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Cannabis wax guide

Cannabis Wax Guide: Everything You Need to Know

Cannabis shatter concentrate on white background

Cannabis wax provides users with a concentrated potency, flavor, and aroma that can be used in many ways to create edibles, topicals, and much more. Cannabis wax is the base of many of your favorite cannabis products.

Understanding the different benefits, types, and uses of cannabis wax can help you find the perfect extract for your needs and lifestyle. Our guide to cannabis wax provides a comprehensive look into the world of high-potency extracts.

What Is Cannabis Wax?

Cannabis waxes, also known as extracts, are high-potency concentrates made using a solvent-based process. Solvents such as propane, butane, supercritical carbon dioxide (CO2), and ethanol are used to dissolve the cannabinoids, terpenes, flavonoids, vitamins, and fatty acids from the cannabis plant.

Solventless extraction methods include dry sifting, bubble hash/ice water extraction, and rosin pressing. These solventless products would not be considered cannabis waxes. They produce kief, hash, and rosin.

Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is the primary cannabinoid that produces an intoxicating and euphoric high. Cannabidiol (CBD) is a non-intoxicating cannabinoid that has many health benefits and produces a calming effect. Cannabinoid potencies vary by extract. Some extracts can contain 99% THC or CBD or a mixture of different cannabinoids.

No matter what type of relief you need, you will find a solution with cannabis waxes, available in various options. You will find THC-free products, terpene-rich cannabis concentrates, full-spectrum extracts, solventless bubble hash, and other cannabis concentrate types.

Benefits of Using Cannabis Wax

Cannabis concentrates offer many medicinal effects, including relief from pain, anxiety, inflammation, seizures, nausea, and more. Cannabis waxes provide many unique benefits due to their versatility, efficiency, and potency.

Quick-Acting

Dab it, smoke it, vape it, or take it sublingual for intense effects within minutes. The fast-acting effects are excellent if you need quick relief from panic attacks or painful flare-ups.

Long-Lasting

Cannabis wax can provide hours of relief via any delivery method. Inhalation methods can provide 2 to 3 hours of effects, while edible infusion effects can last 6 to 8 hours or longer.

High-Potency

For users that need a high dose to break through their tolerance or satisfy their medical needs, cannabis wax offers a high potency of the euphoric THC or the calming CBD cannabinoid. Some extracts may have different combinations of cannabinoids or only one cannabinoid depending on their use. A small dab of wax may provide the same relief as several bowls of packed cannabis flower.

Flavor and Aroma

Since cannabis wax is a concentrated form of the flower, these extracts have a rich and fragrant aroma and flavor that capture the essence of the specific strain. High-terpene full-spectrum extracts (HTFSE) are the best option for experiencing the full effect of a particular strain’s aroma and flavor.

How Is Cannabis Wax Made?

Legal cannabis oil concentrate in vials

Cannabis wax is made using a solvent-based extraction process from cannabis plant matter (trim, dried buds, and fresh-frozen buds). The solvents remove the chemical compounds (cannabinoids and terpenes) from the marijuana plant.

Growing

Cannabis wax quality, potency, aroma, and flavor depend on the genetics and growing environment of the marijuana plant. Cannabis plants can be grown indoors or outdoors in soil-based or soilless methods. Cannabis plant material can affect the quality of the extract. For instance, trim does not have as many trichomes as the cannabis flower. Fresh-frozen buds have a higher terpene level than dried and cured buds.

Extraction

Butane hash oil extraction is the most common method used, although processors may use supercritical CO2 or ethanol to make solvent-based concentrates. Butane extraction can produce a higher terpene concentration due to the lower temperatures used during the process. In a closed-loop system, solvents thoroughly soak the material to dissolve the cannabinoids and terpenes from the plant matter.

Post-Processing

After the primary extraction run, processors may need to perform post-processing techniques such as purging solvents in a vacuum oven, winterization, color remediation, and distillation to create the desired end product. Whipping techniques may be used to create different wax consistencies.

Types of Cannabis Wax

Cannabis live resin concentrate on table

If you are interested in trying out these concentrated forms of cannabis, you have many popular concentrates to choose from. Each has its pros and cons, but they offer an intense experience.

  • Crude oil - Crude oil refers to the resulting extract after the initial extraction run. Most cannabis crude oil will need additional refinement to remove impurities such as residual solvents.
  • Shatter - Shatter is an extract made from dried and cured bud with a hard and brittle consistency and a translucent and golden hue.
  • Badder - Badder, also known as butter or budder, can be made from cured or live resin. It has a creamy and whipped consistency and a good concentration of terpenes.
  • Crumble - Crumble has a powdery and dry consistency. Unlike badder, which is made at high temperatures with a whipping technique, crumble is made using low temperatures.
  • Live resin - Live resin is the extract produced after the initial extraction run made with fresh frozen cannabis material instead of dried cannabis flowers.
  • Isolate - A cannabis isolate is an extract containing up to 99% cannabinoid and usually comes in a crystal or powder form. Isolates are the purest forms of cannabinoids.
  • Distillate - Cannabis distillate is a highly refined extract containing a single major cannabinoid, and other minor cannabinoids, and may be infused with terpenes. Distillates are odorless and flavorless, making them perfect for use in edibles and vape cartridges.
  • Terp sauce - Terp sauce is a mix of cannabinoid crystals and terpene sauce. This extract has one of the most pungent aromas.
  • Broad-spectrum - Broad-spectrum extracts contain all of the plant’s active ingredients except for THC.
  • Full-spectrum - Full-spectrum extracts contain the entire spectrum of cannabinoids, terpenes, flavonoids, and other essential oils.

