I was alarmed on a recent trip to Mendocino/Humboldt to find people buying (or attempting to buy) butane sold for cigarette lighters in quantity in order to make cannabis oil.
Qualified patients can use and make hashish legally under state law. However, the Bergen Decision (2008) determined that using butane to make hash oil is not covered by the medical use statutes. California Health and Safety Code Section 11379.6(a) makes it unlawful to engage in the chemical extraction of a substance as part of the process of manufacturing a controlled substance. The charge carries a prison sentence of three to seven years and a fine of up to $50,000.
Several explosions and fires have been reported due to BHO extraction. Recently, a 2-year-old girl had to be helicoptered from Eureka to Sacramento for medical treatment after a butane explosion in her home caused severe burns on her body. Source: http://lostcoastoutpost.com/2013/aug/3/two-year-old-child-burned-eureka-hash-lab-explosio/
Laboratory-grade butane (free of mercaptans, other alkanes, and toxic hydrocarbons) is hard to obtain. Dr. Jeffrey Hergenrather, head of the Society of Cannabis Clinicians, wrote in a recent issue of O’Shaughnessy’s (at http://www.beyondTHC.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/Dabs.pdf) that "Approximately 20%
We have consulted with several laboratories, who report they are finding impurities in cannabis oils. According to the American Herbal Products Association, for a 10 gram daily dose: hexane has a 290 ppm limit, and heptane and acetone are class three, with an acceptable level of 5000ppm. Benzene is listed by AHPA as a class one solvent with no acceptable use.
Another danger of "dabbing" cannabis oils is passing out after a particularly strong dose. At a recent marijuana conference, there were at least three different emergency calls due to use of high-potency cannabis extracts. One person fainted and cracked his nose on the sidewalk, in another case of woman broke her teeth on the floor. Things like this never happened until the popularization of hash oil in recent years. Also see: http://www.beyondTHC.com/why-might-people-faint-after-dabbing/
CalNORML will continue to monitor this situation and welcomes input at email@example.com.