Let us make this very clear about BHO or Butane Hash Oil extractions, this process is considered one of, if not, the most dangerous form of extraction methods that have resulted in being responsible for causing the most fires, deaths, or loss of limbs from cannabis extraction methods. You have to understand you are “blasting” butane into your cannabis within a blasting tube that creates a highly pressurized environment filled with butane, surrounded by glass, that you have to allow the liquid being extracted to fall out into a pyrex dish that’s on active heat.
For those not following, one open flame, one spark, one ounce of heat too hot for butane to ignite, and congratulations you’ll be holding onto a glass bomb that will explode very rapidly along with any butane tanks or canisters you have in the room.
This is why WE DO NOT RECOMMEND doing BHO extracts at home unless you have an outdoor environment to work in and the proper tools or safety equipment, as well as having a vacuum chamber to properly purge excess residuals. Butane is a highly volatile substance so therefore we don’t suggest ingesting it in any form. So having a vacuum chamber will purge the excess residuals and allow you a guarantee that your solvent-based extract will be clean and clear of excess residuals, or test low enough numbers of residuals to not be harmful to inhale.
Solventless extraction methods will always be the safest. See our article on solventless rosin extraction methods.
What Is Butane Hash Oil?
Butane Hash Oil or BHO is a concentrated cannabis extract that’s solvent-based, using a blasting method with butane to extract trichomes from frozen, fresh, or dry and cured cannabis. BHO comes in a variety of consistencies including sugars, cannabis shatter, waxes, buddha, and even live resin-like consistencies! There are many extractions, curing, and blasting methods being developed by BHO extractors every day, so expect even more unique consistencies to be developed!
What Will You Need To Make Butane Hash Oil At Home?
Again, WE DO NOT RECOMMEND doing this at home, however, if you must then we recommend doing it in an outdoor space. Doing it in any room, indoor space, or poorly circulated space will result in some seriously dangerous situations with butane potentially lighting you on fire or blowing you up.
You want as much airflow as possible, meaning if you HAVE to do it indoors, which again we don’t recommend, make sure you have windows that are exactly opposite to pull air in and air out with fans. Use a lot of fans, but not fans that cause sparks or are old. ANY SPARK CAN IGNITE BUTANE if butane is left stagnating in the air or during the evaporation process. So now that we’ve given you multiple warnings let’s break into what we actually need for this process.
You’ll need to purchase a quality pyrex blasting tube that is thick enough, large enough, and quality enough to withstand the butane blasting process or a proper steel tube with a closed loop and valves you can release the extract with. These tubes are pricier but make for a more professional, safer, and quality outcome. You don’t want to go cheap with pyrex if you plan on buying that type of tube, as cheap glass can fracture under cold temperatures and pressures. Butane, for those that have never blasted before, will be freezing your bud in a liquid form, however since it’s a gas being put under pressure within the canister, it becomes liquid within that canister, which when released, it releases the pressurized gasses contained within the canister creating freezing temperatures. This means if you buy cheap glass or not a proper blasting tube you can potentially have the tube shatter in your hand from too cold of temperatures.
If using a pyrex tube you’ll need to purchase a micron cloth such as a 25, 37, 45, or 70-micron screen to attach to the bottom of the tube which will allow your unpurged BHO to flow through, whilst clearing it of plant matter.
Professional lab-grade blasting setups generally have valves and screens that allow for minimal plant material to fall through, if any at all. We always recommend getting one of these setups.
- You’ll want gloves for handling cold items, such as winter gloves, oven mitts, or snow mittens. You’ll also want actual gloves such as nitrile or vinyl to handle the products after the blasting process to keep it clean.
- We highly recommend always using a respirator while blasting! Preferably one designed for paint fumes, as butane evaporates almost in the same particle size and will be filtered. Butane is highly volatile and not suggested for anyone to inhale.
- You’ll need fans, preferably oscillating ones as it helps move air across the surface you’ll be working with. Yes, you’ll still want a fan blowing across your surface if you’re outside, as when the butane hash oil is being purged of excess residuals in the pyrex dish you’ll want a fan to be blowing air across the evaporating butane to help disperse it and reduce the chance of ignition. Butane is HIGHLY flammable.
- You’ll want a pyrex baking dish, large enough and deep enough to collect all of your unpurged BHO. We recommend one the same size as your vacuum chamber.
- We do not recommend ever doing BHO without a vacuum chamber. Many brands are available for purchase including ones such as BACOENG or BVV (Best Value Vacs) on amazon. This will ensure your product is completely purged of excess residuals from the blasting process. So be sure to purchase a vacuum chamber!
- You’ll want parchment paper for collection. You’ll place this in the pyrex dish where you’ll blast your unpurged BHO into, from here you’ll place your parchment containing your unpurged BHO into the vacuum chamber where it will be purged. You’ll want a large enough sheet to create edges to prevent spilling!
- You’ll want refined butane, the more refined the better quality the BHO will be. We recommend using 7x refined or 11x refined butane, as we use 11x refined and it creates the cleanest and clearest BHO. The lower quality butane will create darker colored concentrates and harsher tastes.
- You’ll want a collection tool and your preferred way of curing your BHO such as heat cure with jar tech, cold storage, freezing, room temperature, or whipping air into your BHO and making a Buddha!
Should You Freeze Your Bud, Dry Your Bud, Or Blast Your Bud Fresh?
Good question! It really depends on the type of consistency you’d like to get or end product color, flavors, or profiles. Blasting fresh versus frozen bud will produce two different looking BHO, with potency relatively remaining the same between the two, if they came from the same plant. So it will be up to you on which consistency you would like.
