Hash oil is an evaporated solution of Wikipedia:tetrahydrocannabinol and various other compounds produced by a Wikipedia:solvent extraction of Wikipedia:cannabis. Despite the similarity in names, it does not resemble Wikipedia:hashish. It can be a very potent medication due to its high Wikipedia:tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) concentration, which generally varies between 70% and 90%.[1] Related honey oil is a specific type of hash oil produced by certain solvents, most commonly Wikipedia:butane, and Wikipedia:isopropanol; however, both Wikipedia:naphtha and Wikipedia:petroleum ether have been shown to be safer to produce and provide a higher yield, at the cost of collecting a larger quantity of other plant chemicals such as Wikipedia:chlorophyll. Sometimes called butane hash oil or BHO, honey or simply "oil", it is traditionally a dark, viscous liquid made by solvent extraction of Wikipedia:cannabis resin.[2]

Drop of cannabis oil

A closeup image of a drop of cannabis oil on the end of a needle

Terminology Edit

Various terms are used to denote the solvent extract of cannabis. Typical terms are "hash/hashish oil," "honey oil," "____ oil" or "____ honey oil" (where ____ denotes the solvent), and many variations on these terms.

The descriptor "honey" is often used in naming these extracts. The true source/history of the term may be different, but it is most commonly used to designate the color of the extract. "High quality" extracts are commonly translucent and often have a dark gold or dark red color. The extracts are often extremely viscous and can even be made to behave as a solid with material properties similar to a glass (fragile, capable of shattering). Thus the physical appearance and behavior (viscosity) is often compared with that of honey.

Usage Edit

Hash oil can be consumed in various ways[3]

  • Smeared on a Wikipedia:cigarette or a joint.
  • Adding it to the inner rim of a pipe bowl.
  • Dripping it onto tobacco or marijuana ash, in a pipe bowl.
  • Mixed in food (such as Wikipedia:space cakes).
  • Vaporized off a specialized glass oil dome and inhaled through a water pipe.
  • Vaporized off improvised devices; such as a an electric stove element, car cigarette lighter, or pressed between two heated knives (known as blades, spotting or hot knifing). The vapor can then be inhaled through a hollow tube, often an empty pen tube called a hooter.

Production Edit

Hash oil is obtained via extraction of the Wikipedia:psychoactive Wikipedia:cannabinoids that are present in cannabis. All of the safety guidelines and the basic process and method used to extract cannabis is a generalization of the basic principle of extraction used in a variety of fields. The Wikipedia:organic chemistry, Wikipedia:natural product, Wikipedia:perfume, and Wikipedia:essential oil industries all use similar or identical methods to extract and concentrate various other mixtures of chemicals from natural sources or synthetic sources. A solvent capable of dissolving the desired Wikipedia:analyte is used to dissolve these chemicals from the physical plant material, which is typically ground or finely divided in order to increase the solvent accessible surface area. The resulting mixture is then filtered to remove the remaining sediment, and evaporated to yield a concentrated extract of Wikipedia:resins and Wikipedia:essential oils.

Water Edit

The most simple method to extract hash oil from cannabis is to use water. First, the cannabis must be dried. Then, it is cooked like pasta in a pot for 30 minutes while covered. After this, the water will become black. The mixture is then filtered, and the remaining (black) water is evaporated in a pan. The remaining black resin in the bottom of the pan is the hash oil.

Solvent Edit

As the majority of hash oil is produced clandestinely, without access to the proper laboratory equipment, the main method producers use to control the quality and yield of their hash oil is solvent choice.

