Materials & Use

Cannabis Wax: 4 Facts About the Cannabis Concentrate

Gabi Antunes

Sep 11, 2019

Cannabis extracts, often called concentrates, contain the compounds found in cannabis plants in elevated quantities. The increased potency of these products, as well as their versatility, has led to a boom in popularity among cannabis consumers of all types. Whether you prefer cooking, vaping, or dabbing, cannabis extracts can be used in a variety of ways, in states where cannabis is legal. To help you better understand why concentrates have become so prevalent throughout the cannabis industry, this guide explains what concentrates are, how they are made, and some interesting facts you should know about one cannabis extract in particular: wax.

What are Cannabis Concentrates?

Cannabis concentrates are potent materials derived from cannabis plants. Some concentrates, like hash or rosin, are made from compressed cannabis material. Generally, these concentrates are made from a collection of trichomes, the nearly microscopic structures on cannabis flower that contain high levels of cannabinoids like Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) or Cannabidiol (CBD). Others require a more complicated process to draw out the plant compounds and create an oily or waxy substance known as an extract.

Extracts are compound-packed materials that are made through a range of different extraction processes, often employing solvents to draw out the cannabinoids, as well as other compounds like the terpenes and flavonoids that exist naturally within the plant. The result of these extraction processes is always a potent extract, but they vary in consistency depending on the technique used. Common extracts include butane hash oil (BHO) and shatter.

Concentrates can be further refined after the initial extraction process as well. Refinement processes are conducted to isolate specific cannabinoids or remove other unwanted material that remains in the extract. After a concentrate goes through a refining process, it often looks and feels different. In many cases, the resulting product is so different from the extract that came before it that it will even go by a new name.

Concentrates are widely used for the heightened levels of compounds found within them. Some people like to use concentrates directly, either dabbing or vaporizing the extracts to consume them. Others use them as an ingredient in cooking, baking, or the making of beverages. Others still employ oils in the creation of balms, salves, and lotions to create cannabis-infused topicals. This diversity of use is one contributing factor to the popularity of concentrates.

One type of cannabis concentrate is particularly diverse, however. It comes in a wide range of forms, from a goopy, almost-liquid version to an extremely dry solid. This extract is known simply as “wax.”

What is Cannabis Wax?

Wax is the changeling of all the cannabis concentrates, appearing in many forms and going by many names. You might hear wax referred to as budder, crumble, or honeycomb. Each variety of wax has undergone a slightly different extraction process; the various forms come from disparities in heat, pressure, moisture and the consistency of the cannabis extract prior to its refinement.

  • Budder: Budder is a highly viscous form of wax that is goopy and runny. In some cases, budder can almost be considered a liquid, however it often stops just short of taking the shape of its container. Budder is formed from runny oils that have had residual solvents and unwanted compounds removed.
  • Crumble: Crumble is far drier than budder. It is an aptly named form of wax that crumbles to the touch and often comes already broken up into smaller pieces. It is similar to honeycomb in consistency but solid in form.
  • Honeycomb: Honeycomb is much like crumble in that it is dry, solid, and breaks apart when put under even light pressure. It differs, however, in the form it takes. Honeycomb describes a mostly intact piece of wax that has air bubbles throughout, which appear much like the honeycomb from a beehive.

Each of these types of wax generally lose their transparent appearance when going through their respective refinement processes. Even the solid varieties are soft to the touch, but wax varies from extremely malleable to stiff and brittle.

4 facts About Cannabis Wax

Cannabis wax is among one of the most interesting extracts on the market today, in states where cannabis is legal These four facts demonstrate why:

  1. Wax is an extract: Wax is a concentrated extract, meaning it is made with solvents. While all extracts are concentrates, there are also concentrates that are made in other ways and not technically considered extracts.
  2. Wax is potent: The potency of wax extracts ranges depending on the quality of the source plant, the extraction process used, and any refinement performed on the final product. Generally, wax ranges from 55 to 90 percent THC content, which is significantly higher than cannabis flower.
  3. Wax is affordable: Some extracts can cost quite a bit of money, with the crystalline varieties of these concentrates reaching as high as $100 per gram. Even shatter goes for around $40 per gram, but wax is much more cost-effective at about $30 per gram. Of course, these prices vary depending on your local legal market, but wax tends to be one of the more accessible price points when it comes to extracts.
  4. Wax is derived from shatter: Shatter is an extract that appears like jagged pieces of glass, hence the name. It is often amber in color and partially transparent. Budder comes from shatter that has been whipped into a creamy consistency under low temperatures, which alters the texture and density of the final product. Similarly, crumble comes from whipped shatter that has been refined and dried at low temperatures.

How can Cannabis Wax be Consumed?

Wax can be consumed through a process known as dabbing. Dabbing involves the use of a small pipe known as a dab rig. Dab rigs contain a metal component called a “nail,” which is heated with a blowtorch. Once the nail is red hot, a small piece of wax can be touched to the metal where it is instantly vaporized for inhalation. This conventional method of dabbing also partially combusts the material.

In addition to dabbing, cannabis wax can be smoked in a joint or blunt. This method of consumption tends to be messy with the more viscous types of wax and similar to the conventional method above, combusts the material. This combustion can produce a harsh smoke, so it is more common to see wax vaporized through the use of electronic devices.

The advent of electronic vaporizers has created a new way to dab that doesn’t combust the material. The use of an e-nail, dab pen, or portable vaporizer compatible with concentrates such as the PAX 3 allows consumers to vaporize their wax completely without burning any of the material.

Exploring Wax and Cannabis Extracts

Wax offers cannabis consumers looking for a potent and versatile material the ideal concentrate for their desired experience. Whether you have a portable vaporizer you want to break in or just want to add a little kick to your flower, wax is a good option. Best of all, it comes in different consistencies to suit your preference best. If you’re still not convinced that we’re not just trying to “budder” you up, consider adding wax to your next session.