This is a cannabis extraction with solvents, since gas is needed to dissolve resin and drag it out. Gas can be butane, dimethyl ether, propane or CO2, although its result is not the same with each of them.
The definition of the term adapted to cannabis would be something like BHO that breaks, that is, rigid, crystallized and hard. This is one of the first types of BHO finishes, since until then most users consumed it as a viscous and unhardened oil.
BHO Shatter technique
The best way to make BHO Shatter is with a closed circuit machine and a vacuum oven connected to a pump, for safety, speed and for its ability to restore the gas.
We put the weed in the corresponding chamber, close it, turn on the gas, wait a little bit and then recover the gas. We take out BHO and put it in the vacuum oven on a pyrex tray or similar, turn up the temperature to 98.6º F. (37º C.) and switch on the pump. This way we get the Shatter texture without doing anything else, in some cases it takes a day and in others it may take up to a week.
How to make BHO Shatter with vacuum
But not everyone can afford to invest thousands of dollars in equipment for cannabis extraction, so we’re going to explain how to make Shatter in different ways. The technique to get the texture of BHO shatter has more to do with the purging than the way of extraction. In this post you can learn how to make BHO in an easy way, once extracted the ideal is to eliminate the gas with a temperature that does not reach 113º F. (45º C.) and a vacuum pump of at least 1 bar of pressure, but the more powerful the better. At the beginning the extraction is swollen with the vacuum pressure, but as time goes by it will make less and less bubbles, until at some point, where there was air and bubbles, holes are formed, and the concentrate acquires a hard texture that is no longer sticky.
How to make BHO Shatter without vacuum
With the help of a hot plate, time and patience you can also achieve the Shatter finish. BHO is extracted on a pyrex plate to which we have to put baking paper or a silicone tablecloth, trying to make a homogeneous layer. Then it is placed on a heating plate at a temperature between 104 and 111º F. (40-44º C.) and we start purging.
Large gas bubbles will come out at first, which if we pop them we help it get out sooner. Then the bubbles will be smaller and smaller and we will notice that when we blow them they are harder and less sticky. Until a moment comes when they are very small and when they explode they break up into small rigid lumps, at which point the extraction is almost clean.
We leave it at a constant temperature for a few more hours and it may be considered done. You will see that a thin BHO layer remains with a hard and not very sticky texture unless we apply heat to it.
How to make clear BHO Shatter or transparent?
When you extract dried resin from cannabis with a solvent it drags waxes, lipids, chlorophyll and other plant components. In this case it could be called Shatter Wax, as it usually has a dark amber colour.
To achieve a clear or as transparent as possible shatter it is necessary to work with fresh material, and as cold as possible during extraction process. Weed should be put in the freezer freshly cut and an extraction tube with chamber is used to introduce dry ice. This way cold does not allow the solvent to drag away waxes and Shatter concentrate becomes very clear.
With gases like Dimethyl ether it is very difficult, not to say impossible to get a shatter that is not dark. That is because this kind of gas contains components that dissolve and drag away even the chlorophyll, so it is not clear even with fresh weed.
BHO vs. Shatter
But what about shatter? All shatter is BHO but not all BHO is shatter. BHO can take on many forms, including the newly popular extraction, terp sauce.
Consider this metaphor from Larry Blackmon of the ’80s funk-pop group Cameo: When it comes to the many physical forms it can take, BHO is “just like candy.” There are exceptions, but candy is usually just some treatment of the same ingredient: sugar syrup. You can take that syrup and heat it to 270˚F – 290˚F and create a malleable taffy, or you could also raise the heat to 300˚F – 310˚F and end up with a hard, brittle consistency like a lollipop. It’s the same with shatter. Think of shatter as the hard candy of BHO.
The Science Behind How Shatter Is Made
In a molecular sense, shatter is basically cannabinoid glass. Its appearance is the result of its tight, orderly molecular structure. Part of what makes this structure so hard to attain is the perfect balance between the components it entails. The THC and other cannabinoids are solid, while terpenes are liquid, so shatter is basically an emulsion of the two. As with all emulsions, it will eventually break down and “nucleate,” which creates the “buddering” or “sugaring” effect.
As with candy, the key to achieving an orderly, glass consistency is largely based on temperature.
The “classic” methods of extracting cannabis were mostly mechanical, relying on agitation and screens to physically remove and refine resin glands from plant matter. Solvent extraction uses chemistry to strip away the desirable cannabinoids and terpenes, resulting in a volatile mixture of those and the extraction solvent. Depending on how you purge that, you can end up with wax, shatter or any of the other physical styles of BHO. My book with Ed Rosenthal, “Beyond Buds: Next Generation,” explores different methods of extraction as well as new ways to consume cannabis concentrates.
How to smoke BHO Shatter
The best way to consume this kind of BHO is Shatter Dabs. With a small amount you can reach a higher level of psychoactivity in a single puff. And the best thing is that by not mixing it with tobacco the effect is much cleaner and clearer. We recommend to dab Shatter at the minimum temperature to get a better taste of all the terpenes and not to hit our chests so hard, as its smoke can collapse you.