Medically Reviewed by
Jason Crawford

Article Last Updated on January 15, 2023

The cannabis plant is a plant with many charms, and luckily, humans are figuring out many ways to make the best use of these charms. Besides the traditional use of cannabis flowers, the last couple of decades saw the rise of cannabis concentrates and extracts. 

This has changed the game significantly as the potency and purity of these products are incomparable to dry buds. The weed community loved it, and with the legalization of marijuana across the states, the production of this form of cannabis started increasing, as well as the interest.

The most common way to use a cannabis concentrate or extract is through dabbing, however, other methods could work as well. There are many types of marijuana concentrates and extracts on the market today, so let us briefly introduce you to them and focus on cannabis wax, otherwise known as THC wax, and how it’s made.

The Basics of Cannabis Concentrates and Cannabis Extracts

Cannabis concentrates and extracts are products that contain only the desirable active ingredients from the marijuana plant and none of the other excess ingredients. Compared to raw cannabis flowers, concentrates and extracts contain far more cannabinoids (THC and CBD) and fragrant terpenes. 

In fact, the THC levels of a concentrate or extract can easily reach 60-99%, making it a powerhouse. This concentration means that these forms of cannabis are consumed in much smaller volumes for the same, if not better, effects.

Concentrates are available in many forms and textures and they offer a unique experience because they are so potent. Basically, with marijuana concentrates and extracts, you get the best of the plant.

Even though these terms are often used interchangeably, there is a difference between the two and that is the extraction method.

The Extraction Method Makes All the Difference

In order to produce a marijuana concentrate or extract, you should use an extraction method to isolate the active ingredients from the rest of the plant material. In order to do this, manufacturers use two different extraction processes – solvent-based extraction and solventless extraction.

Cannabis Extracts

Solvent-based methods do this by dissolving the trichomes from the plant matter by using highly volatile chemicals. Later, the chemicals are removed, leaving behind a material that is later further treated to get an extract into the form of shatter, wax, or vape oil. 

Butane is the most commonly used solvent for these extractions, but propane, carbon dioxide, and even ethanol are also used. The extracts produced with butane are also referred to as butane hash oil (BHO).

Cannabis Concentrates

Solventless methods don’t use any chemicals but treat the plant matter mechanically or physically in order to separate and gather the trichomes to make the concentrate. This results in a concentrate such as hash, kief, or rosin.

How Is THC Wax Made?

THC wax belongs to the family of butane hash oils because it’s most commonly produced via a butane extraction.

Butane is a highly flammable gas that’s used in a liquified form for the production of cannabis extracts. To produce cannabis wax safely, commercial manufacturers use closed-loop equipment to prevent butane explosions.

The plant material, namely the buds and trims, are packed into tubes and are then saturated in butane. The butane will separate the resinous trichomes from the rest of the plant matter, and the trichomes are important as it’s where most cannabinoids and terpenes are found. 

Following this, there are several steps of removing the butane from the plant material using heat, condensation, and vacuum purging. These last steps are necessary as butane is a toxic substance and none of it should be present in the final product.

Finally, once the remaining substance cools and hardens into a cloudy and waxy substance, it can be further processed into different textures and consistencies. Whipping, shaking, and stirring cannabis wax can produce sugar, crumble, or budder.

What Makes Cannabis Wax Different From Other Concentrates

There are many types of marijuana concentrates and they’re all made to provide a clearer vapor and a more intense experience, compared to dry cannabis buds. All concentrates are high-quality products, and their THC content, flavor, and aroma aren’t too far apart from each other. Their only differences, though, are their textures and viscosity, which can influence the user’s choice.

Compared to shatter, which is solid, translucent, and brittle, THC wax is soft, opaque, and malleable. Wax should be whipped gently in order to get it to a nice and thick consistency. Overly vigorous whipping will turn it into wax crumble or honeycomb, while lighter whipping will turn it into budder.

The one advantage that wax has over other types of dabbing concentrates, shatter included, is precisely its malleability. This makes it easy to use, especially for weed enthusiasts who have just started dabbing. At the same time, it’s much easier to dose, which is especially important for concentrates as they are mighty powerful and a little can go a long way.

How to Use THC Wax

Marijuana concentrates are primarily custom made for dabbing, especially wax, since it’s very easy to handle and set on the nail of the dab rig. However, other methods can also be successfully used so long as you use the wax correctly and don’t let it come into direct contact with heat.

Use a Dab Rig

Like we said, dab rigs and THC wax are like bread and butter, which is why concentrates and extracts are often referred to as dabs. Wax is great for users who are just getting into dabbing because it’s easy to manipulate and dose.

To dab, you’ll need a dab rig, a nail, and a blowtorch. The first step is heating the nail with the blow torch. Next, using a dabber tool place a small amount of the wax on the nail. Once you hear it bubbling up, it should start vaporizing almost immediately. This is when you inhale through the mouthpiece of the pipe. Remember that, unlike smoking, you don’t need to hold the vapor in for long.

Invest in the Right Vaporizer

Vapes are primarily known for vaporizing dry herbs or cannabis oils, but there are some models designed for vaping wax. Don’t attempt to vape wax with just any vaporizer as this will only ruin your device, and vapes don’t come that cheap.

Therefore, make sure you choose a vape pen that’s designed to be used with this form of cannabis. The model should have quality heating coils and good temperature control settings. Remember, you should never vaporize wax at over 446℉ as this will combust it. Rather, you want to heat it to lower temperatures just to allow the cannabinoids and terpenes to be released properly.

Mix Some Wax Into Dry Marijuana Buds

While not an ideal method to smoke wax, it’s still one way to season some dry buds and make the high more potent. Whether you intend to use a bong or a blunt, smoking wax with dry buds is a good way to season the weed and make the high a little more potent. The one thing that you need to remember is to mix it well with the buds because you don’t want it to come in direct contact with the flame.

The Takeaway – THC Wax and Other Cannabis Concentrates and Extracts Are a Great Option if You’re Not a Beginner

Cannabis concentrates and extracts are a fairly novel way to smoke cannabis – they’re essentially pure active ingredients, which is why they’re so powerful. Seasoned cannabis users can really enjoy these forms of cannabis as they already have built up a certain tolerance to THC and will be able to handle it better than a beginner.

THC wax, in particular, is a very good starting option for those who are thinking about trying dabbing as the consistency of wax makes it easier to handle and to dose, which also gives it an advantage over other types of concentrates and extracts. If you don’t own a dab rig yet, you can also try vaping it or adding it to dry marijuana buds.

A passionate advocate for the benefits of cannabis. Fraser Horton, who has a background in botany and a strong love of nature, has spent years researching how cannabis affects the body and mind. He established Leaf Nation in 2020, where he has devoted himself to educating people about the legalisation of marijuana and its safe and responsible use. Fraser is committed to highlighting cannabis’ potential for improving wellness and working to dispel the stigma associated with its use.


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