JOURNAL ARTICLE

Honey oil burns: a growing problem

Guy Jensen, Robert Bertelotti, David Greenhalgh, Tina Palmieri, Pirko Maguina
Journal of Burn Care & Research: Official Publication of the American Burn Association 2015, 36 (2): e34-7
24823328
There is an emerging mechanism of burn injury as a result of the ignition of butane, during the manufacture of a tetrahydrocannabinol concentrate known as butane honey oil. The authors report of a series of patients who presented with this mechanism of injury and a description of the process that causes these burns. Patient data were gathered from the medical records of eight patients treated at the University of California Davis Medical Center and Shriners Hospital of Northern California. Information on the manufacturing process of butane honey oil was gathered from Internet searches and published literature on the topic. The burns witnessed at the abovementioned institutions ranged from 16 to 95% TBSA, with an average of 49.9%. The average length of stay for the patients was 118.3 hospital days and 114.4 intensive care unit days, with an average of 43.8 days spent on mechanical ventilation. The average age of patients was 22 years, with only one patient above the age of 30 years. Accidents during honey oil production have resulted in a surge of burn injuries in our community during the past year. The manufacture of this product, which involves the use of volatile butane gas, is gaining in popularity. Although considered to be safer than previous methods, multiple casualties with extensive burn injuries have resulted from this process. Associated injuries from blast trauma or chemical burns are not likely to occur in these types of explosions and have not been observed in the series reported in this article. In light of the increasing popularity of honey oil, it is important for burn care providers to gain awareness and understanding of this problem and its growing presence in the community.

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