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Hash oil

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Title: Hash oil  
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Subject: Cannabis, Marijuana vending machine, Cannabis flower essential oil, 420 (cannabis culture), Hashish
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Hash oil

Closeup image of a drop of hash oil on the end of a needle

Hash oil (also known as hashish oil, BHO, wax, sativa bho, indica bho,[1] full melt, honey oil,[1] dabs, or budder) is a form of cannabis. It is a resinous matrix of cannabinoids obtained from the Cannabis plant by solvent extraction,[2] formed into a hardened or viscous mass.[3]

Hash oil can be the most potent of the main cannabis products because of its high level of psychoactive compound per its volume, which can vary depending on the plant's mix of essential oils and psychoactive compounds.[4]

THC contents

Reported THC contents vary between sources. The 2009 World Drug Reports reports THC content as "may exceed 60%". A 2013 American forensic science book gave a range of 10–30% delta-9 THC by weight and a 1972 American forensic journal reported a range of 20–65%.[5][6] Current testing labs regularly report oil potencies ranging from 30% to 90%, with levels of dispensary quality oil typically ranging from 60% to 85%, occasionally higher and occasionally lower.[7] Some extracts have supposedly been tested to over 99% THC but these are made using a process involving toluene washing.[8] Because of the nature of cannabis producing [essential oil]s, or [Terpenes] as well as psychoactive compounds, the percentage of THC can vary greatly from one strain to the next.


Hash oil can be consumed by methods such as smoking, ingestion, or vaporization (dabbing).[9] A water pipe, often small, is commonly used for hash oil vaporization and may be called an "oil rig". Such designs feature a nail or skillet, commonly titanium, quartz, borosilicate glass, or ceramic, which serves to be heated to temperatures nearing 2000 kelvin, typically by a hand-held blowtorch (USA usage) / blowlamp (UK usage). A dental pick, glass rod, or special tool called a dabber — laden with dabs — is used to dab the nail with hash oil, which is consequently vaporized and inhaled.

Dabbing hash oil.


Hash oil is a cannabis product obtained by separating resins from cannabis buds by solvent extraction.[10]

The most common form of hash oil is made by passing liquid butane through a tube filled with cannabis plant matter. As the butane passes through the tube the crystallized resins are dissolved in the liquid butane. As the solvent (butane + resins) exits the tube it is caught in a glass container. Butane is a volatile molecule and boils at −1 °C., leaving behind the crystallized resins only, which are collected from the glass container. This form is known as BHO or "Butane Hash Oil". After obtaining BHO in this method, BHO producers will then vacuum purge their oil in a vacuum chamber. The primary purpose of this step is to purge the butane still remaining trapped within the oil, because butane can have adverse health effects if inhaled. This "purging" process, depending on duration of exposure to vacuum and heat, will give the B.H.O characteristic textures, such as wax, crumble, shatter and budder. Other solvents commonly used are hexane, isopropyl alcohol, ethanol, and liquid or dry ice CO2. One should note the purity of the solvent used, as only pure, additive-free types should be considered suitable to avoid unwanted health effects.

Cannabis can also be boiled in a solvent to form a viscous liquid which is then strained and the solvent is evaporated to yield hash oil. Flammable solvents used in extraction make the process dangerous.[11]

Potential for explosions

Explosion and fire incidents related to manufacturing attempts in homes have been reported. Associated Press reports that such incidents in United States have primarily been in west coast states that permit medical marijuana.[12]

Michigan permits medical marijuana, and there were two home explosions[13] in July 2013, in Washtenaw county. In December 2013 a Virginia man suffered third degree burns when an attempt to make BHO, "honey oil", exploded.[14][14] A similar explosion occurred in Colorado Springs in early March 2014, shortly after the state of Colorado legalized recreational marijuana use.[15][16]

Making hash oil via butane extraction is illegal in California,[17] and impurities are another concern.[18]


Cannabis extracts (including hash oil) are classified as narcotic drugs under Schedule I and IV of the 1961 United Nations Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs.[19]


The 2006 World Drug Report reports that cannabis oil seizures doubled in 2004, and that it represented 0.01% of global cannabis seized.[20] In 2007, 418 kg equivalent of hash oil was seized globally.[21]

Australia and New Zealand

In the Northern Territory, adults found in possession of up to one gram of hash oil can face a fine of up to $200, which if paid within 28 days, negates a criminal charge.[22]

Under New Zealand law hashish, hash oil, THC, and any other preparations containing THC made by processing the plant are scheduled as Class B substances.[23]


Issues a warning to those in possession of a substance for personal use which contains up to one gram of THC, with further sanctions following if the subject re-offends.[19]


Although provision of tools utilized in production and consumption of cannabis is illegal in Portugal; Portuguese law allows for the possession of up to 2.5 grams of hash oil for personal use.

