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Thread: Marijuana : Butane hash has hidden dangers

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    Marijuana : Butane hash has hidden dangers

    Butane, used as a solvent in making hash, is among the more controversial substances for medical marijuana users. Experts like Westword medical marijuana reviewer William Breathes, believe butane extracts are safe when done properly. But Wanda James, co-owner of the cannabis edibles company Simplypure.com, is 100 percent anti-butane, and she's encouraging fellow manufacturers to stop using it before something terrible happens.
    James and her husband and partner, Scott Durrah, are prominent members of Colorado's medical marijuana community. For instance, both appeared (along with Breathes) in The Daily Show's May 2010 segment on the state's pot scene. She's also not afraid to speak out against what she sees as problems in the industry, as opposed to taking an it's-all-good approach. And that's led her to target butane.
    "We've done a lot of research," James says. "We're a chef-driven company, and Scott has taken a look at what edibles are and who's eating them. We're concerned about how we can continue to help patients heal.
    "We know butane hash is very popular. Lots of edible companies and dispensaries use it, and there's lots of disagreements going back and forth, with people who like it saying that if it's done correctly, there's less than 1 percent butane left in the finished product. But people throw out these percentages without being able to say if they're accurate or not, and without knowing if even 1 percent butane might be harmful."

    This concern is heightened for patients whose immune systems have been compromised, James maintains. "If you're going through chemotherapy, anything that's reducing your body's ability to deal with chemicals and solvents is the last thing we should be giving to people," she believes. "There's no way of knowing if there's a problem until someone has an adverse reaction to it, and then, the only way the consumer would know if it wasn't done right is if every batch was lab-tested for what's contained in it. And I don't know of any edible company out there that's testing every batch of butane hash that's made."
    Another potential factor "is how many edibles you're eating," she continues. "If someone with lung cancer or someone going through chemo is eating a lot of these edibles with solvents, what does that 1 percent mean over the course of a week? And the last thing we want in this industry is for anyone -- even one person -- to be harmed by an edible."
    For these reasons, Simply Pure eschews butane hash in favor of bubble hash, "where we do a cold extraction of the cannabanoids from the plant material," James explains. "It's done with ice and water. There are no solvents, nothing added to it."
    Why doesn't every company take a similar approach? "It's extremely labor-intensive," James says, "and it's also expensive, because you have to buy the equipment to make it happen. Quite frankly, making edibles with butane hash leads to a dramatically cheaper product, which is why it's been popular in the marketplace. But it's popular without consumers understanding what they're doing. So many people say it's safe, but we don't really know that."
    What about the potent jolt butane hash offers? James thinks "a lot of the high you get from a butane extraction may not always be from the quality of the cannabis. Some of that may be from the butane that's in it."
    Besides, "the point of medicinal edibles is not to be high. The point is to get the THC and the cannabanoids into your system so that they can do the most good when it comes to pain relief, relaxation, relieving muscle spasms and so on. A lot of people do eat edibles to get a sustained high, but if your high is coming from a solvent-based gas, then it becomes the opposite of what medical marijuana is supposed to be about."
    James knows taking such a public stance against butane may bother some of her peers. "A lot of people are afraid to stand up, because they don't want anyone to think they're attacking other people in the industry," she acknowledges. "And we're not attacking anyone in the industry. We think it's phenomenal, and we want to see it continue to be phenomenal. But our concern is that if anyone is harmed by something containing butane, it could bring down the entire edibles industry. And we want to make edibles safe for every patient: younger people, older people, people on chemo, people with HIV."
    Her bottom line? "The medical marijuana movement is supposed to be about natural healing. And if we're talking about holistic, natural healing, there's no place for butane in that equation."

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    Great post Mike !! It's bad enough all the chemicals in cigarettes we don't need to ruin our sacred plant with chemicals as well !!
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    All of the points in that article are valid, UNLESS the oil has been vacuum purged. While there is some contention around even that, most test results that I have seen from FSL, show no discernible difference between Co2 and BHO methods of extraction. As far as purity goes....everyone makes their own decision on that!

