Last Updated December 4th, 2018. 

High THC, terpene, and CBD concentrates have been making a lot of noise in the cannabis space in recent years.

And, it’s all for good reason. Well, arguably.

Through one perspective – fanatics, experimenters and those who are seeking alternative medical therapies, can now access what was once deemed forbidden and unable to heal, that is, cannabinoids and terpenes in their purest form.

But, through another perspective, a lot of new challenges are created, some more problematic for society than others.

For one, there’s a knowledge gap, as in, how these concentrates are made, how to use them and what they’re best used for.

Shatter is most certainly one of those concentrates.

That’s why, as your trusted cannabis information providers, among other things, we’re here to help. In this case, it’s by breaking down what shatter is, how it’s smoked and what it’s best smoked for.

So, here we go.

Related Story:  The Ultimate Guide to Cannabis Concentrates

What is Shatter?

Shatter, the brown, caramel glass-like concentrate, is easily one of the highest THC concentrates out there, reaching levels close to 90% purity.

However, it’s high THC purity usually comes at a price, that is, the price of being a less flavoured option when compared to its concentrate relatives.

What this essentially means is lower terpene content for shatter.

But, this doesn’t mean it holds no flavour at all, as using bud strains with high terpene content during extraction can somewhat change the result. Also, the certain methodology and technology used can have a drastic effect.

More detailed information about different extraction methods and technology can be found here.

As for now, we’ll carry on with the most common method used in making shatter.

How Shatter is Made

Being a derivative of butane hash oil (BHO), shatter is usually made through, well, you guessed it, the petroleum-based solvent, butane. However, propane also serves as an effective substitute, and in fact, is usually mixed alongside butane in extraction efforts.

The one-two reliable solvents for shatter, in other words.

Sidenote:

This is changing as we speak. 

As cannabis becomes more legal, IQ and financial capital are poured into the research and development side of things, therefore, pushing concentrate making technologies to new levels. 

So, in other words, butane and propane are historically common ways in making extracts, but are becoming more inferior. 

For now, however, we’ll use butane as an example for making shatter. 

End of Sidenote

So, how is butane used?

Essentially, butane pulls most of the THC and terpene molecules – in the form of resin and bud crystals – from dry flower buds, or even left over “shake” leaves.

Once the resin and bud crystals are fully extracted, and the butane chemicals are filtrated out, what’s left over is a brown gooey substance resembling molten caramel. This is then cooled into glass-like form, that almost shatters upon being slammed into hard surfaces – hence the name “shatter”.

Such a name couldn’t be more fitting, in our view.

In addition, methods for butane extraction differ depending on the manufacturer, given that equipment can resemble state-of-the-art facilities or DIY home labs.

But, manufacturing differences aside, one thing remains certain:

Butane hash oil concentrates should always be made in closed-loop systems with the best lab equipment and highly-trained professionals, given that butane is odorless, colorless and highly flammable, along with being easily dispersed into the air.

If they’re not used in closed-loop systems, what you have are the ideal ingredients for real-time Hollywood explosions.

So amateur chemists, don’t create any flammable-solvent extracts at home, that is, unless you’d like to be a part of the many, many home explosions.

 

How to Smoke Shatter

Shatter should only be used through a variety of bongs, vape pens or rigs suited for the purpose.

As bongs are ubiquitous, they won’t be explained here.

As for vape pens, or its other label, e-cigarettes, they’re battery-operated, with vaporizing-power heating chambers suited for dry cannabis, or any concentrate of your choice, including shatter.

Rigs on the other hand, are like bongs, but differ by having a titanium nail as a weed bowl. These titanium nails require a blow torch to become bright-lava hot, which when meets shatter or any other concentrate of choice, vaporizes instantly into smoke for inhaling.

Nope! Not your grandmother’s preferred way of smoking cannabis, not even close.

Sidenote:

Since inhaling butane, or any other harmful solvent, is the last thing you want contributing to your experience, ensuring your shatter is made with the best equipment and strictest guidelines is a health-must.

You’d be surprised by how many producers fall far short from effectively filtrating solvents out of their finished concentrates.

This can’t be stressed enough. 

End of Sidenote

 

How Can Shatter Benefit You

Have you ever wondered about the personal reasons that lead people to use shatter?

What about just the sheer number of shatter users in general?

Well, thanks to comprehensive study after study, we now have a pretty good idea.

For instance, one wide National U.S. survey reported as many as 36.5% of all cannabis users are of the concentrate kind, and, I mean the regular concentrate kind, as in dabbing at least monthly.

Fortunately for us, surveys like this also describe why shatter is being used regularly. And as you can imagine the answers vary, being somewhat similar to dry cannabis.

Here is an overview of why shatter is used, according to studies:

Recreational purposes:

  • Simple enjoyment and pleasure
  • Safer than alcohol and isn’t dangerous
  • To create comfort in insecure situations

Medical purposes:

  • Sleep disorders like insomnia
  • Anxiety
  • Pain
  • PTSD
  • And we’re sure a lot more

However, this doesn’t mean shatter is a panacea for these symptoms. Not by a mile.

The truth is – medicine is complex, and differs according to the individual, to one’s biology and to one’s specific set of circumstances, so, we’re not saying shatter will help.

But rather, we’re describing that shatter, along with other concentrates, could help, that is, if you find yourself in a difficult medical situation with nowhere else to turn.

And if it doesn’t help, then you’ll know for sure.

That’s it for now. Thanks for reading! Please leave comments and look out for more articles.

As always,

Cheers.

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Hey! I’m the chief editor at Herb Approach News, and i'll write on just about anything cannabis related. Outside this medium, I manage my own writing firm, while also being a freelance writer. I reside in Vancouver, the 'tropical', overpriced city of British Columbia, where exploring off the beaten path hiking trails and relaxing on cozy beaches are a 30-minute car ride in-between. BC is also home to some of the world's finest cannabis.  Aside from writing, you can find me strolling through the city streets, soaking in the culture and ambiance of everyday Vancouver life.