Cannabis concentrates are some of the more exciting cannabis products you’ll find in a dispensary. These unique products have a terpene content that’s as close to a cannabis plant as you can get, making them really flavorful, and their high potency is what’s enticing to a lot of cannabis enthusiasts.
There are many types of cannabis concentrates, but here we’ll focus on cannabis wax, one of the most popular concentrates due to its versatility and pleasant texture. The production of concentrates is typically a long and laborious process that requires handling chemicals and advanced machinery, so in this article, we’ll introduce you to a DIY-friendly method of making your own cannabis wax, so stick around.
A Bit About Cannabis Concentrates
Cannabis concentrates have been all the craze in the cannabis community in the last decade or so because they offer great potency and great taste in just a small amount of product.
Concentrates are high-quality cannabis products that are processed in such a way so that only the cannabinoids and terpenes are extracted from the cannabis plant, while all the other compounds are stripped away. Concentrates are very powerful and contain high THC and CBD levels, with the THC content ranging from 60% to 90%.
They are more suitable for experienced users as first-time users may find the potency too overwhelming.
There are two main extraction methods used to produce cannabis concentrates:
- Solvent-based extraction where a solvent (liquified gas) is used to separate the cannabinoids and terpenes from the rest of the plant matter. Butane is the most commonly used solvent, with CO2 and propane right behind it. The final product from this extraction process is then further processed to achieve different textures and consistencies. The cannabis extracts produced with this method are: shatter, budder, wax, crumble (or honeycomb wax), and oil, among others.
- Solventless extractions are different because they don’t use any solvents, but isolate the desired active ingredients via physical separation. The trichomes of the plant are physically treated by applying heat and pressure to the plant material until the natural oils are obtained from the buds. The final products from this process are kief, hash, rosin, and dry sift.
What Is Cannabis Wax and How Is It Used?
Cannabis wax belongs to the group of cannabis concentrates that are commonly referred to as Butane Hash Oil (BHO) because they’re most commonly produced by using butane as a solvent. Wax has an opaque amber color and its texture is soft and pliable (think beeswax) because it’s consistently whipped during the cooling process.
Like all concentrates, it has a very high THC content of 60-80%, and its terpene content is mostly preserved, giving it a fragrant aromatic profile. Marijuana wax is a generally versatile type of cannabis concentrate and it can be used in multiple ways.
You Can Dab With It
All cannabis concentrates, including wax, are also called dabs because they were primarily created for dabbing. To dab cannabis wax, you need a dabbing device called a dab rig, a dabber tool, and a blow torch. Simply, you put a small amount of wax on the nail of the dab rig and heat it with the blow torch, and once it vaporizes, you inhale the vapor through the mouthpiece.
Use a Vaporizer When On the Go
Vaping cannabis wax nowadays is possible because many modern vaporizer models were designed to vaporize both dry herbs and cannabis concentrates. There are also vape pens that were made specifically for concentrates called dab pens, so you can take your pick. Vaping marijuana wax is a very convenient and portable way to get your fix while still retaining the flavor you get with dabbing. Bonus tip – vaping at lower temperatures is even more flavorful.
Mix It With Some Dry Buds
Some consumers like to enrich their dry buds with some magic, so they mix in a little cannabis wax in their joints, bongs, or bowls. Note that due to the high THC content, it’ll make your hits more powerful, so inexperienced users should be careful. Note that frequently adding wax to bowls and bongs may create more sticky resin that’ll be hard to clean afterward. To prevent this, clean your smoking device after each use.
Make Edibles With It
Marijuana wax can also be used for making edibles, like brownies or THC butter. Concentrates are usually too precious to be used in edibles, but whichever edible you end up making, make sure it’s one that you have to bake or cook. “Raw” cannabis wax needs high temperatures so that the cannabinoids can be activated. This process is called decarboxylation and it happens when you dab or vape wax.
DIY-Friendly Ways to Make Marijuana Wax
Making cannabis wax the way it’s commercially produced requires using highly flammable chemicals. The process itself is dangerous and unsafe even for experienced extractors as there’s always some risk, not to mention for regular folks like us.
Therefore, today we’ll offer you two safer ways to make a cannabis extraction and save some bucks while still using a quality product.
Isopropyl Alcohol Extraction
This is a simple extraction that uses isopropyl alcohol, though it requires some effort and a few hours of spare time, so it’s best to do this when you have the whole day to yourself. Before you begin, we feel the need to reiterate that isopropyl alcohol is flammable and not intended for human consumption, so avoid ingesting it by any means and keep it away from any and all sources of heat.
Now, let’s see what you need and how to do this.
- 2.5 g weed
- 2 freezer- and heat-proof container
- Glass jar
- 99-100% isopropyl alcohol
- Metal mesh screen
- Unbleached coffee filters
- Break up the buds into smaller pieces and put them in the oven in the container at 200°F for about 20 minutes to dehydrate them a little. Note that this process is different from decarboxylation which is done at higher temperatures.
- Once it’s done, leave it to cool at room temperature a little before putting it in the freezer along with the bottle of isopropyl alcohol and give them about three hours.
- When the time is up, pour the alcohol over the weed until it’s covered by at least an inch. Swish it around for about 20-30 seconds and pour it over the metal mesh screen while collecting the alcohol in the glass jar (you’ll need it for the next step).
- Take the glass jar with the alcohol and pour the alcohol through the coffee filter and into another container, and squeeze well.
- Let the alcohol evaporate from the jar by either giving it time or placing it in a warm water bath to speed up the process.
- When the alcohol has evaporated, gently scrape the extract from the container and store it in parchment paper or a small glass jar away from heat and light.
- Your extract is ready to use!
Hair Straightener Press
Yes, you read that right. This method uses a solventless extraction and the final product you’ll get is rosin. Rosin is typically made with a rosin press, but for this DIY method, instead of this massive machinery, you’ll use a hair styling tool.
- Hair straightener
- Parchment paper
- Dabber tool
- Pre-heat the hair straightener at 240°F to 300°F.
- Sandwich the weed between the parchment paper and press as hard as you can until you start hearing a faint sizzling sound or see traces of wax on the sides of the paper, usually no more than 10-15 seconds. Remember that the amount of weed you press shouldn’t be wider than the straightener’s plates.
- Let the parchment paper cool and remove the plant material, and then collect the waxy substance from the parchment paper by using the dabber tool or a similar scraping device.
- If you need to, you can re-press the weed before you get rid of it.
- Store the wax you’ve collected in parchment paper or a small glass container away from heat and light.
How to Dose Cannabis Wax
In general, you should be careful with concentrates, even if you have some THC tolerance because, despite their light flavor, they’re quite potent. Like we always say, you should start small and keep your dose as minimal as possible to achieve the desired effect without the side effects. For cannabis wax, this translates as the tip of a ballpoint pen – that’s the amount you need, at least at first. Once you find your sweet spot, you can modify your dosage accordingly.
Cannabis concentrates are great products because they’re very potent and very flavorful, but they might be too much for an inexperienced user. They can be produced either by separating the active ingredients via a chemical or physical separation.
Cannabis wax is a type of cannabis concentrate that’s made by using a solvent, usually butane, and it’s a very soft and malleable substance that you can use in a variety of ways, the best being dabbing and vaping.
Making cannabis wax yourself the way it’s commercially produced is very dangerous due to the chemicals used, but there are DIY-friendly, safer ways to make your own marijuana wax by using home equipment.