Marijuana 'wax,' or 'dab,' on the rise in Southwest Florida - Fox29 WFLX TV, West Palm Beach, FL-news & weather

Marijuana 'wax,' or 'dab,' on the rise in Southwest Florida

FORT MYERS, Fla. - A new drug is on the rise in Southwest Florida, and experts say it isn't going anywhere.  It's a form of highly concentrated marijuana that you smoke, but it's disguised.

It's called "wax," because of the way it looks, and is also known as "dab" or "budder."

"A couple of my friends have talked to me about it. They usually say that it's really strong. I guess it gives them a better high or something out of it," 21-year-old Toby Williams said.

The "wax" is highly concentrated THC, the ingredient in marijuana that gets you high, solidified to be smoked and vaped.

It's biggest draw is that it's very hard to detect.

Brandon Short of White Sands Drug Treatment Center said even though it's stronger than marijuana in it's natural form, it doesn't smell as much, and it's easier to carry in public.  "It does appear to be like a lip balm. It can be converted, melted down and converted, into like a Burt's Bees lip balm," he told Four in Your Corner's Lisa Greenberg.

One of his patients at the center came in with "dab" disguised as Burt's Bees hand salve.

"It looks like oil. I use lip gloss all the time. It looks nothing like marijuana to me," 19-year-old Pierreline Dorcelian said,

The drug's ability to hide in plain sight is a concern for Williams.

"People could bring that into work situations, or construction situations, or they're driving their vehicles, and it's going to be harder for officers to figure that out," he said.

Short said with higher concentration comes higher risks.

"Not knowing what's in it, who you bought it from, the person certainly probably isn't a chemist. There's a lot of side effects," he said.

Some include hallucinations, paranoia, and psychosis.

Ben Valques, 22, said "wax" is legal in St. Maarten, where he moved from a few months ago.

"If it was legal I would consider it for everyone, because there's a lot of benefits from it. Like it helps you stay focused," he said.

Short said a lot of people are learning to make the wax in their own homes and then distribute it to others.

He said one of the biggest risks is that the majority of people who "dab" tend to progress to the next legvel of drugs, like cocaine, pills, or heroin.

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