America’s Next ‘Oil’ Boom

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The Southeast Leaf

Is Being Grown & Pressed, Not Drilled

Long time herbalists can relate to the near religious aspects of our passion. From carefully cleaning our buds to screening the seeds, filling the seam of a dube and slowly twisting it to perfection, or measuring the one-hitter in our favorite bowl, the rituals of our sacrament are as comforting as the solace we seek.

But those days may soon be behind us.

Legalization, limited as it may be at this time, is also creating a new boom in how we partake our favorite substance. With its current medical focus, smoking is clearly at odds with the beneficial health effects of marijuana. The potential lung damage outweighing the positive impacts for many.

What’s resulting is an evolution in the types of marijuana we are using and the ways in which we consume it. Consumables in the form of food products, from the iconic brownies to lollipops, gumdrops and more, are quickly becoming the norm. But those familiar with food products know that the Indica-type body high just isn’t the same as the soothing head rush garnered from the flame.

For those affiants, sativa crude is where it’s at. And the Koch Brothers aren’t making a dime off this boom.

Hash oil has been with us for centuries. 60’s hipsters will still recall the thrill of the exotic and ridiculously strong treat, brought out only for the most special occasion. Whether we called it honey, hash oil, honeycomb, erl or dozens of other names, we certainly knew of its potency.

Today, our ‘champagne’ of pot is better known as BHO, short for Butane Hash Oil, which reflects its type of manufacture. BHO has many colloquials, with ‘shatter’ and ‘wax’ the more common. But no matter the name, BHO has a kick. As much as 90% potency compared to smoked marijuana’s measly 20%. Just a tiny dab delivering as much of a punch as a few joints.

But BHO isn’t without its risks. Amateur cookers have often set themselves and their ‘kitchens’ on fire during the manufacturing process, and deaths from burns are not uncommon. So too is contamination an issue. ‘Blasting’ a batch of BHO means washing organic marijuana with liquid butane (or other substances, such as acetone or alcohol). Rinsing or cleaning the resulting ‘oil’ or ‘shatter’ properly and thoroughly is essential to ensuring the product’s purity. Done improperly it can often leave a strong ‘gaseous’ or petroleum taste that also has negative physiological effects such as headaches and nausea.

Fortunately, many larger manufacturers of BHO are conducting operations safely and are committed to strong quality controls that ensure a safe and reliable product. Unfortunately, BHO remains highly illegal under most statutes as it is considered a chemical extraction (as opposed to ‘wet extraction’, the commonly used manufacturing process for kief). While it’s tough to determine who is a legitimate manufacturer, once you do you’ll know it. And be much the happier for it.

Editor’s Note – Blasting your own BHO is a dangerous practice and should never be performed by a novice or someone who hasn’t been properly trained. Try to consumer only those BHO products manufactured by growers and larger labs.   536wc