Cannabis has come a long way from the joints and doobies of old, along with traditional pressed hash. Today, we enjoy a wide variety of cannabis concentrates that are extracted via various methods. One of the most popular types of extract is known as BHO, which is short for “butane hash oil.”
BHO is a cannabis concentrate produced by extracting cannabinoids and terpenes from flowers and trim using heat, pressure, and butane as a solvent. The method is effective in removing the oil from the plant, but it can also be dangerous. Do not try this method at home.
In terms of potency, BHO can have as much as 90% THC depending on the strain of cannabis it’s extracted from.
What Is Butane?
You may have seen butane at your local smoke shops, or maybe you’ve used it in a culinary torch. This is not the butane used in making BHO. Butane that comes in cans contains mercaptan, which is not something you want in a final product. Mercaptan serves two purposes: to propel the butane out of the canister, and to give the butane a horrible smell so it can be easily detected.
What does BHO look like?
BHO is also sometimes called butane honey oil due to its golden hue. BHO can come in different consistencies, including shatter, crumble, badder, and wax. You can read more about the different types of cannabis concentrates in our feature What Are Cannabis Concentrates?
How To Use BHO
Consuming, or “dabbing,” BHO is fairly simple. A dab rig or a vaporizer made specifically for concentrates will make the best, most efficient use of BHO. In a pinch, you can put it on top of a bowl of cannabis in a pipe, as you would with kief, and use it that way, but we don’t recommend that method of consumption. You should only use BHO if you have a way to dab it.
How Is BHO Made?
Making BHO at home can be extremely dangerous. Butane is highly flammable, and people have ended up in the hospital with injuries from exploding home ops due to something as simple as a static charge setting off an explosion. If you can afford a closed-loop extraction machine, then you’ll need guidance from an expert on exactly how to set it up and use it to produce high-quality BHO.
Long story short: don’t make BHO at home. No one should make BHO outside of a commercial setup with an experienced guide.
Is BHO Dangerous?
Creating BHO on your own at home is dangerous, there’s no disputing that. But is consuming BHO dangerous?
The answer is that it can be dangerous to consume BHO, but only under certain circumstances.
First, your BHO should be obtained from a reputable source. Black-market BHO is probably not made with much safety or cleanliness in mind, so it’s very possible you might be purchasing adulterated product if you’re buying from an unregulated source.
BHO can also get novice dabbers uncomfortably high. Almost all cannabis strains have a concentration of less than 30%, but extracted BHO can contain up to 90% pure THC.
The effects of dabbing BHO are extremely potent, and very different from smoking a regular old joint. Dabbing BHO is definitely not for novice cannabis users, so if you haven’t smoked weed before, or if it’s been a long time since you last smoked, skip the BHO and work up to it. It really is a different, “higher” experience.
Be careful about where you get your BHO from, make sure it’s as clean as you can get, dab instead of smoking or vaping it, and don’t even try it if your tolerance is low. If you get uncomfortably high, drink water and remember, the sensation will pass, and you’ll be just fine.