Couple seriously injured in San Diego hash oil explosion

A drop of hash oil.

A hash oil extraction gone horribly wrong in San Diego left one man, 21, in critical condition burned over most of his body and a woman, 22, burned on her face, hands and feet. Officials haven’t released the names of the two, only that they were using cans of butane to extract hash oil in the extended-stay hotel.
Fire officials say they did about $600,000 in damage to the second floor hotel room and surrounding rooms of the Heritage Inn in San Diego across a channel from Sea World. A third person was hurt when the wall of his adjoining hotel room exploded. Officials told the U-T San Diego that this was the first hash oil explosion they had ever encountered.

Likely due in part to the headline of the original local Associated Press story making it sound like the explosion could have in some way threatened the likes of Shamu or the sea otters, the scary story about hash making explosions quickly made it as far as ABC News and Wall Street Journal‘s blog.

Heritage Inn, San Diego, CA.

A DEA agent in the AP story quoted describing the hash oil making process and saying that one “drop” is equal to a joint. Pretty accurate, actually. Though she completely missed the mark on potency, saying BHO only came in at 15 percent THC (the DEA must be getting some crappy oil).
While it’s not uncommon in California and Colorado, BHO (hash oil, errl, budder, wax) is still relatively unknown to most casual smokers and non-smokers there and around the country. No doubt the process sounded crazy to some (and probably intriguing to others), but the dangers here are pretty clear: you’re using a highly volatile substance to extract cannabinoids from cannabis. While we’re not saying the process isn’t simple in theory, the golden rule of the whole thing is to keep any and all sources of flames and open sparks well away. That’s why the good professional labs legally making hash oil in Colorado use really expensive ventilation systems.
Apparently that memo never got to these two, though. Several San Diego news stations reported that the man lit a cigarette while still spraying butane through whatever contraption he was using to extract the oil. Flames, plus a can’s worth of evaporating butane vapors equals what you have here. It’s a sad, but very eye-opening reminder of what can happen.