When it comes to cannabis concentrates, the most common types are butane and CO2 oil. It’s generally accepted that CO2 is healthier than butane, but is that actually true? Let’s take a look at these oils, go through the extractions, then the pros and cons for CO2 and BHO to see how they compare.

What are THC Extractions?

Cannabis produces an essential oil that contains cannabinoids like THC; extractions are concentrated cannabis oils. You will find that the essential oils are mostly located on the surface of the flowering bud of female cannabis plants. Fan leaves can contain a small amount of resin which is sometimes used in the extraction process.

The two popular types of extractions found in most cannabis shops are butane hash oil (BHO) and CO2 oil. BHO is mostly used for dabbing while CO2 oil is used to fill vapour pens and creates an end product that has the consistency of honey.

BHO is the most dangerous out of the two because it can be explosive. Extraction professionals make cannabis concentrates in a closed-loop system. If they used an open-loop system, there is a high chance that their building could blow up.

Here is how CO2 and BHO compare to each other:

Butane Hash Oil

BHO can be found in a variety of different consistencies and textures including a glass-like shatter and a crumbly wax. It is one of the most popular cannabis products you can buy because it will feature 60-90% THC, making it the strongest cannabis product around.

Although BHO has a bad reputation, it tends to produce a nice end product that’s flavourful and has a stronger terpene (flavour and aroma molecules) expression compared to CO2.

One of the major downsides to BHO is that is will likely contain residual solvents, which can expose your body to pollution and can irritate your lungs. Professionally extracted BHO are starting to see progress as they are starting to contain low residual solvents, but homemade extracts are often polluted.


  • Strongest product you can buy
  • Great terpene expression that is true to the strain
  • Wide selection of products with different tastes and effects


  • Very explosive
  • Potential risk for residual solvents
  • Less environmentally friendly
  • CO2 Oil

CO2 extraction uses high pressure to strip the plant clean which causes a lot of the flavourful terpenes are removed. Because of this, many CO2 oils will have a similar smell regardless of the strain that was extracted. The terpenes in CO2 will more than likely give off a citrus, hoppy aroma. Compared to butane hash oil, BHO will be extremely fragrant and will better represent the strain that was used.

Although CO2 extractions will have a lower percentage of THC than BHO, it does have a lower risk of residual solvent, so you won’t likely be inhaling any pollutants.


  • Considered non-toxic
  • Easy to put in vapour pens
  • Less risk of residual solvents
  • Non-flammable


  • More expensive
  • Fewer terpenes
  • Considered a weaker product compared to BHO