Freshly harvested bud will give a more live resin type consistency, more saucy or unstable. This will have excess terpenes within the profiles of the smoke as the freshness of the bud allows for the terpenes to be extracted at a “fresher” time, promoting more prevalent flavors! Generally, this consistency will stay unstable regardless of giving it cold temperatures to try to help freeze it. It will become more easily worked with the colder it becomes but will be ultimately unstable.
Frozen bud that was put directly into the freezer as fresh as possible will also create a live resin-like flavor profile, only freezing product tends to allow a more shatter like consistency. This will create a sauce-like BHO that will be stable at cooler temperatures and become unstable at room temperature or hotter temperatures.
Dried and cured bud will create a wax to shatter like consistency depending on the curing process used after the BHO is purged. Dried and cured bud is generally the most preferred as you can freeze it before the extraction process to help the trichomes fall off quicker, as well as, cured bud has had a chance to mature or develop its terpene profiles. This creates a smoother and almost as tasty concentrate, like freshly harvested bud would make.
How To Extract Butane Hash Oil?
To extract BHO you really need to be extremely cautious about where you set butane, where heat is, where fans are blowing, and potential sparks or open flames. Butane Hash Oil extractions can cause severe danger, damage, or bodily harm if done improperly. Extract at your own risk!
- Prepare your Space
First and foremost we always recommend setting up your area properly. This includes a table, fans, blasting tube, having a stand for your blasting tube, as holding onto these tubes can get seriously cold, respirator, gloves, pyrex dish, parchment paper, and your vacuum chamber. If you don’t have a blasting tube stand you’ll want winter gloves, oven mitts, or snow mittens to help reduce that frostbite you’ll be receiving if you didn’t have them on!
- Prepare the Product for Extraction
Be sure to prep your product for extraction, taking out all the stems as well as grinding it up, then insert your cannabis into your blasting tube. You don’t want to pack it tight enough to where no liquid can get through, but you want your material ground up and spread evenly in a tightly packed manner to fill your tube and make use of your butane to the fullest!
- Get your Parchment Paper and Pyrex Dish
You’ll want to prep your parchment paper and pyrex dish. Generally, we recommend making an almost square-like tray with your parchment paper, or oval, depending on the pyrex dish. Make sure you have at least 2 inches or more on all sides as you won’t want your BHO to spill out when transferring it to your vacuum chamber. Now you can skip this whole step if you wish to blast directly into parchment within your blasting chamber, however most blasting stands don’t allow for that amount of height to reach into, so you’ll have to have someone hold the blasting tube for you or hold it yourself. We don’t recommend having your vacuum chamber on or plugged in during this time.
- Ensure Airflow is Sufficient
Make sure you have a fan blowing across the surface area where your BHO will be pouring out of, you basically want airflow actively dispersing the evaporating butane to help prevent the chance of igniting your butane, inhaling the fumes, or filling your area around you with stagnant butane.
- Insert Butane into the Tube
Be sure you have your respirator on, gloves on, and you have all of your items prepped and ready. Make sure no open flames, sparkes, or fire will be near or around this area. Once ready take your butane and insert the tip into the blasting tube. We’ll be assuming you’re using a professional closed loop blasting tube setup with valves, so be sure to insert the tip of your butane into the top of your tube then open the valve.
You’ll “blast” or press down on the nozzle for 5 to 10-second increments until you’ve used one to four full cans of butane. Generally, a 250-gram tube can hold about 4 cans of butane. Remember though, when switching cans be sure to close the valve before removing the canister tip, otherwise, butane will be spewing back in your face. You do want to be “quicker” in a sense with this blasting process, however, don’t get too ahead of yourself and create a dangerous situation. Take your time and be precise.
- Collect your Butane
Once you have filled your tube, close the valve and take out your last can. You’ll flip your tube over and allow the butane to completely coat your product. Once it’s dripped all the way down you’ll flip it back over again and allow it to collect at the bottom. Once collected place your pyrex dish or your vacuum chamber with your parchment paper within the dish or vacuum chamber underneath the blasting tube. Open the valve and begin allowing every bit of unpurged BHO to seep out.
DO NOT STIR or mix up the BHO during this process. It will look like it’s boiling, this bubbling process is the evaporation of butane happening at room temperatures.
Set up your vacuum chamber to be pulling -28 to -29.5 inHg, or inch of mercury, which is the unit used to measure pressure. Once set up insert your parchment with the unpurged BHO into your vacuum chamber and begin the purging process. You’ll do 30 minutes of -29.5 inHg then allow for it to depressurize. You’ll continue this cycle until you are happy with your purge or results, we recommend at least 2 hours of purging. Once you see the boiling or bubbling come to a halt and the BHO begins to become stable, you’re very close or at the end of the purge.
- Cure your BHO
Now you’re finished with your BHO and you can cure it and create different consistencies of concentrate! If you decide to place your extract in a jar and heat it to 105 to 150 degrees Fahrenheit then store it sealed for one to two weeks you can create a sauce or diamond-like consistency. Potentially even a sugar-like consistency. However, if you store it at freezing temperatures you’ll have a more shatter-like consistency. If you heat it and then apply a whipping technique you can whip air into it and create Buddha! There are lots of ways to get creative with your concentrate, now that you’ve purged it safely, have fun and experiment!
Now, remember you have a potent concentrate that potentially can be left with residuals. There are at-home methods of using heat plates to purge BHO, however many times this is a very dangerous method, as well as, testing higher in residuals that can be harmful. We recommend with any solvent-based extracts you spend the money where it’s necessary, such as a vacuum chamber and quality blasting tube setup. It creates a safer extraction process and cleaner concentrate. After all, we consume cannabis to cure ailments not create them!