What is BHO
As mentioned earlier, it is butane hash oil, resulting from the process of extracting the resin glands called trichomes, leaving the plant material behind. Regular hash attempts to do this, but traditional and ancient techniques have their limitations.
Traditional methods of hash-making include beating the plants to release the trichomes and collecting them in a recipient. In some regions like Morocco, the trichomes will be sieved and separated by grade quality. Fine kief will be used to make top quality hash while the rest is compressed into a brick and primarily shipped abroad.
Charas in India are hand pressed and feet moulded, the main reason they are so dark. Whatever the method, a number of impurities that get added are significant. Everything from dust, to bugs, skin and even tiny plant debris gets bundled up into the final product. It is what gives hash its dry-putty, dough-like consistency.
The theory behind making BHO is quite elegant. You use butane, which is a non-polar solvent, to run through the weed. As it flows through cannabis plant matter, it instantly dissolves all the resin glands. The beauty of it is that it only dissolves the resin glands. No chlorophyll or other plant matter gets carried along. You collect the butane-oil mix in a recipient, and in theory, the butane will evaporate into the air completely, leaving behind no residue, only that pure, golden THC-rich goo.
It works, if and only if you use the right materials and respect the process. If you do not, it can be both dangerous and health hazardous.
BHO extraction: step-by-step guide
- First, gather your supplies: at least a quarter ounce of pot, a grinder, at least two canisters of liquid butane, a Pyrex glass dish, a double boiler, razor blades, parchment paper, and a “BHO extractor” (a length of PVC piping, capped at both ends, with a single hole at the top and several holes at the bottom). A paper filter is placed inside the bottom cap.
- Grind up the desired amount of weed. Use a fine grind, but don’t turn your pot into powder. If you’ve never done a BHO extraction, you might want to start with a quarter ounce.
- Next, put the weed inside your butane extraction tube. Shake the extractor lightly to settle the pot but don’t pack it. You want the butane to saturate every bit of marijuana, so it needs to be fairly loose inside the tube.
- Now insert the nozzle of a butane canister into the single hole at the top of the BHO extractor. Spray butane into the canister. A greenish-brown resin will ooze through the filter at the bottom of the extractor. Let this drop into the glass dish.
- Fill the bottom of the double boiler with water and bring it to a boil. Then place the Pyrex dish on the top part of the boiler. Leave the water at a boil for at least an hour until all the liquid butane has boiled off. You’ll know this part of the BHO extraction process is done when there are no more bubbles in the remaining resin.
- Next, scrape the sticky resin from the dish using razor blades. Transfer the oil to small pieces of parchment paper, then fold those pieces with the oil inside. This is your final product, butane hash oil.
- Lastly, let the oil cool and then, when it’s hard, move it to a non-stick storage container.
And there you have it: Those are the steps to THC extraction. Done right, you can produce hash oil that delivers a powerful, long-lasting high. Enjoy, but above all – be safe!
How to Make BHO with the Best Butane for BHO
It get’s its name from the process that it takes to make it.
So, how is cannabis oil made?
Well, instead of using water or alcohol like you would to make the hash, you use butane to extract the THC.
It’s made by placing plant trimmings or buds in a tube and dissolving the THC into the butane.
It’s not just the cannabinoids that are absorbed by the butane, though.
It also absorbs the various terpenes from the strain that you used.
This lets your wax take on the flavors of your strains—sometimes making them even stronger than when they were flower.
You then extract the concentrate from the butane using a special vacuum or a closed loop system that applies heat to it, keeping it at a low boiling temperature.
The hash that’s leftover is almost pure THC and is not for the faint of heart.
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How to maximize BHO yield
Everyone who uses butane as a solvent is already a leg-up over other solvents, which can produce smaller and lower-quality yields. Butane is one of the highest-yielding solvents, but there are some factors to consider when trying to maximize your yield.
Homemade BHO extracts won’t be nearly as refined as commercially-available products that have been rigorously tested for purity and potency. However, despite the limitations, home-based BHO extraction can produce a decent yield.
