Shatter is a variety of cannabis concentrate produced by processing plant materials with a solvent. Shatter is typically translucent, with colors ranging from bright, honeyed amber to a darker yellow shade similar to olive oil. It’s one of the many dabbable forms BHO can take.
While shatter may seem consistent visually, the physical texture of shatter varies from product to product. Some is extremely brittle, while others have a taffy-esque pull-and-snap consistency. This range of textures provides some clues as to each product’s cannabinoid profile.
Shatter with higher levels of THC tends to be sappier than its precursor tetrahydrocannabinolic acid (THCA), which is much more brittle. This is because THC is a sappy oil at room temperature, which gives products containing higher levels of THC a gooey texture. Conversely, THCA is solid at room temperature, making it easier to snap apart.
How is shatter made?
WARNING: THE MANUFACTURING OF SHATTER AND OTHER CANNABIS CONCENTRATES SHOULD ONLY BE PERFORMED BY PROFESSIONALS AS THESE PROCESSES CAN BE EXTREMELY DANGEROUS AND ILLEGAL IN MANY JURISDICTIONS.
For safety and health reasons, producing shatter should be left to professionals, as the safety precautions and equipment requires precision, accuracy, and expertise.
The method for producing shatter is very similar to most other concentrates — the main difference lies in the post-extraction process. Extractors typically make shatter through the following steps:
- Select a starting cannabis material(s).
- Pack the material into the material column, a tank inside the closed-loop system that is dedicated to holding the nugs or trim throughout the process.
- Chill the solvent of choice.
- Slowly pass the solvent over the cannabis material to release the trichomes.
- Remove the solvent from the solution via vaporization by using heat.
- Chill the solvent tank to recapture and condense the solvent vapors.
Shatter can be created from almost any cannabis material, from flower to trim. During production, the desired cannabinoids are separated from raw cannabis through a process that includes heat and compression. Following this, any unwanted plant materials are removed using a solvent-induced vacuum purge.
Extractors use a variety of solvents and processes to create shatter, the most common of which is butane hash oil (BHO) extraction. Carbon dioxide (CO2) is more often used for other cannabis concentrates, as CO2 removes moisture from the plant matter and causes shatter to lose its characteristic texture.
You may know shatter by any number of other names like wax, or hash oil. It’s virtually all the same stuff, save for the way it looks.
Making shatter at home can be a dangerous process, depending on what recipe you’re using. Some make shatter using butane, which is highly flammable and explosive. However, there are ways of making shatter that are significantly less dangerous, much quicker, and still leave you with dab worthy concentrates. Making shatter from kief–the powdery substance that collects on the bottom floor of your grinder—is our favorite method.
To make shatter from kief, you only need three ingredients (and one of them is kief). So read this quick guide and make some shatter already.
Learning how to make shatter from home opens up a world of possibilities. You can infuse the shatter in a tincture, edibles, or put it in a vape cartridge for a discrete travel-ready way to enjoy your wax. You can even re-infuse terpenes into it and dab it as is. I found using real cannabis terpenes turns your shatter up a few notches and could even rival the shatter I’ve purchased from dispensaries. While real Cannabis terpenes are extremely rare and a little pricy it produces a far superior product and can also be purchased from Peak Supply Co, you just have to email them because they do not offer it on their website. While infusing your shatter into a tincture and edibles is easy, there are easier ways to accomplish something similar. In my experience, the main benefit of using shatter in an edible is you have more control over the potency and the resulting product tastes less “weedy” because there will be less plant matter than say, a cannabutter. My personal favorite way to use my homemade shatter is making it into a vape cartridge and for that reason, we will be focusing on the main uses for the Peak Supply Co Alchemy Shatter kit.
Shatter Making Supplies:
- 99% Isopropyl Alcohol
- Mason Jar
- Stainless Steel Funnel 2x
- Funnel Stand
- Pyrex Dish
- Shatter Scraper
- Stainless Steel Mixing Ramekin
- Mixing Cups
- 15 Gauge 10ml Syringe
- 3ml Pipettes
- 90u Filter
- 20u Filter
- Latex Gloves
- Parchment Paper
- Cannabis – Buds or Shake
The Kit comes with an 8oz of Isopropyl Alcohol. You can buy more from the Peak Supply Co’s website if you need larger amounts but you can also buy 99% Isopropyl Alcohol from most drug store/grocery stores. DO NOT BUY AND USE RUBBING ALCOHOL! Rubbing alcohol often contains other ingredients that should NEVER be consumed or used for extraction. If you cannot find 99% Isopropyl Alcohol near you, you can buy 190 proof Grain..
Easy way to make shatter: Iinstructions
Gather up your supplies, set up your funnel stand, and fill your mason jar with the herb. We used 1.5 ounces of shake but you can use less or more.
Pour 8oz of Isopropyl Alcohol into your Mason jar.. If you are using less herb than we did, you will need to use less alcohol. Remember, you want to use just enough to be able to wash all of the plant material not enough to drown it in liquid. Also using less Alcohol will mean you will have less time spent on the evaporation process in this shatter tutorial.
Seal your jar and gently roll the jar for 15 seconds so all of the bud gets soaked. 15 seconds is just long enough to extract the THC and some other cannabinoids. You will have a lower yield with a quick wash but ultimately a much more superior extract. Being gentle during this step will mean less plant material breaks off and ultimately means you will have a lighter color cannabis concentrate. We prefer the quick soak method of 15 seconds but you can also do it for a longer period of time or let it soak overnight. Experiment with what you prefer and see what works best. Just remember, the longer you let it soak the darker your extract will be as more chlorophyll will and other cannabinoids will be extracted. This can give you more of a “full-spectrum” extract but will it will also be a darker and will be a less stable extract. When an extract is less stable it will not be hard and able to be “shattered” like glass. This is actually where shatter gets its name.