The solvent choice for extraction of cannabis is typically made using several criteria: solubility information, cost/availability/suspicion, hazard, and ease of removal. The most common solvent choices are 99% Isopropyl alcohol, Wikipedia:butane, Wikipedia:ethanol, Wikipedia:petroleum ether and Wikipedia:naptha. It is no coincidence that these solvents are commonly available in a variety of drug or hardware stores in small unobtrusive quantities and in relatively high purity. The ease of availability and relatively low cost allows producers to minimize suspicion. Other less commonly used solvents include Wikipedia:methanol, Wikipedia:ethyl ether, Wikipedia:propane, Wikipedia:supercritical carbon dioxide, R-134a refrigerant gas, Wikipedia:acetone and various Wikipedia:aromatic compounds such as Wikipedia:toluene. Many of these less commonly used solvents are regulated to various degrees in the US and some other countries and access may be restricted. Ethyl ether, especially, is regulated as it is commonly used in the production of various other illicit drugs such as Wikipedia:diacetylmorphine and Wikipedia:methamphetamine.

Traditional solvents are not the only choices. Any chemical with the correct properties may dissolve appreciable amounts of the psychoactive constituents of cannabis. Wikipedia:Fatty acids or esters of fatty acids may also dissolve cannabinoids and structurally similar compounds. Vegetable oils (such as Wikipedia:canola oil) and animal fats (such as butter) may be used in a modified extraction method to produce non-toxic extracts for use in food. For example, Wikipedia:dronabinol, the generic name pharmaceutical name of synthetic THC, is typically prescribed as a solution of the drug in a vegetable oil (sesame oil).

Recently veteran Cannibis breeders Subcool and MzJill elaborately described in a High Times piece, "Alcohol-Free Cannabis Tincture," that a tincture preparation (alcohol free) that can be made using glycerine, or "glycerol" (the vegetable-derived variety under Wikipedia:USP oversight for consumers, NOT the petroleum derived variety). Cannabis soaked in glycerine for six months can produce a medical preparation that is so effective that only a few drops under the tongue are necessary for relatively rapid use as a therapeutic, palliative medicine. Reports also state that the medicinal effects of the tincture are present while less of the psychological or psychotropic side effects of some strains can be felt when Cannabis is prepared in this fashion.

Wikipedia:Butane is advantageous to use as it has a boiling point of −0.6 °C (31 °F), meaning that it will fully evaporate when left for long enough at room temperature. Butane is cheap and widely available in the form of 'lighter refill' cans. Butane also has the advantage of not dissolving the chlorophyll component of whole cannabis - it dissolves mainly the psychoactive resins. Drawbacks include the risk of explosion associated with unsafe use of butane gas, and the possibility of contaminants in the butane or the extraction vessel. BHO, or Wikipedia:butane hash oil is a common term for the output produced by butane extraction of cannabis.

Solubility Issues Edit

The goal of such a process is the extraction/isolation of the psychoactive constituents. It is rarely possible, however, to selectively extract a single chemical, or group of chemicals, from a plant material like cannabis. Thus any solvent extract will contain a variety of unwanted impurities.

The solvent interaction with analytes is often characterized on the basis of a molecule's polarity. The majority of the psychoactive constituents of cannabis are oligoterpenoides known as cannabinoids. These molecules are composed almost entirely of carbon and hydrogen and only readily dissolve in certain solvents.

The final extract's quality is usually judged, at least partially, on the perceived concentration of impurities. These impurities are usually associated with extracts made using polar solvents like alcohols or acetone. The impurities are most likely the non-psychoactive constituents of the plant material. These impurities may include Wikipedia:chlorophyll (which may add green, brown, or red coloring), Wikipedia:carbohydrates/Wikipedia:cellulose, Wikipedia:amino acids, Wikipedia:waxes and/or water. Many of the chemicals in these groups are polar and readily dissolve in alcohols or ketones (acetone), but will only partially dissolve in solvents like butane or ethyl ether.

Use of polar solvents may increase the overall yield of an extraction by increasing the relative concentration of unwanted impurities relative to the desired psychoactive constituents.

The most commonly used polar solvents are ethanol and isopropanol.

Solvent Removal & Medical Effects Edit

there are no medical effects listed here.

The clandestine nature of the production of this material prevents access to useful tools such as a Wikipedia:rotary evaporator, which are an indispensable tool in modern natural product and organic laboratories. Producers instead rely on relatively crude and simple methods of solvent removal. Most often, producers simply evaporate the solvent into the atmosphere which is an environmental concern in some cases.

