BHO stands for butane hash oil. It is a potent form of cannabis concentrates that comes in various consistencies including budder, shatter, wax and more. The name comes from the fact that butane is the solvent used to extract the oils from cannabis.
There are dangers involved with using butane to extract, including a risk of explosion. Not to mention, any pesticides, mold or other contaminants that were in the processed weed will end up concentrated in the extract. This means there are risks to both extractors and consumers.
To ensure your safety, the task of making BHO is best left to experts with the proper materials and equipment. There are a lot of errors that can be made during the extraction process that will lead to contaminants in the extract even if the flower used was clean. So if you are a consumer, you’ll want to make sure your butane hash oil is coming from a reliable source.
How Is It Extracted?
Plant material is loaded into a tube and it is soaked in butane as a solvent to separate the oils out. However, there are more than one ways to make butane hash oil.
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The original method of making BHO, which commercial extractors have stepped away from, is called open blasting.
Open blasting is an outdated technique that is considered both dangerous and wasteful. The danger comes from the fact that there is nothing to contain the flammable solvent. As a result, any ignition near where you are open blasting will result in a fiery explosion.
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There are advantages of closed-loop systems other than having no openings for flammable gas to leak out of. All solvents are filled into a pressurized tank then attached to the extraction tube where all the plant materials are held. It’s worth noting that even though a closed-loop system is safer than open blasting, safety checks, precautions and measures must be taken to ensure nothing goes wrong. Seemingly small issues like a blown gasket can cause much larger issues.
The next advantage is the fact that solvents can be reused. Residual solvents collect in the recovery tank where they can be stored and recycled.
How To Consume It
Consider this a warning, if you are not a heavy cannabis consumer and you have no experience with cannabis concentrates, start slow. They call consuming extracts “doing a dab” for a reason. You only need a “dab” or a small amount to feel the potency.
The most common way to consume BHO is with the assistance of a torch flame, dab rig and nail. Most modern concentrate users prefer low temp dabbing with the addition of a carb cap. E-nails are a great way to enjoy the advantages of low-temperature dabbing without the need for a torch or butane. An e-nail usually consists of two parts: the controller where you can adjust the temperature and the heating element that wraps around a nail.
When BHO first gained popularity, titanium nails were used to drop super hot dabs, seconds after the nail is torched. Since then, dabbing has evolved to more effectively vaporize cannabis oils with minimal compromise to the flavor.
Low Temp Dabbing
Low-temperature dabs involve getting your nail about as hot as can be and waiting for it to cool before dropping the extract in.
Depending on your specific nail and the amount of time you spent heating, you can wait anywhere from about 20 seconds to over a minute. It all depends on how much heat the nail can retain. Once the nail is cool enough to vaporize the oil without completely burning the terpenes and cannabinoids away instantly, it’s safe to drop the dab.
Add the carb cap once the extracts have melted onto the nail. If it was harsh and burnt tasting, with stickiness to your lips or teeth, you went in too hot. If it was smoother and more flavorful than a high-temperature dab, you did it right and there should be some leftover oil to Q-tip up. You have to constantly clean your nails if you want to keep the flavors prominent and maximize vaporization.
The next step in the evolution of low temp dabbing is the quartz insert. Quartz inserts take things a step further by forcing the concentrates to rapidly go from a low-temperature to a higher one. This allows you to experience cannabinoids and terpenes at a temperature that you previously couldn’t with a nail and cap alone.
Quartz inserts come in different shapes and sizes. The ones we are talking about are in the shape of cups that fit into any of the best quartz bangers on the market.
To taste as much of your terpenes as possible while maintaining a constant level of vaporization, we recommend trying the insert drop technique. Pre-fill the insert with your concentrate and set it aside.
Next, heat up the banger for about a minute all around. Depending on your bangers heat retention and the size of your dab, you can drop the insert in 5 to 30 seconds after you cut the torch flame. Bigger dabs should be dropped sooner. Wait a little longer on fresh nails with thick quartz.
Different Consistencies Of BHO
There are over a dozen different kinds of cannabis concentrates. Even if you use butane every time, the consistency of the material will vary. This is due to the material and techniques utilized during the extraction process. Many look like wax while others have a glassier appearance.
Oil is what we call the loosest consistency of butane hash oil. It’s sticky and only a bit thicker than a liquid. Oils that are slightly thicker than normal are called saps. Oils and saps are difficult to handle compared to other consistencies. As a result, they have become one of the least popular forms of BHO on the market.
Budder is a consistency that can be attained by introducing agitation during the extraction process. The name comes from the fact that it is similar in consistency to butter. It looks a little wet and it can be easily scooped and spread. There’s no real advantage to having a budder over a crumble or shatter. It all depends on preference. Wax pen users might prefer budder, crumble or shatter over a sappier oil.
Crumble is named after the fact that it crumbles like dry cheese when you scoop some. Everytime you scoop from a wad of crumble, tons of tiny bits that are harder to scoop up break off. Crumble easier to handle than oils but less desirable than budder and shatter.
Shatter is pretty much the only form of cannabis concentrate that can be handled without the assistance of a tool. The name comes from the fact that it shatters like glass. In fact, the real glassy stuff will end up breaking and flying off with a tool. Shatter can come in a looser “pull ‘n snap” consistency which is easier to handle with a tool.
Live resin concentrates are almost always made with butane. They differ from other extracts because of the material used. Nugs or trim that was just harvested and cryogenically frozen is used in the extraction process. They can take on different consistencies including THCa crystalline, sauce, sugar, shatter and budder.
Final Hit: What Is Butane Hash Oil (BHO)?
Butane hash oil is the most common method of making cannabis extracts. Most of the concentrates on the shelves of dispensaries are made with it. If you’re not comfortable with consuming or working with hydrocarbons, there is a cheap, easy and non-explosive way to make dabs at home called the rosin technique. Extractors can also make hash without putting themselves at risk of physical harm. Combine the rosin technique with hash making techniques to end up with connoisseur-quality products like live rosin.