Posted at: 03/11/2014 6:50 PM
By: Brett Davidsen
It's being called pot's most powerful high. Known as earwax marijuana, it's named for its texture and first started showing up on the west coast. But it now appears to be making its way to the Rochester area.
A Monroe County Sheriff's deputy recently discovered the earwax drug in the car of a Walworth man after pulling him over for a traffic infraction. The sheriff's department says it's the first case they've seen here and drug experts are concerned because of its potency.
It may look like earwax, but this is a potent form of marijuana. Experts say it has a THC level of 80%,
THC is the active ingredient that induces a high. Most marijuana has THC levels between 3 and 10 percent.
At the Unity Chemical Dependency Clinic, they handle more than 130,000 client visits each year. Addiction therapist supervisor Jason Randazzo says they're just starting to hear from patients who have used this new form of pot.
Jason Randazzo said, "We have a few patients that have experimented with it and have had some side effects such as emergency room visits."
The Monroe County Sheriff's Department says it just encountered the drug for the first time and that probation and Irondequoit Police have also recently seen cases. Because it's so potent, Randazzo says the high from earwax marijuana can last up to 24 hours and its use has led many to experience hallucinations and other dangerous effects.
There are all sorts of YouTube videos showing how people make the earwax. In essence, butane is used to strip the THC from the marijuana leaves. Because it's typically ingested using a vaporizer, it leaves no detectable odor. Randazzo fears there could be possible long-term effects.
Randazzo said, "It's very unpredictable as to how anyone's going to react to being under the influence of this drug, but if someone is pre-disposed to mental health issues, they're at a much high risk to develop psychosis when under the influence."
Police say there's another danger to earwax marijuana. Because of the butane, there have been documented explosions that resulted in injuries during the manufacture of the drug.