Holy Water BHO is a type of live resin full spectrum cannabis concentrate with an exceptionally high terpene content. It has a liquid sap consistency and robust aroma.
If that doesn’t really answer your question, read on and we’ll break it down.
What is BHO?
BHO is Butane Hash Oil or Butane Honey Oil. It is a cannabis resin where the cannabinoids and terpenes are extracted by pushing a liquid solvent, usually butane, through a tube packed with buds and or trim. Once heated, the solvent evaporates and it leaves behind a wax, chlorophyll, terpenes, and cannabinoids. Historically, the process was called Blasting due to the risk of explosion from using butane that was not contained in any way. A process called Closed Loop Extraction is now more commonly used, where the butane is put in a pressurized tank with an extraction tube containing the plant matter.
There are various methods used for refining after this point to remove the benzene and wax that determine the consistency of the product you end up with. It is very potent and can contain up to 80% THC content. It’s used for dabbing or sometimes it is processed further using a wax liquidizer to make a vape liquid.
No butane should remain in the finished product when done properly.
BHOs are particularly popular for pain management due to their strength and rapid effects, especially for those who have acquired a high tolerance.
Oil: As you might imagine, this has a very runny consistency but is also a little sticky. It is difficult to handle, making it one of the least popular dabs. However, it is perfectly suited for making moon rocks; these are manicured buds (nugs) covered in concentrate and then dipped in the sifted pollen from the resin glands (kief).
Sap: Just like tree sap, BHO sap is gooey and sticky. It can also be used for moon rocks and many find it a far superior product to work with as it’s much easier to handle. By handle, we don’t mean hand-handle – you’ll still need tools as BHO is difficult to get off skin.
Wax: Softer and more malleable than candle wax, this is the easiest product to deal with. Thick and stable enough to not run off tools, but not so brittle that it breaks.
Shatter: As the name suggests, this has a brittle consistency rather like the coating of candy apples. You can hold it or break bits off, and it has an attractive transparent amber look to it.
Pull ‘n’ Snap: This is the consistency of traditional taffy. It’s really pliable and can be rolled out for smoking as well as using blobs for dabbing.
Crumble: Gritty and looks like honey that has dried out into crystals. It isn’t as sticky as you might think from the appearance; it truly does have a crumbly texture ideal for sprinkling on anything.
Budder: Pretty much the consistency of cold butter. It can’t be snapped and is halfway between wax and crumble in its consistency.
What Are Terpenes?
Terpenes are fragrant volatile compounds that give cannabis a distinct aroma and flavor, and their content differs between cannabis strains. They are also a component of essential oils, but there is more to them than just smell. Some studies show a range of benefits attributed to terpenes, such as preventing anxiety, enhancing therapeutic effects while moderating intoxicating effects, and more.
They are different from cannabinoids such as THC or CBD, although they come from the same place – the resin gland of the plant. They are abundant in cannabis but can also be found in other fruits and plants.
The reason terpenes are important is that they combine with cannabinoids in what is often referred to as the “entourage effect”, to lock onto different receptors in our brains and produce an experience that arguably provides a more well-rounded high or healing experience.
As the process for making BHO requires a significant drying and curing process, even when managed perfectly, well over half the terpenes are lost. The quest to create higher THC or CBD concentrates comes at the expense of terpenes so some oil and concentrate producers extract the terpenes first, decarboxylate the plant matter, and then add the terpenes back in.
What is a Full Spectrum Concentrate?
Cannabis plants have over 400 identifiable compounds, including a vast array of different cannabinoids and terpenes as well as proteins, phenols, and flavonoids. Full spectrum concentrates aim to extract as many of the beneficial compounds from the natural plant as possible.
What is Live Resin?
Also known as Fresh Frozen, live resin is what most people think of when we talk about full spectrum concentrates. The process consists of harvesting and then immediately flash freezing the fresh plant matter. This preserves the terpenes that would usually be lost in the drying process for conventional BHO.
Although CO2 extraction is sometimes used, the majority of live resin is solvent processed with butane and is then vacuum dried to remove any remaining butane or toxins. The vacuum process keeps the temperature lower than for finishing other BHO products, which further ensures terpene preservation. The plant matter needs to be frozen at below -20 degrees Fahrenheit, as fresh plants will contain more water and butane is water soluble at higher temperatures, preventing it from acting as a solvent and contaminating the product. For this reason, the process requires a cryogenic freezer or the use of liquid nitrogen for freezing (which can be dangerous).
For CO2 extraction, carbon dioxide is frozen and pressurized into a state between liquid and gas and then combined with the plant matter and passed through a separator.
As you can imagine, both processes require some expensive equipment, the CO2 extraction process, in particular, is labor and time intensive. This is one reason why it is often referred to as the Champagne of cannabis concentrates. The other is the overall quality. The synergistic effect of a complete profile of terpenes and cannabinoids are maintained, together with the authentic taste of the plant used, and full aroma.
So What is Holy Water BHO?
In terms of the consistency of BHOs mentioned above, Holy Water is a little runnier than sap but it isn’t the consistency of oil. Truthfully, the extraction process is the manufacturer’s secret. We do know it has a high terpene content of 20% and above, and this is apparently achieved naturally without terpene extracts added, as is the case with products like The Clear. It is also claimed that they use no secondary chemical solvent process.
However, with this method being a secret, we have no way of really knowing. Makers say it is not extracted from fresh frozen plant matter either. It has a distinctive liquid consistency that is a little different to other live resin saps. The consistency is desirable for vaping but not as much for dabbing because it’s difficult to handle like other oils and saps.
Can it be recreated at home? Short answer: No. You may be able to make something similar and arguably just as good if you are a skilled extractor and have some expensive kit. For those who are not, you may just want to purchase it.
Alternatively, if you enjoy homegrown, are keen on the idea of terpenes and want to go easy on the chemicals, use kief, as mentioned earlier. You can sift kief from your plant’s resin glands with a three chamber herb grinder (containing a sifter) which allows the fine crystals to fall to the bottom. It should be more of a milky white color than green if it’s been effectively separated from the rest of the plant matter. Check out this article on kief for more information.