A new form of marijuana consumption is beginning to sweep the nation. It's called Butane Hash Oil (BHO) and it is quickly growing in popularity. You can ingest, vape or eat it. You can even rub it on your sore muscles and still get the same effect as pot, only much stronger.
What Is Butane Hash Oil?
There are many names for this new marijuana BHO, including dab, amber, honey, glass, wax or shatter, just to name a few. It is a highly potent marijuana concentrate that can contain up to 90 percent tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).
The THC content in BHO marijuana can be up to four times stronger than top-shelf or high-grade weed, which typically has approximately 20 percent THC levels.
Making this BHO drug from pot isn't a new thing. Nevertheless, its availability and popularity has risen in the past few years and many people are trying it or making it. Because of this, many people are wondering exactly what wax butane is, and if it is safe to use.
The process of making BHO wax is how it gets its name. In essence, it's made by adding marijuana trimmings into some form of holding container and moving butane through the container in a way that allows the butane to escape, but not the plant material. Next, the marijuana/butane mixture is evaporated to eliminate as much of the butane and other foreign substances as possible, while trying to keep as much of the “good stuff” as possible. The outcome of this process forms into a wax-like or honey-type substance.
Normally, you either consume THC BHO by ingesting or smoking it, or through vaporization. Many people like to mix it with other cannabis products (drinks, liquids or edibles) and smoke it in their vaporizer pens.
Commonly Used Synonyms of the BHO Drug
There are various nicknames for this drug, including:
- BHO (Butane Honey Oil or Butane Hash Oil)
- 710 (or OIL, which is 710 turned upside down)
- BHO Marijuana
- Marijuana Wax
- Butane Honey Oil
- Liquid THC
- Blowtorch Marijuana
Despite its different nicknames, it’s still the same substance that’s made in the same manner, but with different variations that can use different concentrations.
Who Is Using BHO?
Despite its popularity, hype and the media interest surrounding it, there still appears to be a small number of “dabbers.” However, according to one business owner, around 10 percent of his sales are through the purchase of dabbing concentrates. He says it's a big trend and is flying off the shelves to the point where he has it backordered. He also says it seems extremely popular with the young crowd.
The majority of people who use BHO dabs are under 25 years old and smoke it through a charcoal puck or vaporizer.
Connection With Marijuana
Weed is the dried flowers, leaves, seeds and stems that come from the hemp plant known as Cannabis sativa. This plant contains certain compounds including the mind-altering chemical THC.
The practice of dabbing and smoking the extracted THC resins from this plant is on the rise. There are different forms of the marijuana extracts, which include:
- A gooey liquid (honey oil or hash oil)
- A lip balm-type soft solid texture (budder or wax)
- An amber-colored, hard solid (shatter)
You get large amounts of THC with any of these extract forms, and using them has sent some people to the ER. The biggest danger is in preparing them, which typically involves using lighter fluid (butane). Making BHO wax at home has caused explosions and fires in a number of peoples' homes, seriously burning them.
Is Butane Hash Oil Addictive?
Is hashish addictive? Are there any butane honey oil dangers in the BHO making process? That’s what many people want to know. Cannabis products are addictive and dangerous drugs by themselves, but they also make it easier to become addicted to heavier drug use.
If you or someone you know has become addicted to BHO oil, or any form of cannabis, seeking immediate treatment from 12 Keys Rehab can help prevent having to go through treatment and rehabilitation from addiction to prescription painkillers, heroin, cocaine or other heavier drugs.
Although high-potency marijuana still remains most popular, smoking BHO is beginning to make its way into the weed smoking community. It's stronger, faster and likely to have higher risks of quicker tolerance development and addiction.
How Addictive Is Butane Hash Oil?
There does seem to be some concern surrounding addiction, according to a study that involved around 350 BHO hash users. Through this study, the analysis revealed that dabs didn't seem to create any more accidents or problems than smoking marijuana (flower cannabis) itself.
However, some users did claim that BHO did lead to a higher tolerance and withdrawal, which suggests it is likely to lead to dependence if used regularly.
