In the race to find a new high, some drug enthusiasts are turning to something called butane hash oil (aka BHO). This potent marijuana concentrate is far from what is found in a typical joint, though. In fact, BHO can exceed 80 percent THC content, compared to smoked marijuana, which averaged a THC content of 8.49 percent in the US in 2008. With that kind of potency, it’s not wonder BHO has been growing in popularity in recent years, causing some to call it “the future of cannabis.” Meanwhile, some who are more aware of its dangers refer to it as “the crack of marijuana.”
Some critics even come from unlikely places. For instance, avid supporters of the legalization movement worry that this powerful new version could hurt the cause. It’s a realistic concern, since FEMA has reported increasing incidents of explosions across the US caused by clumsy hash oil production attempts.
The potent oil can be produced in one of two ways. The “open” method involves packing a stainless steel tube with marijuana and “blasting” the tube with butane. This creates an extract, a thick, yellow-orange oil, that trickles out onto a pan. The safer “closed” method uses a butane oil extractor, the same machine that extracts oils from botanical herbs like lavender and mint.
The process of getting high via BHO is called “dabbing.” It can include a lot of the same paraphernalia favored by meth and crack users, including pipes, or the concentrate can be put on any heated surface and its vapors inhaled.
Potential health dangers include the inhalation of “dirty” butane and ingesting other harmful contaminants that may have been infused into the concentrate during the extraction process, like pesticides, herbicides and fungi. Still, despite the dangers, the trend continues – and it seems to be catching on, especially in states like California.
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