Here is your complete guide to making THC dabs at home in this guest article by Eren Christen. Eren is a content manager at fvkasa, a platform dedicated to providing information people need to know about cannabis and its benefits.
Consult with a Leafwell physician today if you would like to enjoy the benefits of medical cannabis.
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What Is Cannabis Dab Wax?
Cannabis dab wax is a soft, opaque oil that lacks transparency after extraction from the cannabis plant. It is a type of cannabis concentrate. Dab molecules crystalize due to the results of prior agitation. The irregular molecular density does not allow light to travel, thus leaving a more solid and non-transparent oil.
Wax may vary in consistency, depending on heat, texture and moisture. The oil is key in making wax, as runny oils often compose the known “Budder wax” while denser and gooier oils are used to make “Crumble” and “Honeycomb.”
Marijuana “dabs” or wax are highly concentrated and potent, not advisable for novice users. Many who seek out this particular product tend to smoke or vaporize it, but sometimes it may be ingested.
To smoke wax, a water pipe or vaporizer would be ideal if homemade. However, a simple bong from a marijuana dispensary would do just fine.
What is Dabbing?
Dabbing is one of the preferred methods to consume wax. Typically, you dab with a blow torch, glass pipe, and a nail (a small metal plate connected to the bang of the pipe). The torch heats the nail before you place the amount of wax to be “dabbed” or inhaled. This technique creates a combination of vapor and smoke of concentrated THC.
Note that wax, and all cannabis products, should be consumed in conservative amounts to reduce potential negative side effects.
Benefits and Risks of Dabbing
Pros of Dabbing
As a highly concentrated product, a dab is usually 60%-90% THC; for those who value immediate effects and a strong high sensation, wax may be ideal. Also, most dabbing methods are practically odorless compared to other combustion methods, which is a great asset for those seeking a more discreet alternative to marijuana consumption.
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Perhaps the only positive health aspect of consuming wax is its reduced damage association to the lungs in comparison to traditional marijuana consumption. However, although dabbing may be slightly gentler on the lungs when compared to smoking cannabis, there is no definitive evidence to suggest that dabbing is any safer.
Medical marijuana smokers, however, may find immediate relief from chronic pain and depression from dabbing their recommended strains. Medical cannabis is doctor-prescribed, so it seems that medicinal users may be the most apt candidates for wax.
Cons of Dabbing
Dabbing or wax consumption is often subject to mass production. If the oil used is not crafted with the appropriate standards and caution, wax may contain very high levels of butane. Butane in large and uncontrolled doses is very harmful, especially for those who are allergic to it and other hash oil toxins. In rare instances, there have been reports of lung injury from inhaling butane hash oil (i.e., lipid pneumonia).
Consuming wax isn’t risk-free, and the negative side effects of cannabis may manifest more often when using such a concentrated amount of THC in one sitting. Increased heartbeat, paranoia and, in some cases, unsettling tingling across the body are some of the most common to experience. For those who are prone to psychosis and hallucinations, these may occur with high doses of THC.
Edibles, dabs and other concentrates may also be associated with cannabis hyperemesis syndrome, which causes persistent uncontrollable vomiting. But again, there is more small-scale and anecdotal evidence for this possibility than any definitive studies.
Dabbing is also rather expensive for those on a budget – the cost of the product is above average in comparison to other cannabis-derived products. Investments in a blow torch, nail and dab rig are necessary and can be expensive. Those who want to vaporize oils will need a vaporizer that is adapted to heating up concentrates.
Finally, there is the risk of developing a high tolerance to THC. The body may become accustomed to one level, thus requiring the same or higher levels of THC to achieve similar relief.
Why Are Dabs Popular?
Wax or dabs are very popular among users who prefer THC and its ability to achieve a strong high. Due to wax’s concentrated nature and high THC content of up to 80%, its effects are not only more potent but also faster to act. Dabs, then, are a quick and powerful way to enjoy the psychoactive effects of cannabis.
Making Dabs without Solvents
Consider these tips on how to make wax at home. The basic idea behind making any rosin in this manner is the application of heat and pressure. If you are lucky enough to have a proper rosin press, then you needn’t follow the below method!
The ideal amount of cannabis to prepare your own cannabis wax in this manner is 2 grams (some would recommend about 5 – 7 grams in a rosin press). You’ll need a flat iron, oven mittens, a razor blade and an unsticky parchment paper (aka baking or bakery paper) in half. You may use hair straighteners for this, but flat irons may be easier to handle.
- Heat the flat iron to a temperature of between 250 and 300 degrees Fahrenheit (121-149 degrees Celsius).
- Split the 2 grams into 4 nuggets and flatten them for better results.
- Fold your unsticky parchment in half and place your bud in the middle.
- Use the mitten and iron to press on the nugget for 3 seconds.
- Repeat this same process with all nuggets.
- There should be a resin stain on the parchment; collect with the razor blade.
- You can use the leftover buds in an edible or to make canna oil. (And no need to decarboxylate it, either – just leave the leftover buds in some coconut or olive oil for a week or two, strain out the plant matter and voilà! A simple canna oil.)
You can also use kief to make a similar style of rosin/hash as above. All you need to do is:
- Place kief on the parchment. Roll up the parchment so it’s flat.
- Roll up the parchment into a newspaper.
- Wet the newspaper strip a little bit (damp rather than soaking).
- Using an iron on a low setting, press and heat the rolled-up parchment-newspaper.
- Turn the strip of parchment-newspaper, heating and pressing with an iron for a few minutes on each side. Do this until the newspaper is dry.
- Once the newspaper is dry, unroll the newspaper and parchment paper, and you will be left with a piece of rosin.
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The above methods do not use solvents to extract the cannabinoids and terpenes, so are considered rosin as opposed to butane hash oil (BHO). They are also “flower rosin” as opposed to “hash rosin”, as it is rosin extracted from flowers. The kief method is sometimes referred to as hash as opposed to rosin. If you are using a rosin press, you will need to experiment with various pressures and temperatures to get your preferred concentration.
How to Consume Dabs at Home
If a rig is inaccessible there are various home items you can use to consume your homemade dabs.
Consuming Dabs in a Bowl
Stock the bowl with grinned cannabis and drop the dab onto the weed. The idea is to avoid contact between the flame and the wax. The heat from the ground strain will help consume the dab into smoke you can inhale with a pipe.
Consuming Dabs with a Vape Pen
Not all vape pens are up to this task, and you’ll need a separate atomizer for this. Place the dab with your collecting item in the atomizer and then slowly inhale to get the most of your wax.
Consuming Dabs with a Joint
Joints fully enclose the wax with your ground cannabis, thus limiting the exposure of the dab to the flame.
Making waxes can be an expensive endeavor, and it is no surprise that many dispensaries charge more for rosins, shatters, hashes, etc. A high-quality press can ensure that less is wasted because of heat, but these presses can be large and expensive. However, in comparison to making BHO, rosins are generally much safer to make and consume. The same is true of solventless hash, which can be made using ice, bubble bags or silkscreens. Many also find BHOs overwhelming in terms of effect, so other, less “pure” (i.e., ones that leave some of the plant matter intact in the final product) trichome extraction methods may be more tolerable.
However you choose to consume dabs at home, be aware of the potential risks. Reach out to a qualified cannabis physician at Leafwell to apply for a medical marijuana card today.