Key Statistics About Abuse and Addiction to BHO
Cannabis and BHO use can turn problematic. This is referred to as cannabis use disorder, and can form an addiction in severe cases. Around 30 percent of cannabis users have some degree of this disorder, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. People who use cannabis before they are 18 years old are up to seven times more likely to develop cannabis use disorder than adults. Also, since BHO oil is stronger than simple cannabis, it’s also more addictive.
Around 158.8 million people worldwide use cannabis, according to the United Nations. That's over 3.8 percent of our world's population. Around 2.1 million people in the United States abused cannabis in 2007 for the first time, according to the 2007 National Survey on Drug Use and Health. In addition, nearly 4.2 million people in the United States were dependent on, or abused, marijuana in 2014.
What Are the Signs of BHO Use to Look For?
The BHO side effects you might experience are similar to cannabis, in that it gives you a mellow and relaxed feeling. Unfortunately, if you use this drug habitually, it can also lead to addiction and cause other undesirable symptoms. This includes:
- Having a reduced or partial loss in your short-term memory
- Feeling drowsy
- Experiencing a feeling of timelessness
- Reduced coordination
- Being unable to complete tasks or concentrate
- Having an impaired ability to drive or perform other complex tasks
- Lowered inhibitions
- A decreased ability to learn and comprehend things
- A reduced ability to think clearly and listen accurately
- Impaired judgment
- A decline in motivation
- Slowed speech
- Malaise or difficulty caring
The effects of butane hash oil abuse usually cause people (especially younger people) to stop pursuing prior interests, like educational and career goals or going to clubs, so they can enjoy the dreamy relaxation they experience with cannabis intoxication.
This drug may make it difficult for you to learn and solve problems, and it may alter your space and time perceptions, which can impair your ability to participate in sports successfully. Therefore, a younger person who was a scholar or athlete before using BHO THC might end up dropping out of their sports activities altogether or show a significant decline in their grades.
Symptoms the BHO User Might Experience
Since this drug is a more highly concentrated form of marijuana, it could give you a more physically and psychologically intense effect than regular plant marijuana use. Some of the symptoms you might experience include anxiety, paranoia, hallucinations and panic attacks. It can increase your blood pressure and heart rate. You can even experience addiction and withdrawal issues and psychosis.
In fact, in one study, a 34-year-old veteran who used marijuana wax on a daily basis presented occurrences of profound psychosis. He displayed odd behaviors and incoherent speech patterns and gave the appearance of being in a dream-like state with continued thoughts of his experiences in combat. Although he was given risperidone 4mg BID treatment, his condition persisted until a dramatic improvement after eight days of being hospitalized where he was able to regain controlled mental function. He stopped using BHO following discharge and did not show any returning signs of psychotic symptoms.
What Does BHO Do to the Brain/How Does It Work?
Butane THC works fast in your brain and produces euphoric or relaxed feelings. It can also impair balance, damage short-term memory and reduce other cognitive abilities like decision-making and learning. Not to mention, if you already have a predisposition to a mental illness, putting BHO or another concentrated toxic substance into your brain can be hazardous. Because you inhale the butane you use to make the wax, it can impair your nervous system and brain.
Butane hash oil is very pure and contains a high amount of THC, making it powerfully psychoactive. It is not a life-threatening drug, but larger doses of it can lead to anxiety, vomiting, paranoia and other psychological problems that can last for days.
There are specific brain cell receptors that THC acts on. These receptors ordinarily react to your brain's natural THC-like chemicals that are associated with normal brain function and development.
The part of your brain that contains the most of these receptors is over-activated by cannabis and is what causes you to experience the high you get from the drug. Other effects include:
- Your senses are altered.
- Your sense of time is altered.
- You can experience mood changes.
- It can impair body movement.
- You can have difficulty problem-solving and thinking.
- It impairs your memory.
Marijuana also affects brain development, especially in teens.
What Is a BHO Addiction Like?
Addiction to marijuana is becoming more common, since the pot available now is much easier to find and stronger than it has been in the past. Back in the 1990s, the THC potency of top-shelf weed was around 7.5 percent. In 2013, it climbed to 16 percent, which was more than twice the strength. Today, the potency can be as much as 30 percent in high-end weed. Now, you can take concentrates such as wax, butane THC and budder, which are extremely pure. The THC levels found in some samples were more than 80 percent.
