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Jim is not unlike many middle-aged people in Fort Worth. He works hard and pays his taxes. He’s proud to live in the Lone Star State. He appreciates his family and home and loves his job but can get stressed out at times. He smokes a little weed to stay on an even keel. Jim, who asked that his full name be withheld, says he’s been toking for 40 years and can roll a joint with one hand in the dark with a fan blowing.

“I smoke in the morning to wake up and get ready for the day,” he says. “It’s like my coffee.”

When a friend recently offered him marijuana “wax,” Jim was baffled. He had never heard of it before but was excited about the prospect of smoking weed in a new way. Marijuana wax, a.k.a. dabs, Earl, crumble, shatter, honey, or sap, is the latest rage in the marijuana community. Originally called hashish, or hash, wax began its rise from obscurity in California around 1980. Wax is cannabis oil extracted directly from the buds that you would typically smoke in a joint.

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However, wax is way more potent. Sometimes, one toke is plenty.

Jim had reservations.

“As an old school dude, I enjoy the pleasure of marijuana, breaking it up, rolling a joint, passing it around, taking numerous hits,” he said. “Why would you want to smoke just one hit of wax and be done?”

And he didn’t like the equipment required –– a glass rig that looks like a modified bong, a long nail in place of a bowl, and, most shocking, a blowtorch. The accessories made him feel dirty, like a drug addict freebasing coke or something.

An oil rig is ready for action. Photo by Ryan Grounds.

“The set-up looks like a science experiment,” he said. “This is intimidating to a guy who just rolls joints or uses a one-hitter.”

The wax pipe, or oil rig, is similar to a traditional bong except that in place of the bowl, there is a metallic nail (usually titanium) covered by a glass dome. Remove the dome and heat the nail until it glows red. Place the dome back over the hot nail for protection from loose clothing, wayward fingers, or being dropped. A small amount of wax varying in size from a pin tip to a dime is collected on the tip of the dab tool that looks like a straight dentist pick, the object that Jim thought was a stick of incense. The wax is then melted onto the hot nail with the dab tool, and as the wax melts it produces smoke that is inhaled.

A dab tool loaded with wax and ready to smoke. Photo by Ryan Grounds.

Jim asked for just a small hit.

“Typically, smoking a whole joint is way too much for me,” he said. “I usually only take three or four hits.”

With hesitation, he found where to suck from. He closed his eyes and listened to the sound of the bong bubbling to life. His eyes got big, and his cheeks puffed outward. Then his face relaxed, his eyes lowered, and he sat back in his chair.

“That was mild,” he said. “It had a bit of a chemical taste, but it was a clean hit. I didn’t really feel any smoke coming in, and then when I blew out, I was surprised how much came out.”

Jim learned what many younger smokers have already figured out. Wax is the way to go.

Mike, a twentysomething who lives near Mansfield, said he discovered the ganja in college four years ago. He started with regular, leafy weed on a regular basis, but eventually he switched to wax –– for the higher quality and discretion.

“Driving with bud is my biggest concern,” he said. “The smell in my car makes me paranoid to even drive home with it, but with wax, there is very little smell, and cops probably won’t catch it.”

Like Jim and Mike, many Texans are looking into this new product that is evolving in North Texas. Easy to find, transport, and consume, wax is driving a new underground market. It can last longer than regular pot, meaning it’s easier on the wallet.

“You’re getting a lot of extra goodies that come out in those solvent extracts,” said Bob Melamede, associate professor of biology at the University of Colorado and president and CEO of Cannabis Science, a bio-tech company that develops cannabinoid-based therapies. “Aside from the oils, there are all sorts of compounds that come out that probably have beneficial value. We’ve got indications that there are differences in the effects, pain-relief properties, and potentially other important phenomena. We don’t really know at this point. All we know is that this plant is quite the magical chemistry set.”

An extract company in Denver produced this wax, which was later transported to Fort Worth for sale. Photo by Ryan Grounds.

Wax is packaged in pieces of parchment paper, each the size of a dollar bill that is folded, and sometimes placed in an envelope. It can also be placed in plastic containers called oil slicks made with high-grade silicon that prevents the wax from sticking. A gram ranges in price from $50 to $75 depending on the quality, texture, and consistency. Figure it like this: A gram of bud for $20 gets you about 30 hits. A gram of wax is $60 but can supply about 100 tokes, ones that are more concentrated and more potent.

From oils to edibles to suppositories, marijuana has diversified from being smuggled up your bum to actually treating your bum –– comedian Tommy Chong is using cannabis suppositories to treat his rectal cancer. And instead of smoking a fatty and reeking of hydro, a vape pen filled with wax can be used at the bar with nobody noticing. Marijuana has taken new forms, some of which are even legal in Texas.

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17 COMMENTS

  1. The headlines for this article are very incorrect. I hope people don’t go to prison relying on this misinformation! Wax, concentrates, dabs, shatter, etc. (Tetrahydrocannabinols) are listed in the Texas Controlled Substances Act as a Penalty Group II Controlled Substances. Possession under 1 gram is a State Jail Felony punishable up to two years in prison without any parole. Possession over 4 grams is a First Degree Felony punishable by 5-99 years or LIFE in prison! To say this is “legal’ in a headline is reckless to say the least! I would have loved the opportunity to tell this reporter this before you published this article.

