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Op-Ed: People are just exploding for pot these days

The uses for marijuana wax and the method for extracting tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) are both causing plenty of issues all over the U.S.

THC has been identified as the compound in marijuana that makes people high. In marijuana’s natural, leafy state, THC exists at a concentration of about one to five percent. People are able to get high at this low level of concentration, but there is no threat of physical addiction.

Marijuana wax is created by extracting THC from marijuana and creating a sort of waxy substance that is up to 25 percent pure. At those high levels, THC can become physically addicting and poses a real overdose threat.

As you would imagine, the idea of extracting THC from pot is extremely popular on college campuses. But this extraction does not come easily and carries its own consequences. Butane is the substance that is most commonly used to extract THC from marijuana and, as most people know, butane can explode. This has caused a surge in emergency room visits from people with second and third degree burns all over the upper part of their bodies. But this is not the only dangers marijuana wax presents.

It is relatively easy to add other drug extracts to marijuana wax and create a lethal mix of substances that could be fatal. Unless someone has extracted the THC themselves, they really do not know if they are getting marijuana wax that is laced with heroin or some other drug. The possibility for an overdose increases dramatically with this process and the repercussions can be fatal.

The other issue with marijuana wax is that it is much more difficult to detect than the marijuana plant everyone is used to. Drug-sniffing dogs are alerted by the smell of the cannabis plant and not the THC when they go looking for pot in suitcases and carry-on luggage. The THC is a clear substance with no aroma at all. This means that marijuana wax has a high probability of being transported without being detected.

According to Campus Safety, some of the colorful street names for marijuana wax are dabs, butter, oil, and honey. But the most interesting nickname is 710. The police code for marijuana is 420, which has earned the number 420 a special place in pot culture. Many people even celebrate April 20th as some sort of pot holiday. The number 710 is the word “oil” upside down and backwards, which adds yet another three-digit number to the marijuana vocabulary.

The device used to smoke the wax looks a lot like the new e-cigarette devices that people are using to quit tobacco smoking. The difference is that these small devices are created specifically for smoking wax-based substances such as dry herbal marijuana and 710. Since the THC gives off no aroma and very little vapor, it is nearly impossible for law enforcement to determine who is smoking a legal e-cigarette and who is getting high.

Since 710 is discrete and powerful, it is becoming extremely popular all over the country. Explosions associated with extracting THC have already killed people and destroyed personal property, but that does not seem to stop the trend. It seems as though people are willing to risk their lives just to extract THC or make homemade drugs such as meth, which is a trend that is extremely disturbing to parents, law enforcement officials, and college administrators.

The potential for becoming physically addicted to 710 is also alarming for health officials, mostly because this idea of extracting THC is new and no real health analysis has been done. As people are blowing up to create marijuana wax, they could also be paving the way for the country’s next drug scourge.

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