Even though marijuana and other types of cannabis have a growing reputation for being “safe” drugs, they are still linked to cases of diagnosed abuse and addiction in a variety of populations. This includes those who use it casually (lowest risk), teen users (higher risk) and those (any age) who use it daily or habitually (highest risk).
Just like any other addictive drug, the longer you use BHO, the larger your dosage amounts become. This is due to your tolerance levels in your brain rising. Your brain cell functions and structures begin to weaken as your tolerance level increases, which begins and grows the physical dependency stage of the drug. Since butane hash oil has such a high THC concentration level, the addictive aspect of it takes hold faster. Because of this, it is almost inevitable that ongoing use will lead to oil hash addiction.
BHO addiction is similar to marijuana addiction with seven common signs that include:
- Higher Tolerance
If you notice that you need more of the drug to get the same effects, it's likely you are becoming addicted to it.
- Withdrawal When Not Used
If you experience any marijuana wax side effects like anxiety, depression and upset stomach when you don't use the drug, this is an indication that you have already developed a physical dependence to it.
- Using More BHO Than You Intended
If you intend on only doing one dab, or to smoke only a little bit, and you end up doing more than you intended to, you are forming an addiction.
- Unable to Cut Down or Control BHO Smoking or Other Use
If you find it's hard for you to cut back on using this drug, or can't seem to control your use since you smoke more than you intended, this is a possible sign of addiction.
- Most of your Time Is Spent Getting High
If you feel like the drug has taken over your life to the point where most of your time is spent getting high and you don't participate in other activities because you would rather get high, this is a sign of addiction.
- Using BHO Despite Knowing the Consequences
If you suffered consequences already due to getting high (like being arrested for possession) and you still continue to use, this may be a sign of addiction.
- Depending on BHO Hash Oil for Relaxation
If you depend on the drug to relax, or if you can't relax without it, that's a sign of addiction.
What Are the Stages of BHO Withdrawal?
Marijuana or BHO withdrawal goes through certain stages:
You will begin to experience withdrawal symptoms, typically around 24 to 72 hours after you quit using. The first set of symptoms in the first stage of withdrawal includes:
- Lack of appetite
- Night sweats
Generally, this first set of symptoms takes a couple of weeks to fully wear off.
During days three through six, you can expect to experience symptoms including:
- Irritability and anger
These symptoms peak around your 4th day and can take a few weeks to wear off.
This stage, which typically begins on your fifth day after quitting, can last for around a month. Irritability and anger is the major symptom during this stage, as well as potential nightmares and vivid dreaming. This is really the crucial stage, and you need to remain strong and be sure to take any remedies provided to you in order to fight your withdrawal. If you don't, you risk having a relapse and have just ruined the last few weeks of abstinence.
A study published in BMC Psychiatry gives a quick look at the effects of wax drug withdrawal in the order in which they typically occur:
- Day 1 - Insomnia
- Day 4 - Nervousness
- Day 5 - Physical Symptoms
- Day 5 - Depression
- Day 5 - Loss of Appetite
- Day 6 - Restlessness
- Day 11 - Vivid Dreams
- Day 14 - Irritability and Anger
You can see that there is a predictable framework of the stages of symptoms, between the onset of insomnia and the intense mood swings. Just remember: Since BHO has higher THC levels than regular cannabis, your withdrawal symptoms can be far more harsh and unsettling.
How Long Does It Take to Withdraw From BHO?
Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is the active ingredient in dabbing, and is a fat-soluble molecule. Your liver, lungs, heart, brain and other organs absorb it and it stays in your body's fat tissues for up to four weeks, and in some extreme cases, for over two months.
Cannabis withdrawal can vary between people. Other factors that determine your withdrawal symptoms include the volume of use, frequency of use, your rate of metabolism and the method of consumption.
In addition, two cannabis users can experience withdrawal symptoms like anxiety, for example, in different ways. One person can experience immediate relief, while the other needs treatment over a span of several weeks. Since your fat cells store THC, it stays in your system for a while even after you stop using it.