The size and quality of your BHO tools (Pyrex glass dish, butane canister, double boiler, PVC piping) will determine how much and how fast you produce your concentrates. Small-batch production, however, is ideal for home projects, as it allows you to reduce the amount of explosive gas used.
While more BHO is certainly better, you want to start off using the best quality cannabis flower or trim, where the majority of the cannabis resin is concentrated. Some extractors tout the benefits of using flowers frozen at their peak ripeness to reap more of its aroma and flavor.
Lastly, experience is crucial in producing dank and sticky extracts. Lab-grade equipment is built with safety in mind. Amateur extraction requires focus and precision to avoid a deadly consequence.
Extractors must be knowledgeable about purging the residual solvent from the BHO extract. Managing temperatures throughout the process can ensure you hold onto as many cannabinoids and terpenes as you can while removing all of the harmful butane.
Butane extraction tips
Tip #1: Grind your weed wisely.
You don’t want your weed too finely ground to the point that you can taste a harsh, bitter and grassy flavor in the end product. Master extractors recommend grinding your weed the same consistency you would grind it for a joint to take the right amount of space in your pipe.
Tip #2: Don’t overpack your bud
Cramming your weed into your column or packing it too loosely can lead to an uneven soak of the product. Instead, pack your pipe until you feel a bit of resistance and the material springs back up at you.
Tip #3: Check for leaks
Leaks are bad. Real bad. An easy way to check for leaks inside your column is by using a solution of water and soap instead of butane. Spray the water directly into your column and check for bubbles where they’re not supposed to be. It could save your life.
Tip #4: Color is everything
Cannabis resin can run through the end filter as a translucent yellow color in the beginning. When the material passing through has a clear hue, it’s time to stop pumping the solvent into the column.
Tip #5: Use cold temperatures to your advantage
Trap the bud’s moisture by freezing it to prevent the water acting as a solvent for water-soluble substances, which can pull out more of the undesirable chlorophyll compounds that can make your extract taste bad.
Why you should vacuum purge your BHO
Extract manufacturers and home concentrate enthusiasts work tirelessly to make the perfect batch of BHO. The BHO method is fraught with flammable materials and hazardous processes, but the single most dangerous part about crafting pure BHO has to be the BHO vacuum purging process.
Once the raw cannabis material has been blasted with butane, extractors do as much as they can to evaporate off the butane gas still trapped in the BHO extract. Excessive butane can ruin a batch’s flavor and potency, not to mention the harm is can cause to your lungs.
What is a vacuum purge?
Ancient and solventless extraction methods of removing trichomes from the cannabis plant don’t require an extensive vacuum purge. Hashish often contained some leftover organic plant matter because trichomes were manually shaken off the plant without the need for chemical solvents.
Modern extraction systems blast chemical solvents through fresh cannabis buds. A vacuum purge removes impurities and solvents from the extract. BHO vacuum purging requires a vacuum purge chamber and a vacuum to heat the extract at less than atmospheric pressure. Under these conditions, butane gas trapped in the product is released into the air.
When atmospheric pressure is lowered, compounds can boil at a lower temperature. Lower temp vacuum purges are crucial when you need to boil off butane without degrading the cannabinoids and terpenes.
How to perform a vacuum purge
State-of-the-art vacuum purging technology produces just the right amount of pressure to safely remove butane without damaging the therapeutic compounds in the concentrate. Vacuum purges will need to be performed multiple times until you’re left with a great-looking BHO that has a thick and viscous consistency.
Vacuum purges can be a dangerous affair. It’s important to perform a purge by a window or in an open area to reduce the chance of an explosion. One spark or a wrong piece of clothing can set the operation on fire. Extraction facilities use closed-loop systems, gas detection systems, and ventilation systems to protect its workers and extract BHO efficiently.
Despite the controversy surrounding BHO and the BHO method, the resulting dabs and shatter can make a full-spectrum concentrate full of cannabinoids and terpenes. Vacuum purging is essential to producing safe, pure, and tasty BHO shatter, dabs, wax, budder, and more every time.