A Guide to BHO (Butane Hash Oil) Extraction
Before diving in, it’s important to know that BHO wax is made by stripping resin from marijuana buds. This THC-rich resin is then smoked using a dab rig or added to a joint or smoldering bowl. Although the extraction process is relatively simple, it can be dangerous due to the use of highly explosive butane gas. In recent years, there have been an increasing number of news stories about people accidentally blowing up their homes while attempting to make BHO.
BHO extraction: a step-by-step guide
- Gather your supplies: a quarter ounce of cannabis, a grinder, two canisters of liquid butane, a Pyrex glass dish, a double boiler, razor blades, parchment paper, and a BHO extractor or extraction tube (a PVC pipe capped at both ends, with one hole at the top and several at the bottom). Place a paper filter inside the bottom cap.
- Grind your cannabis, aiming for a fine consistency without turning it into powder. If you’re new to BHO extraction, start with a quarter ounce.
- Place the ground cannabis in your butane extraction tube. Shake it gently to settle the cannabis without packing it too tightly, allowing butane to saturate every bit of it.
- Insert the nozzle of a butane canister into the single hole at the top of the BHO extractor. Spray butane into the canister, and a greenish-brown resin will seep through the filter at the bottom, dripping into the glass dish.
- Fill the double boiler’s bottom with water and bring it to a boil. Place the Pyrex dish on the top part of the boiler and let the water boil for at least an hour until all the liquid butane has evaporated. You’ll know it’s done when there are no more bubbles in the remaining resin.
- Scrape the sticky resin from the dish using razor blades and transfer it to small parchment paper pieces. Fold these pieces with the oil inside – this is your final product, butane hash oil.
- Allow the oil to cool and harden before transferring it to a non-stick storage container.
And there you have it: those are the steps to THC extraction. When done correctly, you can create hash oil that delivers a powerful, long-lasting high.
Maximizing BHO yield
Butane already offers a higher yield than other solvents, but there are factors to consider when trying to maximize your yield. Homemade BHO extracts won’t be as refined as commercial products, but home-based extraction can still produce a decent yield.
The quality and size of your BHO tools (Pyrex glass dish, butane canister, double boiler, PVC piping) will affect your yield and production speed. Small-batch production is ideal for home projects, as it reduces the amount of explosive gas used.
Starting with high-quality cannabis flower or trim is essential for a better yield. Some extractors recommend using flowers frozen at peak ripeness for improved aroma and flavor. Ultimately, experience is crucial for producing top-quality extracts. Amateur extraction requires focus and precision to avoid dangerous consequences.
Extractors must be knowledgeable about purging residual solvent from the BHO extract. Proper temperature management throughout the process ensures you retain as many cannabinoids and terpenes as possible while eliminating harmful butane.
Butane extraction tips
Tip #1: Grind with care
As fellow cannabis connoisseurs, we know the importance of grinding our weed just right. You don’t want it too finely ground, as it may result in a harsh, bitter, and grassy flavor in the final product. Expert extractors suggest grinding your weed to the same consistency you’d use for rolling a joint to ensure it takes up the right amount of space in your pipe.
Tip #2: Avoid overpacking
Overstuffing your weed into the column or packing it too loosely can lead to an uneven soak. Instead, we recommend packing your pipe until you feel a bit of resistance and the material springs back up slightly.
Tip #3: Keep an eye out for leaks
Leaks can be seriously dangerous. An easy way for us to check for leaks inside the column is by using a soap and water solution instead of butane. Spray the mixture directly into your column and watch for unexpected bubbles. This simple step could save your life.
Tip #4: Pay attention to color
The color of cannabis resin is crucial. It typically runs through the end filter as a translucent yellow color at first. However, once the material passing through becomes clear, it’s time to stop pumping the solvent into the column.
Tip #5: Utilize the power of cold
Freezing your bud traps its moisture, preventing water from acting as a solvent for water-soluble substances. This helps avoid extracting more undesirable chlorophyll compounds, which can negatively impact the taste of your extract. Using cold temperatures to your advantage can lead to a better-tasting final product.
Vacuum purging your BHO
As extract manufacturers and home concentrate enthusiasts, we strive to create the perfect batch of BHO. The BHO method involves flammable materials and hazardous processes, but the most dangerous aspect of crafting pure BHO is the BHO vacuum purging process.
After blasting raw cannabis material with butane, we work hard to evaporate the trapped butane gas in the BHO extract. Excessive butane can ruin a batch’s flavor and potency, not to mention the harm it can cause to our lungs.
What is a vacuum purge?
Traditional, solventless extraction methods for removing trichomes from the cannabis plant didn’t require extensive vacuum purging. 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 use chemical solvents to process 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, trapped butane gas is released into the air.
Lowering atmospheric pressure allows compounds to boil at lower temperatures. Low-temp vacuum purges are crucial for boiling off butane without degrading cannabinoids and terpenes.
What are the benefits of vacuum purging?
We’re all aware of the dangers of home butane extraction, but a less-discussed hidden danger is the impurities left behind by butane solvents. Butane can leave behind olfactory agents like mercaptans or sulfur dioxide used for detecting gas leaks.
Each BHO manufacturer employs its own process and workflow. However, not all extracts undergo proper vacuum purging. Although it’s nearly impossible to completely remove a solvent from a concentrate, thorough vacuum purging can produce a pure and flavorful BHO extract.
What equipment is needed for a vacuum purge?
Some hobbyists perform vacuum purging using a water method, combining extracted BHO into a dish with hot water. The heat from the water purges the butane, and a vacuum pump completes the process.
The required equipment depends on the size of your batch and the type of extract you’re creating. Your equipment choice determines the duration of the vacuum purging process and the necessary temperatures.
A vacuum purge can be accomplished with a vacuum, a vacuum purge chamber, and a hose attachment. You can make your own vacuum purge setup if you’re mechanically inclined or buy pre-made vacuum purging kits.
Entry-level vacuum purging chambers can achieve low pressures, around -27inHG, suitable for small batches but potentially time-consuming. Vacuum purging pressures should be as close to -29.92inHG as possible to create a complete vacuum.
How to perform a vacuum purge
State-of-the-art vacuum purging technology produces the right amount of pressure to safely remove butane without damaging the therapeutic compounds in the concentrate. Vacuum purges must be performed multiple times until you’re left with great-looking BHO with a thick and viscous consistency.
Vacuum purges can be dangerous. It’s essential to purge by a window or in an open area to reduce explosion risks. One spark or wrong piece of clothing can ignite a fire. Extraction facilities use closed-loop systems, gas detection systems, and ventilation systems to protect workers and extract BHO efficiently.
Despite the controversy surrounding BHO and its method, the resulting dabs and shatter can create a full-spectrum concentrate full of cannabinoids and terpenes. Vacuum purging is vital for producing safe, pure, and delicious BHO shatter, dabs, wax, budder, and more every time.