This is the part of the process where many of the accidents/disasters that are associated with hash oil production occur. Nearly every useful solvent is highly flammable. Many of these solvents have vapors that are denser than air, and can "creep" around walls or under doors inside structures. Open flames such as pilot lights or sparks from certain types of electronics can often present hazards even in seemingly safe conditions. Laboratories that deal with flammable solvents use sparkless electronics and fans to remove residual solvent vapors.

The typical methods used by clandestine producers are very simple and use household or easily available tools. In almost all cases, the producer will use a glass or metal container containing the solvent mixture as the vessel in which the evaporation/distillation is carried out. In many cases, the container is simply allowed to evaporate without additional heat. This can take a very long time. In many other cases, heat source are used to facilitate the evaporation. Some producers aid the evaporation process by using fans to increase airflow over the surface of the solvent mixture. The large quantities of solvent vapor that are allowed to escape into a structure or the atmosphere can be extremely dangerous as they are often flammable or explosive and may also be toxic when inhaled in such high concentrations

When solvents with relatively low boiling points are used, the distillation/solvent removal process can be performed relatively quickly. the low boiling point of these solvents under atmospheric pressure facilitates their quick removal. This is one of the major attractive features of butane as a solvent for extraction.

Naphtha based oil contains trace amounts of residual naphtha, sometimes enough to influence the smell, taste and effects of the product. Some users have reported feeling sick or having headaches when smoking cannabis oil extracted by naphtha. Only a trained and well educated chemist should ever attempt to extract pure cannabinoid, terpenoid and flavonoid molecules from plant material. Done properly, the end result is a well rounded package of lipid soluble molecules known as cannabinoids, terpenoids and flavonoids. These three parts of the cannabis plant have all shown dozens of impressive medical properties, most notably it's cancer killing properties found in numerous laboratory studies. Each of the three constituents listed above are not nearly as effective individually as they are when used in combination together. In the book "Marijuana and the Cannabinoids" laboratory studies show that cannabinoids devoid of terpenoids lack character, are flat and not effective in the medical cannabis industry. THC, CBD and CBN, as well as other cannabinoids, may not be the most beneficial medical properties of the cannabis plant. Terpenoids happen to be just as important if not the most important variable in making the most effective pure medical cannabis oil extract using naphtha. They possess very beneficial properties that kill cancer cells in laboratory studies. They also influence the character of the high, such as (giggly, sleepy, psychedelic, electric, mind numbing, feeling of paranoia, euphoria, warm and fuzzy, depressing, happy, lazy and any number of other feelings different cannabis varieties can produce). Naptha thoroughly extracts these terpenoids as well as cannabinoids found in cannabis. It can be purged in a number of ways, the safest being distilled water. When water is added near the end of the evaporation process the cannabis oil solution will foam up a little bit and help expel the naptha. Removal of residual solvent is extremely important. Some producers of very clean cannabis oils employ a final rinsing stage to remove the remaining impurities. The color of properly produced and washed oils is very golden honey color, thus the name Wikipedia:honey oil. It will remove the danger of ingesting Cannabis oil made with a high grade and very clean solvent like naphtha.

Home made methods rarely utilize such methods, and usually involve heating the concentrated solvent mixture until no odor of the solvent is detected. Other producers will attempt to burn/ignite the remaining solvent vapors by controlled combustion using some form of small flame source. It is not recommended for those who are not accredited chemists.

Source Material Edit

Generally the whole cannabis plant can be used to produce honey oil or other types of hash oil. Some will use only the buds of the cannabis plant to improve yield since they contain more cannabinoids. This gives an advantage only when using solvents other than butane, because it will improve the ratio of cannabinoids to other plant chemicals. With the butane extraction it will also increase the yield a little bit since there are more cannabinoids to collect, but it will not improve the quality and purity of the oil. Also the parts of the marijuana plant that are not the bud are considered low grade and non profitable so it is turned into the more concentrated oil.


