What Is Shatter? Cannabis Shatter Explained
Shatter is a cannabis extract best known for its stunning appearance. It quickly became popular amongst photographers and Instagram users when it first hit the scene in the early 2010s — and it’s easy to understand why. Shatter, also called shatter weed, marijuana shatter, or shatter wax, is unlike any other marijuana product on the market. Shatter is reminiscent of stained glass; not quite opaque, not quite transparent. It has a brittle consistency that tends to quite literally shatter like glass when broken and varies in shade from dark ambers and honey-like tones to lighter shades of yellow like vegetable oil.
What Are Cannabis Concentrates?
Cannabis concentrates are popular for dabbing because these products deliver a more potent and fast-acting high while preserving the plant’s natural flavor profile, known as a macrodose. Shatter and other cannabis concentrate products are made using a slow and careful manufacturing process involving a combination of cannabis plant matter and solvents.
During this process, manufacturers carefully extract the oils from the cannabis plant using a solvent, like ethanol. The oils extracted from the cannabis plants contain terpenes (the chemicals responsible for giving cannabis flowers their unique aromas and other properties) as well as the cannabinoids (THC, THCA, and CBD, to name just a few) found in the cannabis plant. Cannabis extracts are extremely potent and can contain up to 90% cannabinoid content. Cannabis concentrates take on different forms depending on how the cannabis oils are processed and treated after extraction.
What Is Shatter?
With shatter, after the desired cannabinoids, terpenes and other essential components are extracted, the crude extract is poured onto slabs similar to cookie sheets, then placed in a vacuum oven. The vacuum oven is an essential step in the process known as purging, as it removes residual ethanol from the extraction process and stabilizes the extract into its final form: a clear, glass-like consistency that shatters like crème brûlée when cracked with a spoon.
What Is The Consistency of Shatter?
The ratio of terpenes is indicative of the consistency of shatter. Terpenes are sappy in consistency at room temperature and, when high amounts of terps are present, result in a more snap and pull concentrate – meaning, instead of breaking off like a shard of glass, shatter may stretch as taffy does when split in half. Additionally, higher concentrations of THCA can result in what’s known as “sugaring,” or crystallizing.
Because it’s more brittle in texture or pliable, some users view shatter as the easiest concentrate to manipulate. You can break off pieces with your fingers, which can leave a sticky residue on your fingers, or use a dab tool. Dab tools, also known as dabbers, are specifically made to dose concentrates. Made of stainless steel or glass, the tool makes it easier to measure your dose and prevents any accidental burns when loading devices - but more on that in a minute.
What Is Shatter CBD?
If you read through a few shatter definitions online, you might think that all shatter concentrates are high in THC. Marijuana shatter is certainly most well-known for its soaring THC levels and its ability to knock even the savviest cannabis consumers off their feet, but not all shatter has to be high in THC. Some makers of cannabis concentrates have also begun producing CBD shatter.
CBD shatter is extremely high in cannabidiol (CBD) but has lower levels of THC. CBD shatter is liked by many medical marijuana users who want to experience the potent therapeutic and anti-inflammatory effects of cannabis concentrates but are less interested in the intense high caused by the levels of THC present in most concentrates.
How to Use Shatter
Most people use shatter in one of two ways: combusting or dabbing.
If you’re wondering if you can smoke shatter, the answer is yes. While it cannot be placed in a bowl or rolled into a joint on its own, adding shatter to smokable flower is one of the easiest ways to consume the concentrate.
Adding a chunk of shatter to a bowl or sprinkling into a joint as you roll is an effective way to consume the concentrate without purchasing additional devices - just be sure you don’t directly ignite the shatter. Doing so can activate the THC before you are able to inhale and enjoy the benefits. To maximize the dose, if using a bowl, pack a little flower, your intended dose of shatter, then more flower on top. For joints, be sure to add the shatter in the middle of your joint, not towards the tip or the crutch/filter.
Dabbing is a popular way for many medical marijuana patients to enjoy their favorite strains. When dabbing, cannabis flower is not used at all. Instead, dabbers inhale pure cannabis concentrates. Dabbers can choose from a variety of cannabis concentrates, including shatter, sap, wax, live rosin, and crumble. When consumers ‘dab’ their medical marijuana products, they use a special glass water pipe called a dab rig. Dab rigs work by placing a small amount of cannabis extract onto a hot surface, known as a banger or nail and made of quartz, titanium or ceramic, where it is quickly heated and melted. A tool called a carb cap is then placed over the banger, which traps the heat and can be spun to evenly spread the melted concentrate across the banger. The resulting smoke-free vapor is then inhaled through the mouthpiece where it is filtered through the dab rig’s water chamber and into the lungs.
