Do you get confused with initials like BHO used around cannabis products? Well, we feel your pain, which is why we are here to provide a thorough guide to just what butane hash oil (BHO) is.
Cannabis concentrates are some of the most popular products currently available on the market for various reasons, including efficiency, bioavailability, versatility, and potency. Many users love how they can be ingested in multiple ways, such as through infusing them into edibles, smoking, dabbing, or ingesting sublingually.
Today, we will explore all there is to know about butane hash oil concentrates, including how they are made and all the different types to help you determine which may be the best choice for your individual weed needs.
With that said, let’s get into it!
What is BHO?
Butane hash oil, also known as BHO, is a catch-all term to describe cannabis extracts created using the alkane butane as the primary solvent. There are nearly endless different variations of textures and consistencies found with cannabis concentrates that fall under butane hash oil.
This extraction technique creates multiple cannabis extracts, including budder, crumble, sauce, and shatter. Honey oil is another term commonly used to describe BHO. More often, BHO is further refined and processed.
For those wondering what a solvent is, this part is simple. A solvent is a chemical used in the extraction process around cannabis, leaving behind the plant material and other unwanted compounds. The solvent absorbs the cannabinoids and/or terpenes. This mixture is then withdrawn, and the solvent is subsequently removed.
The resulting product is called BHO when using butane as the solvent.
The consistency of the final product created will largely depend on the techniques used during the post-extraction process. These last steps are when the various concentrates we’ve all heard about before are differentiated into the desired aftermath, such as shatter or wax.
The concentrated hash oil is further refined into the final product, providing customers with a wonderfully pure and potent concentrate.
Benefits of the BHO extraction process include creating cannabis concentrate free of any other plant content, meaning you only smoke or vape the cannabinoids, not the chlorophyll or other undesirable plant content.
Having less plant matter is a plus in terms of the potentially harmful effects of smoking weed. The plant material often turns to tar or ash when burned, which can negatively affect your lungs and airways. The separation and purification processes used to create BHO produce a concentrate free from these potentially harmful and excessive by-products.
How is BHO Made?
As stated before, the key to creating BHO is the use of butane, hence the name. Butane is a hydrocarbon, along with other organic molecules like methane and propane. It is captured relatively easily after being pumped out of natural gas wells.
This extract is then purified and compressed into a liquid state for storage and use. There are various butane products available on the market, but those using it for extraction should avoid most of them. Only lab-grade butane should be used to create cannabis concentrates, which contains 99.5-99.9% pure butane. This quality is essential to ensure the extract is safe.
Butane is highly flammable and should only be handled by those who adhere to stringent safety procedures and have the appropriate training to handle it. The production of BHO is a dangerous and complicated process, requiring proper specialized technology to be performed safely. Inexperienced technicians and homemade solutions can lead to dangerous and even deadly consequences.
While it is possible to make BHO products such as shatter at home, it can be incredibly dangerous. If you do want to venture into this sort of experimentation, it’s essential to do so outside to avoid letting gas accumulate, which could lead to an explosion.
What is the Process to Make BHO?
As we just discussed, there are several risks when handling butane. The entire extraction process should take place in an open-air environment. It is also essential that all of the remaining excess solvents be removed before any products are sold or ingested.
As long as those performing this procedure follow the appropriate safety measures and precautions, making BHO can be a safe process.
Gathering Proper Materials
The first step to making butane hash oil is gathering up your starting material. Generally, any cannabis parts that have trichomes will be good to go. This can be trim or high-quality bud, whatever you like.
Making BHO involves extracting all the cannabinoids and terpenes, so the better the starting material, the better the final concentrate will be. This bud should be dried to around 1%, which is much lower than the standard dried flower for sale and consumption will measure.
The three main types of BHO runs are described as a nug run, trim run, or live resin. We already described bud and trim, so let’s look at live resin. This term describes flash-frozen fresh bud. This bud does not go through the regular drying stages, but moisture content is still just as important.
Introducing the Solvent
The next step involves purging the solvent. A butane extractor is used to run the solvent through the bud. Basically, you take a tube and fill it with both butane and weed. The butane is chilled before being run through the weed.
One of the reasons why butane is used is due to its low boiling point. Butane boils at -1°C (30.2°F), and so all that needs to be done next is to let it return to room temperature. As the chilled butane reaches its boiling point, it will evaporate and leave the BHO behind.
In laboratories, this butane is collected for reuse. While at-home extraction often lets the butane boil away. This is the step where ventilation is most important to avoid explosions.
Removing all the Solvent
Various steps are taken to ensure that all of the solvent is removed. This process is essential to ensure that the BHO will be safe to consume. Even a bit of leftover butane can have dangerous consequences. The temperatures used and steps taken at this point will lead toward the final type of concentrate.
