How to Make HIGH-Quality Butane Hash Oil
SUPERCRITICAL FLUID EXTRACTION
The ultimate way of making high-quality hash oil with butane. Solvents can also be used to extract raw cannabis oil from harvested cannabis flowers.
Butane Hash oil contains:
- Psychoactive cannabinoids in high percentages
- Plant tissue in low percentages
- Chlorophyll in low percentages
Trace elements in low percentages (non-psychoactive water-soluble matter)
Raw cannabis oil is best extracted from highly resinous strains like the Afghani cannabis plant. Strains that have a semi-dry or dry floral trait shouldn’t be considered candidates for butane oil extraction because the amount of oil extracted does not necessarily justify the procedure. Although when using dry material the end material is a very high-grade form of hash oil. With these dry strains, you may have to do the extraction process several times before a good amount of psychoactive oil is produced. Like any other cannabinoid extraction process, you are better off using a resinous strain to justify the end results.
Isopropyl, ethanol and acetone were the most popular solvents for hash oil extraction. The process for each one of these methods is time-consuming, costly and material-intensive. They often result in smaller amounts of lower grade oil than you hoped for. A much easier and more affordable way to enjoy a more pure form of marijuana oil is the process known as butane extraction. It produces much better results as well as a shorter time frame.
Butane extraction is the most popular form of raw hash oil extraction. It is based on an industrial process known as SFE (supercritical fluid extraction) and is very easy to perform. You should only use butane fuels that are recommended for flameless lighters. These types of butane are much cleaner and extract raw butane hash oil better than other butane fuel types that you commonly find. A good tobacco or smoke shop should stock flameless lighter butane.
Isobutane is a great solvent for hash oil extraction because it separates cannabis oils from most other useless plant matter. This type of filtered oil is sometimes nicknamed “Honey Oil” because the results are like amber honey. SFE can produce very fine and pure cannabis oil from resinous cannabis strains. It simply separates cannabis oils from plant tissue, chlorophyll and other trace elements. You can imagine the final weight of the butane extracted oil to be the equivalent of the total weight of anything sticky or oily on the plant separated from the rest of it.
Once you have obtained the butane, you need a pipe that measures 1.5 to 2.0 inches in diameter, is 16 to 24 inches long and is made from either polypropylene (PP) or polyethylene (PE). Basically, the bigger the pipe, the more bud it can hold. Do not use PVC piping because it can be a health hazard. Either PP or PE piping works best and can be found in any good DIY store. Each end of the pipe will need a cap. You should be able to get some PP or PE caps at a home improvement store or someone can make them for you. If you cannot find any suitable caps, you can try using large bottle caps and ‘blue tack’ to hold them in place.
Try to use a stand to hold the pipe. A lab stand is perfect for the job but anything that will hold the pipe up off the ground is fine. You also need a filter. An extremely fine cloth filter, like a bandage wrap with pores or fine pipe gauze, will work well. Any filter that will allow hash oil to drop through but leave the plant matter in the pipe is ideal. Coffee filters will not work very well unless they have a large pore size. You also need a clear plastic measuring cup, a clean wooden stick (like a medical tongue depressor) and some nicely chopped bud. You should be able to use 1 oz or more of bud in the above pipe design.
Drill a hole in the end of the first cap that allows the nozzle of the butane canister to fit neatly into it.
Drill six small holes near the center of the second cap.
- Another hole needs to be drilled in the end of one cap that allows the nozzle of the butane canister to fit neatly into it.
- Then drill six small holes near the center of the bottom cap.
- Place the filter in this bottom cap.
- Attach the second cap to the pipe.
- Fill up the pipe extremely loosely (never cram it in) with finely ground bud.
- Attach the first, or top, cap to the pipe.
- Mount your pipe on your stand and place it over your clean measuring cup or tray.
- Open the butane can and turn it upside down placing the nozzle in the top cap. Fill the pipe up slowly, allowing the butane to draw the oils down through the tube.
- Remove the butane canister when it stops hissing (meaning it is empty) and move a safe distance away.
