Wax is the most potent form of cannabis available today. The drug first appeared in California but has rapidly spread across the country over the past decade. Named for its waxy consistency, marijuana wax is extremely concentrated and offers an intense high that can take even experienced users by surprise.

While wax (or cannabis concentrate) remains illegal in most states, citizens over the age of 21 are free to use it in 10 states. In many cases, possession of marijuana is not just a misdemeanor but a felony.

As with any drug, it’s important to be aware of what wax is, how to recognize it and how it can be harmful.

What Is Marijuana Wax?

Typical marijuana is simply the dried buds of the cannabis plant. The user smokes or consumes these buds and gets a high from the THC and other cannabinoid compounds. Wax, in contrast, is a brownish substance of concentrated THC, which is the primary cannabinoid (or psychoactive substance) found in the cannabis plant.

Many cannabis growers make wax by extracting THC from the leaves of the plants, which would otherwise be thrown away. The result is a substance that contains 60% to 90% THC. In contrast, traditional marijuana contains around 12% THC and up to 25% THC. Even regular marijuana users consider wax to be a potent form of cannabis.

It takes just a small amount of wax for a user to get high, which means that it is a form of the drug that is easier to hide, transport and use without being noticed. The high can be intense and long-lasting—up to a day or more.

Is Wax More Dangerous Than Smoking Pot?

Using wax is riskier than smoking marijuana. For one thing, it’s much more potent. The resulting high is much more intense and can be especially problematic for inexperienced users. Many people pass out after a single inhalation of wax. While THC gets you high, it can also lead to unpleasant effects, such as anxiety and paranoia. When you smoke marijuana wax, which contains high amounts of THC, you increase the likelihood of these negative effects. Also, marijuana concentrates tend to contain less CBD than typical marijuana. CBD is a compound that helps you relax. It also reduces the anxiety and paranoia associated with THC. When you use a marijuana product with high levels of THC and low amounts of CBD, you can put your well-being at risk.

In addition to the effects of concentrated THC, users run the risk of getting burned. To get high, you have to heat the cannabis concentrate (also called “dabs”) to create hot oil and then inhale the vapor (which is called “dabbing”). If not done carefully, this can cause burns on the body and in the mouth or lungs.

Making marijuana wax can also be dangerous. One of the most common methods of extracting THC from cannabis leaves involves using butane, which is highly flammable and explosive.

How Can You Recognize Wax?

If you are worried that a loved one is abusing marijuana wax, you need to be able to recognize the substance. It is usually the color of honey (dark yellow or light brown) and has a thick, sticky consistency. Be aware that it may be present in very small quantities and it is usually stored in air-tight containers, often in the refrigerator or freezer. You may also notice wax residue because the substance can be messy when used. Look for waxy or oily stains on carpet or clothing that resemble the mess a candle would make.

It’s also important to be aware of paraphernalia related to marijuana concentrates, such as a hollow metal rod called a “nail.” A marijuana wax user heats the nail and places the wax on it. As the wax burns, it creates smoke, which is inhaled through a glass pipe.

What Are the Signs of Marijuana Wax Use?

There are various physical and behavioral signs of cannabis wax use. These include:

  • Dizziness
  • Hallucinations
  • Red, bloodshot eyes
  • Poor coordination
  • Depressed mood
  • Failure to fulfill daily responsibilities
  • Social withdrawal
  • Nervousness
  • Poor decision-making
  • Forgetfulness
  • Issues with sleep

Can You Get Addicted to Marijuana Concentrates?

It is possible to develop a psychological addiction to marijuana. This happens when you experience intense cravings for the drug. You may rely on marijuana to feel normal. When you don’t have it, you may feel on edge and unable to think about anything else. Since cannabis wax is a more potent form of cannabis, it can be easier for users to become addicted to the high. In a way, marijuana wax is to typical marijuana what cocaine is to coca leaves. After becoming addicted to the strong, fast-acting effects of cannabis wax, many users find it difficult to switch back to cannabis with lower concentrations of THC.

What Is Treatment Like for Marijuana Wax Addiction?

Marijuana wax addiction can be treated in a number of ways. The right approach for you will depend on a variety of factors. These include:

  • The severity of the addiction
  • Your mental health

If you or a loved one comes to a rehab center like The Ranch for treatment for marijuana addiction, a drug rehab team will meet with you for an initial assessment. This will help determine what treatment program is best suited to your needs. Treatment options include:

Medical Detox

A drug rehab team will supervise you while you detox from marijuana. This will help you to deal with any unpleasant symptoms, including cravings, disrupted sleep and psychological issues.

Inpatient Rehab

If your cannabis wax addiction is severe, then residential treatment may be necessary. This involves staying on the premises of the drug rehab facility while you receive ongoing treatment.

Outpatient Rehab

If your cannabis wax addiction is less severe and you don’t need the structure of residential treatment, an outpatient program could be a good option. This would involve daily visits to our drug rehab center. Like inpatient rehab, we provide a number of treatments, such as therapy and counseling, drug and mental health education as well as support groups.

Wax is just the latest trend for people looking to get high, especially those who already use marijuana. By educating yourself about the dangers of marijuana concentrates, you can help protect yourself and those around you.

Share:
Krisi Herron

Medically Reviewed by

Krisi Herron, LCDC

Choose a better life. Choose recovery.

844-876-7680