Butane is a highly volatile, colorless hydrocarbon gas with an odor similar to petroleum. Like propane, pentane, hexane, and other hydrocarbons, it is used to extract cannabinoids, terpenes, and other compounds from the cannabis plant to make concentrates, collectively called BHO, or butane hash oil, which can vary in consistencies and textures. Butane is one of the most ubiquitous hydrocarbons in the world. It is highly flammable and needs to be handled by licensed, trained professionals.
“I scored some butane hash oil wax that is absolutely killer.”
What is butane?
Butane is a colorless hydrocarbon gas with an odor similar to petroleum. Like propane, butane is primarily obtained from liquid natural gas but can also be a byproduct of industrial refining processes. Butane is commonly used as an aerosol propellant, a fuel in lighters or blowtorches, and to make other chemicals.
Butane is normally stored and shipped under pressure as a liquified gas, which is so cold it can cause frostbite. It is highly flammable and easily vaporizes at room temperature. Since butane vapor is heavier than air, there is a major risk of ignition from any flame or spark nearby. Butane is highly volatile and can explode even if storage containers are exposed to intense heat or flames. As butane is colorless, unlike smoke or other vapors that are visible, there is no way to see how much butane is in the air, which makes the risk of explosion even higher.
Butane, like pentane, propane, hexane, and other hydrocarbons, is commonly used in the cannabis industry to make extractions, which strip cannabinoids, terpenes, and other compounds from the cannabis plant in BHO, or butane hash oil. BHO can have a wide range of consistencies, ranging from crumble on the dry end, to shatter, budder, and oil on the wet end.
BHO is an inexpensive extraction method compared to CO2 extraction or short path distillation, making it popular in the illicit cannabis market and resulting in explosions and injuries due to improper handling. It is imperative that butane extraction is always conducted by licensed, trained professionals.
BHO must be obtained through the legal, regulated cannabis market, which ensures it has been tested and is safe for consumption. Inhalation of butane can lead to cardiac damage and organ failure, among other serious harms, but this usually results from BHO obtained illegally through the unregulated market.