Ever walked into a dispensary, seen the glossy buttery waxes and honeycomb resins, and wondered how you’re meant to smoke them? You’re not alone. Wax can seem a bit intimidating if you’ve never smoked with it before, but armed with a few tips and the right method, it can be a way to enjoy an intense and faster-acting high. Great for recreational use and for dealing with pain management, anxiety, depression, and a range of other medicinal uses, smoking wax is a popular option for people who smoke weed for all sorts of reasons.

Let’s break down how to smoke wax, what it actually is, and how to find the right smoking method to suit you.

What is wax?

Waxes go by a lot of names; crumble, shatter, butter, dabs — the list goes on. Their texture can range from oily and more liquid to a brittle and solid “shatter”-like consistency. There’s some overlap with these names and what they refer to, but in general, they’re all types of cannabis concentrate — a product that is made using solvents like butane, propane, and ethanol to extract the natural cannabinoids and terpenes from the marijuana plant.

Through the extraction process, you’re left with a sticky, opaque, and thick substance that may resemble beeswax, butter, or honeycomb. Because of this process, the concentration of THC, the compound that’s largely responsible for your high, is found in much larger quantities.

Is smoking wax the same as smoking flower?

In short — no. Knowing how to smoke weed is very different from knowing how to smoke wax, and because of those much higher levels of THC, you won’t need to smoke nearly as much wax to get the same kind of high you’re used to from flower. You can also expect smoking wax to get you feeling a more intense high faster.

If you rely on weed to help stimulate your appetite, get you to sleep, or relieve pain, the fast-acting nature of wax might suit you more. For people who have built up a resistance to smoking weed, wax can be a nice way to feel that intense high you used to enjoy.

The different ways to smoke wax

Okay, now that you know the basics of what wax is and how it differs from cannabis flower, let’s break down the different methods you can choose when you want to learn how to smoke wax. All of these methods have their own benefits and drawbacks, so take note of what feels most comfortable and convenient for you when deciding on which wax smoking method you’ll go with.

Using a dab rig

Dabbing is one of the more traditional ways to smoke wax, and wax is sometimes simply called dabs. To do so, you’ll need a dab rig — a kind of water pipe that’s smaller than a bong and designed specifically for smoking wax. You’ll also need a dab nail, which is a small piece similar to the bowl of a bong and fits into the dab rig after you’ve loaded it up with concentrate wax.

Traditional dab rings need to be heated up with a torch, which vaporizes the wax and allows you to inhale deeply through the mouthpiece, like you would when taking a bong hit.

The issue with using a glass dab nail and a torch is that it requires you to heat up the glass element to very high temperatures — between 545°F to 570°F generally. This combination of high heat and open flames isn’t the easiest option for anyone new to smoking wax, and even with new eNails that use an electrical element to vaporize the wax are emerging on the market, you may want to explore other ways to smoke wax if you’re just starting out.

Vaping cannabis wax

By contrast, learning how to smoke wax with a vaporizer is incredibly straightforward. These devices are different from weed vape pens, although some are configured for both flower and wax — make sure you double-check this first, or you’ll ruin your vape!

A wax vaporizer has an element that heats up and vaporizes the wax to extract the active compounds. Simply load up a small dab into the chamber, heat it up by activating the heating element, and then inhale as you would any other vape.

This method is easy, portable and mess-free, but remember: wax can be between 60% to 90% THC, while flower hovers somewhere around 15% to 30%. You need to inhale much less wax to get the same high, so make sure you go slow and pace yourself so you can an intense high that is still enjoyable.

Other methods of smoking with wax

Dabbing and vaping are probably the two most popular ways of enjoying cannabis wax, but there are a few other methods you can experiment with. We’ll run through these briefly here, including the more high-tech options and low-fi ways you can try wax without needing to invest in a lot of expensive equipment.

It’s worth noting though, that the full benefits and flavor of weed wax come when it’s heated to a high temperature, which releases all the active cannabinoids and terpenes. Some of these cheaper options will give you an intense high, but because they don’t allow the wax to reach those high temperatures, they’re considered by some to be a potential waste of the more expensive concentrate products. However, the choice, ultimately, is yours.

  • Nectar collectors — Also known as dab straws or honey straws, a nectar collector is essentially a more portable version of a dab rig. Still made of glass, it’s a smaller water pipe made up of a water chamber body, a detachable neck, and a tip. Using essentially the same method as a dab rig, you heat up a small portion of wax, which is then vaporized and inhaled through the mouthpiece.
  • In a bowl — Placing a smudge of wax onto your flower when packing a bowl for a bong is another easy way to smoke wax. Try to avoid placing the flame from your lighter or torch directly on the wax itself, and inhale like you would a normal bong hit — just be mindful that each hit is going to be a lot stronger than just flower.
  • In a joint — There are a few ways to lace a joint of marijuana with extra weed wax power. One method is to heat up the wax to a liquid form and dip the rolled joint into it for a thin coating that will burn as you smoke it up. Another method is to take a small amount of wax, roll it into a thin coil, and snake it around the outside of the joint for an extra powerful puff. Again, smoke with caution — a wax-laced joint is going to be exponentially stronger than a plain flower one.

Shop everything you need to learn how to smoke wax from Shango

No matter which method you choose to smoke your wax, you’ll find all the gear you need for it at Shango. Come in any of our stores and talk to us about setting up the ultimate weed smoking rig for your needs. Still hungry for knowledge about the world of weed? Read our marijuana guide on the different strains and hybrids available today, or check out our Instagram page where we post all things related to weed.