Shatter vs. Diamonds: What’s the Difference?
Article written by
Jordan WoldSEO Content Writer
Content reviewed by
Dr. Lewis JasseyMedical Director - Pediatric Medicine
Table of contents
Shatter and diamonds are both cannabis concentrates formed during an extraction process, which isolates certain cannabinoids from the rest of the cannabis plant. The main distinction between shatter and diamonds is the extraction process and the active ingredients involved. There are plenty of reasons some cannabis users might prefer one product to the other, but both diamonds and shatter are highly potent, popular concentrates.
The Right Cannabis for You
What Is Shatter?
Even if you haven’t heard of cannabis diamonds, you may have heard of shatter, one of the most commonly consumed, potent forms of cannabis you can find on the market. THC shatter has an attractive, smooth, glassy texture and is amber or sometimes golden in color. Shatter is created from a complex extraction process, resulting in what some consider one of the purest forms of THC.
How Is Shatter Made?
While there are multiple ways to perfect the extraction process, shatter is generally created by using butane hash oil (BHO) to extract the desired cannabinoids and terpenes from the cannabis plant. Working in a well-ventilated area is imperative, as BHO is flammable and highly volatile. As such, it’s not advisable to make shatter at home.
Of course, using butane hash oil to extract cannabinoids from the cannabis plant does not have to be exclusively done for extracting THC. For example, the shatter production process can make CBD shatter as well.
The final product may not contain the benefits of a full-spectrum cannabis concentrate but is nevertheless a highly potent, THC-rich product. Many make full-spectrum extracts that retain all the cannabinoids and terpenes from the cannabis. However, these are likely to be made from live resin and are not necessarily free from other cannabinoids and terpenes like THC diamonds are. Some product makers will add terpenes after making the THC extract.
How to Use Shatter
There are different ways to use shatter, but a dab rig is the most common way to consume shatter products and other concentrates, like wax. A dab rig heats and vaporizes the shatter, allowing for a smooth intake. However, a dab pen may be a more convenient option for those who don’t want to use a torch or purchase an expensive e-rig.
One significant benefit of using shatter products, compared to many other forms of cannabis, is their potency. A single hit of your dab rig might induce couch lock for some users. The notably strong nature of shatter could also be a savior for your wallet, requiring fewer trips to the dispensary.
Risks and Drawbacks
As a concentrate, shatter is not a full-spectrum cannabis product, which means you’ll be missing out on the entourage effect. While experienced cannabis users might get the experience they seek by using shatter, less experienced cannabis users might feel overwhelmed by its potency. It’s essential to start with low doses and small quantities when using any cannabis product for the first time.
What Are Diamonds?
Diamonds, like shatter, are a type of cannabis concentrate. A noteworthy difference, however, can be found in terms of cannabinoids. While shatter extraction isolates pure THC from the cannabis plant, diamonds (i.e., crystals) consist of THCA, a non-psychoactive compound that transforms into THC when heated.
How Are THC Diamonds Made?
Diamonds are a crystalline concentrate made using a different extraction process from shatter. In the case of diamonds, pure THCA is extracted from the cannabis plant instead of THC itself. The extraction process usually uses heat, pressure, hexane, and acetic acid to create the separation process. A liquid concentrate, sauce, can also be made with the remaining terpenes and other plant material left behind after extraction.
How to Use Diamonds
Diamonds are most commonly used in dab rigs. You can combine THCA diamonds with cannabis flower in a bowl or a bong or use diamonds as part of an edible recipe. Regardless of how you use diamonds, you should do so carefully due to the product’s instant kick.
Interestingly, some argue that the THCA used in diamonds is federally legal, thanks to the 2018 Farm Bill. The reason for this is that THCA is hemp-derived and not technically cannabis in its raw form. So, an additional benefit is that THCA may be easier to access in states where marijuana-derived THC is illegal.
Risks and Drawbacks
An obvious drawback is that first-time cannabis users should not try diamonds. The products are too strong for someone to try until they have built a more substantial tolerance to cannabis. The lack of the entourage effect may also be a drawback for some, particularly those using cannabis for its therapeutic benefits.
THCA’s legally grey status may also be a drawback for those living in states without legal cannabis programs. Although THCA is a natural compound found in the cannabis plant, there are many other synthetic or semi-synthetic cannabis products gaining popularity, which might be sold alongside diamonds. Due to the market lacking federal regulation and oversight, purchasing products from reputable sources that invest in third-party testing is essential.
Similarities and Differences Between Shatter and Diamonds
Neither shatter nor THC diamonds can be considered full-spectrum THC products. As we have already discussed, this means that while you may get one of the purest forms of THC, you will miss out on other cannabinoids and terpenes.
Both diamonds and shatter concentrates are better fits for long-term cannabis users than they are good choices for less experienced users. The extraction processes for both kinds of concentrates are different, though there are some similarities. Many consider diamonds generally stronger than shatter, but this depends on the product.
How to Decide Which Is Best For You
If you have never used cannabis concentrates before, you might want to start with shatter. While it still packs a punch more potent than most joints, shatter could be a better way to dip your toes into the world of cannabis oil concentrates. Shatter might also be a better choice for daily users, as you may have a better chance of functioning more normally following shatter use than diamonds.
Diamonds could be a good choice if your tolerance is exceedingly high and you don’t feel like taking a T-break. Their high potency could be what you need to get the euphoric feeling similar to the first time you smoked a joint.
The Bottom Line
While shatter and diamonds are impressive cannabis concentrates, they should be mainly reserved for those with high tolerance and an expanded cannabis palette. In either case, the final product is quite powerful, so if you are newer to the world of cannabis, you might want to take it slow before trying shatter or diamonds. Cannabis concentrates are here to stay, so there’s nothing wrong with starting with less robust products.
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Frequently Asked Questions
Are THC diamonds the strongest concentrate?
It depends on the specific product, but diamonds are generally considered the strongest concentrate.
What is stronger: live resin or diamonds?
Diamonds are usually stronger than live resin, as live resin contains more of the cannabis plant’s original form.
Are diamonds shatter?
No, diamonds are not shatter. Diamonds and shatter are both concentrates, but they are different products with unique properties.