A bungling pair of UK pals found their experiment into extracting a type of cannabis oil by freezing cannabis leaves with butane gas was a blast. Literally. Their botched attempt led to an explosion causing £4000 ($5840) damage to the council house where it happened, and landed both of them in court.
Luckily for 19-year-old Kane Scobie and his friend, Nathan Downs, 20, they escaped injury – and jail terms – when their experiment with the highly-flammable gas went horribly wrong. Instead the two got away with suspended sentences and a tongue-lashing from Judge Recorder Jo Kidd in the Newcastle Crown Court.
No fixed address
Scobie came off worst of the two pals. It was his home that was damaged in the explosion, and Scobie is now “without a fixed address”, according to court documents. Police also found 12 cannabis plants growing in a tent in the bedroom of the fixed address he did have, and he ended up with the tougher sentence.
The judge sentenced him to 120 hours unpaid work and set program requirements in addition to an 18 month jail term suspended with supervision for two years. Downs was sentenced to 12 months suspended for 18 months.
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Judge dubs experiment “ludicrous and foolish”
The Sunderland Echo reported the judge as saying the experiment represented the most “ludicrous and foolish way of dealing with cannabis that this court has ever heard before”.
In an attempt to extract cannabis oil, the two friends froze cannabis leaves with butane gas then wedged them between two sheets of glass, which also froze. They then tried to defrost the glass using a lighter. According to the judge, the immediate explosion that followed when the flame hit the highly-flammable butane gas, would have been a consequence “obvious to anyone with any common sense”.
The only safety precaution taken by the duo was to open some windows.
The rise of BHO
Fortunately no-one was seriously injured in the UK experiment that went wrong. However, while the judge said that court had never heard of it before, the use of butane gas to extract Butane Honey Oil or Butane Hash Oil is a very common form of cannabis oil extraction.
It uses butane gas’s freezing quality to extract an oil or wax that is very high in THC (the psychoactive compound in cannabis) in an oil or wax form from cannabis shake (stems and leaves) or hashish, itself an extracted, compressed and concentrated form of cannabis.
The resultant BHO oil, commonly known as Wax, is relatively easy, but extremely dangerous to produce and explosions and fires linked to its production in the US rose from dozens in 2013 to hundred in 2014.
BHO is not a medicinal cannabis oil
BHO oil is created purely for its psychoactive properties and not for medicinal reasons. However, with the confusion in classification, understanding and lack of research into cannabis oils and their properties, BHO oils have found their way into cannabis dispensaries legally able to dispense cannabis on prescription. In Northern California, it is reported that 40 percent of sales involve BHO.
Medicinal cannabis oil from the hemp plant does not contain the psychoactive THC. Instead it contains the second major cannabinoid, CBD or cannabidiol, which does not produce the high associated with THC, and with it the health benefits many believe this type of cannabis oil holds.