Long before the creation of hash oil, cannabis has been intertwined with mankind for thousands of years.
For generations, humans have used the cannabis plant as a food source, a crafting material, and therapeutic medicine, historically packing and preserving their cannabis into ancient forms of concentrates, such as hashish.
Since then, technology has come a long way, with many different forms of cannabis concentrates and extracts like hash oil available on the market today.
These extracts are a relatively new form of cannabis product compared to what we’ve had in the past.
They’re stronger than your standard bud and come in a variety of different shapes and forms. Whether you’re looking at butane hash oil, crumble, shatter or distillates, each type of extract requires an extraction method to get all that good stuff we know and love out of the plant matter.
That said, gaining a better understanding of the different extraction methods will provide some context for how they each turn out, which will help you accurately determine which hash oil is best for your particular weed needs.
So, let’s get into it and talk about hash oil!
What is Hash Oil?
Hash oil is a potent cannabis extract with a honey-like colour and an ooey-gooey texture. It can be smoked, dabbed, vaped, eaten, and even applied topically.
Keeping that fresh in mind, there are also several other extracts popular in the wonderful world of weed. Such extracts include shatter, crumble wax, and distillates, just to name a few.
Hash oil can be either a cannabis concentrate or extract depending on the process used to make it. That said, while all extracts are considered concentrates, not all concentrates are extracts.
For this article’s purpose, we’re talking about the extract rather than the concentrate when we refer to hash oil.
How is Hash Oil Made?
There are a handful of tried and true extraction methods when it comes to making the best extracts.
Each process results in a different product, each with their own unique attributes. Some methods utilize alcohol, while others CO2, and some require no solvent at all.
Regardless of what solvent is used, the main goal when creating hash oil is to isolate the cannabinoids and terpenes from the cannabis plant – aka the goodies that make your favourite bud taste and smell amazing while also making you feel all kinds of awesome.
So without any further delay, here are some of the most popular extraction methods used when making hash oil:
Alcohol – Cannabis Oils
Alcohol extraction is exactly what it sounds like. With this method, the flower is dipped in alcohol to strip its trichomes (the tiny little crystals on the leaves and buds) and pull out the cannabinoids into the alcohol mixture.
From there, the cannabinoids are isolated by evaporating the alcohol through heat exposure. What is left behind is a cannabinoid-rich substance that can be consumed as is or further refined to make cannabis oil.
CO2 – THC Distillates
CO2 extraction is a much more intricate and complicated method of extraction. The process itself requires specific equipment in a lab that can cost upwards of tens of thousands of dollars and specialized training in accurately refining the substance.
This method utilizes a combination of CO2, high temperatures, and high pressures to isolate and create some of the cleanest, most high-end cannabis extracts found on the market today.
Butane/Propane – Shatter, Wax, BHOs
The butane or propane extraction method uses what’s called a closed-loop system when done professionally. However, it can also be done at home in an open-loop system, but it’s incredibly dangerous and unregulated.
This method involves bathing the bud in either butane or propane. Similar to the alcohol extraction method, the cannabinoids are dispersed throughout the butane or propane, where they are then isolated through intense heat and pressure, which can result in a variety of different extracts.
The Different Types of Cannabis Extracts
Now that you have a brief understanding of how many cannabis extracts are made, let’s go over some of the most common types you’ll come across.
Butane Hash Oil
Frequently referred to as Honey Oil or hash oil, this concentrate is created through the use of pressurized butane or propane as a solvent.
Thanks to its extraction method, butane hash oil (or BHO) tends to carry the particular strain’s original or native chemical balance before it was extracted. Thus, you’ll have a more true-to-original cannabinoid terpene balance than many other extracts.
The THC concentration in BHO usually varies between 70-90% THC and can take on a variety of different consistencies, making it an excellent option for dabbing.
Distillates are one of the cleanest types of extracts on the market as they are made up of the psychoactive components of cannabis, with a THC content testing upwards of 90% on average.
Because of its composition, distillates contain little to no terpenes and are flavourless. They commonly come in vape cartridges and are used as a premium base ingredient in many cannabis edibles and topicals.
Alternatively, distillates can sometimes have terpenes added back in to give them flavour and some additional effects.
As the name suggests, shatter is a glass-like cannabis extract that is translucent and easily broken.
Shatter is generally an affordable and versatile extract that is easy to dose and handle while dabbing. Due to its processing, shatter is one of the few cannabis extracts that remains solid at room temperature.
But be warned, if you’re rough with handling it, it will live up to its name and, well, shatter.
Hash Oil – The Versatile Extract
The high from hash oil is intense. Given its strong potency and high THC concentration, we recommend novice tokers start with low dosages if they plan on attempting to enjoy some hash oil.
Even for more experienced blazers, specific variants of hash oil may hit harder than expected. That said, we advise following the old adage: start low and go slow.
On top of that, it is always a good idea to purchase your Hash Oil from a trusted dispensary, whether a physical store or an online retailer.
More seasoned users may wish to experiment at home and create their own extracts. However, it is incredibly important that you follow the proper safety precautions if you choose to do so.
Ultimately, it is up to you how you want to approach your dabs and extracts, but if you follow our advice, you’ll be sure to have a great time!
As always, happy trails!