Written By: Sam Milam
CBD has seen explosive growth in popularity in the mainstream market over the past few years. Cannabidiol has shown promising results for treating a variety of ailments and issues, including pain relief, anxiety and depression, and sleep disorders. CBD comes in many shapes, forms, and textures, each with their delivery methods and slightly different benefits and uses. Today we want to dispel what CBD wax is and break it down into a more accessible product with the potential and power to treat various issues more efficiently.
What is CBD Wax, Exactly?
If you’ve been around in cannabis spaces, you might’ve heard about wax in regards to THC products. The good news is it also comes in CBD form! CBD wax is a highly concentrated cannabis concentrate. As the saying goes, particularly with CBD wax, a little goes a long way. This essentially means that you can ingest high levels of CBD with much lesser effort due to the potency of the product. This potency is achieved through a couple of different extraction methods that we’ll get into in a moment.
CBD wax is concentrated because of the extraction process it goes through. You can have full-spectrum or isolate CBD wax, both with their own benefits. Full-spectrum will typically have the terpenes, flavonoids, trace amounts of THC, and all the other beneficial cannabinoids found in the hemp plant. But it could potentially deliver a high that you aren’t looking for, while CBD isolate wax is just CBD without any of the other stuff.
The best CBD wax products usually contain 80-90% cannabidiol oil, which would mean that 1 gram of CBD wax contained 800 to 900 milligrams of CBD. CBD wax gets its name due to its appearance that should look similar to beeswax once the extraction process is complete.
How Is CBD Wax Made?
Good question! Processing CBD wax requires much more effort and technical skill than curing and trimming fresh flowers. As with other types of concentrate, this one requires an extraction process called closed-loop extraction. Closed-loop extraction is a process used to handle flammable solvents with a safer approach because the solvents needed to make CBD wax are never exposed to open air.
There are two popular closed-loop extraction methods: Butane Hash Oil Extraction (commonly referred to as BHO extraction) and Carbon Dioxide (CO2) extraction. Let’s take a look at these two processes.
How Does BHO Extraction Work?
Butane Hash Oil extraction is one of the more popular methods of extraction. Its purpose is to pull out the different essential oils, flavonoids, terpenes, and other cannabinoids in the hemp plant, but leaving only CBD (and butane) behind. After the process is complete, the butane is left on the plant to evaporate. Once the butane evaporates, all you should have leftover is a highly concentrated form of CBD.
This is the ideal scenario, but there are some drawbacks to using the BHO extraction method. As expected, butane gas is highly flammable, which could result in a small explosion if safety precautions aren’t strictly adhered to. Butane is also toxic to humans, and if it isn’t all removed from the final product, then that would be a bad deal. Butane may also contain impurities that could be left behind, and they include pentane, propane, and hexane, which are also equally harmful for human consumption. This is why it is critical to purchase CBD wax (and any CBD product) from a reputable source.
Despite these potentially serious drawbacks of using the BHO extraction process, it is still one of the most popular extraction methods.
How Does CO2 Extraction Work?
CO2 extraction is rising in popularity due to producing a “cleaner” CBD wax and is becoming the more conventional approach to creating these CBD concentrates. This process works by using pressurized carbon dioxide to pull out the different cannabinoids in the plant. Then high pressure and heat are used to turn the carbon dioxide into a liquid and gas simultaneously (science is awesome!). This is often referred to as supercritical - hence the name supercritical CO2 extraction found on some packaging.
When this extraction method is complete, the carbon dioxide simply evaporates, which is a sharp contrast to the Butane Hash Oil extraction method that requires butane to be manually removed. It leaves behind the possibility of consuming harmful residual hydrocarbons. Fun fact - CO2 extraction might be new to the cannabis world, but it has been used to decaffeinate coffee since the 1970s!
These closed-loop extraction methods require immense technical skill, creativity, and a high level of craftsmanship to get the product right. When the process is done well, you’re left with some of the most potent CBD concentrate on the market today.
