A potentially dangerous method for smoking marijuana growing in popularity on the coasts has only turned up in one bust in the south suburbs recently.
Law enforcement agencies in suburban Cook and Will counties told Patch a substance known as butane hash oil isn't spreading through the Southland. Most said the drug, also known as BHO, hasn't popped up at all. One Will County town, however, reported three arrests connected with it, with the most recent one happening two months ago.
States on the West and East coasts legalizing the use of marijuana are seeing BHO take off. Narcotics officers at local departments in the suburbs say they are familiar with it, and the “dabbing” phenomenon, which creates a powerful high that makes it possible to overdose on the concentrated form of marijuana.
“Five years ago, I'm not even sure this stuff was in existence,” said New Lenox Deputy Chief Bob Pawlisz.
Spokeswomen with Will and Cook sheriff’s police said officers are aware of the drug, but aren't coming across it on the streets.
BHO can go by several names: dabs, honey oil, wax, oil, shatter, or budder. The drug is “dabbed” onto a piece of heated metal and the user inhales the vapor through a glass pipe. It gets its name from the frequent use of butane torches as a heat source.
With dabbing, it’s easy for users to become so high that they will pass out, the San Francisco Weekly reports.
In New Lenox, a BHO-related arrest two months ago came from narcotics investigation and search warrant, Pawlisz said. While the drug deal was made in New Lenox, the arrest was made later in Peotone. He believes that BHO, while rare, has come in from other cities.
“We try to do everything we can to make this a drug-free community,” Pawlisz said.”
The increased use of BHO has led to an increase in hospitalizations for cannabis overdose, said Dale Gieringer, with the pro-pot group NORML in California.
In High Times, however, Daniel e Sailles, a partner at Denver dispensary Top Shelf Extracts, says the drug is like a miracle remedy.
Even with the danger, users will still go through trouble of cooking it up.
“I guess it's very expensive to make and it takes a little time,” said Deputy Chief Dave Delany of the Palos Heights Police Department. “Luckily, we haven't seen it here yet."Cops with his department who coordinate with the DEA and customs agencies say it doesn’t have a presence in the area but that agents are seeing its active use in other parts of the country.
Original reporting contributed by Patch editors Mary Stachyra and Todd Richissin