Butane hash oil (BHO) made from marijuana is not a new thing. However, it's popularity and availability has grown exponentially in recent years. In Oregon, where I'm from, my circle of friends always called it 'honey oil' and it was a rare treat back in the day. Now it seems like everyone and their grandma is either making it or trying to make it.
This has led to a lot of inquires from readers asking what butane hash oil is, and if it's safe. Butane hash oil gets it's name from the process from which it's made. In a probably over simplified explanation (feel free to elaborate in the comments section), butane hash oil is made by placing marijuana (often trimmings) in some type of holding container, and pushing butane through the container in a manner that doesn't allow the plant material to escape, yet allows the butane to escape.
That's why you will hear people saying they are 'blasting a bunch of BHO tonight.' The marijuana inside the container is stripped of it's cannabinoids by the butane. The butane/marijuana liquid mixture that escaped is then evaporated, getting rid of as much foreign substances (mainly butane) as possible and keeping as much of the good stuff as possible. The end result can look like honey, or wax, etc.
As a person can logically conclude, if someone doesn't evaporate (or purge) their butane hash oil properly, there can be quite a bit of undesirable stuff that people are now smoking. I'm not a doctor, but I can't imagine that smoking poorly purged butane hash oil is good for your health. However, properly purged butane hash oil is far purer than the raw marijuana that people are smoking, considering that a lot of raw marijuana smoke is from the plant material. The highest I have ever heard a reputable marijuana testing laboratory say raw marijuana tested at was the high 20%s. I have seen a lot of butane hash oil that has ranked in the 80%s and even 90%s according to reputable testing laboratories.
Butane hash oil opponents will often say that 'there has to be at least some butane that you are inhaling with even the best butane hash oil.' I always ask them to take a pipe hit in front of me, and then point out that they are using a bic lighter, which uses....that's right, butane. How much butane you inhale with a pipe hit versus a finely made BHO has to be a consideration. Smoking butane hash oil is obviously not as safe as breathing pure air, but I would argue that, if done right, it's healthier than smoking raw marijuana through a pipe. So is it safe to use? Again, I'm not a doctor, but if it's high quality, I say yes for what that's worth to readers. There are few things finer than taking a hit of Ganja Jon dabs in my opinion (as seen in the pic of this article)!
Making butane hash oil is another story compared to consuming BHO. If you are asking me if making butane hash oil is safe, I would answer no. It's certainly possible, and many people are successful at it, but there are also many horror stories out there of people starting fires and/or burning people including themselves.
Consider this a public service announcement. I don't know if I have hammered this point home enough, but if you are not an expert at making butane hash oil (BHO), PUT EVERYTHING DOWN, TURN OFF THE STOVE, GET YOUR HEAD OUT OF YOUR BUM, AND EXIT THE KITCHEN. Making BHO is a very dangerous thing, and if you slip up in any way, you will no doubt light something on fire, including yourself.
I understand that people like BHO, and/or people want to make money. But when rookies do stuff like this, it makes the entire movement look bad, and puts innocent people at risk. If you are going to make BHO, know what you are doing, and if you can, make it somewhere that is not surrounded by people. Below is a great example of what can happen if you don't know what you are doing: