Hash oil (also known as dabs, shatter, wax, melt, honey or snake tails) is a form of cannabis. It is a resinous matrix of cannabinoids obtained from the Cannabis plant by solvent extraction, formed into a hardened or viscous mass.
Hash oil can be the most potent of the main cannabis products because of its high THC content which can vary depending on the plant.
Reported THC contents vary between sources. The 2009 World Drug Reports reports THC content as "may exceed 60%". A 2013 American forensic science book gave a range of 10-30% delta-9 THC by weight. and a 1972 American forensic journal reported a range of 20-65%. current testing labs regularly report oil potencies ranging from 30-90%, with levels of dispensary quality oil typically ranging from 60-85, occasionally higher and occasionally lower. Some extracts have supposedly been tested to over 99% THC but involve a multiple stage chemical process.
Hash oil can be consumed in various ways, including smoking, vaporization, or oral consumption (eating). Typically, it is vaporized in what is known as a "dab rig", a small water pipe designed for hash oil vaporization. The medical or recreational user takes a hand-held blowtorch and heats a titanium surface until the titanium surface, which can be a Ti Nail or a Skillet, reaches the desired temperature indicated by a glowing orange hue. This is followed by placing a drop of hash oil, a process known as "dabbing", on the hot surface with a glass or dental pick until it melts, boils, and vaporizes through the water pipe and into the user's lungs. This is generally regarded as the primary and most effective way of ingesting this form of hash oil second to pen vaporizers. This method is usually best tolerated by well "seasoned" medical users or those with a high tolerance and in need quick and effective relief from ailments such as severe pain, appetite stimulation, and stress and or anxiety.
Misconceptions have led the public to believe that it is possible to overdose on THC using hash oil. This has not been properly analyzed medically and is dismissed by the medical community because it would take an improbable amount of cannabis and even in concentrated amounts is highly unlikely, however cannabis use, like all things, is not for all. This procedure largely minimizes the intake of smoke and carcinogenics. Where combusted smoke gases from cannabis consists of 88% non-cannabinoids, vaporized gases from cannabis consists of 95% cannabinoids and only 5% percent other substances where the most pronounced is caryophyllene, a fragrant oil present in most plants on earth.
Hash oil is a cannabis product obtained by separating resins from cannabis buds by solvent extraction.
The most common form of hash oil is made by passing butane gas through a tube filled with cannabis plant matter. The low temperature of the liquid butane crystallizes the cannabis resins. As the butane passes through the tube the crystallized resins are trapped in the liquid butane. As the solvent (butane + resins) exits the tube it is caught in a glass container. Butane is a volatile molecule and boils at -1° C., leaving behind the crystallized resins only, which are collected from the glass container. This form is known as BHO or "Butane Hash Oil". After obtaining BHO many connoisseurs will then vacuum purge their oil in a vacuum chamber. This action, depending on duration of exposure to vacuum, will give the B.H.O characteristic textures, producing wax, crumble, shatter, budder, etc.
Other solvents commonly used are hexane, isopropyl alcohol, ethanol, and liquid or dry ice CO2. One should note the purity of the solvent used, as only pure, additive-free types should be considered suitable to avoid unwanted health effects.
Cannabis can also be boiled in a solvent to form a viscous liquid which is then strained and the solvent is evaporated to yield hash oil. Flammable solvents used in extraction make the process dangerous.
Potential for explosions
Explosion and fire incidents related to manufacturing attempts in homes have been reported. Associated Press reports that such incidents in United States have primarily been in west coast states that permit medical marijuana.
Michigan permits medical marijuana, and there were two home explosions in July 2013, in Washtenaw county. In December 2013 a Virginia man suffered third degree burns when an attempt to make BHO, "honey oil", exploded.
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The 2006 World Drug Report reports that cannabis oil seizures doubled in 2004, and that it represented 0.01% of global cannabis seized. In 2007, 418 kg equivalent of hash oil was seized globally.
Australia and New Zealand
Issues a warning to those in possession of a substance for personal use which contains up to one gram of THC, with further sanctions following if the subject re-offends.
Although provision of tools utilized in production and consumption of cannabis is illegal in Portugal; Portuguese law allows for the possession of up to 2.5 grams of hash oil for personal use.
The production or possession of hash is illegal in the United States. States such as Texas as well as others consider hash as a controlled substance. Until guidelines were amended in November 1995, Federal law did not explicitly define the difference between marijuana, hash, and hash oil, which led to cannabis preparations being assessed case-by-case. Under the new federal guidelines, hashish oil is characterized as:
A preparation of the soluble cannabinioids derived from Cannabis that includes (i) one or more of the tetrahydrocannibinols.. ..and (ii) at least two of the following: cannabinol, cannabidiol, or cannibichromene, and (iii) is essentially free of plant material.
Hashish is classified as a Class B controlled substance under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971. The status of "liquid cannabis" is "currently the subject of legal argument" The Misuse of Drugs Act: A Guide For Forensic Scientists published by the Royal Society of Chemistry suggests that the term "liquid cannabis" is preferable to "hash oil", as it does not involve definition of what exactly constitutes an "oil". The authors also recommend adoption of "purified form" instead of "solvent extract" when describing hash oil, as the former would not require proof of solvent usage by forensic scientists.
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