Varieties of Butane Hash Oil


What do you picture when you think of a good batch of BHO? Glassy dabs? Terpene rich sugar? Puffy honeycomb? How a product is extracted or winterized, what sort of material it was made from and how it is purged, influences its qualities. Let’s look at some of the different products out there and what sets them apart.

Appearance: Glassy, translucent sheets
Consistency: Brittle, yet somewhat pliable
Color: From light golden to dark brown
Common Terpene Range: 1.5-3.5%
Common Cannabinoid Range: 65-85%

This form of BHO is the iconic type for dabbing.  It has a slightly pliable but still crackly texture.  This glass-like look and feel is the product of very thorough winterizing, during which the plant lipid and waxes are removed.  Purging glass-like shatter can be challenging as its hard surface will prevent residual solvents from escaping.  Higher purge temperatures and longer purge times are the key for removing any remaining alkanes from the product, as too much vacuum will cause it to bubble up and the glass-like consistency will disappear.

Appearance: Crumbly, waxy, foam-like
Consistency: Soft, dry and easily broken
Color: Usually light yellow/gold
Common Terpene Range: 3-6%
Common Cannabinoid Range: 65-85%

Honeycomb BHO looks much like beeswax or a pumice stone. It has many tiny air pockets in it and a crumbly and crunchy texture. While it will be winterized to purify the cannabinoid content, if some residual wax is left behind you can still achieve the same texture and feel. The key to getting this foamy, airy product is kneading the extract to incorporate air and then purging in a high vacuum. As the solvents escape the slab they bubble up fiercely leaving craters and bubbles throughout the final product.

Appearance: Crystalline
Consistency: Fine powder to salt-like
Color: Light yellow to white
Common Terpene Range: 0.1-1%
Common Cannabinoid Range: 85-100%

Isolates, aka the mythic white, are highly purified products made up predominantly of cannabinoid crystals. They have almost no terpenes, so the experience of smoking these products alone is very different without the full entourage effect. Isolates tend to be very pricey, not only because of their high cannabinoid content, but also because the yield is much lower than with other types of concentrates.

Appearance: Wet, sandy
Consistency: Oily
Color: Light yellow to dark brown
Common Terpene Range: 10-15%
Common Cannabinoid Range: 60-80%

Sugar, or sometimes called terp sugar for its high terpene content, has a very wet sandy look. The terpenes have an oily consistency that causes the wet appearance. Prior to purging the product is agitated to provide the sandy consistency. Cold temperatures are used during the extraction process to preserve as many of the terpenes as possible, as they are volatile and will evaporate off at even room temperature. Sometimes processors will make a “live resin” version of this product, where they use cannabis flowers that are frozen and not dried rather than regular dried and cured buds.

Terp Sauce
Appearance: Wet, runny
Consistency: Low viscosity
Color: Golden yellow
Common Terpene Range: 10-20%
Common Cannabinoid Range: 40-70%

Also known as terp sap and HTPE (High Terpene Extract), terp sauce is a runnier form of concentrate. Some of them will have viscosity that works well with typical vape pen set ups. Frequently this product is a blend of fractionated distilled terpenes and distillate or BHO. Almost all the plant waxes and chlorophyll are removed during the extraction and winterization process to give these products a lovely golden color.

Appearance: Wax-like
Consistency: Ranges from soft/pliable to brittle
Color: Tan to dark brown
Common Terpene Range: 1-3%
Common Cannabinoid Range: 60-80%

Wax, sometimes called budder, is a product that is less fiercely winterized. Some of the plant lipids are left behind to give it a waxier consistency. This sort of product is very easy to break apart for dabbing. More aggressive purging may be necessary to remove all the solvents in this product, so it will have a lower terpene content than some of the other forms of BHO. Its color is highly variable, from very dark brown to lighter oranges to tan.


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