By Claire Doan
Officials warn of dangers associated with earwax marijuana
One former user: ‘The dabs can take you’
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KCRA) —Dubbed pot’s most powerful high, earwax marijuana – also known as “dabs,” “honey oil,” or “butter” – has become a growing problem in the Sacramento region, according to drug addiction specialists.
Earwax was a name given for its yellowish color and texture.
Tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, is the drug in marijuana that induces a high. While pot contains roughly 20 percent THC, earwax – which is butane hash oil – can contain up to 80 percent of it, making it a lot more potent.
Hundreds of YouTube videos show people smoking the substance.
“It literally took me down. I didn’t fall, but I got to the ground pretty darn quickly,” said one 23-year-old former smoker. “Within a couple of minutes, the high started and you start to feel like you’re going out of your body.”
“It’s a way more intense drug with a whole separate set of side effects,” she continued. Earwax is sold in Sacramento pot dispensaries for as little as $20 a gram, but there’s a far larger cost.
“The symptoms of wax, dabs, or butter include psychotic breaks, having hallucinations, seeing things that are not there, hearing things that are not there, having tactile sensations like something’s crawling under my skin,” said Jon Daily, LCSW, CADC II a drug addiction specialist and the founder of Recovery Happens Counseling Services www.recoveryhappens.com
“It’s much more addicting. I think there’s going to be psychological ramifications to come. I think we’re going to see more psychosis with it, more anxiety with it. We’re going to see more sleep problems with it,” he continued.
When the user KCRA 3 spoke to tried to quit after smoking earwax more than a dozen times, she experienced a psychotic break.
“I ended up in the mental hospital because it had been 10 days and I had gotten about 10 to 15 hours of sleep, total,” she said.
Officials warn of another danger: People are getting injured making earwax at home, using cannabis, solvent and butane.
In fact, FEMA issued a warning earlier this year about the increase in the number of related fires and explosions on the West Coast.
“The dangerous component is the use of butane gas, which is a very explosive type of gas if it has an ignition source,” said Assistant Chief Niko King, of the Sacramento Fire Department. “As soon as that ignition source hits, it results in a very violent flash explosion.”
The fire department responded to two explosions in the past year, in which several people got burned.
Canna Care, a dispensary in Sacramento, said earwax has medicinal benefits for many people.
“It has the benefit of getting large amounts of THC to somebody quickly. Many people with seizures, multiple sclerosis – things like that – will need large amounts of THC in short periods of time,” said Donald Davies, an ex-manager at Canna Care.
However, the dispensary cautions against the recreational use of earwax.
And so does one former addict.
“If I had never experienced dabs, I know I wouldn’t have experienced terrorizing psychological phenomena,” she said. “You just can’t flip it off once you’ve taken the dabs. The dabs can take you.”
[http://www.recoveryhappens.com has drug test kits available to test for wax and is available for assessments, education and treatment]
Jon Daily, LCSW, CADC II