Some people even suffer with Post-Acute Withdrawal Syndrome, or PAWS. Your history of BHO use will determine your PAWS symptoms. For some people, they might not have any, while others can have symptoms that last up to 18 months. Once you get through the acute phase, the neurochemicals in your brain that were affected by the drug abuse or addiction rebound too. You are able to think clearly and continue on in your healing process.
However, even though most of your symptoms have gone away, there is still the risk of psychological withdrawal. Some of the factors that determine the severity of withdrawal include:
- Age and Years of Use
When you first began using plays a huge role. For example, if you starting using cannabis when you were a teenager, and you’re now in your 40s, you will obviously suffer with more severe withdrawals than you would if you quit only a year after you started.
- Most Recent Level of Use
If you have been using around 1/2 gram of wax oil per day and you abruptly stop, you most likely will go through stronger withdrawal symptoms than if you only did half of that each day. The more you increase your dosage and potency, the stronger your withdrawal symptoms will be.
- Addiction to Other Drugs
If you are addicted to other drugs in addition to BHO, it can be more challenging to quit using BHO.
Does BHO Addiction Cause Any Permanent Damage?
When you take THC in high concentration levels, the short-term side effects can be dangerous and unpleasant. However, it is not fully known what the long-term effects are on your brain.
For teenagers, the use of butane hash on a regular basis can impact their brain long-term in regard to function and development. Although there is no real research on the use of this drug yet, it is suspected that using larger THC concentrates can exacerbate the negative consequences.
BHO causes long-term effects similar to pot use. When you inhale or smoke it, it can lead to symptoms of bronchitis, daily coughing and make you more prone to infections and chest colds, including pneumonia. Although not everyone that uses hash oil or marijuana becomes addicted to it, it can encourage dependency when you use it regularly. As you begin to build up your tolerance to it, you might start taking higher doses or turn to stronger substances, which produces similar effects. Since BHO oil is far more potent than weed, it's more likely to cause you to develop an addictive behavior.
Marijuana wax can also affect your social behavior and learning capabilities negatively, particularly if you began using it in your teenage years when your brain was still in the process of making crucial developmental changes. Not only can it affect your judgment and memory, but using it frequently can also impair your attention and learning skills resulting in lower achievement, deviant or rebellious behavior and poor relationships with your family members.
How Is BHO Addiction Treated?
Detox at 12 Keys Rehab is your ideal first step in treating a BHO addiction. During your detox stage, you might feel restless, have difficulty falling or staying asleep and have an increase in your level of alertness. You could also experience stomach cramps, trembling, irritability, excessive perspiring and a loss of appetite while you withdraw from the drug. If you were using high doses of the drug, you could experience anxiety and panic attacks.
During your initial period of treatment at 12 Keys Rehab, many of your withdrawal symptoms will come and go. If you were using the drug for quite a while, or if you abused larger quantities of the drug, you might have residual drug stores in your body and it could take you several months to completely detox. Large amounts like this won't make it so you can't recover, but you could experience delayed withdrawal symptoms that could persist for months.
Support groups, therapy and aftercare at 12 Keys Rehab are an important part of your full recovery after detox. Some wax drug addicts decide to only withdraw from BHO, but don't seek follow-up care afterwards. This is a mistake, since aftercare is just as vital in your recovery as the detox process.
According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), people who got immediate follow-up care after their detox took 40 percent longer to “fall off the wagon” or relapse, if they did at all, compared to others who didn’t receive follow-up care.
Your best defense to combating your addiction is to treat both your mental health issues and your physical dependence at the same time and come to grips with the reason behind your BHO abuse, so you don't start this pattern of behavior again.
What Types of Co-Occurring Disorders Exist With BHO Addiction?
There are other co-occurring disorders that can exist with butane hash oil addiction, including:
Panic attacks and anxiety are acute symptoms that often occur with marijuana and oil use. You can have a higher prevalence of anxiety disorder if you consistently use marijuana wax. Up to 30 percent of cannabis users show acute anxiety reactions after using.
