Producing quality ice wax is a time-consuming and laborious process but it delivers a therapeutic punch that’s hard to match.
For those who don’t fear the manual labor, ice wax is a potent and solventless extract. And, it is one of the best tasting and therapeutic concentrates around.
People associate the medicinal benefits of cannabis in countless different ways. For some, it’s the scent of some freshly cured flower, while for others it’s the gleam from glass-like extracts. But there are others who know that the medicinal properties lie within those tiny trichome glands coating the buds. Ice wax is the extract comprised only of these potent glands.
What is Ice Wax?
Ice wax is a form of cannabis concentrate that’s both flavorful and potent. It’s a solventless concentrate meaning no flammable hydrocarbons are present, and no homes need burn down.
Ice wax can be easily made at home. Using some flash-frozen cannabis buds and a series of meshed bubble bowls, soak the cannabis to avoid agitation and allow the trichomes to come loose.
Essentially ice wax consists of trichomes — those hair-like structures that coat the plant. They hold the key to many of the medicinal properties of cannabis. Inside their glands and stalks lie the cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids. The potent synergies that play out between them enable many of the therapeutic properties of the plant to manifest.
With a crystallized golden dark-brown texture, this sugary like substance looks every bit as good as it tastes.
How to Make Ice Wax
Any extract is only as good as the starting material. Try to avoid cannabis that was poorly cured or grown through improper techniques. Any significant traces of undesirable compounds such as pesticide residues, heavy metals, and molds simply won’t lead to quality medicine.
Cannabis that’s organically grown is often the best starting material. Flash freezing cannabis ensures there’s minimal time for any degradation to occur. With exposure to UV light and oxygen, many of the useful medicinal compounds in the plant begin to quickly decay. By freezing the cannabis soon after harvest, the degradation process slows dramatically.
With some freshly frozen cannabis at hand, here’s what is required to turn it into ice wax.
- A large bag of ice
- Cold water
- Three large buckets
- Work bag of at least 220 microns (unit of length)
- A set of bubble bowls ranging from 160 microns down to 30 microns. The more screens, the purer the end material.
- Spray bottle
- Some form of card to gather the trichomes within each mesh
The Steps Involved in Production
First off, if you work better with visuals, try this video.
- Place the cannabis in a work bag (minimum of 220 microns). Layer the bud and separate them with layers of ice.
- Place the bag in a bucket and cover it with filtered water. Leave for ten minutes.
- Begin agitating the solution inside the bag either mechanically or manually. Agitate it mildly and without excessive force for fifteen to twenty minutes. Keeping the process short ensures minimal degradation of useful compounds.
- Press out the water from within the bag ensuring you squeeze out as much as possible
- Divide the bubble bowls into two separate stacks. Start with the highest and ensure the lowest micron value is at the bottom of the other stack.
- Pour the water solution through the stack ensuring you get all of the residue out of the bucket. Add water if needed.
- With a centrifugal motion agitate the stack of bubble bowls to help the solution filter through.
- Once the solution has drained, gather the residue for each layer and store them separately.
- Spray the base of each bowl with water to gleam everything from each layer.
- Repeat for every layer and then do the same for the next stack of bubble bowls. Remember that the finer mesh bowls will take longer to drain.
- Cure the resulting trichomes that form the ice wax by leaving them out in the air to dry. Avoid excess heat.
How to Consume Ice Wax
Ice wax is a versatile concentrate and there are several ways to consume it. While many patients sprinkle a little over a bowl or add a little to a freshly rolled joint, others prefer to dab it for the full effects.
How to Smoke Ice Wax
“Icing” dry flower with ice wax is a common way to smoke it. Whether that’s on a bowl or within a joint, it often ensures the patient feels the enhanced effects without being overwhelmed by the potency of the extract. Those introducing themselves to ice wax, or looking for a milder more manageable experience may prefer to smoke it in this way.
How to Dab Ice Wax
As with any concentrate, dabbing ice wax will deliver potent effects. But before heating up the dab rig, the patient must carefully prepare the ice wax. Press it between a piece of folded parchment paper. The idea is to fuse the trichome heads together, something that’s easily achieved with body heat alone. Once pressed, the ice wax is ready for dabbing.
Be warned that the effects can be overwhelming for the uninitiated. So please start slow and work up slowly to a larger dose. While dabbing can be a useful way to medicate, patients should ensure their setup is safe. A study published by the American Chemical Society (2016) investigated the formation of toxicants in the dabbing process. Researchers found that over time they may “deliver significant amounts of toxic degradation.”
One way to minimize exposure is by carefully selecting the materials used in the heated parts of a dabbing rig. Titanium dab nails are always recommended over other metals. Titanium doesn’t release harmful gases when heated, something that ensures patients are not exposed to potentially toxic compounds.
Regardless of how it’s consumed, ice wax packs all that plant goodness into one potent and flavorful concentrate. With the preservation of all the essential medicinal compounds found in the trichomes, ice wax provides a therapeutic effect that’s hard to match.