How Is Hash Oil Made? Learn The Ins and Outs Of This Cannabis Product

If you’ve visited a provisioning center recently, you’ve likely seen a brilliant array of cannabis oils in hues of yellow and amber. But how are these products made? This guide delves into the world of hash oil, what is it, how it’s made, and the types you’ll find in a provisioning center.


What is hash oil?

Hash oil is a concentrated extract of cannabis that contains high levels of phytocannabinoids like delta-9 THC. Hash oil is generally vaporized or dabbed and may be sold on its own or in a pre-filled vape cartridge. Hash oil is a popular choice if you have a high tolerance for THC or if you’re a medical marihuana patient who experiences greater symptom relief with higher THC products.


Types of hash oil

The term “hash oil” has evolved over time, and even today there are several varieties of hash oil on the market. Here’s a look at some of these types of hash oil and how they differ from one another.

  • Hash oil: The traditional variety of hash oil was produced by soaking hashish, bricks of concentrated cannabis resin produced by humans for millennia, in vegetable oil. This hash oil was generally used for preparing food or for making tinctures. Today, this variety of hash oil has largely fallen out of fashion and the term is more commonly used to describe extracts used in vaping and dabbing.
  • Butane hash oil: Butane hash oil (BHO) is among the most common modern varieties of the extract. BHO usually appears as a sticky, amber liquid and contains upward of 90% THC content, providing a very potent consumption experience. The solvents used in its production must be purged from the extract before the final product is sold.

  • CO oil: Similar to BHO, this variety of hash oil is produced using an extraction method called supercritical CO extraction. This variety of hash oil is generally less potent than BHO, but it doesn’t require purging of residual solvents.

  • Rosin: Rosin is a solventless variety of hash oil that is produced from bubble hash and closely mimics the cannabinoid and terpene profiles found in the source plant. This type of hash oil is usually darker and especially sticky, like molasses.

How is hash oil made?

Each of the hash oil types mentioned above are produced in different ways. And even among each of these processes, individual manufacturers may put their own spin on things. The following are general overviews of each process and which type of hash oil they’re used to make, but bear in mind that extraction can be as much an art as it is a science — seldom will two manufacturers use precisely the same process.


Hydrocarbon extraction

The process of hydrocarbon extraction involves the use of hydrocarbon solvents, like butane or propane, to pull out the cannabinoids and terpenes in cannabis. This is generally done with a closed-loop extractor, in which the biomass and solvent are combined, separating the extract from the plant. The resulting extract is heated (at a relatively low temperature) so the solvent boils off, a process called purging. The result is BHO, which is used to fill vape cartridges or can be further refined to produce dabs like crumble or shatter.


Supercritical CO extraction

Technically a solventless extract, CO oil is produced by a process called supercritical COextraction, which also involves the use of a closed-loop extractor. This method requires subjecting COto a temperature and pressure that causes it to convert to its supercritical phase. This means it acts as a liquid and gas simultaneously. This supercritical state enables it to easily pass through the cannabis flower and plant material (called biomass), which is how the cannabinoids and terpenes are extracted. Once passed through, the supercritical CO is separated from the extract and recondensed into a liquid, which is recycled for future production runs. COoil is often used for vape cartridges.


Ice water extraction and rosin pressing

Ice water extraction is a mechanical separation process that uses near-freezing water to strip the trichomes, or resin glands, of cannabis flower away from the plant. The trichomes are then collected in a series of fine mesh bags through which the water is drained and pressed into bricks that, once dried, are known as bubble hash. To produce rosin, the bubble hash is placed in a device called a rosin press, where two plates are heated and used to compress the hash. The rosin press squeezes the hash oil from the bricks of bubble hash, enabling the rosin to be collected. Rosin may be sold for dabbing with a dab rig or electronic dabbing device, it can be used in vape carts, and it can be used to make edibles, too.


What about dabs and waxes?

Cannabis dabs and waxes, like shatter or crumble, are other types of cannabis concentrates that can be created using processes like hydrocarbon extraction. Usually, they begin their life as BHO but are subjected to post-processing techniques that alter their structure, consistency, and appearance. 

Shatter, for example, is a thin, solid extract that appears like a translucent pane of glass. It can be broken up into small shards (which is how it got its name) that are easy to handle, unlike many varieties of hash oil. Shatter is created when BHO is poured in a thin sheet and allowed to harden. 

Hash oil is closely related to dabs and, in many cases, is a precursor to these final products. Oftentimes, dabs are simply hash oil — particularly BHO — that has been subjected to additional processing techniques to alter its properties. In most cases, you can expect a similar consumption experience overall.

How to consume hash oil

As we’ve covered in this guide, most hash oil products are consumed by inhaling them. In many cases, like with shatter, rosin, wax, and other concentrates, you’ll need to dab them using a dab rig or by using an electronic dabbing device. Here’s how to use both devices.

To dab hash oil, you’ll need:

  • A dab rig made of glass or silicone, or an electronic dabbing device like the Puffco Peak
  • A blowtorch or an enail, if you’re using a dab rig
  • A dab tool to place your dab into your dab rig or dabbing device
  • A carb cap, if desired
  • Your favorite hash oil product from Iconic Wellness
  • A dab mat
  • A way to store your extra concentrate, such as a silicone container or its original packaging

Once you collect what you need, here’s how to use your dab:

  • If using a dab rig, start by heating up the nail of your dab. This is a piece, often made of quartz, that’s going to turn your dab into vapor. Follow the enail’s instructions to heat the nail to your desired temperature, or use the blowtorch to heat the nail.
  • Once hot, use the dab tool to place a very small amount of hash oil concentrate onto the nail. It’ll instantly turn into a mix of smoke and vapor. Place the carb cap on top of the basket where you placed your concentrate.
  • Now, it’s time to inhale. Bring the mouthpiece up to your lips and inhale. Move the carb cap around, up, and down as needed. Use the dab mat to place the dab rig while you’re not actively inhaling.
  • Wait until all your components are cool to the touch before putting away your dab rig.
  • If you’re using an electronic dabbing device, follow the instructions that came with your device closely.

If your hash oil came in a vape cartridge, all you’ll need to do is follow the instructions with your chosen vape pen to attach the cartridge and inhale. Refer to your device’s manual to double-check that you’re following directions.


Hash oil offers a potent experience

If you’re a high tolerance consumer who’s looking for a bit more kick than whole cannabis flower offers, hash oil might be right for you. You can choose between varieties like BHO, CO oil, and rosin, depending on your preferences, but each offers a highly potent experience perfect for vaping or dabbing. Not sure which type of hash oil is best for you? Stop in at your local Iconic Wellness provisioning center and discuss your preferences with one of our budtenders — we’ll make sure you go home with a cannabis product that’s sure to please.

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