The advantages and disadvantages of butane (BHO) and CO2 extraction
The extracts rocked the cannabis industry a few years ago, as legality in the United States entered a conversation phase. This genre was once defined by hashish, which offered extreme levels of THC. Since then names like like wax, oil, butter, shatter, dabs, have appeared. However, the questionable methods used to make them were met with skepticism… Butane mining was frowned upon when some teenagers blew up their parents' basements. According to, Merry Jane, experts believe that the process is more efficient and desirable than its rivals.
Butanol extraction (BHO) versus CO2
The extracts are obtained with a propellant such as butane or propane (Butane Hash Oil or BHO). Or, either by bursting the plant material with carbon dioxide (CO02 Oil). But, butane extraction has come under heavy criticism, due to accidents produced by negligence, without the use of a closed loop system.
But, the butane method is scientifically superior to the CO02 method when it comes to preserving the delicate terpene profile of cannabis (responsible for its smell, taste and richness). That's what a semi-anonymous scientist who designs closed-loop systems reports, and Pete Pietrangeli, industrial veterinarian and owner of LA Confidential dispensary on Melrose Ave.
“There's a lot of misinformation in the market,” says Pietrangeli. “Clinic managers, bud suppliers and buyers will be wary of BHO extracts because they believe there is a health risk. Really, it sounds like ignorance. "
Due to the stigma of the BHO process, Pietrangeli is currently using CO2 extraction for his company Acme Elixirs. Still, the industry veteran believes CO2 will never compete with extraction using butane (or "terpene juice"). This is because the C02 process puts a strain on the terpene profile of a plant.
Clear disadvantage of CO2 oil
It is often mistakenly believed that CO02 oil does not contain a solvent. No oil is solvent-free. Carbon dioxide is a solvent just like butane. However, CO 02 is not toxic, and leaves no residue. Its vapor pressure is so high that it simply disappears ...
While butane is FDA approved for food processing, it is certainly not as harmless as C02. Butane must be treated with care, a step often sloppy by amateurs ...
The problem with C02 oil is that its high pressure completely strikes the plant. Whereas butane does not. Butane molecules dissolve not only cannabinoids, but also the entire spectrum of the plant's lighter, more volatile terpene compounds. Which means that this form of extraction will retain a specific and elevated odor if you use BHO extraction.
“To recreate an oil that really looks like the bud it came from, you need a solvent that can capture the full spectrum of terpenes without damaging them,” Boris says.
A dependent image of the cannabis industries
C02 is attractive to many people looking to do business in the concentrate industry. Because it allows them to get away with poor quality weed… Since companies make a homogeneous product, there is no point in using exceptional weed in the process… Therefore, consumers should be wary of how sellers market products made using this process.
“Unless they reintroduce native terpenes like we do at Acme, which most companies don't, they're creating a brand that doesn't exist. You don't feel like a particular strain, you just feel like you have THC, ”explains Pietrangeli.
The legal future of BHO depends on those who lobby… While the technology for processing butane in a closed-loop system remains revolutionary, a bad reputation could overshadow a multitude of benefits. With the proper tools, ventilation, and spirit behind the process, the BHO process has the potential to replace C02's status as the preferred concentrate.
Ultimately, CO2 extraction remains "a less efficient and, in my humble opinion, and less desirable product. Says Boris. “We wait for the market to mature, and return to the beautiful amber oil that resembles the grower's intentions. "