The world of cannabis concentrates can be a bit confusing at first. Concentrates are stronger forms of marijuana, produced by an extraction method that strips out all the plant material and keeps only the active compounds, like cannabinoids (THC and CBD) and terpenes.
But beyond that basic similarity, there are many differences between all the cannabis extracts. The most obvious one is that the shape and consistency of concentrates vary a lot.
Shatter, for example, is hard but sticky to the touch, and looks like glass. Wax has a soft consistency, and is easier to work with but needs to be consumed more quickly.
But the consistency of a concentrate doesn't tell you everything you need to know. The type of cannabis oil used to create the concentrate matters too. So if you're wondering whether butane hash oil (BHO) and wax are the same thing, you're not quite asking the right question.
Wax concentrate can be made from BHO, or it can be made from different oils. Most concentrates in an average dispensary were probably produced with BHO, so it's quite likely if you have some wax, it's BHO wax.
What is Butane Hash Oil?
In general, weed concentrate can be produced either using chemical solvents, or without any solvents at all. The solvents used in the production process are usually butane, propane, ethanol, or carbon dioxide.
BHO concentrates, as you might imagine, are produced using butane. The final product can take the form of BHO shatter, budder, or BHO wax. The different consistencies are produced by using different temperatures. You can read more about it in our guide to BHO.
Butane hash oil concentrates can be among the strongest cannabis products out there, with THC concentration of 70-90%. So use caution when trying BHO concentrate: start slow to see how it works for you, and only use moderate amounts. It's extremely potent stuff.
The extraction process for BHO wax
Butane extraction is not an easy process, and it's dangerous to do on your own. Extraction companies will use closed loop equipment to ensure there are no explosions or contamination during the process.
Butane is a highly flammable solvent and it'll be destructive if exposed to open air, hence the closed loop system. Leave manufacturing BHO to professionals, and only buy products from licensed producers in regulated markets to ensure the safest possible product and experience.
The most common method for producing BHO is using the butane as a solvent to strip the active cannabinoids from the trichomes of the marijuana plant. The resulting butane hash oil then goes through a purging process to get rid of the residual solvents.
If the BHO is shaken during the production process, that will result in a softer form of BHO wax like budder. Producing BHO shatter works a bit differently: shatter is purged in a vacuum oven for two days. This process also hardens it, giving the cannabis shatter like consistency.
Shatter also is made using higher temperatures during the extraction process, while when making waxes, lower temperatures are used, preventing the BHO wax from hardening.
BHO Wax vs Other Cannabis Concentrates
Everything we've described so far has focused entirely on butane hash oil. Clearly there are a lot of different resulting concentrates, just from this one method alone. But there are other extraction methods too.
Other solvents that can be used include propane and ethanol, but probably the most popular among cannabis concentrate fans is carbon dioxide extraction, resulting in CO2 oil.
For users concerned about possible trace amounts of chemical solvent left in BHO wax, carbon dioxide seems a little safer, as it has a long track record of use in consumer products like decaf coffee.
There are also many concentrate options that are produced without the use of chemical solvents whatsoever. Some of these are very traditional, older forms of concentrate like hash and kief. These are produced using more natural methods like sifting, shaking, and compression.
Hash and kief might not be as strong as butane hash oil or CO2 oil, but there is one solventless concentrate that compares in terms of potency. Rosin is a high-strength concentrate that's made entirely from pressure and heat, without the use of solvents.
In general, rosin is typically more expensive, and can be among the priciest products at a dispensary. It certainly has an excellent flavor and potent effects, and for consumers worried about the potential dangers of chemicals, it can be worth it.
Best Vaporizer for Cannabis Concentrate
As with other concentrates, the most common way to enjoy BHO wax is by vaping it. You can also smoke the various forms of BHO, but you'll miss out on some of the THC and terpenes as they'll be burned away before you get to inhale them.
Concentrate vaporizers are the most popular method for consuming marijuana wax. Some BHO extract is also found in 510 oil cartridges, the format used by many vape pens.
Many users enjoy using a dab rig, which involves heating concentrate on a nail with a torch. But there's a bit of danger involved for people without much technical expertise.
There's a big range in quality among concentrate vapes. You can find expensive, non-portable models that deliver amazing vapor and low-grade vape pens with poor battery life, inferior vapor, and difficulty of maintenance.
Dry herb vapes that can also vaporize wax
If you enjoy both dry herb and concentrates, you'll probably want to get a vaporizer that can use both, rather than carting around two different devices. Many high-end dry herb vapes have optional accessories that allow you to insert a liquid pad into the chamber to make them safe for concentrate vaping.
These inserts work in a pinch, but with repeated use have some drawbacks. They can be difficult to clean, and time-consuming if you want to have more than one bowl, as you need to wait for the hot parts to cool off.
The Furna vaporizer brings something new to the table: multiple ovens that can be instantly swapped one for another. There are specialized ovens for dry herb, concentrate, and even 510 oil cartridge compatible ovens.
You can pre-pack ovens in advance, and can switch between them as much as you like, giving you all the options you need for any given session. You don't even have to wait for them to cool down, as the ovens are insulated for safe handling.
It's a game-changer for anyone interested in a single device that can vape every type of cannabis. No more clumsy cleaning hot parts and reloading awkwardly in an inconvenient location. With Furna, you can have everything you want at your fingertips. Check out the Furna vape for yourself.