High-potency cannabis, what is it?
The potency of marijuana has everything to do with how people experience the effects of smoking or consuming cannabis products.
That potency is typically measured by determining the percentage of the THC cannabinoid present in the cannabis product. THC is the cannabinoid which induces the euphoric effects of marijuana that makes people feel “high” and “stoned.”
Most marijuana flowers — the buds people smoke or use for cooking — have a THC content that floats around 10 percent, with the most potent strains out there reaching as high as 25 percent THC or more.
But those levels have nothing on cannabis concentrates, which can be anywhere from 80 to 90 percent THC.
These concentrated products go by several street names including “wax,” “shatter,” “dabs,” “710” or simply oil. At upwards of 90 percent THC concentration, these products are virtually pure THC.
The results of using such high potency cannabis concentrates are, well, shattering, and go beyond the effects most cannabis users are familiar with.
“You become very incoherent,” said Joshua Campbell, a self-described recovering addict who got addicted to high-potency marijuana products. “You can’t really function; you’re just supremely stoned.”
That feeling of non-functioning incoherence is shared by a number of people who use concentrates.
“It just goes straight to your head,” said Ricky Meas, another “wax” user. “It’s like the next level of being high.”
And Houstin, Texas and around the United States, increases in the number of cannabis concentrates seizures by law enforcement paint a picture of the increasing popularity and availability of high-potency extracts.
This past year has brought an increase in marijuana concentrate seizures by Houston DEA agents. The concentrates are mostly hidden in beauty product containers.
Users most often make cannabis concentrates themselves. The process involves running butane through the marijuana flower, which binds to and then filters out the THC. The butane is then cooked off, leaving the pure THC concentrate.
Since butane is highly flammable, these home-cooked operations can be dangerous.
“I’ve had a few of my friends hospitalized for having sparks go off while they’re doing a butane extraction,” Campbell said.
Despite the risks, the popularity of waxes, dabs, shatter, and other concentrates continues to grow. Cannabis concentrates are such a huge hit that the price of a gram can vary anywhere from $25-$100 based on the quality, potency, consistency, and location.