How to Consume Cannabis Wax

Cannabis concentrate on wood table with vape tube

Cannabis wax is super versatile and can be consumed in several ways, including smoking, vaping, dabbing, eating, and infusing wax.

Dab

Cannabis wax can be consumed via a dab rig or e-nail. Dab rigs require a blowtorch to heat the dab nail. When the dab nail has reached the perfect temperature, you can drop the dab of wax into the heated nail and inhale the vapor. E-nails do not require a torch and can maintain precise temperatures throughout a dab session. Some users may use dab rig accessories such as terp pearls or quartz inserts to improve their experience.

Vape

Desktop or portable vapes can help you consume cannabis wax at home or when traveling. Cannabis vape pens feature a ceramic or quartz heating unit and coils vaporize the cannabis wax. Cannabis wax can be found in pre-filled vape cartridges or disposable vape pens for an easy and convenient experience.

Smoke

Smoking cannabis wax is one of the best ways to add a higher potency to your flower. Whether you are packing a bowl or rolling a joint or blunt, you can add wax concentrates into your smoking device for a higher experience.

Cook

Cannabis wax can be a potent base for any edible product. Make baked goods, sauces, and gummies; the possibilities are endless. Best of all, you do not need as much volume of cannabis compared to using flowers. You can even consume wax-based products, such as sublingual strips and cannabis tinctures. These can be added under the tongue for faster absorption than eating an infused edible.

Infuse

Cannabis wax can be infused into a number of products, including topicals and transdermal patches, inhalers, suppositories, and more. Cannabis topicals can provide localized relief without absorbing chemicals into the blood and causing intoxication.

How to Store Cannabis Wax

Cannabis wax concentrate in container

Proper storage of your cannabis wax can help extend the shelf-life. Essentially, you need to keep your wax in an airtight and opaque container away from light, air, moisture, and heat. All of these elements can speed up the cannabinoids’ natural degradation process.

Cannabis wax storage types may vary depending on the consistency of your concentrate.

  • Silicone jars - Medical-grade silicone jars are versatile containers that can hold any consistency, making them easy to take out using a dabber. Silicone jars are not usually airtight and can expose your wax to heat, light, air, and moisture. These containers are best used for short-term storage.
  • Parchment paper - Parchment paper is a common type of short-term storage for concentrates like shatter or homemade rosin. You need a tiny amount of parchment paper to fold over your extract and protect it from the environment. Depending on the consistency, you may need to put it in another container.
  • Refrigerator and freezer -A refrigerator or freezer may be a good option for longer-term storage, although there are risks such as creating moisture build-up due to temperature fluctuations from opening and closing the appliance. Use an airtight container if using these methods. You may need to thaw it out before you use it.
  • Glass jar - Small glass jars are the perfect containers for semi-solid extracts such as sauce, butter, crumble, or diamonds since they do not stick to the jar. Plastic jars are not suitable for sticky marijuana concentrates

Cannabis Wax Tips and Tricks

If you are interested in giving cannabis wax a try, you need to keep in mind a few tips and tricks to have a safe and pleasant experience.

  • Use extreme caution - Making concentrates with solvents is best left to licensed producers. Cannabis concentrates are usually produced in a commercial, lab-grade environment due to some solvents' flammable and explosive nature, like hydrocarbons. We do not recommend doing solvent-based operations outside of these environments. A range of solventless extraction options are available for homemade concentrates. You can make homemade rosin with a hair straightener.
  • Buy from licensed suppliers - When buying cannabis concentrates, ensure your product comes from a licensed producer. Buying cannabis wax from illicit sources can put you at risk of consuming pesticides, heavy metals, and other harmful chemicals.
  • Buy lab-tested wax - Be sure your cannabis wax has been lab-tested by an independent laboratory for cannabinoids and contaminants. Look for a certificate of analysis or the testing results printed on the package.
  • Take low-temp dabs - Most cannabis wax is best consumed using low temperatures between 350 and 550º F to get the most flavor and aroma from the cannabis concentrate.

Create High-Clarity Cannabis Wax with Media Bros

Media Bros can lighten and clarify your cannabis extracts using innovative filter media and hardware. No matter what biomass quality you start with, we can make it better. Ask one of our representatives for a sample to see the difference for yourself.

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