Wax On, Wax Off


By Douglas A. McDonnell

Photography by Heather Ramsay



Perhaps it should not be surprising that in a world where people can’t agree on a single name for carbonated soft drinks infused with flavored syrup; the word “wax” when applied to cannabis, can mean several things. Some folks call any concentrate wax, others say that wax is actually crumble. For our purposes we mean a type of hash oil with an approximate consistency of earwax, only much stickier. It can range in color from olive to ochre and almost black. Wax prepared correctly should smell strongly of the cannabis strain it was refined from.


Making wax is incredibly simple in concept, yet extremely complicated to carry out properly. As we don’t want you blowing yourself up or, Mary Jane forgive us, wasting a bunch of perfectly good cannabis; we won’t be detailing just how it’s done. Suffice it to say that all the wonderful cannabinoids and terpenes which make cannabis so amazing are extracted from the plant material.


As you can no doubt guess, the concentrated nature of wax ensures maximum dosage. Extremely potent flower can have a THC content approaching 30%, whereas extremely weak wax can boast 50%. Yes, it is quite potent.


We need to explain that this is not your typical big bowl or blunt blazing stoney experience. If you can’t handle flower, stay away from wax and other concentrates. A quick puff can be like smoking an entire pre-roll. A deep hit could literally bring you to your knees in a sweaty rush of stoned that hits like a freight train. Don’t panic! Lay down and let it pass, the ride is actually more like a roller coaster; only at the end one is left with the regular stoned sensation accompanying a good regular bowl.

How long these phases last depends on not only your experience with cannabis, but the unique features of your genes and body’s ability to handle the THC. A regular user might be back at baseline in less than an hour, a first timer could be blazed all day.


The process of getting THC from the wax into your body is popularly known as dabbing. Proper dabbing involves the use of a pipe featuring a needle instead of the standard bowl. Like bowls, needles come made from a variety of materials including glass and metal. The nail is heated with a torch until it gets hot enough for the THC to vaporize into white smoky vapor. Depending on the needle, a dome may be needed to capture the vapor.

Wax can also be smoked, simply by adding it to a regular bowl of flower. Try spreading it around the edge of your bowl or rolled in with some flower, we tested both methods for those who may not be in a position to buy a whole new rig.