As herbal vaping becomes more popular, it seems there are endless ways to enjoy the experience. The days of simply rolling a joint have long since passed. Today, “dabbing” seems to be all the rage. To dab, one first needs a form of cannabis extract.
Wax. Oil. Shatter. Each of these is a form cannabis extract, which is a concentrated form of the psychoactive chemicals found in marijuana. This extract is made of cannabis oil, and this oil can take on many different forms and consistencies. What each extract has is common is that it is consumed through vaporization, or “dabbing.” The extract is “dabbed” onto an extremely hot surface, usually a titanium or ceramic nail, so that the extract immediately vaporizes. The vapor is then inhaled.
Rather than relying on the leaves and flowers of the marijuana plant, extracts are created using a part of the plant known as the trichome. Trichomes are tiny hairs that resemble crystals, and they contain highly-concentrated levels of the good stuff—namely, psychoactive cannabinoids. Using the trichomes of the plant as a starting point guarantees a very potent product.
Let’s talk about the differences between the most popular forms of cannabis extracts:
Cannabis wax is the softest and most opaque of the cannabis extracts. Its opaqueness is caused by the high level of agitation that occurs during the extraction process. As its name implies, it resembles beeswax. Though wax can vary widely in its firmness, any soft yet solid cannabis oil can be referred to as wax. While wax is not the most potent form of cannabis extract, it is very aromatic and flavorful, and as a result is quite popular.
Cannabis oil is quite different from wax, mainly in that it is a liquid. While wax is solid and opaque, oil is transparent and liquid. This difference can be chalked up to the simpler refining process for oil. Oil is trickier to work with than wax. It is far messier, and it is trickier to extract consistent levels of THC. Like wax, oil is consumed by dabbing it on an extremely hot surface so that is instantly vaporizes.
Shatter is widely considered to be the purest form of cannabis extract, and it is impressive to look at. It takes the form of a solid, amber-colored sheet of flawless, hard resin. It gets its name from the fact that, rather than pulling apart the way wax does, it shatters like glass. Shatter is produced through a more complicated extraction process than wax or oil. In fact, it goes through two stages of extraction. If extracted properly, shatter can yield the highest levels of psychoactive chemicals of any of the extractions.
As dabbing becomes more popular, you can expect the various types of cannabis extracts to continue to grow and develop. Extraction processes will continue to improve, as will the tools used to consume the extracts. It is an exciting time to be an herbal vaper!