Butane honey oil is a potent extract of cannabis that can produce an intense rush, even in long-time marijuana users. Also known as “BHO,” “hash oil,” “dabs,” “errl” or “wax,” this drug has a high concentration of THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), the active chemical in marijuana. When smoked, vaporized or ingested orally, butane honey oil acts rapidly on cannabinoid receptors in the brain, the same cells that respond to marijuana.
The drug quickly produces sensations of relaxation, euphoria and altered sensory perception. Because BHO is so highly concentrated, chronic use may also speed up the process of chemical dependence and addiction. In addition, the process of using BHO can cause serious injuries, including severe burns.
Hazards of BHO
The greatest short-term hazard of BHO lies in the way it’s produced. Butane, a flammable fuel product, is used to extract a concentrated resin from marijuana leaves. After the oil has been extracted, the butane gas must be removed, or “purged,” from the oil so that the concentrate can be smoked. The process of purging the oil can be extremely dangerous, especially when it’s performed by casual users. According to The Los Angeles Times, at least 17 Californians have suffered from severe burns after trying to make honey oil at home.
The process of smoking BHO is known as “dabbing,” The user heats the titanium component of a glass pipe (also known as a “dabbing rig”), then applies a drop of the honey oil onto the heated surface. The smoke from the resin is then inhaled through the pipe, causing a powerful, euphoric high.
Health Risks of Butane Honey Oil
Chronic use of cannabis extracts can cause physical, cognitive and psychological side effects. Loss of motor coordination, poor balance, learning impairment and memory problems may occur in heavy users, according to Deutches Arzteblatt International. Teens who smoke marijuana may experience respiratory irritation or a chronic cough. Smoking highly concentrated cannabis may worsen depression, anxiety or psychotic episodes in teenagers who are struggling with mental illness.
Clinical research has confirmed that heavy marijuana use can produce dependence and addiction. Addiction reports that up to 8 percent of users who smoke 10 or more times per month are chemically dependent. With a powerful form of cannabis like butane honey oil, the path from dependence to addiction may be a short one. Signs of BHO addiction include:
- Tolerance, or the need to use more of the drug to achieve the same high
- Depression, lack of focus or irritability when you can’t use cannabis
- Withdrawal symptoms when you try to reduce your usage or stop
- Continued use of the drug in spite of adverse physical side effects, accidents, relationship conflicts or legal problems
Withdrawal from butane honey oil may cause restlessness, anxiety, insomnia, depression and overwhelming cravings. That’s what makes it so hard for the user to quit without the support of a professional drug rehab program.
Getting Help for Your Teen
Teens are natural risk takers, and it’s not uncommon for them to experiment with new trends in drug use. But the dangers of producing and smoking butane honey oil have been widely publicized, and parents must take this trend very seriously. At Muir Wood, we offer the support you need to get your teen into treatment and guide him through the recovery process.
Our gender-specific program for troubled boys has helped many teens make the transition from adolescence to adulthood successfully. Contact our admissions counselors at any time to learn more about our individually tailored treatment plans for substance abuse.