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Shatter: What Is It, and How Do You Use It?

golden cannabis wax pieces shatter resin in a clear small container

Shatter is a cannabis concentrate that looks a lot like glass. It’s solid, translucent, and easily broken or shattered into pieces — hence the name “shatter.”

Also known as Butane Hash Oil (BHO), shatter is a potent form of marijuana often used by dabbing enthusiasts. It can be vaporized or “dabbed” through a special water pipe called a dab rig, thanks to it being solid rather than honey-like in consistency.

Like other cannabis extracts, shatter is a smoke-free way to use marijuana. It produces a very potent high, and you can experience its effects with just a small amount. Also, please be aware that BHO is just one potential extraction method for creating high-potency shatter. Some types of shatter may be made by using CO2 or food-grade alcohol. Another well-known variety of high-potency hash oil is Rick Simpson Oil (RSO).

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What Is Shatter?

When talking about cannabis concentrates, shatter is one of the most interesting and aesthetically pleasing.

It’s solid and translucent, like glass. Often an orange or amber color, it’s created from extracting the cannabis plant’s potent hash oil and is made through a specific and careful manufacturing process.

Shatter is typically created in a production process using a liquid gas called butane. Cannabis is put in a container, and butane is pushed through the cannabis plant matter to effectively remove the desired terpenes and cannabinoids — like THC and CBD. Those cannabinoids and terpenes are collected as part of a concentrated oil. It’s then refined, and the final product is a solid and translucent marijuana concentrate.

Most forms of shatter are thin and fragile, while others are thicker and more like the texture of hard, bendy taffy. This difference comes from the concentration of cannabinoids in the specific product. It can be broken into smaller pieces and vaporized or “dabbed.”

How to Use Shatter

Cannabis concentrates like shatter must be vaporized and reach high temperatures for the compounds to activate through a process called decarboxylation.

The most popular method for using cannabis shatter is through a smoking device called a dab rig. A dab rig uses a heating process to vaporize cannabis concentrates. Once vaporized, the vapor is then inhaled, and effects typically kick in within minutes.

Another option for using shatter is through a dab pen. You’ll need a pen with a special chamber to vape cannabis concentrates. Simply charge your pen and set your temperature. Then load your concentrate into the chamber. As the pen heats the shatter, it will melt and turn into vapor, which you will inhale from the mouthpiece.

Potential Benefits of Shatter

Shatter has many potential benefits. There are a handful of advantages to using shatter for your medicinal needs. A few benefits of shatter are that it is:

  • Potent: Shatter is one of the most popular cannabis concentrates, thanks to its high THC content. It has a high potency, so very little is needed for optimal effects. This could be ideal for those who need immediate relief from sudden onsets of pain.
  • Fast-acting: Many patients prefer to dab rather than use other options like edibles because the effects kick in faster. You can often experience the effects within minutes of dabbing.
  • Cost-effective: Because you only need a small amount due to its potency, shatter is a cost-effective option for cannabis users. It’s more affordable than many other cannabis products.
  • Smoke-free: Shatter is typically vaporized or dabbed. This means there is no smoke, making it a healthier option for your lungs than smoking, although more research is needed to confirm this claim.
  • Shelf-stable: Shatter is highly concentrated, so it’s shelf-stable and can be stored for a long time. This allows you to use it as needed.

Shatter products are popular because of their many potential uses and benefits.

Patients with chronic pain or anxiety may opt for shatter because of its potency and immediate effects. It may help distract from the pain and potentially relieve anxious thoughts, although only low doses of shatter are ideal as too high a dose of THC may induce anxiety.

Risks and Side Effects

Shatter is one of the strongest types of marijuana concentrates. It provides a powerful method for consuming cannabis.

However, this high potency may be overwhelming for some cannabis users. Because of its concentration, it can be easy to accidentally use too much and experience adverse side effects. This is why it’s crucial to pay attention to your dose.

As with any medicine, there are potential adverse side effects to be aware of when using cannabis products like marijuana extracts and concentrates. Because shatter has a high concentration of THC, you may experience more of these effects if you take too much. A few common effects are paranoia, increased heartbeat, irritability, and tingling sensations. Those with anxiety may only require low doses of THC, so concentrates like shatter should be dosed very carefully.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Is shatter the same as dabs?

Yes, shatter is a form of dabs. It is a hash oil product, just like other dabs. It’s simply in a solid state instead of wax. The difference between shatter and dab wax is purely cosmetic, as both are made from hash oil. Shatter products can be dabbed, but keep in mind that not all dabs are shatter.

How is shatter made?

Shatter is often made through an extraction process using butane or hydrocarbon solvents or occasionally gasses like carbon dioxide (CO2). Cannabis is put in a tube where the butane or hydrocarbons (or supercritical gasses) are forced through the cannabis plant matter. This strips away cannabinoids like THC and CBD in a highly concentrated oil. The final product is hard, has a translucent appearance, and typically contains high levels of THC.

How long does a gram of shatter last?

The duration of one gram of shatter will vary significantly from person to person. This depends on your tolerance level, how frequently you use it, and your personal medical needs.

One gram of cannabis concentrate can have up to 80% THC content. You can use less shatter than flower to achieve your desired effects. While one gram may last one person a few weeks, it may be used up faster by someone else.

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