BHO ( Butane Honey Oil ) Risks

What is Butane Honey Oil?

There is a distinct connection between butane honey oil (BHO) and marijuana. BHO is a highly volatile, flammable, and toxic solvent used to extract THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), the active mind-altering component from the cannabis plant, for a stronger and more powerful high.

  • Marijuana is the most widely used illicit substance in the United States, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), and in recent years, individuals have become creative with methods for extracting THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) from the drug.
  • The resulting gooey, yellowish extracted substance often has the consistency of honey and is often called butane honey oil, or BHO.
  • The street names for BHO are wax, shatter, dab, budder, and butter.
  • The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) warns that BHO can be as much as four times stronger than traditional marijuana with a THC potency of 40-80 percent. BHO is often smoked.
  • Typically, individuals will take a small amount, or a “dab,” of the substance and either put it into an e-cigarette, vaporizer (“vape”) pen, or a specialized bong called an oil rig, which uses a blowtorch to vaporize the hash oil. Smoking BHO in this way is generally referred to as dabbing. People often like this method as it is virtually undetectable; when smoked in this manner, it does not give off the distinctive skunk-like odor of weed. The high may also be more intense and less is needed to feel the effects.
  • The Journal of Emergency Medical Services (JEMS) warns that BHO abuse is on the rise, leading to more incidents requiring emergency medical treatment. Both manufacturing and consuming BHO can be highly dangerous and unpredictable.

Hazards of Butane Honey Oil

Butane honey oil can be dangerous to extract and also hazardous to abuse. The risks associated with butane honey oil is as follows:

  • Explosion or fire: Butane is highly flammable. Manufacturing BHO has sent many people to the hospital with severe burns, according to this article in the LA Times. Breathing in the fumes while extracting butane honey oil can be dangerous and toxic as well.
  • Toxic effects: All of the butane may not be completely removed from the butane honey oil during extraction, and its residue can be neurotoxic, ABC 7 WXYZ.
  • Psychosis: In large amounts, marijuana may cause hallucinations, paranoia, and worsening schizophrenic symptoms, NIDA reports. Since BHO is so much more potent than traditional marijuana, the risk of experiencing psychotic symptoms may be higher. BHO may cause more severe psychological and physical side effects than marijuana itself. In addition, all possible risk factors for marijuana abuse are heightened when abusing it in this more potent extracted form of hash oil.
  • Addiction: Marijuana is an addictive substance. A higher potency substance like butane honey oil may raise the risk for developing an addiction more rapidly.

The Effects of Using Marijuana Concentrates

Using more concentrated forms of marijuana, like butane honey oil, may make a person more likely to battle addiction. When marijuana is abused in any form, the drug interacts with cannabinoid receptors in the brain and makes some chemical changes that, over time, cause drug dependence, as the brain gets used to the alterations made by marijuana.

  •  NIDA reports that about a third of those who use marijuana likely suffer from marijuana addiction.
  • If a person then attempts to stop using marijuana, withdrawal symptoms, including mood swings, depression, anxiety irritability, suppressed appetite, cravings, restlessness, physical discomfort, and sleep issues, occur and may last for a few days to a few weeks after stopping use. While these withdrawal symptoms are not typically considered to be life-threatening, it can still be helpful for individuals to participate in a formal detox, or medical detox, program where trained professionals can monitor both physical and mental health and minimize discomfort as much as possible.

Options for Treatment

  • After the drug has safely processed out of the body through detox, an addiction treatment program can provide the necessary support to sustain abstinence and promote long-term recovery.
  • Treatment programs can be either inpatient or outpatient, depending on the circumstances and needs of the particular person.
  • Care plans may include group and individual therapies, counseling sessions, educational programs, relapse prevention programs, the teaching of stress management techniques, and participation in a support group.
  • Addiction treatment programs are tailored to each person and family as needed; therefore, no two models will be exactly alike. Admission specialists can help families and individuals determine the right level of care and support.

Why Greenhouse Treatment Facility?

Greenhouse Treatment Facility has the experienced and licensed medical staff to help patients undergo treatment specific to their needs. If you find that you’re struggling with the misuse of butane honey oil, marijuana, or both, options are available. Together we can help you reach long-term sobriety one step at a time.

About The Contributor
Editorial Staff
Editorial Staff, American Addiction Centers
The editorial staff of Greenhouse Treatment Center is comprised of addiction content experts from American Addiction Centers. Our editors and medical reviewers have over a decade of cumulative experience in medical content editing and have reviewed... Read More