single gram in some dispensaries, but if you are the type of user looking for the next-level high, it should most certainly be worth the deal.

How is cannabis wax used?

Wax is smoked using a dab rig, a bong, pipe, or vape. It requires a higher temperature to combust than your average chunk of weed. When vaporizing wax, do not heat the cannabis concentrate higher than 446°F (230°C) as this is the point of combustion for cannabis.

Dabbing is probably the most common way to consume cannabis wax concentrate. In order to dab cannabis wax, users need a dab rig with a dab nail to superheat the concentrate. The specialized nails used are made of durable and conductive materials such as titanium, glass, or ceramic. The nail is heated with a blowtorch, after which a dab of cannabis wax is touched with the nail, which then instantaneously causes it to vaporize and become consumable. 

Consuming cannabis wax this way should remind users of taking a hit from the bong. Except, with such super amounts of THC found in wax, the high is another dimension, and little goes a long way.

Users can also opt for vape pens to consume wax, where, preferably, the vape pen has a ceramic or quartz heating chamber and titanium coils which would optimize wax vaping. A cheap vape pen may cause the wax to lose its potency, so you need the real stuff.

Going old school with wax, users can also sprinkle a little bit of it when rolling up a joint. Although, don't try this with resin or budder.

Among medical patients, wax can work as an ideal solution if you are seeking immediate relief from your symptoms. 

Stephen Andrews