Everything you need to know about PHO…
It seems as if humankind is on a never-ending mission to create the most potent forms of cannabis possible. New strains are regularly bred with over 20% THC, a figure which would have been unthinkable a few decades ago. Furthermore, cannabis concentrates are now becoming more and more popular by the day.
Concentrates, as the name suggests, provide a way of packing as many cannabinoids as possible into the smallest amount of space. This process ensures a product which is pure, clean and packs one hell of a punch. With some concentrates reported to contain as much as 90% THC, these products are certainly not for the fainthearted!
Today, we will look at PHO wax, a marijuana extract which is currently making major waves across the scene. But what is so special about PHO, and is it really worth the hype? Read on to find out…
What is PHO Wax?
PHO, or propane hash oil, to give it its full name, is a type of marijuana extract. The words ‘extract’ and ‘concentrate’ are often used interchangeably in the world of weed, but there are, in fact, some very subtle differences.
Technically speaking, extracts are created by using a solvent to draw out the beneficial compounds from the plant material. Concentrates, on the other hand, are made by exposing plant material to extreme heat and pressure. However, since both methods yield a product which is highly concentrated and powerful, most people don’t get too hung up on the terms.
According to the above definition, though, PHO should be considered an extract rather than a concentrate. This is because it uses propane, a hydrocarbon solvent, to extract the cannabinoids and terpenes from marijuana flower.
PHO is very similar to BHO, a cannabis extract which is made using butane as the solvent. Butane has traditionally been seen as the first choice when using hydrocarbon extraction techniques, but that may be about to change.
In fact, PHO appears to have several advantages over BHO, especially during the manufacturing process. Let’s take a closer look.
PHO vs. BHO Concentrates
PHO and BHO can be considered very similar as they both use hydrocarbons as a solvent to extract cannabinoids and terpenes from weed. Cannabinoids are compounds such as THC and CBD, whereas terpenes are aromatic oils which influence the smell and taste of the plant.
As you probably know, THC is responsible for the typical marijuana ‘high’ while CBD is associated with numerous health benefits. Terpenes are also thought to have a whole range of benefits and when combined with cannabinoids, may contribute to the ‘entourage effect.’
Both PHO and BHO are known to effectively extract cannabinoids without causing too much damage to the terpenes in the plant. This is advantageous since the compounds in weed are thought to work better in combination than in isolation.
However, PHO is thought to preserve even more terpenes than BHO since it is manufactured under higher pressure. This means that not only could PHO taste better than BHO, but it may have more health benefits too.
Another advantage of using propane rather than butane to extract cannabinoids is that it is easier to remove the residual solvent at the end of the process. This means less chance of contamination and an end product which is both safe and pure.
Finally, propane is cheaper than butane, meaning that manufacturers can create a similar product at a significantly reduced cost. These savings should (in theory, at least) be passed on to consumers to make cannabis concentrates more affordable in the long run.
One possible disadvantage of PHO compared with BHO is versatility. Butane extraction methods can create a wide variety of concentrates with different consistencies. Some of the most common forms of cannabis concentrate made in this way include:
- Oil: A liquid concentrate with varying degrees of viscosity
- Shatter: A glass-like concentrate which shatters easily
- Crumble wax: A concentrate with a soft, crumbly texture
- Budder: A soft concentrate with a texture similar to butter
The type of concentrate that is produced by butane extraction can be altered depending on the specific techniques used during the extraction process. However, with propane extraction, the end product is almost always more similar to budder.
How is PHO Wax Made?
PHO and BHO wax are both made in a similar way. Liquid propane or butane is ‘washed’ over the plant material in a closed-loop system to extract the cannabinoids and terpenes. The solution is then filtered to remove impurities, and the solvent is retrieved and recycled by exposing it to heat.
Finally, the concentrate is ‘purged’ in a vacuum oven to remove any residual solvent. At this stage, the extract can be treated to create different types of end product; for example, it can be whipped to make wax or spread on a sheet to create shatter.
Hydrocarbon extraction is extremely dangerous due to the explosive nature of the chemicals which are used. It should only be attempted by professionals with the correct training and equipment, and is definitely not a method to try at home!
If you do fancy trying your hand at making your own concentrates, ethanol extraction is a much safer choice. However, there are still some risks involved, and you should always exercise caution.
How to Use PHO Wax
Cannabis concentrates such as PHO wax are generally used to create dabs. Dabbing is a method of vaporizing extracts using a setup known as a dab rig. A dab rig is a type of water pipe. It looks very similar to a traditional bong, but instead of having a bowl where you pack your dried herb, it has a ‘nail.’
This nail is made out of a heat-proof material such as titanium or quartz. You heat it using a butane lighter or blow-torch until it is glowing red and allow it to cool very slightly before dropping on your dab. Some dab rigs come with an e-nail which heats up to the right temperature automatically and removes some of the guesswork.
Once your nail is heated and you drop on your dab, the concentrate is then vaporized, and you inhale it as you would when using a bong. Assuming you have a pure, high-quality product, your wax should evaporate completely when you inhale.
Since PHO wax has a sticky, butter-like texture, it needs to be placed onto the nail using a special dabbing tool. This tool not only prevents you from burning your fingers but also stops you from wasting precious wax by smearing it on your hands!
Although dabbing is the most popular way of using PHO wax, it can be treated in the same way as any other marijuana concentrate. It can be used to top off a bowl, added to a joint (a method known as twaxing), or used to create more-potent-than-average edibles.
If you are using PHO wax for the first time, go slowly as it is extremely potent; this concentrate can have a THC content of anywhere between 70% and 90%! While this is great if you have a chronic medical condition or a high tolerance to weed, it is not to be trifled with and overindulging is something you could live to regret.
Final Thoughts on PHO Wax
PHO wax is the latest trend in the world of marijuana concentrates. Like its better-known relative BHO wax, it is pure, highly potent, and has a fantastic terpene profile. However, PHO also differs from BHO in several ways, most notably in its texture.
PHO wax has a buttery consistency, which makes it ideal for dabbing, but it can also be used in other ways. Thanks to its versatility and strength, it is likely that PHO wax is something we will see a lot more of in the future.
Have you ever tried PHO wax? If so, we would love to know your thoughts. Is it really worth the hype or just a passing fad? Let us know what you think in the comments below.