Police are closely watching a powerful form of marijuana moving into Indiana. It's called wax and it's popping up in the Columbus area.
The new drug is called wax because of its appearance. It is made by removing the THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol) from the marijuana leaves. THC is the compound that delivers the "high" to the user. The result is a stronger THC concentration that delivers a quicker, long-lasting high to the user, police said.
Columbus Police Sgt. Matt Harris said the new drug moved into Bartholomew County in the summer.
"Our first contact was in August involving one of our narcotics detectives. However in the past week, we've had two separate incidents where our officers came in contact with marijuana wax (during traffic stops)," Harris said.
Police and doctors are concerned because marijuana wax can cause paranoia and hallucinations. The drug is manufactured with a highly flammable solvent and there have been incidents where people have been badly burned in explosions.
Although wax is four-times more expensive than pot, police say its potency is attractive to those 25 years old and under.
"The use of marijuana wax is the equivalent of smoking between 15 and 20 marijuana cigarettes," Harris said.
According to the DEA, wax boosts THC levels from 23-percent found in normal marijuana, to as much as 85-percent.
"When we first came in contact with it, it was in a small canister of lip balm and that's where some people hide this drug," Harris said.
The wax is legal in all states where marijuana and medical marijuana are legal. Indiana is not one of those states.
To report drug use or to get help for drug addiction, call 800-729-6686 or click here.