Pot problem or marijuana miracle? Facts on 'wax' from inside a marijuana growing operation

A new way to smoke marijuana is literally beginning to explode across Oklahoma. It's called "wax" or "shatter" and it's a way to concentrate the effects of marijuana and provide a quicker and more intense high than just smoking traditional marijuana.

"People who tend to smoke a lot of marijuana, they tend to get a tolerance to what they are traditionally smoking," says Mark Woodward of the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs, "They're wanting something stronger and this is going to appeal to them."

Woodward says we've seen examples of the dangers of Wax in Oklahoma already. Last year's apartment explosion in Edmond was caused by a man trying to manufacture hash oil, which can be turned into wax.

"We're seeing more and more people going to the hospital as a result of smoking this," Woodward told Fox 25 news.

But what makes a form of marijuana so explosive? The answer is in the process. Wax is a concentrated form of the chemicals found within the marijuana plant. Many wax users extract those chemicals using butane, a highly flammable liquid.

"I think we are going to see an increase in fires and severe burns associated with this process," Woodward said.

To find out more about wax and the process to create the highly concentrated cannabis, Fox 25 took a trip to Colorado, where marijuana is legal even for recreational user.

"It's powerful being able to recreate the way you want because it's a choice, being able to medicate the way you want because it's a choice," said Todd Mitchem of O.Pen VAPE.

We take a tour of the marijuana factory that produces wax and other extracts.

O.Pen VAPE is a company that has reinvented the electronic cigarette into what they say is a safer and healthier device to consume cannabis. The vaporizing devise uses concentrated marijuana oils, which is derived from the wax that's produced during the extraction process. O.Pen VAPE only uses the oils, while the laboratory that does the extractions has other products that use the THC wax that's produced from the cuttings of the marijuana plant.

"We wanted people to be able to control their dosage," Mitchem told Fox 25, "So if you use an O.Pen VAPE pen and cartridge you are controlling how much cannabis you ingest with any given intake."

Mitchem is on a mission to change people's perceptions and end what he calls the false stigma about those who use marijuana. "They're using cannabis, but they're still getting to work on time they're still performing, I'm still a father, we still have lives."

While Mitchem is an outspoken advocate for cannabis use, he agrees with Oklahoma law enforcement agents on some points concerning wax. And it's all to do with people who try to do butane extractions at home.

"It's incredibly dangerous should not be done in your house because it is so volatile and frankly in Colorado it's illegal to do it."

Mitchem says the process that produces extracts for O.Pen VAPE is more expensive, but it's also much safer. He says in a the highly regulated environment in Colorado it is becoming cheaper and safer to purchase wax and other extracts rather than people making it at home.

Click here to read part two of the report.