BHO From Cannabis
6 min

What Is BHO And How To Make BHO From Cannabis

6 min

To make great BHO, you need the right materials. Butane can be very dangerous if you do not take the proper precautions. We will explain everything to you in this guide.

In the beginning, there was bud ...then there was hash ...and now, we have BHO. Short for butane hash oil, bar none the sure thing to get you high as a kite. BHO can reach upwards of 90% pure THC, if made right using the appropriate strain.

You may have heard about dabbing before. Dabbing is the process of smoking BHO, generally through a water pipe or a dedicated vaporizer. Dabbing is still a very controversial topic. From the butane used to extract cannabinoids to the methods of ingestion, there is a compelling case on either side of the BHO argument. We will introduce you to these notions.

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So let us start at the very top. What exactly is BHO?


What Is BHO?

As mentioned earlier, it is butane hash oil, resulting from the process of extracting the resin glands called trichomes, leaving the plant material behind. Regular hash attempts to do this, but traditional and ancient techniques have their limitations.

Traditional methods of hash-making include beating the plants to release the trichomes and collecting them in a recipient. In some regions like Morocco, the trichomes will be sieved and separated by grade quality. Fine kief will be used to make top quality hash while the rest is compressed into a brick and primarily shipped abroad.

Charas in India are hand pressed and feet moulded, the main reason they are so dark. Whatever the method, a number of impurities that get added are significant. Everything from dust, to bugs, skin and even tiny plant debris gets bundled up into the final product. It is what gives hash its dry-putty, dough-like consistency.

The theory behind making BHO is quite elegant. You use butane, which is a non-polar solvent, to run through the weed. As it flows through cannabis plant matter, it instantly dissolves all the resin glands. The beauty of it is that it only dissolves the resin glands. No chlorophyll or other plant matter gets carried along. You collect the butane-oil mix in a recipient, and in theory, the butane will evaporate into the air completely, leaving behind no residue, only that pure, golden THC-rich goo.

It works, if and only if you use the right materials and respect the process. If you do not, it can be both dangerous and health hazardous.


Is Butane Hash Oil Safe?

Tricky question. If it is done right, then the answer is yes. The process might seem simple on paper, but it is a bit difficult to perform. Very strict safety precautions must be put in place, as well as quality starting material. From the cannabis used to the exact type of gas used. Everything is of the utmost importance. This is not a procedure where you want to cut corners.

Butane is a highly volatile gas. Anything as little as a static charge spark can cause an explosion. Safety should always be your top concern.

Much in the same way that you might use propane gas in the kitchen, there are special devices that were engineered to make BHO. It is the knowledge of how to do things properly that will keep you safe the most.


Butane hash oil (BHO) is produced in one of two ways. These are known as the “open” and “closed” methods. The open method is the most commonly used method; it involves filling a glass or stainless steel tube with marijuana and passing an extraction solvent (butane) through it. This results in a thick yellow-orange oil coming out the bottom of the tube - after further steps of purification and drying, that‘s the highly prized oil.

The closed method, which is much safer, involves the use of using a proper machine known as a butane oil extractor. Unfortunately, these are not easily available and cost a lot of money, so they‘re unavailable for most people. These machines are common in industrial extractions of oil from such things as lavender.

Since the open method is easy and cheap, it‘s what most people do. Unfortunately, it‘s also the least safe method. Butane is highly inflammable and explosive should the a spark ignite it. As you might have heard, that has happened more than once. In the US, where dabbing is more prominent, news about exploding kitchen labs are mounting.

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The two main things to consider are probably the butane gas and the extractor tube. Butane gas is easily available everywhere, but there are many different types of commercial butane. You can easily find cheap lighter-fluid refill cans that are butane, but these may not be the best.

It is important to find pure grade n-butane that is not mixed with other constituents, like propane or isobutene. If you are unsure, a simple trick is to spray a generous quantity over a mirror and wait about 10 minutes for it to evaporate. Did it leave residue or marks? Any suspicious smells lingering on? Or did it evaporate completely? Good quality n-butane will leave no residue. This is important, as you will not want to be smoking any residue chemicals along with your oil.

Next thing to consider would be the extractor itself. There are many products on the market, and many DIY solutions too. We do not recommend DIY at all, and even commercially available products should be thoroughly analysed. You will find the best of these are made from glass, stainless steel or PVC.