    David Sloane, Attorney
    Public Information Officer
    DFW-National Organization for Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML)

    • “So how can Texans get their hands on wax? These days you can make the 20-hour-roundtrip trek to Colorado, where anyone over 21 can buy weed legally for any reason. Or you can extract your own wax. Most Texans buy locally through friends or underground dealers, who risk personal freedom every day to bring weed to North Texas. We’d tell you who these unsung heroes are, but they would probably get busted. They can’t help anyone if they are in jail.” Page 2.

      Despite pot’s illegality, Texans are keeping up with the trends.

      The Headline refers to CBD Oil. Please read entire story.

      • The headline doesn’t refer to cbd oil. It refers to being high on wax. As you stated in the article, the law allows low thc levels with high cbd. As you also stated wax can be upward of 90% thc. That does not sound legal. I think your headline is misleading. It should read more like… “Epileptic patients can use a marijuana derivative, but they’re not getting high!” And then nothing about wax. Or write about your love of smoking dabs and Texans doing it illegally, but are on track to legalization with this new law.

  2. Seems the article says it’s legal for some epileptics but illegal for everyone else, unless its the industrial grade stuff sold in head shops.

  3. This article is misleading and very unethical as a journalist to publish. This article needs to be retracted. Wax is still illegal in Texas and for you to misinform your readers could lead to peoples arrest, fines and so forth. Do the right thing and retract.

  4. As a forensic drug chemist I found this article disturbing. In the eyes of the law possession of plant material which we can identify as marihuana and the possession of THC are vastly different in the eyes of the law.

  5. Ryan Grounds, you say:

    “Most Texans buy locally through friends or underground dealers, who risk personal freedom every day to bring weed to North Texas. We’d tell you who these unsung heroes are, but they would probably get busted.”

    Calling underground dealers “heroes” is a bit of a stretch, don’t you think? Honestly, it makes me question your maturity.

    • Thinking maybe someone is a hero depends on whether you are pitching or catching….fool. If you happen to be a half-wit, over paid, grown-up, self-importent, Fort Worth Pig like the one than shot a young Mexican gentleman down like a rabid dog without a hint of cause a month or two ago then walked away whistleing, or the Forth Worth Pig that shot a feeble, elderly, harmless Mexican gentleman who was barely able to see or walk down like a coyote in the old mans home and then stood still and scrathed his ass while the old gentleman kicked and flapped a few months ago, or you maybe are just a Tea-Bagging, foot stinking, jerk who still believes in Santa Clause? Whatever you have going on in your Tea-Bagging, fifth grade brain, you’re dead wrong. Grow up and amount to something. Reality is not found in the funny papers. See?

  6. This is very Dangerous Journalism! Just to be clear – “Industrial grade CBD Oil” is SPICE! as in that same synthetic product that has been so controversial – And you just sent everyone out to buy it. I hope everyone’s favorite head shop is ethical and does not sell this BS. I know at Fusion they Do Not Sell it and gave me a hundred reasons as to why. How could you get behind a scary and unhealthy product that is re-marketed over and over again to find its way into the hands of victims. This time SPICE has been marketed as medicine to the poor citizens of Texas who cannot get marijuana CBD legally. And this article glorifies it! Your article should have read “The only CBD oils in Texas can land you in the hospital or in Jail.” Sometimes a little research can really reach more readers than sensationalism, and can always outweigh it.

  7. Thanks very kindly for your article Ryan, killer information and advice. My sunday school teacher at Broadway Baptist sends his thanks and regards also. He says he is certain you will be rewarded in Heaven. His sweet 77 year old Mama suffers from extensive physical malidies and now has relief from seripus discomfort she has suffered from for over two years. Hammer-heads, Repugs, amd other foot-washing flakes and babboons will be with us forever just like Johnson grass and fire-ants.. Tell them to kiss your foot and go get a job. I didn’t hear a peep out of these butt-wipes when a Fort Worth cop shot a Mexican kid down like a mallard duck a couple of months ago. Do you expect it’s their heart or their brain that’s broken? When will they grow up and amount to something do you figure?

  8. Benny, you haven’t a coherent bone in your body. As I read the above comments, some were likely in favor of THC, marijuana, wax, whatever. Their comments were directed to the cottectness of the article, not whether pot in its various forms is bad. Take Sloane, for instance. He says he’s the public information officer for NORML. I would guess that he’s not a Republican. You sound stupid. How far did you advance in school.

    • Your Mama have any brats with a lick of sense, Slick? Clearly, you would not recognize correct if it bit you on your stinking butt. You need to find a job somewhere. Who elected you as the guru? What do you eat? You one of those Bagger half-wits? I am forced to put you on my prayer list, good luck.

    • How you been doing anyway Stouty? You still on food stamps? You working for your old boss out at the Bidness Press? You getting ready for Donald Trump? Think you’ll ever amount to anything?

  9. All I have to do is look for the article with more than 5 comments and know “benny’s been there”.

    Find some new words Benny, “repug” is so 2015.

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