(FOX 11) It's the latest cannabis craze -- a concentrated form of marijuana known as "wax." It looks like ear wax, but potheads say it smokes like a mule kicks.
Experts tell us most marijuana wax is more than 80% pure THC, the active ingredient in marijuana. Compare that with the average marijuana leaf with 20% to 30% TCH, according to reports.
Those who say they know, claim wax is the most powerful marijuana concentrate on the market.
So, apparently a "dose" of wax can really blow your mind.
The problem is that making it - can also blow up your house.
These kitchen chemists who make wax use long tubes packed full of marijuana leaves. They then shoot compressed butane through the tube. The butane apparently leeches the THC from the vegetation and as it flows out in a greenish muck into a pan. (Do NOT try this at home.)
So there they sit with pan full of butane (lighter fluid).
One YouTube video shows a wax maker reaching for his electric coffee pot while the butane flows and … BOOM. A flash fire. You hear him scream and the camera goes black.
Fire and police officials have reported at least six fires or explosions related to THC extraction in Southern California – just this year.
The U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) issued an alert after a string of fires in San Diego.
It's not hard to see why. Marijuana grow houses when they cultivate their crops manicure the high-priced buds, trimming off excess leaves (kind of like shaping a Christmas tree). The plants other leaves and trimmings are still potent. Processing them into wax means more profit.
We talked to several medical marijuana patients who say they need the quick hit of a concentrate like wax.
One patient, Tim, said he has an esophagus disorder that causes him to choke on food. He says he can't wait 20 minutes for the pot to take effect. He describes his symptoms like drowning.
But he also fears smoking marijuana products processed with butane. Unless wax is made with highly filtered butane, the fluid will contaminate the product with oil and other residue. Tim says its "poison," particularly for people with compromised immune systems.
Tim and others say the answer is testing and regulation. Yes, legitimate medicinal marijuana patients want the government to step in.
Some are backing a measure on the Los Angeles ballot (vote schedule for May 21). They say it would call for testing and regulation -- and ban production of any marijuana product that uses flammable products like butane.
But black market wax makers, like those we spoke to for this story, say they aren't worried. They'll keep on making wax and smoking it.