Cannabis concentrates are stronger, more concentrated forms of marijuana that give you more potent effects. They're exploding in popularity due to legalized markets, and they give cannabis consumers a fun new variety of products to try and add to their repertoire.
If you've never vaped weed concentrate or dabbled in dabs, the world of concentrates can be a bit overwhelming at first. If you need an overview of what all the different concentrates are, check out our article about cannabis concentrates for beginners.
In this article, we'll focus on one type of marijuana concentrate: butane hash oil (BHO). Typically, BHO cannabis products are some of the most potent concentrates out there, with THC content of around 70-90%.
Butane hash oils, also sometimes known as butane honey oil, can come in a variety of forms and textures. You may be familiar with terms like wax, budder, shatter, and crumble. Although these textures can be produced using other extraction methods, these products usually are made from BHO.
First, we’ll look at how BHO extracts are produced. Then, we'll talk a little bit about how butane hash oil compares with other concentrates. Finally, we'll discuss how to vape BHO.
The BHO Extraction Process
When BHO concentrates are manufactured, butane is used as a chemical solvent to separate the active compounds (like THC and CBD) from the trichomes of the cannabis plant.
The plant material is then discarded. The resulting butane hash oil is usually somewhere between golden and dark amber in color. It can have a consistency anywhere from a liquid oil to hard, glass-like shatter.
Professional manufacturers usually use what's called closed loop extraction (or closed loop system). This allows the butane to travel through the plant matter without being exposed to air. Since butane is a flammable solvent, producing BHO concentrate can be very dangerous.
Don't try to produce butane hash oil at home, even if you have professional BHO extraction equipment. Any errors in butane extraction can lead to disaster.
The safety of butane solvent
Although producing BHO oil can be dangerous if not done by professionals, consuming butane hash oil isn't dangerous. Of course, be sure to only buy from licensed producers in a regulated market. You want to make sure you're getting a concentrate that is safe to vape.
BHO extraction does involve using chemical solvents, but after the process of making the concentrate is done, the solvents are thoroughly purged. It’s possible that some trace amounts of residual solvents remain in the resulting concentrate.
Some cannabis consumers are concerned about the use of solvents, and they choose to stick to concentrates produced using solventless techniques. Unfortunately, doing this would restrict you to using just hash, rosin, and kief.
Some people claim that CO2 oil is a safer alternative to BHO oil. In CO2 oil, carbon dioxide is used as the solvent, and they argue that carbon dioxide has a longer track record of safe use in consumer products.
BHO Cannabis Concentrates
One big advantage of butane hash oil cannabis concentrate is that it usually packs a great punch for the price. It's one of the strongest weed concentrates out there, but because the extraction method is relatively cheap and efficient.
Butane hash oil does a great job of retaining the original cannabinoids (THC and CBD) from the original plant materials. However, some of the terpenes will be lost because of the high temperature of BHO extraction.
CO2 oil will have more terpenes than BHO oil, and a flavor closer to the original cannabis flower. But C02 oil is usually more expensive than butane hash oil.
How to Consume BHO
BHO extracts can have a variety of shapes and consistency. BHO wax, the most common BHO concentrate, is soft and easy to break apart. Shatter, on the other hand, is a solid translucent substance that looks like glass.
There are also BHO oils and saps, but because they're more of a liquid consistency and tough to handle without making a mess, they're less popular.
Live resin is made from flash frozen marijuana plants that didn't go through drying and curing. Live resin has more terpenes than other BHO concentrates, and has a more complex flavor.
Other forms of BHO include budder, sauce, diamonds, pull and snap, and crumble.
Dabbing vs vaping butane hash oil
The most popular way to use BHO wax is dabbing it, using a dab rig. A dab rig is a specialized device for consuming concentrate. You apply a small amount of concentrate to the nail, heat the nail with a torch, then breathe in the resulting vapor.
Dab rigs aren't for everybody, and many folks choose to enjoy their concentrates using a vaporizer. You'll need one designed for use with cannabis concentrate.
Using BHO in a Dry Herb Vaporizer
If you're planning to vape both dry herb and concentrates, you might not want two separate devices. That can become a pain in terms of clutter, especially if you're trying to stay portable.
With some dry herb vaporizers, it's possible to add a little bit of concentrate, as long as it's surrounded by dry herb. You're mostly just trying to prevent a mess that will be annoying to clean.
Other vaporizers will have specialized inserts that let you safely enjoy a concentrate-only session. However, these inserts can be awkward to handle, especially if they're still hot. Clean-up is also pretty frustrating.
The Furna vaporizer features an innovative concept that combines the best of concentrate vaping and dry herb vaping in a single device. Furna has multiple ovens: some are designed for dry herb, others concentrate, and finally, 510 oil cartridges.
You can instantly swap between ovens of different types, and it's extremely convenient to be able to load up ovens in advance. A single session can effortlessly go between dry herb and concentrate and back again, with no pauses. Check out Furna to learn more.