Wax Addiction And The Best Rehab Centers For Treatment
Medically reviewed byIsaac Alexis, M.D., AAMA, AMP-BC
January 17, 2019
Wax is a derivative of marijuana that is made by extracting the THC from the marijuana plant. The end product results in a drug that is several times stronger and more dangerous than regular marijuana.
Wax sounds harmless enough, but everything from the production of the substance, a form of distilled marijuana, to its use, is cause for concern. Wax, otherwise known as ear wax, glass, butter, dabs, amber, and BHO for both “butane hash oil” and “butane honey oil,” is a tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) concentrate. People who produce BHO are known as “blasters,” named for the blasting process of applying the highly volatile compound butane to marijuana to extract the THC concentrate. This production method can have devastating consequences when poorly managed, leading to deadly explosions and house fires.
The concentrated THC left over from this volatile process looks a bit like candle wax or in a hardened form, like amber colored glass. Batches are small, but pack a potent punch. Wax is to marijuana, what crack is to cocaine, with the production of wax from marijuana elevating the concentration of THC from the 1-3 percent found naturally in the buds of cannabis plants, to an astonishing 70-99 percent.
The high associated with wax is felt immediately and can last for several hours. In some cases, users pass out when they first attempt wax. Others describe out of body experiences. The concentration of THC in ear wax can put someone into a lingering state of psychosis.
Wax is becoming more popular among teen users, despite that it may have permanent effects on the developing adolescent brain. Wax’s effects on impulse control and the decision-making centers of the brain mean someone using the drug is far more vulnerable to exposure to other substances including heroin or cocaine. Combining wax with other substances can have immediate and dire physical consequences.
Complicating matters are the legal aspects of selling a butane hash oil products like wax. In some states, the sale of these concentrates is legal. In other states, possession of the substance or extracts may constitute anything from a misdemeanor to a felony offense.
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How Wax Effects The Brain
This higher concentration of THC has some adverse effects on the brain. Even moderate levels of THC alter everything from the brain’s cognitive function and memory, to a person’s perception of time, coordination, and impulse control. In some cases, THC impairs a person’s motor function, and in higher levels, can leave them feeling paralyzed. High levels of THC can generate hallucinations, delusions, severe insomnia, and put someone in a state of psychosis for extended periods of time.
Much like marijuana, wax stimulates the endocannabinoid system to an unnatural degree, attaching to endocannabinoid receptors and disrupting normal neural communication. When someone uses wax, their brain receives a mega-hit of nerve cell activity, resulting in an immediate destabilization of normal brain function. This is one reason psychosis is more common for wax users.
Nearly all brain activity is connected to two essential amino acids, gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), a nerve cell inhibitor, and glutamate, which serves a nerve cell excitatory role. Use of high concentrations of THC shut down both GABA and glutamate transmission. Significant changes in GABA and glutamate can generate feelings of impending doom, paranoia, anxiety, and depression. It can also completely alter a person’s perception of their surroundings, time, memory, cognitive function, and coordination.
Adverse Health Effects Of Wax
Though not enough research exists to date on the health impacts of short-term use versus long-term use of wax, the THC concentrations in wax have an immediate and lasting impact on the brain and body. Cognitive functioning can become permanently impaired and personalities altered. Researchers have also linked long-term cannabis use to higher rates of mental illness including schizophrenia. Symptoms of co-occurring mental disorders are also enhanced with wax use.
Long-term abuse of cannabis is already linked to decreases in dopamine levels tied to the reward centers of the brain. The consequence of this depression in dopamine is an outward lack of motivation. High concentrations of THC compound this effect.
Other adverse health effects from wax include memory loss, impaired cognitive function, inability to think clearly, loss of sense of time, coordination and balance issues, and an inability to concentrate.
Adverse health effects of wax may include:
- increased risk of mental disorders
- lack of motivation
- memory loss
- impaired cognitive function
- inability to think clearly
- loss of sense of time
- coordination and balance issues
- inability to concentrate
- temporary paralysis
When someone stops using wax, it can create an equally unnerving alteration in their GABA/glutamate levels, leaving them feeling agitated, anxious, and even paranoid. Other withdrawal symptoms include insomnia, excessive sweating, and gastrointestinal upset.
Battling Wax Addiction
Marijuana is a Schedule I controlled substance, which means it has a high potential for abuse. Wax, which contains a far greater level of the psychoactive THC, has a greater risk of abuse and the kind of cognitive impairment that can fuel addictive behaviors.
While there is still much to be learned about the long-term effects of wax, users have reported feeling out of control and when they come off the drug. Continuing to abuse either wax or marijuana can lead to severe insomnia and insomnia-induced psychosis. Reports of severe insomnia have occurred after just one “dab,” or use. As a result, withdrawals should be medically monitored until the THC is gone from the body.
In addition to a comprehensive treatment plan, groups like Marijuana Anonymous (MA) can also provide ongoing support.
Free Yourself From Wax Addiction Today
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