What Is Butane Hash Oil (BHO)?
BHO, which stands for butane hash oil, is a potent extract made using the solvent butane. There are many different types of BHO, some of which have an “oil” consistency, while others are flat and brittle. The main thing they all have in common: great flavor and a strong high.
Wondering how to make butane hash oil? Do not attempt BHO extraction at home. There are significant risks associated with the extraction process, including explosion. Additionally, there is the risk that homemade extracts contain trace amounts of the solvent butane, which is not safe for consumption.
In other words, save the BHO extraction for the experts. That way you can enjoy your concentrates to the fullest.
6 Quick Facts About BHO
- BHO stands for butane hash oil.
- With between 60–90% THC, it's one of the most potent concentrates in cannabis history.
- It is extracted through a chemical process using butane as a solvent, hence its name.
- People smoke it using a dab pen or rig, not using a bong or joint.
- Butane hash oil is more a category of cannabis concentrate, rather than a type. Wax, shatter, budder, crumble, and oil are all “types” of the concentrate, distinguished from one another by their texture.
- BHO extraction is not safe to do at home. It can lead to an explosion or contaminated concentrates that are not safe to consume.
What Is BHO (Butane Hash Oil)?
Butane hash oil is a category of concentrate made using the solvent butane. It is called a “concentrate” because it contains high levels of THC, also known as tetrahydrocannabinol — the main compound that produces cannabis’ signature high.
BHO is really, really strong.
Unlike dry herb, concentrates are consumed using a dab rig or dab pen. This involves heating the extract up on a nail, which is either made of metal, glass, or ceramic. Then, the user uses a lighter — also known as a torch — to vaporize their BHO, which they inhale through the dab rig stem, similar to a bong.
Butane hash oil is consumed via a dab rig or dab pen, not through a bong, vape, or joint.
Shatter, budder, crumble, honeycomb or wax, honey oil— these are all types of BHO. They’re mainly distinguished from one another due to their texture. Though THC content can differ slightly — as it can for weed strains — BHO extracts all contain high levels of the compound. Flavor-wise, types of butane hash oil are approximately the same.
10 Types of BHO, Ranked from Most to Least Gooey
- HONEY OIL, HASH OIL, or CANNABIS OIL: Also known as hash oil or cannabis oil, honey oil is the most viscous type of BHO. This means that it most closely resembles oil — is liquid, gold-colored, and consistent. Honey oil is often smoked via dab pen.
- BUDDER or BADDER: Named after butter, this type of butane hash oil is more solid than oil but less crumbly than wax. It has a taffy-life texture and can look like honey.
- WAX or HONEYCOMB: Similar to a candle or ear wax, this subset of BHO can often have a variety of holes in it, making it look like a honeycomb. It differs from shatter because of the purging method used. More specifically, the butane is removed from the wax through a whipping and stirring process; shatter is exposed to very high heat to remove the butane.
- CRUMBLE: Sometimes considered a subset of wax, crumble is a “crumblier” form of the extract, though not as hard and breakable as shatter.
- SHATTER or PULL-AND-SNAP: Though shatter and pull-and-snap are sometimes distinguished from one another, these two types of butane hash oil are known for being hard and flat. In other words, they may shatter when dropped or exposed to cold temperatures.
How Do You Smoke Butane Hash Oil?
BHO is smoked via a dab rig, which is similar to a silicone bong except it has a nail — hard surface on which to put your extract — instead of a bowl and is typically smaller in size and made of glass. There are bongs that can double as dab rigs, too.
To smoke butane hash oil, the concentrate is placed on the nail, which is made of metal, glass, or ceramic, using a metal dab tool. The tool prevents the user from getting sticky concentrate on their finger and wasting it.
Next, the user heats the nail using a portable torch. Some rigs, known an e-nails or electric rigs, don’t require a torch.
After the BHO is heated, the user inhales via the dab rig stem, similarly to a bong. Keep in mind that butane hash oil in all its forms is much stronger than regular weed. Beginners are advised not to take a deep inhale.
