Hash Oil Exploding in Sacramento County

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A kitchen that was destroyed by a BHO fire at an Arden Arcade home
Sacramento District Attorney’s Office


Making homemade hash oil is widespread in Sacramento County, and people are causing explosions and fires trying to make it, according to the Sacramento District Attorney’s Office.

Hash oil, also known as wax, shatter, honey oil, hash, BHO, earwax, oil, concentrated cannabis, and dabs, is a highly concentrated form of THC, the psychoactive substance in marijuana.

It is commonly made with butane, which is highly volatile. The butane is heavier than air, and tends to condense into a low-lying, explosive cloud. A pilot light, static electricity, overhead light switch, or an automatic switch such as that found in a refrigerator or air conditioning unit is enough to ignite the cloud and cause an explosion.


Two bedrooms damaged by a kitchen fire after the resident tried to make hash oil and caused an explosion
Sacramento District Attorney’s Office

Making butane hash oil is a felony in California. In Sacramento County, the District Attorney’s Office has prosecuted more than a dozen manufacturing cases in 2014. The explosions and fires that commonly result cause enormous property damage and bad burns to those making the hash oil.

There are several signs of somebody making hash oil. Makers often use stems and leaves left over from trimming mature marijuana, and often have PVC tubing, glass tubes, coffee filters, hose clams, and butane canisters. The result is a brown, oily substance that hardens into wax. Those suspecting someone else of making hash oil should contact law enforcement and evacuate the area immediately.

Greg Cotta filed this report.

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