- Wait fifteen to twenty minutes before approaching the apparatus even if the top cap has given up any viable signs of fume release. The butane should have evaporated away, leaving an oil/butane mixture in the cup.
- Open the top cap to allow all fumes to escape. Butane will still be active in the cup and bud in the pipe so leave these two alone for another twenty minutes. The remaining oil in the cup is raw hash oil with some butane.
- Any remaining butane can be evaporated by placing the cup into a dish of hot water.
- Voila you now have made raw hash oil. It should be ready to smoke in a few hours.
Tips for butane extraction
NOTE: Butane is fuel and will combust when ignited by any kind of spark. If you do not have a professional SFE unit with the proper ventilation, then use butane SFE extraction carefully. Do it outdoors, away from any buildings and other people. Avoid inhaling butane or the exhaust from butane extraction by wearing a facemask.
Do not smoke when you are performing SFE with butane, period. Butane extraction is actually one of the least safe methods of hash oil extraction available to the home grower.
I have heard of numerous SFE accidents caused by butane. All of them happened the same way. Most SFE butane extraction accidents occur when the pipe is full of bud and butane is dripping down into the cup below. Any flame, spark or ignition will cause that butane to become unstable. Almost all of the accidents I have heard about occurred because a flame or spark ignited the butane. In most cases, it was a smoker who caused this.
During the SFE process, the butane must be left alone to drain down into the plastic cup along with the raw hash oils that it collects on the way down. Vapour and fumes will come out through the top of the cap and the cup.
After about fifteen minutes, most of the butane will have passed through. There may be some remaining butane/oil extract near the filter and end cap. Forcing this through (by blowing, tapping or pushing) into the tube may add unwanted matter to your extract. A brief shake is all that is needed to help the remainder into the catch cup. Use the wooden stick to wipe away any oil/butane mixture from the base of the filter. This butane/oil extract in the pipe and cup is still part of the SFE process and the butane will continue to evaporate.
Evaporating the Butane
Be careful butane has a low boiling point (even evaporates at room temperature) and if you need to boil off any excess butane in the cup simply place the cup into a bowl of hot water (NOT boiling!) and watch the butane disappear. This is why butane extraction is best done outdoors. Butane will eventually evaporate into the atmosphere instead of into your house. You should eventually be left with an amber-coloured substance in the catch cup. This is your high-grade butane hash oil!
The butane should be completely evaporated by heating the cup of raw hash oil/butane in hot water. Your high-grade hash oil is sticky to touch and best consumed in small quantities because of its quality. Oil is best enjoyed by placing a small glob of oil on some foil and heating the foil lightly from beneath, causing the oil to boil and vaporize. This vapour should be then consumed using a Pyrex straw (plastic straws burn and inhaling burning plastic is not good). As a note: Cannabis oil is an excellent format for medicinal use because it is very pure. By vaporizing cannabis oil, the user can enjoy a pure form of cannabis without carbon monoxide.
Here are some other tips for butane extraction:
• After you remove the hash oil from the cup you can use some isopropyl (90 percent minimum content) to collect any residual oil that may be still in the cup. Add a small amount of isopropyl to your cup and swirl it around. Heat the cup at a very low heat (less than 200 degrees to avoid THC evaporation) to evaporate the isopropyl, leaving the remaining hash oil collected from the rim of the cup.
• You can perform a second extraction using the same procedure with the used bud to remove any excess oil that may still be left in the bud. The bud should be mostly devoid of any useful compounds and should be disposed of.
• A slow release of butane into the pipe allows sufficient time for the SFE to take place, improving the quality of the process and the final amount. Do not force all your butane in too quickly and leave good oil behind.
• The butane you use must be as pure as possible. Bottled butane is usually mixed with chemicals so that when it leaks you smell it. These chemicals can interfere with the butane/cannabis SFE process.
• Use a bud grinder to make sure that your bud is powered down as much as possible. The finer the cannabis the better the extraction results.
• A good result is between 5 and 10 grams of hash oil for every 1 oz of good quality resinous bud that you use.
• Expect about 0.5 to 2 grams of hash oil for every 1 oz of trim used. This depends on the quality of the cannabis.