Media Miss Real Danger in Hash Oil

BHO Hash

All across the nation, news media outlets are sounding the alarm over something they do not understand. You may have noticed the news becoming filled with stories about this dangerous new “marijuana wax.”

According to prestigious news sources, like Fox News, this new dangerous cannabis by-product is as strong as “20 joints,” made with hazardous chemicals that cause explosions, and can deliver a “dangerous” high. If you are wondering why you haven’t heard of “marijuana wax,” it’s because you actually already have.

This “marijuana wax” is something that’s been around for a long time: hash oil. Commonly used in making edibles marijuana, this potent extract has seen a rise in the number of people smoking it; also known as dabbing.  It is true that dabbing delivers a potent high, but saying it’s like smoking 20 joints is a gross exaggeration.

It is important to mention, however, that there are some dangers associated with hash oil, but the media simply ignore the real danger. Most of the danger in hash oil lies in one specific extraction technique used in its production process.

There are a number of extraction techniques for hash oil; and the dangerous one in question is the BHO extraction method. Essentially, you use butane oil to help separate the hash oil; and because butane has a low evaporation temperature, it doesn’t stay in the oil.

This technique is the easiest to do at home and consequently, it has become very popular. Unfortunately, butane oil is incredibly flammable and can lead to dangerous explosions if safety procedures aren’t properly followed. In the first six months of legal recreational cannabis, there have been 27 explosions in Denver in relation to butane hash oil extraction.

On September 15, 2014, the Denver city council will consider a proposal to ban the use of butane in hash oil extraction. The proposal is backed by Denver’s mayor, Michael Hancock, and will only pertain to using butane in the home; properly licensed companies will still be able to use chemical-based extraction.

Denver is doing the right thing in banning home butane extraction. With other, safer, techniques out there like the ice-water separation method; it is irresponsible for people to put themselves and others at risk by doing BHO extraction at home.

It is very disappointing that most major news outlets are distorting the real dangers that come from hash oil. In lieu of reporting the truth, they grab for low hanging fruit and trump up the dangers of its potency. It is impossible to overdose on marijuana, but butane explosions can definitely kill you.

By overblowing the potency risk of hash oil, not only are the media derelict in their duty as journalists, but they also put those that would make butane hash oil in risk because it is most likely these marijuana enthusiasts will disregard such “reefer madness” stories and  never realize that using butane is where the real danger lies.

Hopefully, Denver’s city council will pass the ban homemade butane hash oil, which will attract attention to the real issue at hand. It is vital for everyone involved in the cannabis industry, from media to dispensary owners, to educate the public on the dangers of BHO extraction. By spreading truth, and not misinformation, we can end an easily preventable danger.

William Sumner, a freelance writer and marijuana journalist, was a staff writer for MJINews from May 2014 through February 2018. You can follow him on Twitter @W_Sumner.

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