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    It's too bad that article didn't come with some real data from lab testing to see if there is actually any butane at all left in the oil.

    I've been making BHO for years and IMO if its warmed and stirred for a while after evaporation there shouldn't be any left at all.


    I would be more concerned about contaminants in the butane that are not volatile and will remain in the oil for sure. I can't get special filtered butane here so I've been using the regular stuff. I ain't dead yet!


    With 600 chemicals registered to be added to tobacco, and being a smoker, I'm not going to lose any sleep over it.


    I am starting to lose sleep over stuff like this tho.


    On CNN Arnie was asked, "So should people on the west coast be worried? Gundersen side-stepped just a bit saying, "Well, the average person breathes in about 10 cubic meters a day, and the filters out there for April show that they were breathing in, per day, about five particles. Now these are charged, which is why we call them ‘fuel fleas' since they latch onto lung tissue. We're at a point now where you just can't run from the particles that are still in the air. We call them ‘fuel fleas' also because they're incredibly small, smaller than the thickness of your hair."

    That's Mr. Gundersen's way of saying, yes, there are definite risks tied to these "hot particles." But that really does not answer the question. I am afraid I will have to be brutally honest and be the bearer of really terrible news. The information coming out about hot particle concentrations near Fukushima, Tokyo, and now Seattle tell us that not only should all those populations be worrying but their governments should have been issuing evacuation orders months ago.

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    I smoked some ear wax at the cannabis cup. I think that is made with butane... anywho. I won't be doing that again. It tasted and smelled awful and choked the hell outta me...




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    Old Med User LabRat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GaladrielDreams View Post
    I smoked some ear wax at the cannabis cup. I think that is made with butane... anywho. I won't be doing that again. It tasted and smelled awful and choked the hell outta me...
    I've never tried making the ear wax or smoked it so I'm not sure if it was a bad batch or not. Maybe it was real ear wax?

    I use a soak and distillation method for my BHO and it gets spread out in a Pyrex pie plate and warmed over a pot of simmering water.

    After the bulk of the butane has evaporated I leave it in there sometimes for days before scraping it out. I think the thin layer of oil makes it easier for any left over butane to evaporate.

    Mine smokes smooth as silk and doesn't make anyone cough unless they take too big a hit. Then they fall on the floor just trippin'! lol


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    I dunno, but I think 'real' ear wax would taste better than that...

    LOL All the hash I have ever had was bubble hash, that was heated, and turned into brown sticky ball. LOL Hash under glass anyone?




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    I'm with you, LabRat! BHO, and then simmer the pyrex pie plate over a pot of simmering water, stirs it into a frothy mix with a paperclip and add to a joint. Smooth as silk but I can see the trebidations of others. After I mix it sits in the plate for who knows how many weeks. No dain bramage yet!
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    Quote Originally Posted by GaladrielDreams View Post
    I dunno, but I think 'real' ear wax would taste better than that...

    LOL All the hash I have ever had was bubble hash, that was heated, and turned into brown sticky ball. LOL Hash under glass anyone?
    Haven't smoked hash like that in ages. More of a group thing I guess and I'm pretty much on my own here.

    I've been making tar hash by mixing dry sift kief with BHO. That stuff is a bit harsh on the throat mostly because I don't have a very fine screen for my kief and it has too much green in it.

    While I have your ear, I was wondering if we could get a Canadian forum? Something like "Canadian News and Views". With our dictator now in the driver's seat there are a lot of proposed changes to our pot laws coming and it would be nice to have a discussion group for for it.

    I would definitely be posting any news in there.

    And that smilie is in my sig if you want to add it to the smilie pool.

    Thanks


    My LoneStar BlueHeaven grow -finished-


    Drugs may be the road to nowhere, but at least they're the scenic route. -- Anonymous

    Great site for cannabis pharmaceutical history. http://antiquecannabisbook.com/


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