Marijuana’s medicinal value has carried this drug through the ranks of the legal system like no other “illicit” substance. Legal in some states, illegal in others, changes in marijuana legislation continues on in debates across the country, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse.
Meanwhile, new, more potent strains of the drug are moving through the underground market. BHO, also known as Butane Hash Oil, Wax, Budder and Honeycomb, contains all the pleasant effects of marijuana and then some.
In spite of marijuana’s medicinal properties, it’s nonetheless an addictive drug when used on a recreational basis. With the advent of the new marijuana, abuse and addiction rates may very well skyrocket, with teens and young adults bearing the brunt of BHO’s effects.
Butane Hash Oil
Butane Hash Oil or BHO contains a concentrated form of THC that’s extracted from the cannabis plant. BHO use, also known as dabbing, entails smoking the oiled-down version of marijuana in one of three forms:
- Wax or budder, which closely resembles lip balm
- Hash oil/honey oil, which appears as a viscous liquid
- Shatter, a hard solid of amber color
Users typically smoke BHO through a pipe that’s designed to vaporize the substance, much like e-cigarettes do. According to the Indian Health Service, BHO exists as the purest cannabis product on the market with THC concentrations ranging from 82 to 99.7 percent compared to the five to 28 percent TCH concentration found in marijuana buds.
BHO Manufacturing Process
The making of butane hash oil uses butane oil to extract THC from cannabis plant leaves, seeds and stems. This is done by packing long tubes full of marijuana then shooting compressed butane through the tube for 30 seconds, which works to saturate the plant.
From there, the extracted TCH flows onto a pan in the form of a green muck. Boiling this substance allows the butane to evaporate at which point the remaining THC can be scraped off the pan in the form of an oil. Not surprisingly, the use of butane in this process has accounted for an increase in fires in houses that run “wax labs.”
In spite of this drug’s merits, marijuana carries addictive properties that can convert more than a few casual users into hardcore addicts. THC, the active ingredient in marijuana, has a chemical make-up that’s similar to the chemicals flowing through the brain’s own cannabinoid system. This similarity sets the stage for marijuana’s effects to take over normal brain chemical processes.
As with any addictive substance, the longer a person uses the larger his or her dosage amounts become. This process stems from rising tolerance levels in the brain.
As tolerance levels increase, brain cell structures and functions weaken, breeding a growing physical dependency on the drug. With BHO, the rate at which addition takes hold increases considerably due to the drug’s high THC concentration levels. At higher concentration levels, tolerance levels rise faster and physical dependency sets in quicker. In effect, addiction becomes inevitable with ongoing use.
BHO Health Effects
The high THC content found in the “new marijuana” places users at an incredibly high risk for developing serious side effects, including:
- The feel of bugs crawling on the skin
- Psychotic episodes
According to Brown University Health Education, as many as 10 to 14 percent of marijuana users develop some form of addiction. With THC making the rounds, these numbers are sure to rise in the near future.