Different Types Of CBD Wax
CBD wax comes in a few different shapes and forms, each with its process to get the final product. When you’re shopping for CBD wax, you might run across some of these names and wonder what they are. Frequently you won’t see the words “CBD wax” on the labels of products but will instead see things like “shatter” and “live resin.” Let’s take a look at a few of the different CBD wax types, so they are less intimidating the next time you see them.
CBD Shatter. CBD shatter just sounds cool. It also looks pretty neat, too, like a peanut brittle without the peanuts. Although it’s hard to the touch, it is fragile and can break if handled roughly (hence the name shatter). Shatter is one of the purest forms of CBD wax because the extraction process requires it to be filtered, and then filtered again until only CBD is left behind. CBD shatter is often a lighter yellow color and almost transparent, like a piece of glass, due to how the molecules are stacked in straight rows forming a more crystalline structure.
CBD Live Resin. I remember the first time I saw live resin at a dispensary. I was curious about the term “live” and assumed it was some “raw” probiotic version of concentrate. I was wrong in some ways, but the name is a clue to the process. Resin is the sticky, delicious-smelling stuff that holds the trichomes of the bud together. That stuff that gets stuck in your pipe? Resin. Think of it like tree sap. Live resin is called such because of how it’s processed. The CBD live resin is extracted from a fresh or frozen plant (I.e., it hasn’t been decarboxylated or cured), which helps it retain more aromatic terpenes. CBD live resin is often a more costly option and has a wonderful overall aroma and effect.
CBD Budder. I can’t believe it’s not butter! But really, you won’t mistake this concentrate for actual butter, but it has the texture of it, hence the name Budder. CBD Budder, not to be confused with infused dairy butter, is created through a process that requires extremely high temperatures and air pressure. What’s left after this extraction process is a wax with the consistency of butter.
CBD Crumble. As you could guess, CBD crumble has a crumbly texture created with a similar process as CBD Budder. CBD crumble is a fan favorite for some due to its unique flavor, but it can be challenging to use for dabbing. CBD Crumble gets its texture from the CBD oil used in the process. The pre-purged oil contains more moisture and has a higher viscosity.
How To Use CBD Wax?
You’ve bought yourself some wax, and now you might be asking yourself, “What on Earth am I supposed to do with this?” Do you smoke it? Do you eat it? Let’s take a look at a couple of different consumption methods for CBD wax. Some might sound a little scary if you’ve never done them before, but they’re effective at doing what they need to do.
Dabbing. The most common process for using CBD wax is through dabbing. What is dabbing, you ask? In its most basic form, you are just flash heating the product until vaporization. Although dabbing uses heat, it doesn’t incinerate the wax (if you’re doing it right). It can look pretty wild when you first see a dab rig, giving the illusion that you are doing something dangerous or forbidden. There is a blow torch involved. A dab rig usually has a “nail,” which is where you heat the product to a very high temp with the torch, and then inhale with a mechanism that resembles doing a bong hit.
Dab pens. Dab pens are similar to a vape pen, a product with coils, and a battery that heats up with the click of a button. These are great for on the go, or if you aren’t feeling up to trying a dab rig just yet. Vaporization is a popular method of delivery for many because of its ease of use. When purchasing a dab pen, you get what you pay for. Lower quality vaping tools might not heat up enough to vaporize wax, so investing in a high-quality dab pen will be worth your while.
CBD Wax Has A Powerful Advantage
CBD wax has a powerful advantage over other types of CBD products due to its high concentration. A highly concentrated substance is more potent, which means you’ll feel the impact of it much quicker. Although CBD wax might not be the best delivery method for everyone, it is an effective way to receive high doses of CBD with as little effort and consumption as possible. When consuming CBD wax, it’s essential to listen to your body, as well as consume in collaboration with a trusted healthcare provider.
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