How To Make BHO

To recap, you will need:

  • N-butane gas
  • BHO extractor tube
  • Gloves
  • Pyrex-style container
  • Lots of top grade weed
  • Properly ventilated, safe place

Great, you have it all. Let’s make some BHO.


First, grind up your favorite weed. The better the starting material, the better final product. Get your BHO extractor and put the filter/mesh in. Pack the BHO extractor with your best weed. Close the extractor tight and get your container and butane gas cans ready.

Place the container on a flat surface and point the exit port of the BHO extractor right over it. With your gloves already on, insert the tip of the butane can into the extractor and press down. You will hear the hiss of the gas exit into the BHO extractor. It will start filling up and eventually, the liquid butane will start dripping onto the Pyrex container.

With your heavy duty gloves still on, hold the BHO extractor firmly and keep injecting the butane in, applying some pressure. If you need, take a break, but the idea is to maintain a constant flow. As you keep dispensing the butane, two things happen simultaneously. The temperature will drop very quickly and will quite literally freeze the BHO Extractor. That is why heavy gloves are of supreme importance. A quality BHO extractor will be able to withstand these harsh conditions and not crack wide open.

The butane gas turns into liquid and fills the BHO extractor. After this sudden depressurisation, pressure starts building back up again inside the BHO extractor. It is only when the pressure inside the extractor is significantly higher than outside that the liquid butane will start pouring into the container. This is the critical moment where you should be on high alert. Absolutely no smoking nearby; even turning appliances on or off is not recommended. The butane is now out and about and in highly explosive conditions.

The general rule of thumb is to dispense double the volume of butane than that of the BHO extractor. When you have depleted the cans, carefully put the BHO extractor in a safe place. It will be entirely frozen. Let it come back to room temperature slowly before attempting to open and clean.

Now, all the liquid butane in the Pyrex will start bubbling all by itself. We want the butane to evaporate as much as possible so our oil is butane free. This process is called purging. Butane’s evaporation point is 1ºC. This means that you can leave the Pyrex out in the open at room temperature and eventually all the butane will evaporate.

As the oil becomes concentrated, the speed of evaporation and final purge will slow down considerably. This is when a vacuum chamber comes in handy. With a vacuum chamber, you can suck all the air out, forcing the butane out along with it.

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Not everyone has access to a vacuum chamber or pump, so the next best thing is a larger container to fit the Pyrex in. Fill it with hot or boiling water and place the Pyrex with the unpurged oil inside, being careful that no water splashes into it. This will heat oil enough to make it more viscous, allowing for an easier butane release. At the same time, butane will speed up its evaporation rate due to the increased temperature.

After a long while, bubbling activity will have ceased. This is when you know the process is finished. Leaving it overnight generally does the trick. You can now have a taste of your well-deserved, freshly made butane hash oil.


Many Choices Consumption BHO

When you start looking around for an oil extractor, you will soon find out there are many options out there. We will briefly describe a couple of quality options that have been tried and tested. They all are of similar design, but vary in materials, work volume, and price tag. There is one for everyone.

For those who want to get their feet wet, we suggest the Oil Extractor or the Queen Bee Extractor. They are made from plastic and PVC which makes the more affordable, but very sturdy nonetheless. They will not disappoint and get the job done perfectly.

If you plan on continuously making BHO as part of your hobby, then we suggest taking it up a notch with a stainless steel Extractor BHO Roller or the Dexso Oil Extractor. Stainless steel provides you with a robust and durable tool that can withstand heavy loads of use. It is easy to clean and will not degrade over time.

If you are looking to produce the best quality possible extractions, then high-end glass extractors are your best bet. The Ehle-X-Trakt is all glass, even the screen! The extraction will not carry over any by-products or off-tastes, leaving you with the purest grade BHO you can make at home.

VIDEO: How To Make BHO From Cannabis 


As you can see, making BHO is not rocket science. But it can be dangerous. The risk of hazard or explosion is very high indeed. There are unfortunately many stories of things going wrong. All of them due to careless methodology, lack of preparation and sub-par equipment.

You can use all your trim as a first experiment, in fact, we advise it as a practice run. Just one word - don’t judge BHO by what you get from trim. The best BHO is made from the top-shelf weed. You get out what you put in. After you are confident you have made a good batch from your disposable leaf and have nailed the process, you should definitely give it a go with primo weed of your favorite strain!

Steven Voser
Steven Voser
Steven Voser is an independent cannabis journalist with over 6 years of experience writing about all things weed; how to grow it, how best to enjoy it, and the booming industry and murky legal landscape surrounding it.
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