A new and especially potent form of marijuana is the rise, one that authorities say is both dangerous to consume and to make. The extract is typically known as wax thanks to its gooey nature, though it also goes by the street names of shatter, budder, honey, and many others, reports the New York Times. Users of the high-THC product—typically ingested via an e-cig-like device called a vape pen in a practice known as "dabbing"—prize it for its potency and for its low profile. As the paper notes, "even if discovered, parents, teachers or even the authorities hardly seem to know what it is." Its booming popularity points to a larger issue: As marijuana loses its social stigma, with medical and now recreational use legal in many states, extracts like wax are largely uncharted territory. The DEA says high-grade marijuana tops out at about 20% THC. Wax, on the other hand, ranges from 40% to 80%.
“People don’t understand that the high THC content can lead to the intense psychological and physical effects, more than what they are expecting,” one addiction expert tells the Minneapolis Star Tribune. Minnesota authorities seized 12 pounds in the first three months of 2016, with a street value of $300,000, compared to a quarter-pound for all of last year. The "stupefying" high can last for hours, cause one to pass out, and "border on hallucinatory," per the Times. But another notable danger of wax lies in its production, which involves dousing marijuana with a solvent such as butane to extract the THC. As the popularity of wax increases, so do explosions related to making it, according to the Daily Reporter of Coldwater, Michigan. (Synthetic weed known as Spice may have killed a man after one toke.)