Shatter is one of the many ways that you can consume cannabis, although not everyone is familiar with it. It is one of the various types of cannabis concentrates, so you should expect shatter to be strong, requiring a small quantity to get your ideal dose.
The Basic Description
Put simply, shatter is a cannabis extract that is brittle and similar to glass in some ways. Its name comes from the fact that it can break or snap very easily when you do not handle it carefully.
Shatter is incredibly popular for dabbing, as it is easy to use in this way. To create shatter, the manufacturer must follow long and delicate purging cycles. Otherwise, not all of the solvents from manufacturing will be removed. Shatter is produced using solvents and weed plant materials, so the purging process is very important.
What It Looks and Feels Like
Shatter is usually translucent, but its color can vary. It can be a darker yellow that is similar to olive oil, a bright amber that is similar to honey, or something in between.
Regardless of the shatter you have, it will likely look to have an identical consistency to other shatters. However, shatter can have a full range of physical textures. Some will be incredibly brittle and break very easily. Others may have a snap and pull quality that is reminiscent of taffy.
Cannabinoids Affect Consistency
The consistency of shatter is typically affected by the cannabinoid profile. If shatter has higher concentrations of THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), then it is usually sappier. In contrast, shatter that has higher quantities of THCA (tetrahydrocannabinolic acid) will be more brittle in nature.
THC tends to be a sappy oil when it is at room temperature, providing that viscous consistency. On the other hand, THCA is solid at the same temperature, leading to that fragile consistency.
History of Shatter
Shatter is much more modern compared to other methods of consuming marijuana, and it relates to more modern production of hash or hashish. During the late 1990s, the first shatter was created as manufacturers worked to refine the production of cannabis concentrates.
The first shatter and budder to be marketed came from BudderKing, a Canadian company, during the late 1990s. That shatter reached the shelves of dispensaries in 2003. Cannabis Culture magazine outlined how to produce shatter in 2005. By the 2010s, shatter became a standard option for marijuana consumption.
Understanding CBD Shatter
While THC shatter or cannabis shatter that contains THC is the most common, you can also find CBD shatter, which is growing in popularity. This is similar, but it has very low levels of THC, or none at all, instead focusing on delivering high quantities of CBD (cannabidiol). It appeals to people who want to consume CBD but do not want the psychoactive effects of THC.
Other than the difference in composition, CBD shatter and traditional marijuana shatter are essentially the same thing. As such, CBD shatter is still a concentrate that is made in a similar manner.
The easiest way to use shatter is to dab it, but you should keep in mind that not every dab will be shattered. When you dab, you take a small water pipe containing a flat bowl, which is known as a rig. You also have a “nail” designed to handle high temperatures. You dab by preheating the nail using a small propane or butane torch until it is hot enough. Then you use the dabber’s flat end to drop a small quantity of the concentrate onto that nail.
The concentrate will vaporize as soon as it comes into contact with the nail due to the heat. You place a cap on the nail to make sure all of the vapor is caught. You inhale via an opening found on the rig’s other side.
Temperature Is Important
When you use shatter by dabbing, you will need to pay close attention to the temperature that your nail reaches. This will affect flavor, and it may even alter some of the effects that you notice.
You Cannot Eat Shatter
While you could technically eat shatter, there is no reason to do so. That is because shatter (specifically its THC) needs to undergo decarboxylation, which is when the compound gets activated via heat. Otherwise, you will not notice any effects. When you use a vaporizer, e-rig, or dab rig with shatter, it will decarboxylate, and then the high concentration of THC and other cannabinoids will immediately interact with the body.
If you eat raw shatter, you will not get any of those effects that you are looking for.
How to Store Shatter
You should always store your shatter in a cool room and in a light-proof and airtight container. Otherwise, the shatter could begin breaking down. This would result in losing potency, flavor, and consistency.
Potential Side Effects
Consuming shatter has the same potential side effects as any other cannabis product. If you consume too much THC, you may experience paranoia and anxiety.
To avoid that, you should always start by consuming a smaller quantity of shatter and then increasing the dose slowly if you do not get the effects that you want.
How Is Shatter Made?
You will not be able to make shatter at home, or at least you should not do so. Most of the time, the extraction for shatter occurs with a hydrocarbon solvent like propane and/or butane. Although rarer, extraction can also be done with carbon dioxide.
After the manufacturer uses hydrocarbons to extract the in-progress product, this raw oil needs to be cleaned. This process removes the solvents used to create it and involves whipping, stirring, and placing the oil or sludge into a vacuum oven. That last step will gently heat it and suck out any leftover hydrocarbons, so they can be eliminated.
Once there are no more toxic solvents, winterization occurs, which involves filtering and the addition of alcohol. This process entails adding ethanol to the extract, then shaking or stirring it before placing it in a freezer. Cooling will make any hydrocarbons or lipids that are left clot. Then the whole mixture is filtered to separate those clotted elements. Most shatter goes through winterization three or five times to minimize unwanted materials.