While flower strains diversify, so do the types of concentrates on the market. Waxes, live resins, budders, and diamonds are just the start. If you’re an avid dabber, you’ve likely heard of PHO extract or propane hash oil. PHO extraction separates the cannabinoids from the plant material and concentrates it into a dabble form. This piece covers the basics of solvent extraction and the nuances of PHO.
What is Propane Hash Oil (PHO)?
Propane Hash Oil is a THC concentrate that uses propane to separate the cannabinoids (THC, CBD, and terpenes) from the bud. PHO is one of the higher-terpene extracts, meaning it is a saucy rather than waxy consistency, due to the low boiling point of propane (-43.6℃). During extraction, very cold temperatures ensure that the propane does not become gas and evaporate. The cold temperature also protects the terpenes from evaporating. The result is a light-colored budder that is 70-90% THC.
How Does Propane Extraction Work?
Solvent extractions, like propane extraction, works based on the concept of “like-dissolves-like.” Water-soluble things mix into water, oil-soluble things mix into oils. Propane, butane, CO2, and ethanol are the common solvents for solvent cannabis extraction. Propane is a non-polar solvent, so other very non-polar things like THC, CBD, and terpenes dissolve in it. Things that are polar (things that like water) do not dissolve in propane. This means that when propane is run over the ground bud material, the cannabinoids can be rinsed off with the propane. The plant tissue remains behind in the column.
After the solution of propane and cannabinoids has been collected, the propane can be slowly “cooked” off by raising the temperature of the solution above -43.6℃ in a vacuum oven. PHO is credited as a cleaner solvent extract because the propane is easily removed compared to butane. Residual amounts of propane are often very low in PHO, and monitored in mandatory testing.
Real Examples of Propane Hash Oil
If you’re looking to try PHO for yourself, there are many excellent brands available on the market. Skord is known for premium PHO concentrates in Washington State. Astro Cannabis, recently released PHO into the WA market at an affordable price point. Lunchbox Alchemy PHO is available in dispensaries in Oregon and California.
Be A Mindful Consumer
Solvent-based extractions often use extremely flammable liquids. While Co2 extraction is automated, butane and propane extractions require a great deal of hands-on attention and skill. The extractors responsible for making your dab use extreme care to keep themselves and the consumer safe. For a more in-depth look at all types of solvent-based cannabis extracts, read here.