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Have you ever heard of BHO extraction? This increasingly popular method of enjoying the benefits of the Cannabis sativa plant deserves your attention. Let’s break down the process to make you a more informed marijuana consumer.

What Is Butane Hash Oil (BHO)?

bho shatter

BHO, also called butane hash oil or butane honey oil, is a concentrated substance extracted from the marijuana plant. Those in the know call it “shatter.” Regardless of the name, the mix of THC, CBD, and terpenes offers a high for users who “dab” BHO wax or consume it in edibles and vape cartridges.

BHO’s THC content can reach up to 90%, making it the most potent concentrate on the market. However, this potency comes with a risk, as the butane it relies on for production is highly flammable. Having complete control over the extraction process is paramount.

How Is BHO Created?

How Is BHO Created

As the name implies, butane hash oil extraction requires butane as a liquid solvent to draw out the desired compounds — in this case, THC and CBD. The process produces butane gas as a natural byproduct, and containing this gas is critical to avoid a potential fire hazard.

Necessary Equipment

Before more recent innovations, cannabis enthusiasts extracted BHO using stainless steel columns. After filling the columns with dried cannabis flower, they passed liquid butane through, resulting in a substance containing butane and plant chemicals. This method is still common among DIYers but isn’t one we would recommend due to the dangerous butane gas byproduct.

In light of this risk, closed-loop systems are now the method of choice to extract BHO. Large-scale operations use pressurized tanks and special extraction tubes for a safer, more refined system. Vacuum ovens are another innovation that has helped improve safety and scalability.


Regardless of equipment, the process of extracting BHO remains the same. Low and slow is the way to go here, with temperature monitoring crucial throughout. Once the BHO is extracted, it is ready for the next step.


Butane in any form is poisonous to ingest, so manufacturers must remove it to leave behind the cannabis compounds in a process known as vacuum purging. Igniting the mixture at this point would ruin the product, in addition to starting a fire. Vacuum ovens burn off the butane safely by allowing it to evaporate at lower temperatures.


Dramatic temperature changes and other unstable conditions can lead to nucleation, during which the cannabinoids and terpenes in BHO separate. Some take advantage of this separation to create a crystalline substance called sugar wax. Normally, however, this is an undesirable effect.


Naturally occurring waxes and lipids in the BHO extract can dull its overall flavor and potency. Winterization involves “de-waxing” the end product. Using a polar solvent like ethanol at sub-zero temperatures forces the lipids to the top for easy skimming.

How Do You Consume BHO?

dab rig with bho

The result of BHO extraction is a substance with the color and consistency of honey. You might also see it hardened in clear glass-like sheets. Either way, it’s ready for consumption.

Because BHO is so potent, only experienced users will take it straight (called “dabbing”). By far the most popular delivery method for BHO is through vaping cartridges. You can also find it in topical balms and creams, as well as in edibles like gummies and brownies. Be sure to check out our post on, “How To Use Cannabis Concentrates.”

Safety Considerations When Consuming BHO

As with any psychoactive product, it’s better to err on the side of caution. BHO is not for newbies. The best way to enjoy marijuana and products containing it is to ease your way in.

Consuming more THC than your body is used to could lead to paranoia, anxiety, and other adverse side effects. While none of these are necessarily life-threatening, they could turn you off prematurely from something you might otherwise enjoy if only you paced yourself.

Browse Our Inventory at Cannabis & Glass in Ontario

Cannabis & Glass Dispensary is proud to serve the Ontario community with high-quality BHO extraction wax, cartridges, bud, flower, and paraphernalia. You can visit us in person or browse our Ontario dispensary menu online. We have the largest selection in the area, so we’re sure to have what you’re looking for.

If you’re new to cannabis, we can point you in the right direction and get you started with the right strains and materials.