Butane Hash Oil (BHO)
Butane Hash Oil, commonly referred to as BHO, is a type of cannabis concentrate made using butane as the main solvent. While a number of variables can determine the final consistency of BHO (mostly temperature), people use different names when referring to each of the different consistencies. Shatter for instance, refers to the glass-like consistency that often snaps or “shatters” when handled. Budder, honeycomb, crumble, and sap are also used to describe the different textures, though they all fall under the category of BHO.
Under this form of extraction, THC content can be as high as 80-90%. This makes BHO a popular choice for many medical marijuana patients suffering from chronic pain, sleep disorders, and other intractable symptoms. Always be sure that your oil is lab tested for purity, as improperly purged BHO may contain traces of butane, pesticides, or other unhealthy ingredients/contaminants.
As the name implies, butane hash oil (BHO) is a concentrate that uses butane as a solvent to treat the kief, which can produce an extract that exceeds 80 to 90% THC. Experts suggest that BHO concentrates should be lab tested to ensure that excessive levels of butane aren’t present.
Since such standardized testing procedures aren’t yet legally required in California, we strongly recommend staying away from concentrates created using BHO extraction. Instead, rely on the next extraction method to produce the safest products for consumption.
The butane extraction method is most often used to create dabbable products. BHO products often go by the name wax, shatter, snap and pull, etc. Butane is a highly volatile hydrocarbon which makes working with it outside of an extraction lab very dangerous. Despite this stigma, butane extraction is safe when pulled in a compliant, properly outfitted and ventilated laboratory.
Downstream products of butane extraction are generally referred to as BHO, which, depending on who you’re asking, stands for Butane Honey Oil or Butane Hash Oil. With BHO, essential oils are extracted from the fresh, fresh frozen, or dried and cured flowers. We learned some more about butane extraction on Skunk Pharm Research, a site originally run by JD Ellis. It is a desirable solvent for extractors because it is relatively non polar. That means the finished product excludes water soluble compounds like plant alkaloids and chlorophyll. After winterization and purging, the extract is ready to dab. But only a seasoned extractor will be able to go through the entire process without losing the terpenes.
Butane extracts are also safe to dab because a knowledgeable extractor will have purged out all of the ‘tane. It is easy to purge because it has a boiling point that is about the same temperature as when water freezes. The process of purging is often sped up by moving air over the raw extract to help the butane molecules escape through the surface of the oil. Bottom heat can also be added to inspire a faster purge, but heat may compromise a lot of the terpenes. A vacuum purge helps maintain the cannabinoids in their carboxylic acid form. A properly purged extract has been deemed safe to dab by most governing bodies. To ensure that an extract is compliant, only purchase from a brand that provides test results for residual solvents.