Cannabis Extraction Methods: BHO vs. CO2

Cannabis Extraction Methods: BHO vs. CO2

Do you ever take a hit of your vape or a dab and wonder how exactly the concentrate was extracted? The truth is, cannabis extraction is a complex and time-consuming process that’s often misunderstood.

Technological advances mean there are now more ways than ever to extract cannabis compounds. Today,  we’re going to focus on the distinction between two of the most widely used extraction methods. One method is Butane Hash Oil Extraction (BHO) and the other is CO2 Extraction.

Continue reading to learn how each process works and why we at URSA choose BHO extraction techniques to create the most natural and true-to-strains extracts.

What Are Cannabis Concentrates & Extracts

bright orange live resin extract in a glass jar

Cannabis concentrates remain the fastest growing product segment in the legal cannabis industry and it is only second in market share to actual cannabis flower. Concentrates are even expected to overtake the top spot in the market by the end of 2022. That’s the top market share in an industry now worth billions of dollars.

When it comes down to it, consumers love choosing concentrates for their portability, ease of use, versatility, and accessibility. Technological advancement and new extraction techniques mean we can now produce premium live resin concentrates that are true to the original strain and leave all of the beneficial plant matter intact. For example, URSA’s Live Resin Carts contain 100% live resin from flower that is fresh frozen right at peak harvest time for a potent combination of terpenes and diamonds.

How Does BHO Extraction Work?

As far as we can tell, modern BHO concentrates first gained recognition in 1971 with D. Gold’s book titled “Cannabis Alchemy: The Art of Modern Hashmaking.” In it, he detailed a solvent-based method used to create concentrates. This solvent-based approach used butane hash oil, which would steadily rise to popularity and is still used to create some of today’s best cannabis extracts.

This extract is created using butane to strip the resin away from the plant material without damaging the trichomes. Nowadays, certified extraction labs use only closed-loop equipment and technicians with highly specialized training. BHO extraction is extremely safe when done right. With that being said, you should never ever attempt this as an at-home extraction method.

When compared to solventless concentrates like kief or rosin, BHO-based concentrates allow for a range of consistencies and higher potencies while maintaining the qualities of the original strain profile.

BHO extraction equipment can delicately strip marijuana’s intoxicating compounds from the plant without damaging the buds’ volatile terpenes. BHO concentrates like live resin or terp sauce are able to retain a higher-than-normal terpene count giving it a richer and fuller flavor compared to concentrates without those aromatic terpenes.

How Does C02 Extraction Work?

CO2 extraction is another popular method of producing the oils that are then used in cannabis vape cartridges. This technique uses a highly pressurized form of carbon dioxide as the solvent to separate trichomes from the cannabis plant. To get a little more technical, CO2 is a Supercritical Fluid, which is a gas that turns into a liquid when enough pressure is applied.

During the process, the gas is liquified and the solvent is washed through the plant material. The CO2 operates in a similar fashion as butane, but the main difference is the CO2 extraction often requires more post-processing and sometimes the introduction of secondary solvents like ethanol. Once again, you need highly specialized equipment and proper training for correct CO2 extraction, which means you should never try and cannot do it on your own.

BHO VS. CO2: Which is Better?

In most cases, BHO extraction is considered a scientifically superior option for extracting the highest quality cannabis concentrates. BHO extraction requires little to no post-processing to create the final product and is the best option for preserving the original terpenes.

On the other hand, CO2 extracted oil leaves behind more moisture and additional forms of unwanted biomass that need to be removed from the oil. This removal is often achieved with a secondary solvent, which results in an extract potent in THC, but with less natural flavor. Therefore, manufacturers often add in outside plant terpenes to mimic the taste of the original strain.

At URSA, we prefer and use BHO as a solvent because it allows us to produce products like Live Resin Cartridges that are 100% from the specific strain listed. This allows the user to experience the full extent of the entourage effect as the plant intended. Click here to learn more about how we make our premium cartridges.


We always strive to lead the market with the best cannabis concentrates that remain true to the original strain profile of the plant. Therefore, we never skimp on quality and always use the best most technologically advanced extraction methods for safe products of the highest quality.

Check out our very own Terpene Vault to learn more about URSA’s wide range of strains in the form of Cartridges and Dabbable Products. You can also click here to visit our store locator and find URSA Products in a dispensary near you!



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