Butane is a light hydrocarbon belonging to the same molecular family consisting of ethane, propane, and methane. Butane is produced from crude oils derived from decaying organic matter buried deep underground. Fractional distillation purifies the crude oil and compresses the butane into an odorless and flammable liquid. Professional extraction companies use instrument-grade butane for its purity and low boiling point allowing a more complete cannabis extraction compared to other solvents such as carbon dioxide or ethanol.
What Is the Difference Between Closed-Loop and Open-Loop Extraction?
Open-loop extraction, also known as open blasting, is popular among BHO hobbyists but can be a very dangerous process. During open-loop extractions, users place raw marijuana material and butane inside a metal or glass tube in order to separate cannabinoids from the plant material. In the open blasting method, the butane used for extraction is released into the atmosphere. Because butane is extremely flammable, a flame or spark can easily cause a deadly explosion.
Closed-loop extraction removes the possibility of gas leaks by containing all flammable solvents within a piece of commercial-grade extraction equipment. Closed-loop extraction is performed using third-party approved equipment at professional facilities with city government approval. Closed-loop extraction also recycles the spent butane for later use. The entire process is much safer, controlled, and effective.
How to perform a vacuum purge
State-of-the-art vacuum purging technology produces just the right amount of pressure to safely remove butane without damaging the therapeutic compounds in the concentrate. Vacuum purges will need to be performed multiple times until you’re left with a great-looking BHO that has a thick and viscous consistency.
Vacuum purges can be a dangerous affair. It’s important to perform a purge by a window or in an open area to reduce the chance of an explosion. One spark or a wrong piece of clothing can set the operation on fire. Extraction facilities use closed-loop systems, gas detection systems, and ventilation systems to protect its workers and extract BHO efficiently.
Despite the controversy surrounding BHO and the BHO method, the resulting dabs and shatter can make a full-spectrum concentrate full of cannabinoids and terpenes. Vacuum purging is essential to producing safe, pure, and tasty BHO shatter, dabs, wax, budder, and more every time.
What equipment is needed for a vacuum purge?
In order to perform a vacuum purge, some hobbyists purge BHO using a water method that combines the extracted BHO into a dish with hot water. The heat from the water purges the butane and a vacuum pump is used to complete the process.
Depending on the size of your batch and type of extract you’re creating, you’ll need different equipment. The type of equipment you choose will determine how long the vacuum purging process will take and the temperatures needed to purge.
A vacuum purge can be accomplished with a vacuum, a vacuum purge chamber, and a hose attachment. You can make your own vacuum purge set-up if you have the mechanical wherewithal or you can also buy pre-made vacuum purging kits.
Many entry-level vacuum purging chambers can achieve low pressures, around -27inHG, which can be ideal for small batches, but may be a time-intensive process. Vacuum purging pressures should be as close to -29.92inHG as possible to create a complete vacuum.
How to make cannabis oil
In this process you will be using a solvent (butane) to isolate the trichomes (part of the plant with all the oomph) into a new school potent concentrated hash. An average yield is 10%. That means that for every 100g of dry herb used you should get out around 10g of BHO.
The results will depend mostly on the quality of your herb, but the final results will ultimately be up to how much time and effort you are prepared to invest in making a C grade bland oil or a A+ cannabis concentrate.
You will need:
1 – Private outdoor space.
2 – Stainless steel or glass extraction tube.
3 – Coffee filters .
4 – Cables ties (if you are using an extraction tube that does not have a clamp for the filter).
5 – Low flat bottomed pyrex bowl.
6 – Butane. This can either be in the form of a few cans of good quality lighter gas refill from your local supermarket or a large bottle of pure butane from your local gas retailer.
7 – Flat blade or tool.
8 – Pair of scissors.
9 – Silicon or glass storage and/or parchment paper.
10 – Good quality herb of your choice.
Cleanliness is critical, so keep everything squeaky clean. Even more important though is ensuring that their are no electronics or open flames anywhere near you during the initial part of the extraction process as butane is highly flammable. Even the flick of a light switch or excessive static on your clothes could ignite the butane. So no joints, bong hits or phone calls on the job if you value keeping your face.
Pack your extraction tube
Chop your herb into small coin sized chunks or finer. Remove as many of the sticks and pips as possible. Firmly pack the extraction tube with the chopped herb. Don’t pack it too tight though as too much compaction can drastically decrease your final oil yield.
Fit the coffee filter to the open end of the extraction tube. Stainless steel extraction tubes will usually include some form of clamp to hold the filter in place. Glass tubes require a cable tie or other clamp to do this.
The medicinal marijuana patient and concentrates like BHO
Concentrates appear to be popular among those with access to medical marijuana – medical marijuana patients even seem to use concentrates at a much higher rate than non-patient marijuana users. It is not known whether this differential is due to easier access to dabs or the belief that concentrates offer greater symptom relief with fewer drawbacks for individuals with ailments. Empirical studies in general suggest that vaporizing commercially produced concentrates does lessen the consumption of byproducts and lead to purer dosing; however, the lag time between administration and the onset of effects in patients is often associated with redosing and thus larger quantities consumed than anticipated. Higher dosing may not be desirable for pain management as efficacy appears greatest at moderate dosages and high dosing can carry risk for patients with other conditions. Further, as the demographics of medical marijuana patients skew older than recreational dabbers, there may be heightened risk of the high dose of THC in dabs interacting with preexisting conditions and other medications. Regardless, medical marijuana patients are likely less negatively affected by dabs as they have access to products manufactured using a well-regulated closed-loop system. Additionally, products intended for medicinal use may have lower levels of THC and higher levels of other cannabinoids associated with more therapeutic properties. We maintain that an underappreciated risk is associated with recreational users creating and consuming dabs made via an open system by an amateur without oversight of any regulatory body and in violation of the law.