Pour your Alcohol and Herb into the top funnel and allow it to fully drain into the Pyrex dish.
Put the Pyrex dish next to an open window and allow the alcohol to evaporate. This process usually takes about 24 hours but you can significantly speed it up by putting a fan on it. You will notice the difference in coloration from the 15-second wash to the 5-minute soak. Doing a quick wash will give you a more “stable” extract with a lighter color. If you soak the cannabis for too long you will end up with a sort of black liquid extract usually used in the making of Rick Simpson Oil. Alcohol also dissolves chlorophyll along with any cannabinoids during this process. Chlorophyll is green which is why the extract will obtain a darker color when soaked for extended periods of time.
Once the alcohol has evaporated you will be left with a beautiful amber colored extract. At this point, you can actually smoke it as is but it will not have much flavor and it will not have the sought after “glass” shatter look.
Use your scraper tool to scrape the raw extract from the bottom of the Pyrex dish and transfer it into the Stainless Steel Mixing Ramekin. Be sure to scrape the corners of the
Melt your extract. Start by warming up some water in a shallow pan. You’ll want to make sure you have the water level at about half an inch. If you use too much water the ramekin may float around or even worse, it may tip over allowing water to spill into the dish. If you happen to get water into the ramekin, don’t worry, you’ll just have to let it air dry until the water has evaporated and try it again. Bring the water to a boil and then back it down to a nice and steady gentle soft boil. We don’t want the boiling water to be too aggressive when you place the ramekin in the pan because you may splash water into the ramekin itself.
Once your extract is melted add 1-3 drops of terpenes per 1 gram of concentrate to re-infuse real cannabis flavor or another flavor back into your shatter. Mix for 30 seconds to ensure the terpenes are evenly disbursed. After you test it out you can decide if you want to add more or fewer terpenes into your formula the next time you make it.
After your terpenes and oil are fully mixed, while it’s still a hot liquid, carefully pour it into the center of the parchment paper.
Fold the parchment paper over the extract and press it with your hand to make it as thin as possible. The thinner you can press it the better your final product will look.
Place your shatter in the freezer for 5-10 minutes to cool. Once it has cooled you can remove it and unfold your parchment paper
EASY step-by-step guide
Learning how to make cannabis shatter at home is actually pretty easy when you have the right supplies. While I have read a lot of other articles on how to make cannabis concentrates at home I found that using the Peak Supply Co Alchemy Shatter Kit and Alcohol makes the process extremely easy and smooth not to mention we’ve made this great video that will show you how to make wax, extracted with Alcohol, from the comfort of your home.
What You Need
- Kief—we recommend using at least enough to fill a quarter-size piece of parchment paper
- Parchment paper or wax paper
- A hair straightener
- Oven gloves
1. Pour your kief onto the parchment paper. Keep it in a fairly neat square shape if possible.
2. Fold your parchment paper tightly around the hash in squares. If necessary, use tape to keep the parchment paper folded around the kief. If you have scissors, cut off any excess parchment paper hanging off of the square of kief. The goal is to have parchment paper covering every inch of your kief, but no more than that. Then, wrap that square of kief in another sheet of parchment paper (you only need to fold this second sheet over the square once.)
3. Turn your hair straightener on the lowest setting, and let it heat up for 1 – 2 minutes.
4. Clamp your hair straightener over the rectangular shape of your kief, and press down hard. Use one hand to clamp the iron shut, and press down on top with your other hand so that the iron is being squeezed between your hand and the table beneath the hair straightener. Push down hard, and hold for about 10 seconds. Be careful not to burn yourself: you may need oven mitts depending on how hot the outside of the straightener gets.
5. Remove the parchment paper containing the kief from the hair straightener, and unfold it. You’ll notice that a honey-colored substance has been squeezed out of the edges of the inside square of kief-filled parchment paper. That’s shatter, and it’s ready to smoke! But you probably have more kief in your square of kief-filled parchment paper, so fold a new sheet of parchment paper around it once more, and repeat steps 4 and 5 until all the kief has been used.
6. It’s recommended that you enjoy your fresh shatter out of a dab rig.
At this point, we recommended you sit down and enjoy your shatter. Go get high already. No need to go complicating things with a butane recipe. You already have your shatter, what more do you want?
Shatter can be consumed in a variety of ways. One of the most common ways to consume shatter is though dabbing with a dab rig. When dabbing, you add a small amount of concentrate to a hot nail and inhale the vapor through a dab rig’s mouthpiece.
You can get started by purchasing a dab rig, a quartz nail, a dabber to break apart the shatter, and a carb cap to get those flavorful low-temp dabs. You’ll also need either a torch or an eNail for heating the nail. Why not add some terp pearls and quartz inserts into the mix for good measure?
There are also ways that dabs can be consumed without a rig. Shatter can be consumed using a portable vape pen, one that’s been specifically designed for dabs.
Shatter can also be infused into any edible or meal if you first infuse it into butter or oil. Cooking shatter, however, can expose your concentrate to high temperatures that can make you lose out on some of the terpenes.
Finally, you can add bits of shatter on top of your bowl packed with flower or inside of a joint. Keep in mind, these methods can degrade the taste and flavor of your shatter. On the plus side, you get an extra kick of potency to your flower strain.