Honey oil is Butane Hash Oil (BHO) by another name. Consequently, as a cannabis concentrate, honey oil is renowned for its high THC range, 75-80% on average. The terminology isn’t arbitrary, but rather a testament to the versatility of BHO’s viscosity and potency. For instance, honey oil and cherry oil are both BHO’s. However, cherry oil tends to be darker, differs in flavor, and most importantly, provides a lower THC concentration of 65-70%.
THC Concentrations Tested 1995-2019
Cannabis has impressive genetic plasticity and variability. To illustrate, between 1995 and 2019, laboratory analyses (El Sohly, M.A. et al, 2016/2021) of cannabis buds were tested for increasing cannabinoid concentrations. And a range of 3-17% THC is seen across thousands of samples, over almost three decades. While the trend reliably veered upwards, it has evened out between 2014 and 2019 between 12-14% THC.
20+ Years of Honey Oil THC levels
On the other hand, the variability of hash oil tested during that 24 year period was immense. As all of the samples tested were sourced from DEA seizures, it is safe to say that many of the concentrates tested were produced in illegal labs. But since the precise method of production of each sample is unknown and unreported, the unstable THC range of 11%-75% is completely unsurprising. It is important to point out that for every sample of hash oil tested there were roughly 30 unique cannabis flower samples.
Three Lessons from 24 Years of Testing
What does this tell us?
Lesson 1: Legalization Makes Everything Better
First, that Schedule 1 classification has lead to unsafe products entering the market. After all, why would anybody pay money for honey oil that has a lower THC concentration than the average cannabis bud? To learn more about the harmful effects of one hundred years of Schedule 1 classification, read our article about The Endocannabinoid System (ECS).
Lesson 2: Cannabis Buds Have Consistent THC Levels
Second, cannabis buds will consistently deliver a reliably safe range of THC that all levels of cannabis users can enjoy. With careful attention to dosing and mindfulness, cannabis buds generally deliver manageable THC levels.
Lesson 3: Buy Laboratory Tested Honey Oil
Third, that when it comes to honey oil, BHO, and other concentrates, quality control is scant outside of laboratories using high-quality extractors and equipment. Not only is the safety highly questionable, but the preservation of cannabinoids and terpenes could be lacking.
Comparing Honey Oil With Cannabis Flowers
The honey oil experience is obviously different from vaping regular cannabis flowers. Since THC is psychoactive, the higher its concentration, the higher the high. For example, the sativa dominant Lemon Sour Diesel cannabis strain has a cannabinoid range of up to 20%. And this implies that the THC concentration is slightly lower. Since sativas are typically high THC strains, you could guess on statistics and peg this around 17% THC. But without laboratory testing of that specific sample, you cannot be certain.
Vaporizing Equipment for Honey Oil Vs Cannabis Buds
At SacredMeds, we advocate vaping over combusting cannabis. For cannabis buds, there are some fantastic, medical-grade vaporizers that have been used in studies and available for purchase for decades. Of course, the most famous vaporizer on the market is the Volcano by Storz & Bickel. Because we love vaporizers so much, we have devoted quite a few articles to them. “Vaping Cannabis: What You Need to Know” is a great primer on the subject.
While we appreciate the ease and pleasure of a good joint on occasion, this loose attitude does not apply to concentrates. This is because combusting honey oil or any cannabis concentrate can release dangerous carcinogens due to the uncontrolled, volatile heat. Just don’t do it.
Dabbing Honey Oil
Instead, use a dab rig to vaporize your honey oil. We recommend using an E-nail, or electronic nail, with your dab rig in order to achieve an optimal temperature. To learn all about how to vaporize dabs of honey oil, check out our article “What Are Dab Rigs?”.
Dab rig culture is exploding with the wave of US legalization, so watch this space for plenty of information about them and the concentrates they unlock. And if you’d like to learn about honey oil’s alternatives, we strongly recommend our article “What Are Dabs?”.
The Cannabis High for Novices/Newcomers
If you’re new to concentrates, make sure you read the articles we recommended first before diving in. You may not be ready, and that’s perfectly fine. If you’re new to cannabis, then definitely skip honey oil for now and try vaporizing buds first.
The high from pure cannabis flower vapor has a relatively gentle onset, even at higher THC concentrations. After this, the high deepens, you become euphoric, likely talkative and bubbling with new ideas, and distracted from minor aches and pains. When you browse our cannabis strains, we go in depth into their specific phenotypes, a combination of characteristics and effects to help you chose the right strain, medically or recreationally.
What Does Honey Oil Feel Like?
Now take into consideration that the effects of cannabis occur at around 14% THC concentration. Contrast this with honey oil at 75% THC. As a result, you might assume you’re going to experience a high that is 5-7 times more intense. But this is not the case. Concentrates are even more potent and their effect can verge on psychadelic.
Honey Oil for Effective Relief from Chronic Pain and Illness
As a medicine, honey oil is on par with RSO in terms of potency and the ability to ingest it as is. Consequently, these types of concentrates have proven effective in treating severe spasms, seizures, and other serious issues associated with debilitating, chronic illnesses. For this reason, if you are looking to cannabis for a non-addictive alternative to prescription opioids for chronic pain or disease, we strongly recommend honey oil and other concentrates, used with a dab rig and an E-nail.
For more information about managing pain with cannabis, “CBD For Pain Management” delves into the effectiveness of the non-psychoactive cannabinoid. If you’re new to cannabis culture and have experienced increased sensitivity to and anxiety around THC in the past, then CBD is a wonderful avenue for you to pursue.
El Sohly, M.A., Mehmedic., Chandra, S. and Radwan, M. (2021) “A Comprehensive Review of Cannabis Potency in the United States in the Last Decade,” Biological Psychiatry: Cognitive Neuroscience and Neuroimaging, U.S. National Library of Medicine, [online] Available from: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33508497/ (Accessed 24 May 2021).
El Sohly, M.A., Mehmedic, Z., Foster, S., Gon, C., Chandra, S. and Church, J. C. (2016) “Changes in Cannabis Potency Over the Last 2 Decades (1995-2014): Analysis of Current Data in the United States,” Biological Psychiatry, U.S. National Library of Medicine, [online] Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4987131/ (Accessed 24 May 2021).