Loafing is the term used to describe using heat and a vacuum to remove residual solvents. The butane is boiled away to create the initial crude extract. This crude material can then be used to create a variety of BHO products.
Different Types of BHO
Many blazers appreciate BHO because of the many different cannabis concentrates that can be made from the crude butane hash oil product. While new versions seem to pop up all the time, some products remain the most popular.
Examples of the most common BHO concentrates include:
Shatter is the hardest of all the BHO varieties in terms of consistency and difficulty in creating. It often appears glass-like and can range in colours as well as translucency.
The ideal shatter is a smooth consistency that is hard while also breaking into pieces nicely. It gets its name from its glass-like appearance that would “shatter” if you were to drop it.
You’ll often find shatter containing 70% THC or more. Shatter is consumed most frequently through dabbing. However, similar to other BHO concentrates, this high potency may come at a slight loss of flavour if you’re purchasing low-quality shatter made through the use of trim or shake.
While dabbing may be the most popular, Pull and Snap can also be used for creating Twax Joints by wrapping the substance around a rolled joint for an intensified high and unique smoking experience.
For the best tasting, most potent shatter, you’ll want to find shatter that’s made with full-bud cannabis, like the ones Cannabismo has available on their site.
Watch out for fake, diluted cannabis shatter that lacks the classic pull-and-snap consistency of real shatter as this can cause serious damage to your lungs and long-term health. Always shop at a reputable online dispensary Canada to ensure you’re getting the best product at the best prices!
Budder is considered the purest form of BHO, having anywhere from 90-99% THC. The consistency matches the name, as it is often soft and malleable.
Many tokers appreciate budder for its smooth consistency and flavourful terpenes it contains, often using it to dab with as a way of enhancing the terpene flavours while providing an extra level of potency to their smoking experience.
While you can make budder at home, why go through all of the dangerous trouble when you can purchase top shelf wax & budder and have it shipped directly to your door?
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Like budder, wax has what many users believe to be an ideal consistency for those who love dabbing. It does not crumble like shatter. Instead, it can melt away.
Wax is like the Goldilocks of concentrates in that it is firmer and chunkier than budder while not breaking apart like shatter. That said, it can melt in your hands, so don’t take too much time handling it before consuming.
Again, similar to budder, many people enjoy using wax due to its flavourful terpene content and unique texture.
Crumble is made under low-temperature conditions to create a crumbly texture. As one of the most unique and spectacular versions of BHO, this one is fun and potent.
Crumble will literally crumble into pieces and often has a spongey appearance. This concentrate can be used as it is on its own or combined with dry flower to enhance its effects.
Two of the most popular methods for consuming crumble are dabbing and vaping as it adds a more robust flavour to the experience while also intensifying the high.
The consistency of this BHO concentrate may vary. However, crystalline products’ appearance is what you would expect. It looks like tiny little crystals or granulated sugar. That said, some of the biggest crystals can be as big as diamonds.
Also known as THC isolate, crystalline is the purest available concentrate with a THC level of nearly 99.9%. With this purity comes a loss in flavour and scent due to the stripping of the weed’s terpenes.
While this might come across as a downside for most, many appreciate isolate for its flavourless versatility and ease of consumption.
You can eat it as is, infuse it into a drink, or even mix it into food for an easily medicated meal without any of the dank pungency that usually accompanies hash oil, weed butter, and other weed infusions.
Many manufacturers reintroduce terp sauce into these products to maintain a delicate balance of potency and flavour.
Due to their purity and complexity, crystalline concentrates are among the hardest to find and most expensive variety currently available on the market.
BHO – The Possibilities are Endless
Butane hash oil is one of the most popular approaches to extracting and creating cannabis concentrates today.
In this way, many, if not a majority, of the concentrates you purchase at dispensaries will have been made using this solvent.
This fact is a benefit to many tokers because it means that, where one BHO concentrate may not meet your particular weed needs, there is likely an alternative that will.
Such is the beauty of BHO. It’s incredibly versatile!
However, that said, there are inherent dangers that come with creating concentrates using this solvent, which is why it may be best left to the professionals. If you do wish to embark on creating concentrates using BHO, it is imperative that you follow strict safety precautions to prevent potentially dangerous and even life-threatening consequences.
If you choose to buy your BHO concentrates, it’s best to adhere to the common stoner homage of starting low and going slow. These products can be incredibly potent. Even the most experienced users may be surprised by how hard they hit.
As always, ensure that the concentrates you purchase come from a reputable and licensed dispensary so that you know they are safe to consume.
Have fun, experiment, and enjoy!