Using propane as the solvent is one of the more popular extraction methods in the cannabis industry. It is so popular that the extracted cannabis product is often referred to as propane hash oil (PHO). Propane’s extremely low boiling point, -43.6°F (-42°C), and high vapor pressure, 110 psig at 70°F (21.1°C), keeps the propane liquefied which allows the extraction to occur at an extremely low temperature. With propane’s low boiling point -43.6°F (-42°C), the extractor is able to minimize plant nutrient loss from the heat (burn) and allows greater capture of trapped native compound. Furthermore, if the extraction is done in a closed-loop vacuum system, it also allows for a rapid and efficient recovery of the propane extraction solvent. Using propane, low-quality trim, and waste biomass input material can easily be converted into a greater amount of cannabinoid extract versus other extraction methods. Low-temperature methods with high-quality input material can yield greater quantity, and higher quality crumble. Propane extraction offers the widest array of products that include crumble, shatter, diamonds, sauce, crude, winterized, decarboxylated, distillate, vapes, and formulated products. Similar to butane, there is virtually no product that propane cannot make and is a great option for operators that have a diverse product portfolio.
Propane is a three-carbon alkane the molecular formula C3H8. It is a gas at standard temperature and pressure, but compressible to a transportable liquid. A by-product of natural gas processing and petroleum refining, it is commonly used to extract chemicals from cannabis. Similar to butane and isobutane, propane is one of a group of liquefied petroleum gases (LPG).
99.5% Ultra-High Purity (UHP) I nstrument Grade Propane. Ideal for extraction.
Propane hash oil is usually vaporized using a dab rig, a process known as “dabbing”. As mentioned above, it is very important to ensure that the propane hash concentrate is lab tested.
PHO comes in different consistencies, but it mainly has a soft solid consistency. Propane runs at higher pressure than butane and many sources claim this results in a richer and more potent cannabis concentrate. Basically, Propane hash oil is made the same way as butane hash oil. The only difference is that they use different solvents in the extraction process. Nonetheless, PHO is a bit more expensive than butane hash oil as the extraction process can take several weeks.
Furthermore, there is a reason why many cannabis users prefer non-solvent extraction methods. The main reason is that solvent based methods may contaminate the final product. In other words, it is possible that residual solvent is found in the cannabis hash oil.
The use of solvents in the extraction methods carry some risks. Solvents must be used in special laboratories with good safety conditions. Mainly, because chemicals can explode.
How is Propane Hash Oil Made?
Therefore, it is important to buy propane hash oil that has been certified and verified. Propane hash oil, if properly extracted, is safe to consume.
Let’s explain more about propane hash oil and how it is extracted.
Even though both propane and butane are very effective solvents for the extraction of cannabinoids and terpenes, they are both flammable and they must be used under safe and appropriate conditions.
What is PHO?
PHO or propane hash oil uses primarily propane as a solvent. There are other solvents used to make cannabis concentrates (e.g. alcohol, CO2…).
Butane hash oil has a low boiling point too (-1 ºC to 1 ºC) but substantially higher than propane.