There is a complex relationship between psychosis and substance abuse, as cannabis, amphetamines, alcohol and other drugs have been suspected of being a risk factor for a psychotic disorder. In a recent contemplative study of psychotic disorders induced by substances, however, alcohol and cannabis were the only drugs suspected of being causative psychosis agents.
- Cannabis Dose and Primary Psychosis
Using high-potency cannabis like BHO every day can drive the earlier onset of psychosis in users. Those who use high-potency cannabis daily were found to have had the earliest onset of psychosis, versus those who never used the drug. Furthermore, users who used the drug every day were twice as likely to experience symptoms of psychosis with the risk being contingent on the consumption.
Various studies have connected cannabis use to an increased risk of getting psychiatric disorders such as:
- Substance use disorders
However, it's not always easy to determine whether it causes these conditions, or to what extent. The age you were when you first began using, the amount of drug used and genetic vulnerability can have an influence. The support team at 12 Keys Rehab will work closely with you to determine the likely causes.
How Do You Safely Detox From BHO?
Drug detox programs like the ones at 12 Keys Rehab can help you begin your recovery process and help you safely withdraw from BHO oil side effects. Since there are both physical and mental changes associated with addiction, stopping the use of the drug without medical supervision can be dangerous. You will likely experience changes in your brain chemistry, hormones, nervous system and blood pressure that will require medication to regulate them while your body is going through recovery.
How Can I Help My Loved One Recover From a BHO Addiction?
When you first learn you have a family member or loved one who is addicted to butane honey oil, or any substance for that matter, you may fear losing them to this confusing, scary and overwhelming disease. Facing addiction on your own is difficult and sometimes impossible. In some cases, you can think of the substance as depression hash, since it does take control of your life. Recovery is possible, however, with treatment and help.
The first thing you need to do to start the recovery process is come up with a plan, and set it in motion, to get your loved one away from this life of BHO addiction and into treatment where he or she can get sober, recover and begin to live a healthier life. This isn't going to be easy, so be prepared.
Knowing if your loved one is indeed addicted to wax butane can be difficult. If you notice any of the signs or symptoms listed above, it's most likely time to get your loved one some help at 12 Keys Rehab.
We know it's not easy to tell your loved one you think he or she needs treatment and should go right away, but it is often necessary. Since addiction is a progressive and chronic disease, it can get worse over time if nothing changes. All you can really do is recommend treatment and be strong and supportive.
12 Keys Rehab for Butane Hash Oil Addiction
The last thing you should do is attempt to detox from the BHO drug at home, since it's not safe. When you try to detox without medical supervision and advice, you are putting yourself at risk.
During treatment at 12 Keys Rehab, you will stop using this drug safely. Your first several hours may not be as intense as you think and you will have people by your side. Many of the staff members here at 12 Keys Rehab have been through treatment before and understand what it’s like. If done the wrong way, or if you try to stop cold turkey by yourself, withdrawal can be dangerous. This is due to your body adapting over time to the amount of dabs you have been taking. Therefore, when you stop them abruptly, it can have a negative effect on your heart rate, blood pressure and body temperature.
Treatment at 12 Keys is very safe. The staff can recognize any potential issues and will immediately take action to keep you comfortable and healthy while your body is withdrawing from BHO.
Even though hash oil and cannabis don't come with the same types of fears as other heavier drugs, such as heroin or meth, it can still cause damage. That’s why 12 Keys Rehab is here to get you back on your feet safely. You will be under the care of compassionate and watchful staff members. You will be given a comfortable and clean room and have someone by your side to care for you when you are sick, to help you feel better.
But detox is only your first step to complete recovery. Our treatment involves the 12 Keys Model, which is a multi-disciplinary, multi-track method of treating not just the addiction, but also behavioral and mental health, social problems and trauma simultaneously.
The 12 Key Rehab Process
In our treatment program you will follow a set of 12 steps which include:
All of these steps are crucial for your full and sustained recovery. Our goal at 12 Keys Rehab is to ensure your path to recovery is smooth and as comfortable as possible. We remove any obstacle that could stand in your way, in the hopes of making your recovery seamless. If you are ready to begin recovery from butane hash oil addiction, contact 12 Keys Rehab today.
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