If you believe the federal government, marijuana is a Schedule I substance, both highly addictive and dangerous. Despite all evidence to the contrary, the feds keep marijuana classified as one of the most dangerous “drugs” on the market.
So when those on the cutting edge of the Colorado marijuana market figure out a way to make pot stronger than ever, you can bet the feds will pay attention.
“Wax” is being called the “ultimate distillation of marijuana”. It is sometimes more commonly called “dabs”, also known as “concentrates”, or “butane hash oil (BHO).
It is not a new product, but is getting a lot of exposure and increased demand since it is legal in Colorado. It’s potent. Very potent. So potent that a single hit can keep you high for more than a day, or lay you out – at least according to critics.
Making wax resembles a scene out of Breaking Bad, where one false move could result in an explosion.
It’s these facts that are garnering the substance a reputation—bad or good, depending on who you ask.
“We have seen people have an onset of psychosis and even brain damage from that exposure to that high concentration of THC,” said Gary Hill, of the DEA’s San Diego office, according to ABC News. “Our concern is that this is going to spread before we get it under control.”
While wax is illegal across the country, it finds a safe haven in Colorado, where not only is it legal, but it can be found in recreational dispensaries, sold on the shelves with edibles, topicals, and buds.
There’s even a wax-making contest in Denver, a three-day event called the X-Cup, where wax cookers compete with one another to see who can make the most potent batch.
Using butane to distill marijuana, what’s left is a sort of crispy sheet of wax that can literally knock you out.
“We do this outside because we don’t want it to explode,” said Emily Rodriguez, one competitor in the X-Cup. “We don’t want to blow ourselves up.”
The winner of the competition said he knows wax is sometimes too strong, admitting he’s seen users pass out after a single hit. But some adventurers are still buying it off Denver shelves.
While contests are being held outdoors in Colorado, DEA agents are cracking down on wax in California, indicating the substance obviously isn’t limited to where it’s legal.
Is wax something we need to worry about?
When it comes to legalizing marijuana, convincing naysayers that it is not dangerous– despite prohibition propaganda to the contrary– is a tough job. It’s made even tougher with something like wax on the market.
Marijuana users and legalization advocates come from all walks of life, but wax is likely popular among only a small group of these people. While one can’t compare alcohol-use to pot-use, wax use could be the equivalent of binge drinking, for lack of a more apt comparison. In other words, wax is likely most popular among those who smoke or use pot to party, to be extreme, or get “messed up”.
We know the opinion federal justice officials can’t necessarily be trusted in deciding how dangerous a substance is (evident from the Schedule I marijuana designation). It seems the biggest danger of this substance is that a user will pass out immediately after hitting it. However, if the feds find one case of a wax-user getting involved in an auto accident or going on some psychosis-induced crime spree, you can bet it will be fodder for their continued fight against marijuana legalization across the board.
Most marijuana advocates take the position that wax is a safe, though largely unnecessary cannabis-derived product. After all, there are no recorded overdoses in history of ANY THC-based substance.
For those who choose to use it—whether legally or illegally (depending on where you live)—we offer this warning: use it responsibly for the sake of the movement and for the sake of your freedom.