Butane Hash Oil (BHO) is a potent viscous amber resin created by blasting butane through cannabis flowers. Butane allows THC to be soluble and once the butane evaporates, all that remains is a powerful sticky layer of cannabis trichomes and terpenes.

What is BHO?

The world of cannabis is constantly evolving, from innovative new methods of consumption to new techniques for increasing the potency of plants. The extraction process for the production of concentrates is actually a technique that is hundreds of years old. In Pakistan, India, or Nepal, dry extraction was carried out by shaking the buds on a sieve, thus creating kief. But these techniques, however effective, left the final product with traces of plant material or chlorophyll, making the product less pure.

With the advancement of technology, this solvent extraction technique has been developed, which, thanks to its characteristics, is able to extract only and exclusively the useful plant components to produce a pure and truly very powerful concentrate.

We started from dry extraction with sieves to collect pollen and create kief to more technologically advanced methods that exploit chemical interactions to extract the components needed as effectively as possible. And this is how we arrived at BHO, which stands for Butane Hash Oil. This type of extraction exploits the solvent properties of butane, a gas that effectively separates the compounds contained in the plant’s trichomes.

Trichomes are small bumps that grow on the plant where most of the active ingredient resides. The molecular structure of butane bonds perfectly with the resin glands, absorbing them instantly. And this is precisely the main advantage, doing so automatically excludes unwanted plant components like chlorophyll among others. By doing this, you obtain an oil composed only with the extract of plant trichomes containing cannabinoids like cannabidiol (CBD) or tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which can even reach 90% concentrations.

Budder, wax, shatter, and crumble are all products that, despite some variations in the final treatment, derive from the same solvent extraction process. The method of extracting the components from the cannabis inflorescences with a solvent may seem simple, but it can also be very dangerous.

Butane is an extremely volatile and very flammable gas, a simple spark in a room saturated with gas can trigger an explosion. This is why we always recommend purchasing butane and BHO extraction equipment from an authorized dealer and not undertaking self-production lightly. A lack of experience and adequate equipment could be very dangerous for several reasons. Now let’s see how butane extraction takes place.

How BHO is made

The BHO production process requires several steps and quite a bit of time. To begin with, it’s a good idea to freeze the buds to make the extraction process. Subsequently, the plant material is placed in a container with two openings on opposite sides to allow the butane to enter from one side and exit from the other with enough pressure to saturate the inside of the container and cover the entire surface of the plant.

The gas in liquid form escapes from the container, carrying with it all cannabinoids, flavonoids and terpenes among other plant components extracted. Then it is necessary to evaporate the gas from the liquid in order to obtain a sort of cream. Applying vacuum is possible to remove all traces of gas from the extract. The low pressure lowers the boiling point of the gas, allowing the solvent to evaporate without leaving traces. If not purified, BHO has a grayish color with unpleasant flavors and impurities that are risky for health.

But why is butane so effective in extracting trichomes? Cannabinoids are non-polar molecules, meaning they have no electrical charge (or momentum). This characteristic allows them to bind effectively to almost all non-polar solvents. Being an hydrocarbon, butane is also a non-polar molecule, therefore insoluble in water, and due to the principle that “like dissolves like,” cannabinoids have good solubility in solvents such as butane. It’s the same principle that makes water and oil impossible to mix: because of the molecular structure.

The benefits of using BHO

The diffusion of this extraction technique is due to the ability of the solvent to extract only the trichomes, discarding the unwanted plant component such as chlorophyll, and producing a concentrate with a very high percentage of active ingredients.

Once consumed, this product guarantees very powerful effects that should not be taken lightly, in fact, it is advisable to moderate the doses the first few times, at least for novice smokers. The method of consumption depends on the type of BHO, but generally, the most effective method is vaporization.

Combustion ruins the flavor and aroma of the extract. On the other hand vaporizers, thanks to the possibility of regulating the temperature, makes it possible to enjoy the concentrate in all its power, keeping the flavors. Or you can dab them. for those who don’t know, the dab rig is a device very similar to the bong.

The drawback is that it can produce excessively powerful effects, and the use of a lighter can ruin the aromas. However, we can always rely on classic methods, some types of BHO are difficult to handle, but with others, you can easily enjoy blunts or joints.

The risks of BHO

As mentioned, this product is very powerful and can overwhelm the most inexperienced smokers, plus, if not purified correctly, the extract could have solvent residues, potentially harmful to our body. For this reason, we always reiterate that we purchase BHO from authorized retailers, who by law must follow very strict safety standards and have all concentrates analyzed before being put on sale.

In addition, there are the risks of home production. With the increase in the use of BHO, there has been an increase in cases of explosions in homes due to improvised producers of extracts. Inexperience, distraction, and the wrong tools can seriously endanger one’s safety and that of others. The risk of explosion and the risk of inhaling potentially harmful substances together are excellent deterrents against attempting improvised extractions.

What products are obtained from BHO?

Once the oil has been extracted with the solvent, there are different ways to treat the extract to create creams with different consistencies and different properties. These are some of the most famous types of BHO.

  • Live resin — this variant is unique as it is obtained from buds frozen immediately after harvest. In order to best preserve the terpenes and their aromas, which deteriorate with heat and drying, the result is a brightly colored BHO with a malleable consistency and a flavor that is certainly varied but decidedly more subtle than other types of BHO;
  • Terp Sauce — offers unique flavors compared to other BHOs and is characterized by a honey-like consistency and strong flavors. The butane extraction occurs as for any other BHO, but the result is purified for a long time over low heat and then left to rest for 2-3 weeks. After the evaporation of all traces of butane and the separation of the trichomes and terpenes from the plant material, our sauce is ready;
  • Shatter — one of the most famous types of BHO, for a very specific reason. The production process allows this concentrate to multiply the potency of the initial product up to ten times. Its processing requires a long phase of gas purification through evaporation over slow heat to avoid the risk of combustion. Then it is placed on a tray and left to rest. The result is a concentrate with a crystalline consistency similar to glass with incredible power and flavor;
  • Wax — the name already says a lot. This type of extract also has a dense consistency similar to honey, a dark color, and a power not to be underestimated. The consistency of this product is due to the processing immediately following extraction. Unlike shatter, which is left to rest without being touched, wax is whipped to create cream. This type of BHO is more suitable for dabbing as it is difficult to handle;
  • Budder — this type of BHO also has a name that explains itself. The creamy consistency makes this extract resemble butter in every way. This is due to the post-extraction treatment. This product must also be whipped, but unlike wax, which requires light and not too long whipping, budder must be whipped vigorously and for at least a few minutes. The result is a cream with a color that can vary from golden yellow to dark green. A very powerful product with up to 80% active ingredient, also suitable for dabbing;
  • Crumble — this type of BHO is also one of a kind. Unlike most of the extracts we have talked about, this one is very dry, similar to cane sugar. This is due to the particular purification technique used for this product. In fact, after extraction, the oil is placed in a pot in an oven at a very low temperature (much lower than other types of BHO) and left to purify for at least one night. And it is precisely this process that makes the crumble very dry. Product suitable for those who want to use BHO in the classic ways, such as joints and bongs.

This was a little insight into the vast world of BHO. We always recommend not to improvise with solvent extraction, as it is very dangerous, and not to consume products whose origin you do not know, inhaling solvent residues can be potentially harmful to your health. Always buy solvent extracts from authorized retailers.