Thursday, October 5, 2017

Marijuana in Iowa: What You Should Know About Marijuana Concentrates (THC Extracts)

Highly potent THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol) products are obtained by extracting THC out of the marijuana plant.  THC is the chemical in marijuana that produces a “high”.

Typical marijuana seized by law enforcement contains an average of about 12% THC.  Concentrates contain very high levels of THC, ranging from 40% to 80%.  Concentrates often appear similar to honey or butter.  Street names for these extracted concentrates include: Budder, Honey Oil, Wax, Ear Wax, Shatter, Black Glass, Dabs (dabbing), Butane Hash Oil, Butane Honey Oil (BHO), Errl and 710 (the word OIL flipped and spelled backwards). 

Hash oils and marijuana waxes are often produced in what are called Butane Hash Oil labs.  Butane gas is a highly flammable component used in the process of making concentrates from the marijuana plant.  An increasing number of BHO labs are being reported in the western United States, as are BHO lab fires, explosions and injuries.  In Iowa, law enforcement is reporting BHO lab activity in some communities. 

While marijuana concentrates are relatively new, one recent study of high-potency marijuana (16% THC) showed a psychotic disorder was five times more likely among regular daily users, and three time more likely among weekend users. (Kings College, London, 2015)  The effects of using marijuana containing lower THC levels have become well documented by research.  (“Adverse Effects of Marijuana,” New England Journal of Medicine, June 2014)  Some of these are: Short Term – impaired short-term memory, impaired motor coordination, altered judgement, paranoia and psychosis (in large doses); Long Term – addiction: 9% for all users (17% of teens), altered brain development, cognitive impairment (lower IQ) among frequent users during adolescence and symptoms of chronic bronchitis. 

THC extracts smuggled from other states and BHO lab remnants are being found with increasing frequency in Iowa.  The Iowa Crime Lab reports an upsurge in the number of marijuana submissions involving concentrates in the form of marijuana oils, waxes, vaping cartridges, candies and other food items (some labeled for sale and some home-made).  (Iowa Department of Public Safety, Division of Criminal Investigation, May 2015)

This information has been gathered and supplied by the Alliance of Coalitions for Change (AC4C).  For more information on the dangers of marijuana use in Iowa please contact the SAFE Coalition at 319-293-6412 or at  You can also find more information at, or

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