What Is Shatter?

Posted by Burgess Powell on

Also called shatter wax, shatter is a type of cannabis extract known for its potency. More specifically, shatter contains an abundance of cannabinoids and terpenes, making it ridiculously strong and flavorful. Why is it called shatter? Unlike other, gooier concentrates, weed shatter can be flat and glass-like, or have a pull-and-snap quality. In other words, it may shatter when dropped. Here’s everything you needed to know about smoking and making this game-changing oil in 2020.

7 Quick Facts About Shatter

  1. Shatter is a type of cannabis concentrate.
  2. This means that it produces lots of psychoactive effects, i.e. will get someone very high.
  3. It is gold or amber in color.
  4. It contains an abundance of terpenes and cannabinoids, which affect flavor, color and consistency.
  5. It’s called “shatter” because it may break (like glass) if you drop it. Sometimes, it has a pull-and-snap consistency, though.
  6. Shatter is a type of dab, meaning that the most common way to enjoy it is by dabbing.
  7. Some people like dabbing shatter because it’s easy to handle.

Shatter Definition

Called shatter because it’ll, well, shatter if you drop it, this cannabis concentrate is known for its strength and gold color and translucent. Keep in mind that terpenes, moisture and temperature affect its color. Why are other concentrates cloudy? Unlike shatter, most concentrates are whipped, which makes them more opaque. This is an easy way to tell concentrates apart.

How to Distinguish Between Shatter vs. Wax

  • Shatter is very hard — and will break or crack in temperature changes or when dropped
  • It is very clear, while most other concentrates are opaque (ex: wax, budder…). Keep in mind that sap is also transparent.
  • Because it’s so hard, it’s easier to handle than more viscous concentrates.

How Are They Similar?

  •  All concentrates have high THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol, content. This is what makes them concentrates — they produce a stronger high than hitting a bong full of your favorite strain.
  • The more brittle shatter is, the more THC it’s thought to have.
  • It’s typically ingested via dabbing, making shatter a type of dab.
  • One of the main advantages of shatter, like other concentrates, is that smoking it means ingesting less plant matter.
  • There are types of CBD shatter, which are ingested for medicinal uses rather than for their psychoactive properties.

What Is Shatter? The Nitty-Gritty

Technically, shatter is a type of BHO, which stands for butane hash oil. This is a process by which butane (a solvent) is used to extract THC (and other cannabinoids, like CBD) from cannabis. The butane is later taken out of the solvent through a vacuum, leaving an amber-colored substance with high levels of THC.

Not all BHO is shatter. It can take a more viscous form, like oil or budder.

Disclaimer: Do not attempt to make concentrates at home. The chemicals and processes required to make them can be dangerous or produce an imperfect product that is not safe for consumption. Head to your local recreational dispensary if you are interested in THC oil.

How Much THC Is in Shatter?

It varies. Shatter can have up to 90% THC, though it can be as low as 50%. By contrast, cannabis flower typically contains between 20-30% THC.

The best way to find out how much THC your concentrate contains (and avoid unpleasant surprises) is to ask your budtender. 

Wax vs Shatter: 5 Ways They Differ

  1. Consistency: Wax is, well, waxy, meaning that it’s gooey rather than hard. Shatter is hard (though can be like hard candy in consistency) and may break if dropped or exposed to cold temperatures. By contrast, wax can range from a wax-like to peanut butter to coconut oil in consistency.
  2. Color: Shatter is known for its translucence, whereas wax is opaque. The former tends to be a golden or amber color, whereas the latter typically has a blended, flaxen color.
  3. Molecular: Wax is easier to produce because the molecules are not bonded together as tightly.
  4. Longevity: Due to its chemical structure, shatter will retain its potency for longer.
  5. Ease of Use: Some people find wax harder to use because it is gooier, meaning that you can make more of a mess (and waste your precious concentrate).

4 Similarities Between Wax and Shatter

  1. Both are forms of BHO, which stands for Butane Hash Oil. This means that they are extracted using the same method — it’s the finishing processes that differ. 
  2. They have approximately this same THC content.
  3. Both are enjoyed using a dab rig.
  4. Wax and shatter should both be stored in silicone or on wax paper in an airtight container. Make sure your concentrate is in a cool, dry place. Storing them in an airtight container in the fridge is a good idea; The freezer may be too cold.

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