United States

The production or possession of hash is illegal in the United States. Until guidelines were amended in November 1995, Federal law did not explicitly define the difference between marijuana, hash, and hash oil, which led to cannabis preparations being assessed case-by-case.[24] Under the new federal guidelines, hashish oil is characterized as:
A preparation of the soluble cannabinioids derived from Cannabis that includes (i) one or more of the tetrahydrocannibinols.. ..and (ii) at least two of the following: cannabinol, cannabidiol, or cannibichromene, and (iii) is essentially free of plant material.[25]

United Kingdom

Hashish is classified as a Class B controlled substance under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971. The status of "liquid cannabis" is "currently the subject of legal argument"[26] The Misuse of Drugs Act: A Guide For Forensic Scientists published by the Royal Society of Chemistry suggests that the term "liquid cannabis" is preferable to "hash oil", as it does not involve definition of what exactly constitutes an "oil". The authors also recommend adoption of "purified form" instead of "solvent extract" when describing hash oil, as the former would not require proof of solvent usage by forensic scientists.[27]


See also


  1. ^ a b Hallett, Alison (2013-03-28). "How Hash Oil Is Blowing Up Across the U.S. — Literally | Underwire". Retrieved 2014-02-28. 
  2. ^ Brown, Alex (2013-05-15). "The Amateur's Guide to Dabs - Alexander Abad-Santos". The Atlantic Wire. Retrieved 2014-02-28. 
  3. ^ "Dabs—marijuana's explosive secret". 2014-02-24. Retrieved 2014-02-28. 
  4. ^ World Drug Report. United Nations Publications. 2009. p. 98. 
  5. ^ Jim Fraser, Robin Williams (eds.) (2013). Handbook of Forensic Science. Routledge. p. 117.  
  6. ^ Thornton; Nakamura (1972). "Criminal Investigation". Journal of Forensic Science Society. 
  7. ^
  8. ^
  9. ^ Cynthia Kuhn, Scott Swartzwelder, Wilkie Wilson, Leigh Heather Wilson, Jeremy Foster (2003). Buzzed. W. W. Norton & Company; 2 Rev Upd edition. pp. 139–140.  
  10. ^ Christian, Donnell R. (2003). Forensic Investigation of Clandestine Laboratories. London: CRC Press.  
  11. ^ Earleywine, Mitch (2002). Understanding Marijuana:A New Look at the Scientific Evidence. Oxford University Press. p. 127.  
  12. ^ Risling, Greg (2013-03-17). "Explosions highlight risk in making hash oil". Spokesman Review. Retrieved 3 May 2013. 
  13. ^ Posted on Sat, Aug 3, 2013 : 5:59 a.m. (2013-08-03). "Report: Processing marijuana with butane sparked fire that destroyed home". Retrieved 2014-02-28. 
  14. ^ a b [1]
  15. ^ "Hash oil explosion shakes building, rattles neighbors | News - Home". 2014-03-03. Retrieved 2014-03-24. 
  16. ^ "Butane hash oil causes explosion: police say more to come | News - Home". 2014-03-03. Retrieved 2014-03-24. 
  17. ^ Down, David [2] "A Little Dab Could Doom Ya" East Bay Express April 10, 2013
  18. ^ Roberts, Michael [3] "Butane hash has hidden dangers, says edibles maker arguing against controversial solvent" Westword February 25, 2011
  19. ^ a b "Legal Topic Overviews: Possession of Cannabis for Personal Use". European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction. 2012-01-26. Retrieved 3 May 2013. 
  20. ^ 2006 World Drug Report: Analysis. United Nations Publications. 2006. p. 2033.  
  21. ^ World Drug Report. United Nations Publications. 2009. p. 98. 
  22. ^ "Cannabis and the Law". National Cannabis Information and Prevention Centre. 19 February 2013. Retrieved 3 May 2013. 
  23. ^ "Schedule 2: Class B controlled drugs", Misuse of Drugs Act 1975 No 116 (as at 08 September 2011), Public Act ( 
  24. ^ Boire, Richard (1996). Marijuana Law. p. 20.  
  25. ^ Boire, Richard (1996). Marijuana Law. p. 21.  
  26. ^ "House of Lords – Section 2 - Types Of Cannabis Available On The Illicit Market In The UK". Independent Drug Monitoring Unit. Retrieved 3 May 2013. 
  27. ^ King, Leslie A. (2003). The Misuse of Drugs Act: A Guide For Forensic Scientists.  

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