There are an extremely wide variety of dangers associated with hash oil production. Many structure fires and severe burns have been caused when clandestine production accidents occur. The most common danger is from flammability. It is incredibly dangerous to carry out any extraction following these guidelines without proper training, safety precautions, tools, and in a designated location. Regardless of the illegality of cannabis or its extracts, extraction of any material is not recommended outside of a safe controlled laboratory or industrial setting.


Essentially most solvents used to make hash oil are flammable. Some are even explosive when stored under pressure (such as butane or propane). Others may represent storage hazards such as ethyl ether. When stored in the presence of atmospheric oxygen, ethyl ether will polymerize in to a polymeric form of Wikipedia:diethyl ether peroxide. it is often seen as a white powder or crust around the cap or at the bottom of a bottle. This material is incredibly explosive and has been the source of countless laboratory explosions throughout modern history. Its explosive power can be compared with that of military explosives, though it is much less stable.


Some of the solvents employed in the extraction process can be toxic when exposure is high. methanol and acetone are toxic when ingested, inhaled, or via prolonged physical exposure. For this reason, their use is not recommended. Both chemicals are often used as denaturants in the sale of high purity ethanol (denatured ethanol).

Many are carcinogenic. Toluene, and other similar compounds, can depress the CNS system when inhaled in high concentrations. Toluene is a solvent commonly abused as an Wikipedia:inhalant. Note that naptha is a mixture of different chemicals, like petroleum ether, but naptha typically contains substantial quantities of aromatic or unsaturated hydrocarbons.

Wikipedia:Alkanes, such as Wikipedia:butane, Wikipedia:propane, Wikipedia:pentane, Wikipedia:hexane, etc. and mixtures of alkanes (Wikipedia:petroleum ether) are actually relatively safe when exposure is limited. This class of molecule has a very narrow range of chemical reactivity. The molecules are simply unable to react with the chemicals inside of the body. The main concerns associated with alkanes are from excessive exposure. Excessive skin exposure can lead to defatting of the skin. This occurs because the solvents can dissolve the cell membrane. Such exposure typically requires prolonged direct contact, such as total immersion of a limb in the solvent. Prolonged inhalation of extremely high concentrations of the vapors (>>1000 PPM) can damage internal cells via a similar mechanism. This is specifically dangerous to the brain. Ingestion of large concentrations of these chemicals produces the same effects as well.

Further toxic affects can be traced to unintentional or intentional impurities in the solvents or even the starting material. Butane and propane are often sold as a mixture with small amounts of odorants. the odorants are used to increase the detection of leaks for safety reasons. When used as a solvent, butane with these odorants (Wikipedia:mercaptans) poses a toxicity problem.

A similar issue is seen with certain other solvents, such as ethyl ether. Ethyl ether is often supplied with a stabilizer (often a radical scavenger such as Wikipedia:TEMPO or Wikipedia:butylated hydroxytoluene) to prevent dangerous polymerization. Many of these additives are toxic.

Physical effects Edit

Main article: Wikipedia:Health issues and the effects of cannabis#Effects

The effects of extracted resin are comparable to smoking the same plant from which it was extracted, but often intensified due to its much higher potency. In the case of honey oil, several small drops can produce effects comparable to a much greater amount of plant material. This can sometimes cause overwhelming effects if the extract's high concentration of Wikipedia:cannabinoids is not taken into account.

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Honey oil

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See alsoEdit

References Edit

  1. UNODC - Bulletin on Narcotics - 1980 Issue 4 - 005
  2. The Misuse of Drugs Act Leslie A. King, Royal Society of Chemistry, 2003, pages 75–76 isbn 978-0854046256
  3. Buzzed Cynthia Kuhn, Scott Swartzwelder, Wilkie Wilson, Leigh Heather Wilson, Jeremy Foster. W. W. Norton & Company; 2 Rev Upd edition , 2003, pages 139–140. isbn 978-0393324938

External linksEdit

de:Haschischöl he:שמן קנביס ru:Гашишное масло