A brittle, glasslike cannabis extract with a tendency to snap when handled. Shatter is named for its breakability, like broken glass, and is favored for its ease in handling while dabbing. It requires long, delicate purging cycles to properly remove all solvents used in the manufacturing process.
“This shatter is much stronger than the flower I’m used to smoking.”
More about Shatter
What is Shatter?
Shatter is an extract, which is a type of cannabis concentrate that’s produced using a combination of weed plant materials and solvents. The appearance of shatter weed is typically translucent, though its coloring can range from a bright honeylike amber to a darker yellow shade like olive oil.
Visually, all shatters may appear to have the same consistency, but the physical texture of individual products can vary from extremely brittle to a taffylike snap-and-pull quality. This inconsistency gives some insight into an individual product’s cannabinoid profile.
Specifically, shatter that’s higher in tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) will tend to be sappier than a product with a higher level of tetrahydrocannabinolic acid (THCA), which will be much more brittle by comparison. At room temperature, THC is a sappy oil, giving shatter with a high THC content a more viscous consistency, whereas THCA is solid at room temperature, yielding a fragile concentrate that’s easier to break apart.
What is CBD Shatter?
While shatter is most well known for its high levels of THC, many concentrate makers also produce a variety shatter that is high in cannabidiol (CBD) and very low in THC. In general, CBD shatter is geared primarily toward consumers who want the medicinal and therapeutic benefits of cannabis without the intoxicating effects of THC.
Because CBD shatter contains a concentrated, potent dose of CBD, it can be an excellent option for medical marijuana patients and other consumers interested in health and wellness.
As shatter and other cannabis concentrates often have significantly high THC levels, it’s important to be mindful of the potential side effects that may come from consuming these potent products. Though THC has demonstrated several medical and therapeutic uses, overconsumption could cause certain adverse side effects, such as anxiety and paranoia. If you’re new to the world of cannabis concentrates, you should start with the smallest viable dab and gradually increase your dose to avoid these unwanted side effects.
How Are Shatter Marijuana Concentrates Made?
Making shatter requires a solvent such as CO2 or butane. To make butane hash oil (BHO), CO2 shatter, or wax, manufacturers put cannabis plant material in a holding container and force a solvent through it order to extract the cannabinoids.
The process is a rather dangerous one that requires knowledge about how to properly handle the chemicals being used. Emboldened by do-it-yourself YouTube videos, novice BHO manufacturers have caused explosions, fires, and injuries by using improper equipment and extraction methods. CO2 extraction is a safer process that uses more natural ingredients.
After the extraction process, the result is an extremely strong substance that has much more THC than traditional cannabis. Its consistency varies: a cannabis concentrate can be an oil, a soft, smooth substance known as budder, a malleable, crystallized material known as wax, or shatter—an amber-colored, glasslike form of hash oil.
These are all commonly known as “dabs,” and the typical method for smoking these materials is known as “dabbing.”
Wax vs Shatter: What’s the Difference?
With all of the various marijuana concentrates available, many people are left wondering the difference between wax or crumble vs shatter. The main difference is the consistency. When it comes to shatter BHO and other concentrates, the finished result can be runny and gooey (honey oil), waxy (wax and crumble), taffy-like (pull-and-snap), or hard and glasslike (shatter).
The final consistency of concentrates depends on the flower material the manufacturers used, with some marijuana strains rendering softer concentrates and others hardening up rather easily. Manipulation and processing can also create shatter vs crumble, but regardless their form, all concentrates end with high levels of cannabinoids, making them incredibly potent.
Experienced BHO manufacturers put shatter through a purification process that strips out the wax, fat, terpenes, butane, and other materials that remain in other concentrates. This process takes out a lot of the flavor that remains with other BHO concentrates but makes the final product a lot stronger.
What Happens if you Eat Shatter?
Shatter requires decarboxylation, or the activation of its compounds through heat, to produce the desired effects. This form of concentrate is meant to be vaporized using a dab rig, e-rig, or vaporizer, so the high concentration of potent cannabinoids can decarboxylate and interact with the body immediately. Consuming unheated shatter in raw form is unlikely to produce any desirable effect.
How to Use CBD Shatter
Fortunately, using CBD shatter is no different than using the kind with high concentrations of THC, but without the intense high. You simply dab it the same way you do any other type of cannabis concentrate.
Make sure that you’re using shatter that has been manufactured specifically to contain high levels of CBD and low levels of THC, as this will maximize the therapeutic effects of CBD while minimizing the intoxication of THC. Similarly, other CBD concentrates such as CBD wax and CBD isolate can also be consumed using the dabbing method.
When stored improperly, shatter can begin to break down and lose its initial consistency, flavor, and potency. To prevent this degradation, it should always be stored in an airtight and lightproof container. Ideally, it should be stored in a cool room. To ensure the concentrate stays consistent for as long as possible, protect it from high temperatures, moisture, oxygen, as well as ultraviolet light and direct sunlight.
Remember, heat is shatter’s worst enemy. It causes the cannabinoids and terpenes to activate. Ideally, that should happen only upon consumption, not while it’s resting in a container. Dispensaries, smoke shops, and many online stores offer concentrate storage accessories for concentrates, such as silicone containers.
The Medical Uses of Shatter
Because of its high level of THC, shatter is an extremely useful treatment for a variety of medical conditions.
Nausea and Appetite
At the proper doses, THC-rich shatter works well to quell nausea and vomiting. It’s also an effective appetite stimulant. This makes it especially helpful for those who patients who are undergoing treatment for cancer, as well as people who are experiencing wasting as a symptom of HIV/AIDS.
THC has been studied as an effective treatment for the symptoms of multiple sclerosis. These include muscle spasticity and pain. In fact, nabiximols/Sativex is a THC-derived medication that has been licensed for use in MS patients.
Anxiety and Depression
Some types of shatter are high in CBD, a cannabinoid that’s excellent at treating mood disorders. Among the conditions that CBD shatter helps are anxiety and depression.
Both high-potency CBD and THC shatter are powerful forms of marijuana for pain relief. Shatter can be helpful to those who suffer from migraines, back pain, arthritis, fibromyalgia, and any number of other painful.