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What Is CBD Wax? How Does It Differ from CBD Oil?


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CBD and hemp products come in various extract forms. The most common of which is oil, often found in those miniature tincture bottles. The other common variant is wax. Naturally, this raises the question, is wax or oil better for CBD? Can you use one in place of the other? Do they have different bioavailability?

What Is CBD Wax?

What exactly is wax, anyways? Yes, it’s what candles are made of, but they have far more other uses as well. Surely, you have heard of beeswax; other items like crayons and lip balm are also made of wax. With respects to CBD extract, the wax variant takes form as an opaque oil that has become more crystallized and solidified than your typical oil.

CBD wax, though, can take on various forms based on their texture, moisture, and heat levels before the substance is purged. By purged, this refers to the process in which residual solvents and other impurities are removed from the final product (More on this later).

How to Use It

So, how exactly do you use it? Do you ingest it? Will your skin absorb it if you apply it topically?

While some forms of wax contain edible elements, we do not suggest ingesting it. If ingestion is your preferred method of consumption, then stick with CBD oil. You can add the oil to your lunch or place a few drops under your tongue and let it dissolve.

What about as a topical agent? Skin is capable of absorbing the compounds in wax as long as the substance contains some form of carrier or solvent. There are, in fact, various CBD ointments on the market; these are wax-based products designed specifically for topical application.

If the wax is not specifically made as a rub-on ointment, then the substance is often made for vaping. If looking for a CBD topical product, be sure the label lists a specific process, such as encapsulation, nanotechnology, and micellization. This ensures the ointment is capable of being absorbed through the upper dermal layer of skin.

How to Vape It

Okay, so how do you use wax as a vaping substance? You have to dab the wax before you can vape it. Dabbing is a term you’ll hear a lot with respects to all things CBD and hemp, especially if vaping is your preferred method. CBD dab wax or “dabbing” is the process of heating the wax by placing a BB-pellet-sized amount on the heated coil tip of your vape pen. The wax heats into vapor, allowing the user to inhale the substance through the mouth.

Whether you use CBD dab wax or oil for vaping, this method is more bioavailable than ingestion.

The Types of CBD Wax

Manufacturers may not specifically list a product as CBD wax. Instead, you may see a labeling like “CBD shatter,” “CBD live resin,” “CBD crumble,” or “CBD budder.” These names may be alien to you if you’re new to the industry. These variations are simply CBD wax in their various forms. More specifically, these are all forms of CBD butane hash oil (BHO), which is basically the umbrella term for describing any form of CBD extract. The specific methods of deriving BHO are how manufacturers come up with a diverse spectrum of wax variants. Below is a primer of the different CBD wax products.

CBD Shatter

Shatter’s structure is a bit different than wax. During the extraction process, the substance doesn’t quite become crystallized, which gives it a more opaque and cloudy appearance. Shatter is also a bit more glass-like in structure, so it’s not even really wax in this sense. When heated in a vape coil, it takes on an appearance similar to thickened honey.

CBD Live Resin

Manufacturers acquire live resin by using cryogenically frozen buds, as opposed to dried trims or cured buds. Being frozen ensures greater preservation of cannabinoids and terpenes. This gives CBD live resin a more pronounced flavor. This variant also tends to be on the pricier end. Users often reserve CBD live resin use for special occasions.

CBD Budder

To acquire budder, manufacturers purge at a higher temperature and air pressure during the extraction process. This makes budder more waxy and fluffier than shatter but not more or less potent. Its consistency is like that of your typical cooking butter, hence the name.

CBD Crumble

Crumble wax involves the same general extraction process. The difference is that makers use a pre-purged CBD oil that has more moisture and is higher in viscosity. The end result is a softer substance similar in texture to feta cheese that easily crumbles. While some users prefer crumble’s distinct flavor, others feel the looser structure makes it less than ideal for dabbing.

The Benefits of CBD Wax

The benefits apply to all CBD extract forms. Users have reported less anxiety under stressful situations. Clinical studies also reveal that CBD is effective for treating mental conditions like PTSD, OCD, panic disorders, and social anxiety1.

Of course, we would never suggest that CBD is a miracle cure. Living a happier and healthier life is about achieving balance, and you can’t completely get there solely from CBD or any other substance alone. This means you also have to pay attention to your diet; some foods are known to lower stress. You can also take a cortisol-lowering supplement with natural ingredients known to reduce stress hormones. Staying physically active helps as well, not to mention other healthy practices, such as meditation, deep breathing, and practicing daily gratitude.

We don’t mean to get a bit off topic here, but we felt it was important to emphasize that – for all of its scientifically-validated benefits – CBD is not the proverbial fountain of youth that solves every mental and physical health woe.

Find Out What Works Best for You

First time CBD and hemp user? Should you stick with oil or wax? If the latter, which is the best variant? Shatter? Budder? There is no objective answer here as it all comes down to personal preference. Through experimentation, you will discover what suits you. This may mean sticking to a single product or rotating between oil or wax depending on your mood.

Medical References

Blessing E, Steenkamp M, Manzanares J, Marmar C. Cannabidiol as a Potential Treatment for Anxiety Disorders. Neurotherapeutics. 2015;12(4):825-836. [PMC]
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Christopher Walker

Christopher Walker has a degree in Neuroscience from Duke University, and is the research writer for The Universal Plant. He has dedicated his life to helping men and women around the world educate themselves and take action to improve their health with natural plant-based and nutrient therapies. Follow him on Instagram @_christopherwalker

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