What Is Bho and Is It Safe?‏

BHO (Butane Hash Oil) is an extremely potent cannabis extraction that is made by dissolving THC in butane. The final product is a waxy, resinous material that is smoked in much the same way as dabs. However, given the method of extraction, the safety of BHO is up for debate. Read this article to find out all about BHO and if it is safe to use.

Although Butane Hash Oil (BHO) has been a method of extracting cannabis for quite a long time, its popularity has not grown until more recently. With its increased use and increased popularity, a lot of questions have arisen as to if it is safe to use. BHO is a waxy, oily cannabis extract that is extremely potent and can be very high in THC content. However, the concern arises out of the fact that the method for extraction of THC is butane and whether any of this makes it into the final product.

Of course, when we consider that some of the solvent might make it into the final product, it becomes quite alarming. However, most butane tests between 60 and 90 percent THC, which is a lot more than the fresh buds that most people smoke. A lot of the material inhaled into the lungs through smoking the buds is carcinogenic material, and only about 20 percent of it is THC. So how exactly is BHO made and is it ever safe to use?

What is BHO?

BHO is another highly potent form of cannabis extraction and, just like any other extraction, is made by dissolving the THC in a solvent. However, in the case of BHO, that solvent is butane. The plant material is put in a tube and effectively blasted with pressurized butane. This process of blasting the butane through the tube makes the solvent wash over the plant material, extracting the THC but without dissolving the actual cannabis buds. This means that the remaining solution is extremely rich in THC.

Because butane is not for human ingestion, the next step in the process is to remove the solvent. This is done by a process of applying heat, and to achieve the best results a vacuum is used to make the process faster and retain as many as the terpenes and cannabinoids as possible. It is a delicate process of maintaining the alcohol at a low boiling temperature until all of the solvent has evaporated.

How is it made?

Sometimes other hydrocarbons are used as solvents for this process instead of butane. For example, propane and hexane can be used to make the same process although all different solvents produce a different result. They vary in flavour and consistency in the final product, but are all used in the exact same way. After the process of evaporating the solvent, what is left behind is a waxy, sticky resinous-like material that is extremely high in THC. BHO is probably one of the most potent concentrates that is available on the cannabis market, and its popularity is growing among users.

It is usually used by a method called dabbing. Dabbing involves taking a piece of the shatter or wax and putting it in a bong. It is heated with a blow torch or a hot rod and then inhaled through the mouthpiece. However, BHO can be put in a joint or pipe and smoked that way. Alternatively, it can also be vaporized.

Close up of butane extraction process
Butane extraction up close

Is BHO safe to use?

This issue is controversial because if BHO is made properly, it is safe to use. However, lack of regulation means finding this out is extremely difficult. As long as the THC was dissolved in butane, even if only a small amount makes it into the final product, then it is not good for the human body. Butane is generally not made for human consumption, although in tiny amounts it is not said to be dangerous. However, it is nonetheless a chemical agent that is foreign to the human body and not appropriate for those using cannabis for medical reasons.

Theoretically, BHO is not meant to contain any butane despite having been made with butane. It should technically be butane-free. However, in a lot of places that BHO is sold, it is not regulated, meaning that some may contain contaminants that are not healthy. But if butane is made correctly, and contains no butane, it can contain up to 90% THC. This means that hardly any of what is being inhaled into the lungs are carcinogens, but are pure cannabinoids. This is much healthier for the lungs than smoking buds from a bong, pipe, or joint. The remaining 10 or 20 percent in these BHO products are usually concrete oils, waxes, and sometimes chlorophyll.

Cannabis extracts are generally seen to be much purer than other cannabis products because the essential parts that are medicinal are extracted. However, there are many ways of extracting THC, whether into alcohol, oil, or using butane, and each one produces a different result.

So the matter is up for debate. If you don’t really know where your BHO comes from or who made it, then it could potentially contain chemicals that are harmful to the body and a lot of exposure could be detrimental to your health. But that does not mean that it is always dangerous; it is just a matter of knowing where it comes from and how well it was made.

BHO oil seen up close
Butane Hash Oil result

Do not try to make BHO!

Unless you are a professional and know exactly what you are doing, you definitely should not make BHO. In fact, the biggest danger associated with BHO is accidents that occur in the process of trying to make it. There are countless stories out there of those who have attempted making BHO and caused explosions in their kitchen that are potentially fatal.

Making BHO involves pressurizing alcohol and then boiling it, which is extremely dangerous. This can cause explosions and fires. So if you’re thinking about making BHO, and you are not learning from a professional, you can give up your efforts. It is not worth it! Without the correct equipment, location, and supervision, this is extremely dangerous.

Deciding if BHO is healthy is completely up to the user. Yes, it is controversial and there are probably potential health risks involved with smoking BHO because there are potential health risks involved with smoking anything. The most important thing is to be sensible in the decisions and don’t be a victim of another failed BHO attempt.


4 thoughts on “What Is Bho and Is It Safe?‏”

  1. Appreciate the info, what if using bho in cannabis cooked d products? Ie:chocolates, cookies etc,does it reduce potency quality

  2. Does this need to be “heated” to get affects, or can you ingest it.
    I prefer the body high than the head high.
    thank you!

    1. olivier - WeedSeedShop

      Hi Rachelle, BHO is most commonly smoked but it is also possible to ingest it.

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  • Author_profiles-WSS-Sera Jane Ghaly

    Sera Jane Ghaly

    I like to call myself the traveling gypsy wanderer of the world. Born in Melbourne Australia, but reborn just about everywhere else in the world. I have a healthy obsession with words and languages, using them as a vehicle to navigate this multi-dimensional human experience. My enthusiasm for marijuana started in the USA, and since then I’ve been traveling the world with the herb as my inspiration. Sweet Mary Jane has led me to shamanic ceremonies in the Amazon all the way to smoking ganja with the Babas in India.
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