Wax and its other concentrate counterparts are some of the most popular cannabis products today, largely thanks to their incredible potency and fantastic flavor. However, some questions are being raised about the safety of some of these products, and some of those questions are very valid.
BHO wax, for instance, has been the subject of debate within the cannabis community due to the butane solvent used in the extraction process. Some believe users should approach this and other BHO concentrates with a ton of caution, while others think the concern is overblown.
So is BHO wax safe or not? Regardless of the answer, this is an important question to ask before you pull out the dab rig and dive into some of these potent concentrates.
Intro to BHO Wax/BHO Concentrates
BHO concentrates are cannabis extracts created using butane as a solvent. BHO stands for butane hash oil. The process involves soaking high-potency cannabis flower in butane, which absorbs all of the desired cannabinoids and terpenes and allows them to be concentrated into an intensely potent product.
Cannabis connoisseurs love the strength of BHO concentrates and the incredible flavor profile provided by the terpenes, but questions have been raised about the risks involved with the butane solvent.
There’s generally an evaporation process designed to rid the concentrates of the butane, but that doesn’t necessarily mean there isn’t any residue in the concentrate by the time you’re dabbing it.
Butane, by the way, is more commonly known as lighter fluid. It’s actually not known to be very dangerous to consume, and in fact, it’s used in some food products, but the safety of inhaling it is still up for debate.
What Is BHO Wax?
BHO wax is an umbrella term for a few different concentrates created using butane as a solvent. Small discrepancies in the extraction process account for the resulting concentrate, and the distinguishing features of each are primarily their consistency and potency.
As you may have guessed, BHO wax often comes in a waxy, sticky consistency, but there are other forms of BHO concentrates that have a different appearance. Shatter, for instance, has a consistency like glass, and crumble wax is soft and powdery with a consistency that resembles some sort of fine cheese.
How Is BHO Wax Made?
BHO wax often begins with high-quality cannabis flower but can also be created with the leaves and stems of the cannabis plant. The cannabis is placed in a tube and soaked in butane, which removes all of the cannabinoids and terpenes and collects them in an oil, which is then purified into a cannabis concentrate.
There are two different methods for creating BHO – open blasting and closed loop. The former is cheaper and easier but more dangerous, while the second is safer but more costly as it requires a pressurized tank and other expensive equipment.
One of the most crucial parts of the BHO process is also one of the most dangerous. When evaporating the butane, there is a significant risk of a large explosion.
This risk has been realized by more than a few home BHO makers who did not take the necessary precautions. This is why you should never try to create BHO concentrates on your own.
Is BHO Wax Safe?
Ignoring the multiple dangers involved with creating the product, there are a few different questions regarding the safety of actually consuming BHO wax itself. People worry about the butane used in the product, other chemicals involved in the process, and the extreme potency of concentrates in general.
The butane itself may actually be the item of least concern as far as BHO’s safety goes. A careful and ethical company will be able to eliminate all of the butane used in extraction, making this concern a non-issue. The real issue is vetting the company you choose to provide you with your concentrates.
As far as other chemicals are concerned, carcinogens like hexane are sometimes used to thin out the butane so that it can effectively extract the cannabinoids and terpenes.
Those chemicals are obviously the ones you should be more concerned about than butane, but they, too, should be totally removed from the finished product if extraction is done properly.
The potency is something to consider for anyone who has yet to try BHO concentrates.
These products are several times stronger than cannabis flower and produce a high that’s powerful enough to be outright terrifying to someone with little tolerance to THC. You should always exercise caution when exploring the world of concentrates.