Butane hash oil (BHO) — also known as “dabs” — has become wildly popular in some areas of the country, especially in certain Western states where recreational marijuana is now legal. It produces an instant, intense high.
However, BHO is so powerful, so potent, and so potentially lethal that it‘s causing great concern among law enforcement officials, treatment facilities, parents and concerned citizens alike.
What Is BHO and How Is It Used?
BHO is a strong, concentrated form of marijuana that is produced when ground-up marijuana leaves are placed into a tube and exposed to butane gas. Users then take hits from the extractions or “dabs” to get high.
Due to its waxy properties, BHO can’t be directly exposed to a flame. Users have to place it in a glass stick or bowl and heat it until it melts and produces vapor that can be inhaled. Some users also place BHO in pens and other electronic devices that vaporize marijuana oils.
BHO can be four times more potent than traditional pot. The intense high associated with BHO use is due to its extremely high concentration of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the active chemical in marijuana. Some BHO contains as much as 90% THC.
There are different forms of BHO, including the amber-colored hard crystallized version known as “Shatter,” to the softer and smoother types called “Earwax” and “Butter.”
BHO Risks and Dangers
In addition to addiction, BHO poses other dangers. These include serious injuries, burns and even death caused by use or from explosions in labs where BHO is made.
Law enforcement officials who’ve been called to scenes of BHO lab explosions say that the tiniest spark from this highly volatile oil make BHO labs even more dangerous than methamphetamine labs. Someone turning on a stove or lighting a cigarette in another room can ignite the BHO, with potentially fatal consequences.
BHO is expensive, costing up to $22,000 per pound. That makes BHO more expensive than cocaine. The high cost of BHO, however, doesn’t seem to deter users who’ve become addicted to the drug, since they usually buy it in small quantities.
Another risk — and part of the attraction, especially for teenagers and young adults — is how easily BHO use can be concealed. It’s also nearly odorless, so it doesn’t leave behind the tell-tale sweet, pungent smell associated with other forms of marijuana.
BHO is no “party” drug to get involved with. If you know or suspect that someone you care about is using it, encourage them to get help. With proper treatment, addiction to drugs like marijuana and BHO can be overcome.
By Suzanne Kane