Butane stands apart from other popular extraction solvents such as carbon dioxide (CO2) and ethanol in its efficacy at separating cannabis and hemp's full chemical profile of therapeutic cannabinoids and terpenes.
The world of cannabis oil extraction is riddled with bad or outdated information. Most of the negative press BHO extraction receives actually serves the agendas of competing groups rather than as viable health or safety warnings. The CO2 industry's path to popularity, in particular, was paved by sensationalized stories of home explosions from open loop butane extraction, and misinformed claims of impurities in the end product.
What Is Butane?
Butane is a light hydrocarbon belonging to the same molecular family consisting of ethane, propane, and methane. Butane is produced from crude oils derived from decaying organic matter buried deep underground. Fractional distillation purifies the crude oil and compresses the butane into an odorless and flammable liquid. Professional extraction companies use instrument-grade butane for its purity and low boiling point allowing a more complete cannabis extraction compared to other solvents such as carbon dioxide or ethanol.
What Is the History of BHO?
Cannabis concentrates have a long history as ancient medicinal substances with the development of hash, or concentrated cannabis resin. The origins of today’s BHO concentrates can be traced back to D. Gold’s 1971 book titled “Cannabis Alchemy: The Art of Modern Hashmaking,” which described a solvent-based process used to make concentrates.
BHO, also known as butane hash oil extraction, or hydrocarbon extraction, is the preferred extraction method for large-scale producers due to its scalability and versatility.