Dabbing has gained popularity in recent years for a couple of reasons. First and foremost, concentrates are much higher in potency than almost any other cannabis product on the market. At 25 mg per grain of rice-sized piece, or 5x’s the potency of a toke on a joint, dabs deliver a more intense high. Like smoking, the onset of effects are immediate, making this an appealing option for patients that require larger amounts of flower to achieve the effects they seek.
Unlike flower, dabbing is rather customizable. Manipulating the temperature at which dabs are consumed changes the experience with shatter and other concentrates. Low temperatures tend to be more flavorful doses and small vapor clouds (this is due to the temperature at which terpenes burn off, which is much lower than high-temp dabs), while high temperature dabs provide much larger vapor clouds and less flavor.
What has truly helped change the perception and accessibility of marijuana concentrates most of all is the rise of dab pens. Adapted from the e-cigarette and vape pen industry, dab pens are portable, discreet and easy to use. Pack and goes and nectar collectors are the two most common. Pack and goes contain a battery, commonly with low, medium and hot temperature settings, and a chamber with mouthpiece that, like bangers or nails, is made of quartz, ceramic or titanium. Shatter and other concentrates are packed into the chamber and inhaled through the mouthpiece. Nectar collectors work almost like a straw, with a mouthpiece on one end, a vaporizing tip on the other and battery in between. With nectar collectors, you can place shatter on a dab tool (a surgical steel tool used to manipulate concentrates) and gently graze the vaporizer onto the concentrate.
For dabbing, we love the Puffco Plus. It offers three heat settings to tailor to personal preference of temperature and has an incredible feature. The mouthpiece doubles as a dab tool - simply press down on the silicone top to extend the loading tool.
The Benefits of Using Shatter
One of the main benefits of using shatter is that it delivers a strong and almost instantaneous effect. Dabbing or vaping shatter allows the cannabinoids to enter the bloodstream extremely quickly, which enables them to deliver immediate therapeutic and psychoactive effects. Because cannabis extracts are so much more potent than normal cannabis flower, consumers are able to use much less product. Many people enjoy adopting this “less is more” mentality with their cannabis products.
How Is Shatter Different From Other Concentrates?
From a practical standpoint, there is not much difference between the various forms of cannabis extract. The practical characteristics of cannabis concentrates like shatter, wax, and oil are similar, and so are many of the benefits. Most concentrates are in a similar range of potency, although shatter is usually the highest. Many concentrates are even consumed in the same way — either by dabbing or by vaping. For the most part, the variations from one concentrate to another are purely cosmetic.
Several factors create these cosmetic differences. Some concentrates may be shaken, whipped, or stirred after the extraction process, which agitates the molecules in the extract and adds air. Once the cannabis oils are disrupted, they take on irregular shapes, with the air creating air pockets. Crumble is an example of a cannabis concentrate that has been intentionally agitated during extraction, resulting in a honeycomb like appearance.
How to Store Shatter
Unlike cannabis flower, shatter is somewhat picky about how it should be stashed. If stored improperly, shatter may begin to break down and lose some of its original potency and flavor. Shatter should always be stored in a sealed, airtight container in a cool, dark room. To maintain the consistency, flavor, and potency for as long as possible, shatter should be protected from high or low temperatures, oxygen, heat, direct sunlight, and ultraviolet light. Most importantly, shatter should be kept cool at all times. Heat exposure causes the cannabinoids and terpenes in shatter to activate, which should only happen during consumption.
Is Shatter Edible?
As candy-like as it may appear, eating shatter is unlikely to produce any of the desired effects. Shatter relies on heat to activate its cannabinoids and terpenes. These chemicals are activated in a process called decarboxylation, the activation of compounds through heat. Shatter concentrate is specifically designed to be heated in a dab rig or a dab pen, which effectively decarboxylates the cannabinoids and enables them to enter your system.
Are There Any Side Effects to Using Shatter?
Due to its potency and high levels of THC, anyone interested in using shatter or other concentrates should be mindful of potential side effects. THC has many therapeutic and medical benefits. However, overconsumption of THC can cause serious anxiety, paranoia, and other unpleasant experiences. It’s important to keep in mind that shatter is much higher in THC than normal cannabis flower (like you would smoke in a joint) and could be overwhelming for anyone who is unused to using cannabis products or who is especially sensitive to its effects.
Where to Get Cannabis Shatter in Florida
Shatter is one of the most popular forms of cannabis concentrate among medical marijuana users in Florida. It is loved for its intense flavor and aroma, potency, and beautiful appearance. You can find a selection of high-quality, cold-ethanol extracted shatter and other concentrates at any MÜV Medical Cannabis Dispensary in Florida.