by Edward Ridgill
Wax concentrates come in many different forms (shatter, budder, crumble, live resin, etc.) but how do you know you are buying a quality extract?
Clarity and Color
One method is to look at the clarity and color of the wax This method is used mostly with shatter. Although most good quality shatter has a clearer, brighter color, there are some quality shatters that are darker in color and clarity. Conversely, there are some bad shatters out there that have low THC contents and offer a bland taste. The clarity of the wax is more of an insight into the extraction process then an end all determinant of quality. It depends on the quality of the herb, whether full buds or if trim was used. While clarity is not a full proof method in determining shatter quality, it can sway you from purchasing potentially bad quality wax.
Another visual determinant of bad wax is the presence of air bubbles. Air bubbles occur when the shatter hasn’t been purged long enough. The solvent hasn’t had a chance to fully evaporate from the wax, leaving little air bubbles. Its in your best interest to avoid bubbly wax. There is a way of testing to see if any solvents remain in your wax. Wax with a higher level of solvents left behind will crackle when set on fire. You can test this by putting some wax on your dab tool and setting it ablaze. If you see no signs of a crackling flame, then your wax was purged properly.
Another method in determining the quality of your wax is the smell. Good wax will retain the potent scents of the strains used. Whether it be Purple Haze or Train Wreck, good extracts will retain these scents and should also have some strong herbal notes. Although pesticides and left over solvents can be present in inferior wax, these chemicals are hard to detect by smell alone.
Taste is the best determinant of good wax. Unfortunately, by the time you taste your wax, you have already purchased it. Does it taste like flower, or is there a waxy residue taste? A waxy residue taste is a sign of inferior wax.
Great quality shatters will remain hard and glass-like in most storage temperatures and will become thin and viscus when vaporized. When it comes to non shatter wax, you want to stay away from runny wax, more times than not, runny wax is inferior and was not purged properly.
The only way to be 100% certain is to have your wax lab tested, which is a complicated, time consuming process.
A helpful tip is to make sure you go through a reputable dispensary. You will want to speak to employees that know more than the name on the container. Ask questions about how the wax was purged, which ingredients were used when growing the buds, if there were any pesticides used and if the dispensary had purchased from that grower and or extractor before. These questions will give you some insight on your wax, and if you like your wax, remember the names of the growing and extracting companies and continue to purchase from them.
One last bit of advice, the lower the temperature the better the taste. Low temperature vapor is healthier for your lungs too.
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