Stuff a bunch of ground-up weed into a metal tube, run some clean butane gas through, evaporate the solution from the resulting mixture, and what’s left? A marijuana concentrate known as hash oil, and if the Internet is any indicator of where we’re going with drugs (it is), then this is what my children will be hiding from me in their sock drawers come parenthood.
Making BHO is science-meets-stoner alchemy, and the resulting concentrated oil offers a clean, strong high that lasts for hours. And that high is off just a “dab” of hash oil, a mere pinhead-sized amount of what appears in consistency and color to be some kind of caramel.
There’s no plant material to add in impurities, and users are vaporizing, not smoking, so that whole “getting cancer” thing isn’t much of a worry. Tommy Chong even used hash oil to help alleviate his prostate cancer last year. Producing BHO can be somewhat dangerous, with media reports of explosions rolling in from around the country, but that hasn’t deterred “oilheads” from trying. It is, in effect, the strongest, geekiest, and sexiest form of marijuana that exists today.
Hash oil is relatively new to the East Coast, so I asked online video producer and resident pot fanatic “Philly Glass Connect” (his social media pseudonym) to lay down some knowledge on Philly’s budding hash oil trend.
How long have you been involved with the marijuana culture?
I’ve been involved with marijuana since high school and smoked my first reefer during band practice with my close friends. Philly Glass Connect was created because I wanted to fuse my passion for filmmaking with my appreciation for glass artwork. I started collecting glass [pipes] in 2009, and made friends with a few local glassblowers that invited me to their studios.
Have your videos played a role in the marijuana culture?
My “Glass Showcase” for the “Fritted Disc” is one of the most viewed “milkshot” videos on the Internet and really brought the glassblower, David Goldstein, into the mainstream market.
When did you first come across hash oil? How did you find BHO around Philly?
I first came across BHO at a friend’s house who had it shipped in from California. You’d be surprised how many hundreds of packages are mailed everyday across the United States containing contraband.
Besides cost, what’s more attractive about making BHO for you? Are there many manufacturers in Philly?
In my experience, I find it extremely fun to make my own BHO. It’s science for stoners, and if you do it in a safe environment, do research, and take the proper precautionary measures, you’ll be able to come out with fantastic results. I wouldn’t say that there are “manufacturers” in Philadelphia, rather people just trying to test and exploit the market. Since BHO is more profitable and easy to conceal, dealers are now shifting to strictly selling concentrates … I’m sure a decent bit gets shipped in from legal states, considering I’ve seen prices slowly dropping within the last year.
How have you seen interest in and popularity of BHO take off in recent years? Is Philly’s MJ culture on board with BHO generally speaking?
The BHO scene has really grown in the Philadelphia area. Only a year or two ago, it was unheard of by my friends, but now I see tons of people purchasing “oil rigs” and making BHO in their backyards. I do not think the majority of Philadelphia smokers are on board with BHO. At legalization events and protests, many members are opposed to BHO as it has a negative stigma that is worse than flowers [pot]. Butane torches … tend to look like pistols in the eyes of the public.
Has BHO’s popularity and interest increased proportionally in Philly as it grew nationally, or was there a disproportionate rise in oil talk around here?
When I’ve spoken to people that live in legal states, BHO and marijuana concentrates sound like they have been around forever, so I do think that the rise of oil talk is disproportionate around the country. I’m sure if you ask someone in the middle of Kansas, “Wanna smoke some BHO?” they’d look at you like you’re crazy and could possibly think the concentrate resembles something like heroin.
How does the relatively unknown status (in Philly and non-medical states) of BHO affect its users in the city by your estimation?
If police officers find a decent amount of BHO, it could easily be mistaken for heroin or a harder drug. When smoked responsibly or through a vaporizer pen on the streets, it can be easily overlooked. The pens resemble an e-cig, and I’ve been able to take mine into bars, events, shows, even the movies, without a problem. If someone ever asks, the response that it’s an e-cig doesn’t make them think twice.
Most places are latching onto the “BHO explosion” thing to “expose” oil’s “dangers.” Can you speak about that?
What else would you expect to happen if you drained an entire can of butane inside your home? There are so many dangers in doing this. Educate yourself and extract outdoors, or leave it to people that take the proper precautions. In legal states, concentrates are manufactured in closed extract systems that don’t allow any gas to escape. Some manufacturers even use non-flammable solvents like CO2 that are less dangerous and make a product with even less impurities.
In what way have you generally seen hash oil treated in the press? Any great attempts at accuracy?
Like most forms of press, drugs are always portrayed in a negative way; it’s what sells. From what I’ve seen, the press focuses on the few incidents where BHO production has gone wrong, such as accidental fires, impurities that can cause harm to your body, and explosions due to extracting indoors. If BHO is produced in the right environment, with proper equipment and knowledge, it is just as harmless as smoking MJ.