Butane hash oil is even stronger than hash — which is compressed cannabis trichomes and other plant matter that accumulate at the base of your weed grinder. Hash is often added to a join or bowl to make it stronger; BHO is not.
Butane Hash Oil Side Effects & Dangers
The most common side effect is a strong high sensation. This is due to the concentrates breathtaking amount of THC — between 60–90%. By contrast, strong dry herb clocks in at around 25% THC.
Some medical cannabis patients use butane hash oil for its potency — specifically those suffering from chronic pain. It is also possible to enjoy butane hash oil with strong CBD content, which may help with challenging mood disorders such as depression and anxiety or may help relieve seizures.
The biggest risk associated with BHO is impurities. This is why it’s critical to purchase extracts from licensed producers who have lab-tested their product for traces of butane and other impurities. Lab testing is also the only way to check THC and another cannabinoid and terpene content.
BHO Extraction: How Is It Made?
Butane hash oil is made through a process called extraction. During extraction, a chemical solvent, such as butane, is used to remove trichomes from cannabis plant matter. Once these chemicals are removed, a cannabis extract, such as hash, shatter, budder, or another form of BHO, remains.
The benefit of BHO extraction is that it allows for the isolation of specific cannabinoids. This is why the extract has such high levels of THC.
There Are Two Types of BHO Extraction
- OPEN BLASTING: Typical of at-home extraction. Open blasting is never recommended because it introduces chemicals into the air and has a higher probability of explosion.
- CLOSED LOOP: The type used by extraction facilities. Closed-loop extraction machines have no openings in which flammable gas may escape.
In both cases, flower is loaded into a tube. It is then rinsed with solvent, in this case butane. The solvent absorbs cannabinoids and terpenes from the plant, leaving behind the plant matter. Once the solvent is purged, only the cannabis extract — BHO in this case — remains.
FUN FACT: Typically the flower used to make extracts isn’t as photogenic as the kind you’ll see in a dispensary case.
Do Not Try to Make Butane Hash Oil at Home
Remember that even with a closed-loop extraction system, there are still significant risks associated with making BHO outside of a commercial environment. Professionals are trained in the intricacies of this machinery, such as gasket issues and other routine checks, which reduce the potential for explosions and impure product.
There are two dangers associated with at-home BHO production
- EXPLOSIONS: Butane is highly flammable and should not be handled by amateurs.
- IMPURE AND DANGEROUS EXTRACTS: Lab testing BHO is critical — this way, it doesn’t contain chemical traces. It is possible for butane to remain in the final product if not produced correctly.
When Was Butane Hash Oil Invented?
1999: Butane hash oil went mainstream in the late 1990s thanks to the invention of closed loop extraction. Before that, extraction was a much more volatile — and dangerous — process. It also made producing extracts much more affordable, as closed-loop methods allow the producer to reuse solvent.
2010: The High Times Cannabis Cup features concentrates for the first time. The prevalence of vapes, e-nails, and silicone products have since made dabbing more popular than ever.
What's the Difference Between Live Resin and BHO?
Live resin is a type of concentrate that involves flash-freezing the cannabis plant while it's alive to preserve its terpene profile. This sets it apart from other concentrates that involve drying and curing the planet.
Technically, live resin can be a type of BHO, meaning that it's made using butane as a solvent. However, carbon dioxide can also be used in live resin production.
Furthermore, not all butane hash oil is live resin; In fact, most isn't. As the process of flash-freezing the plant is expensive, live resin is more expensive than your average concentrate. Ask your budtender for more information.
BHO vs Hash
Hash is an overarching term derived from hashish. There are many ways to get hash, from dry-sifting to solvents to ice water. Butane hash oil is one from that involves the solvent butane. Other forms of hash include bubble hash, which is extracted with ice water or rosin, which is extracted using pressure and heat.
BHO Is Not for the Faint of Heart
With record-high levels of THC, butane hash oil is not for the unseasoned smoker. This extract varies widely in texture, from breakable shatter to peanut butter-like budder to gooey honey oil — all of which deliver an extremely powerful high. Today, BHO is the most popular type of dab and on the rise among medical and recreational cannabis users alike.