What Is Butane Hash Oil (BHO) and How Is it Made?

What is butane hash oil, or BHO? Read on if you want to know more about what BHO is and how it’s made.

BHO is an oil derived from cannabis using a butane solvent to create very high concentrations of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) for consumption in resin form. Phew, that’s a big mouthful (and headful) of information. Don’t worry. We’ll break it down for you.

If you’ve ever had a dab or heard of dabs, this is what you’re indulging in. Many butane hash oil enthusiasts believe it’s the ultimate high and entirely worth the effort. In a book by D. Gold published in 1971 called Cannabis Alchemy, Gold explains how to use solvents to make pure hash without the extra debris found in Charas. (Charas is the cannabis concentrate made from the resin of a marijuana plant.) This is where the initial concept of BHO arose.

Table of Contents

What Is BHO?

We already know that BHO is butane hash oil, but that tells us next to nothing if we don’t break down the terminology. What is butane? What is hash oil? Let’s find out!

What Is Butane?

Butane is a highly flammable light hydrocarbon and non-polar solvent. It’s derived from crude oil and compressed into an odorless liquid. When exposed to air at room temperature, it evaporates into a gas. Due to its unique properties, when exposed to cannabis, it dissolves only the resin glands attached to the plant, leaving all plant matter behind.

Once the mix is collected, the butane should evaporate and leave behind pure resin. Keep in mind there are many different grades of butane, and professionals use the best of the best when making BHO to reduce impurities.

What Is Hash Oil?

Hash oil is a concentrated form of the resin within the bud, called trichomes. Traditionally, hash oil is made by collecting kief and then condensing it down into bricks or putty-like masses. It’s often very dark due to the impurities that make their way in, especially if it’s handmade. The darker the hash before being exposed to fire, the more contaminants are in it.

On the other hand, BHO is a rich golden-orange honey color because the method keeps nearly all of the dirt and debris out of the final product. While the process of making hash oil has been around for a long time, using butane is gaining popularity due to the legalization and decriminalization of cannabis in many US states and the ability for companies to make large volumes of it at one time.

What Is So Special About BHO?

BHO can be smoked, eaten, used in lotions, or added to other cannabis products for a powerful punch. Don’t confuse butane hash with the cannabis butter used in most edibles. It has a much higher concentration. BHO can contain up to 90% THC instead of the 9% to 12% found in most flower strains or the 0.3% in Delta-8. In other words, it gets you higher than a kite. We’re talking max altitude and then some if you aren’t careful.

How Is BHO Made?

Making butane hash oil is not the safest process, though it isn’t too tricky. When done correctly with proper equipment, using butane to make hash oil is a beautiful thing and one of the best extraction methods.

When done incorrectly, however, the results can be disastrous, as even a small spark near butane can cause a literal explosion. In fact, it’s so dangerous it can be considered a felony even in states where weed is legal due to the risks involved. Many people have accidentally caused long-term damage to themselves or blown-up entire rooms while trying to use this method, so it’s best left to professionals and bought at a dispensary. Still, knowledge is power, so let’s break it down.

What You Need to Make BHO

To get that pure resin and lovely golden color, the first thing needed is clean, beautiful, sticky bud. We’re talking about that primo fire that knocks you for a loop in whichever direction you desire. It doesn’t matter which strain you use, but using anything other than top shelf isn’t worth the effort. You also need a high-quality butane, like Whip It Premium.

Next, choose a method. Some people prefer the open method, also called open blasting or open looping, because it’s easier and only requires a glass or metal tube and tray for collection. For safety reasons, others swear by the closed method, called closed blasting or closed looping.

Professionals almost always use the closed technique, especially if making large batches. The closed process requires a lot more equipment, like a hydrocarbon extractor and certified solvent tank, but the payoff can quickly outweigh the expenses involved in getting started.

The Open Method

A stainless steel or glass tube is filled with cannabis and butane during the open method. The cannabinoid resin collects at the bottom and then is purified and dried for consumption. Hobbyists often use this method, but it releases butane gas into the air, increasing the chances of a significant explosion. Even with proper ventilation, this method can be a problem. Still, if done right, it’s effective.

The Closed Method

The closed method uses a loop and involves commercial-grade extraction equipment. The entire system is sealed, keeping the butane inside, which you can reuse. Because no butane is released into the surrounding area, it’s incredibly safe. This method, however, must be done in a professional setting with government approval, which means it’s only happening in states where cannabis is legal.

How to Use Butane Hash Oil

Once the BHO is ready for consumption, connoisseurs can use many different methods to take a hit, known as a dab. Many use the traditional way, a heated nail that is applied to the butane hash oil, allowing it to burn the resin and create smoke, which you then inhale through a tube.

Others use electronic nails or vapes made specifically for BHO consumption. The traditional method tends to reduce the flavor profile of the original strain, so an e-nail or vape is highly recommended.

A Warning for BHO Users

As mentioned, BHO is super potent and is incredibly controversial due to the concentration percentages. It’s easy to overdo it, especially if you’re used to smoking flower or eating edibles. Take your consumption slowly until you know how it affects your ability to function, and never operate a vehicle after use. It’s also not recommended to crossfade with BHO since it amplifies the adverse physical effects of alcohol use.

Now You Know What BHO Is

Now that you know what BHO is and how it’s made, start researching the best strains available at local dispensaries so you can try it. It retains a lot of the original flavor of the flower used for creation, so if you have a favorite, don’t hesitate to ask for the BHO version!

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JJ Smoak

Brooklyn native, accent-having, travel lover, wordsmith and bud enthusiast. Versed from the streets of NYC, mixed with some world influence, writer/editor and medical user extraordinaire, JJ is here to tell you like it is and guide you to the finest. Brooklyn's favorite feminine stoner, your neighborhood contributor, wrapping leaves like a bandage and bringing you along for the ride.

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