Substance Use

The Potential Dangers of Highly-Concentrated Marijuana Wax

marijuana wax in jar with buds

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Concentrated forms of marijuana wax (also known as dabs, honey, THC wax, butane hash oil (BHO), live resin, and cannabis wax) are most commonly smoked in vape pen cartridges, or “carts.” Smoking these waxes or dabs can present some marijuana dangers if manufactured recklessly or not used properly. 

Owing to its highly concentrated nature (sometimes triple the strength of dried marijuana leaves), there can be serious problems for smokers who may not realize how strong it is, and overdoses can occur with various negative side effects.

Whether you find yourself or a loved one using THC wax, seek help right away. Zinnia Health can provide a full continuum of care that is tailored to each person’s unique needs.   

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What Is Marijuana Wax?

The highly concentrated cannabis extract known as marijuana wax is named for its thick, sticky consistency and dark amber color.

With THC concentrations up to 90%, wax or “dab” is small and easy to conceal, and it is, therefore, an attractive alternative to marijuana flowers, buds, or joints. 

What Are The Potential Dangers of Concentrated Marijuana Wax?

Marijuana wax, when vaporized, may deliver significant amounts of toxic “degradation” product into the lungs.

Chemicals like benzene and methacrolein may be given off when vaping with e-cigarettes or smoking wax through glass pipes or cartridge pens, especially when heated by temperatures that are too high.

Given the widespread and increasing likelihood of full legalization of recreational cannabis across the United States, these potentially harmful toxins and other marijuana dangers from concentrates like wax must be the focus of future research.  

Since marijuana wax “dabs” are made from marijuana oils and other THC concentrates, many people believe smoking dabs or wax is the same as smoking dried leaves. This is not the case. 

The dangers inherent in wax manufacturing include the possibility of molecules of dangerous butane being present in the wax. Smoking wax and inhaling that butane can cause lung damage.

Heating marijuana wax to high temperatures releases up to 75% of THC, compared to 5-20% THC in traditional methods of smoking cannabis. At 978 degrees Fahrenheit, these heated terpenes degrade into methacrolein and benzene. 

Methacrolein is structurally similar to acrolein, a pulmonary irritant, which causes acute lung injury and pulmonary edema in laboratory animals. Scientists theorize that the relatively new practice of inhaling these irritants given off by heating marijuana wax at overly high temperatures can injure lungs and even mimic pneumonia in some cases.

What Are the Short-Term Marijuana Dangers of Smoking Wax?

Smoking marijuana can be addictive and have unpleasant side effects. The higher concentration of THC in wax can exacerbate these side effects in some people including:

  • Increased anxiety
  • Changes in sensory perception
  • Poor memory
  • Paranoia or panic attacks
  • Auditory hallucinations
  • Visual hallucinations
  • Breaks with reality or temporary psychosis, (serious enough to require hospitalization)
  • Elevated heart rate
  • Elevated blood pressure
  • An itchy sensation called “formication” or the feeling that one has insects on or under the skin

What Are The Long-Term Dangers of Smoking Marijuana Wax?

There are numerous marijuana dangers to people who use wax over long periods of time, such as:

  • Physical and psychological dependence.
  • Problems with relationships, school, and work.
  • Wax-induced psychosis–hallucinations and psychotic breaks.
  • Severe agitation.
  • Neuro- and cardio-toxicity (potential brain and heart damage).

Who Uses Marijuana Wax?

Although we don’t have specific statistics on marijuana wax, we can look at marijuana use statistics to illustrate that the use of marijuana (and subsequently the potential for marijuana dangers) is much more widespread than you might imagine:

  • 30 to 40 million people in the United States will use marijuana in a year.
  • Over 40% of adults in the U.S. have smoked marijuana in their lifetime.
  • The most recent data from 2017 showed that over four million adults in the U.S. (over the age of 12) were in fact suffering from a marijuana use disorder.
  • Most of the people with this disorder are between 12 and 25 years old.
  • In the early 1990s, dried marijuana leaves in joints contained around 4% THC. In 2017, an average joint contained around 12-30% THC. Dabs and wax can contain THC concentrates of 80% or more. This illustrates the potential dangers inherent in smoking or “dabbing” marijuana wax.

What Does Marijuana Wax Addiction Look Like?

Some potential signs of THC wax-related substance use disorder include:

  • Difficulty managing your duties at work, school, or around the house.
  • Intense cravings can invade your thoughts and affect your ability to concentrate on other things.
  • Feelings of discomfort if you can’t access the drug.
  • Relationships may degrade with family and loved ones.
  • Unable to enjoy activities you used to enjoy.
  • Feeling the need for more wax to achieve the same effect.
  • Experiencing withdrawal symptoms (anxiety, agitation, trouble sleeping) when you stop using marijuana wax.

How Do You Treat Marijuana Wax Addiction?

Addiction is so much more than a physical dependence on drugs or alcohol. Treatment for dangerous marijuana wax addiction must include learning coping skills through therapy with skilled professionals.

Once you have eliminated the substance from your body, you will need time, talk, and tools to overcome that physical and mental dependence.

So many social activities, friends, and family units have inherent triggers that can push you into relapsing back into drug, alcohol, or other substance use.

If you commit and take time to recover in a protected setting like Zinnia Health, you will gain the strength, knowledge, and tools necessary to deal with all the stressors in your life without using substances like THC wax.

How Can Zinnia Health Help People Who Have Marijuana Addictions?

Zinnia Health offers partial hospitalization, intensive outpatient, and outpatient treatment services. However, the first step in any recovery process is reaching out for treatment. Whether starting with inpatient detox or outpatient detox, your treatment begins by asking for help.

It only takes a simple phone call to (855) 430-9439, a message through our website or a Facebook message to begin admission. This process can definitely be overwhelming.

At Zinnia Health, we understand how hard this step can be, so we work hard to make the process as comforting and straightforward as possible. It’s helpful to gather all your current and previous health information before calling us.

Zinnia Health is an industry leader in substance use treatment care. We adhere to the highest standards and use cutting-edge research findings in all of our methodologies and levels of care including:

  • Detox        
  • Inpatient care        
  • Outpatient care        
  • Partial hospitalization        
  • Individual, group, family, and nature therapy 

Get Help For Marijuana Wax Addiction Today

The desire to stop using drugs or alcohol is essential to begin a lifelong recovery path. Reach out to our staff at Zinnia Health to get information on the wide spectrum of programs and resources we offer to help people with substance use issues.

Zinnia Health focuses on proven treatment paths that include detox and stabilization, residential/outpatient/partial hospitalization options, holistic and family approaches, and unique LGBTQ+ program tracks.

Call (855) 430-9439, message, or email us today to begin freeing yourself from the prison of marijuana wax addiction.

Call us
Ready to get help?
(855) 430-9439
Why call us? Why call us