Marijuana wax is cropping up in Minnesota, causing health problems, accidents and at least a couple of deaths. The form of marijuana referred to as wax is produced in such a way that harmful chemicals are introduced into an otherwise natural product. It also results in a cannabis product that is higher in active compounds than typical marijuana. Young people are especially vulnerable to the dangers of wax, and police, local officials, schools and parents are on the alert across the state.
What Is Marijuana Wax?
Marijuana wax is not exactly a new product — it has been seen recently in California, Colorado and other states. But it is new and on the rise in Minnesota, and is causing a great deal of worry. Much of the concern has to do with the fact that marijuana wax is a potent form of cannabis. According to some claims, one hit from this product, typically smoked in an e-cigarette device, can keep a person high for a day or more. Potency in marijuana is related to the number of chemical compounds called cannabinoids in a sample. These are the active, mind-altering compounds that cause a person to get high when smoking or ingesting marijuana. The main cannabinoid, which is found in very high concentrations in wax, is called THC. Amounts of THC in typical marijuana are around 14 percent, while in wax they maybe 50 percent and higher. In Colorado, where recreational marijuana is now legal for adults, a competition called the “X Cup” is held to see who can create the most potent form of wax.
Dangers of Wax
The potency of wax is a major concern. For an experienced user of marijuana, taking a small hit of wax may be manageable. For a new or inexperienced user, one hit may be way too much, and anyone who doesn’t realize how potent wax is may take more than one hit. Higher potency of THC means all the effects of marijuana are exacerbated and more extreme. These may include paranoia, memory loss, impaired cognitive abilities, mood swings, poor coordination, and even psychosis. Another danger that comes with wax is related to how it’s produced. The process involves soaking marijuana leaves in butane and applying heat. It’s a recipe for disaster, and although a simpler procedure than making meth, it can be just as explosive when something goes wrong. An elderly woman in St. Cloud died as a result of one of these explosions.
Wax and Minnesota Teens
Officials are most concerned for young people. Marijuana is the most commonly abused illegal substance by teens, and wax is becoming more popular. Teens say they can hide it easily in lip balm jars and tubes. Minnesota law enforcement agencies say that teens in the state are the biggest users of this potent and dangerous product. Not only can they hide it, but when they use it with e-cigarettes, there is no tell-tale odor. Two teens overdosed on marijuana wax in Duluth recently. The dangers and risks associated both with making and using marijuana wax are clear. Officials hope that spreading the word to parents, schools, and teens will mean that no more people have to die because of the manufacture or smoking of marijuana wax.