Cannabis concentrates are some of the most popular products on the market. In late 2019, these products became legal in Canada for the first time. Since then, they have become part of a growing industry for distributors and dispensaries around the country.
People enjoy cannabis concentrates for several reasons. The answers will be different, depending on whom you ask. Many people choose concentrates instead of cannabis flowers because of their high-THC levels. These products produce more intense effects than flowers. THC concentration in many shatter products can reach up to 80%. You should only use concentrates if you have experience with cannabis products. Concentrated products may be too high-powered for a first-time user. In comparison, cannabis flowers are highly-concentrated, with THC levels reaching around 30%.
There are so many different types of these products available. Wax is the most commonly used cannabis concentrate. Now, other products are gaining ground and becoming popular in their own right. Kief, crumble, budder, and shatter are just a few of the dozens of concentrated products you can find in dispensaries.
Shatter is also known as BHO or butane honey oil. Most of those names come from the consistency of the final product, which is waxy.
How to Make Shatter
Creating cannabis concentrates requires an extraction process. Specific compounds are extracted directly from the cannabis plant and added to a solvent to make the final product.
Cannabis concentrates typically contain THC, the psychoactive ingredient in cannabis. Other concentrates contain CBD , which does not have psychoactive properties.
Some manufacturers don’t use terpenes at all in their final product, while others do. Instead, they extract only the raw compound from the plant. Those compounds give different strains of cannabis a unique flavour and aroma.
There are two categories of concentrates, including solvent and non-solvent. You don’t need chemical solvents to make kief, hash, and rosin. Those are non-solvent concentrates made from the extracted compounds in cannabis flower. These products are dry and are most often used for smoking.
Shatter falls into the second category of concentrates, which are solvent-based. Making these products requires using chemical solvents such as butane or CO2. That is why making them at home can pose a few risks.
Manufacturing shatter sounds easy enough. You put the cannabis flower in a processing bin and add the solvent to the plant, extracting the compounds. The entire process presents a few hazards and risks, especially if you choose to use butane. That chemical is highly flammable and can cause explosions and fires if you don’t know what you’re doing. You can choose CO2 instead of butane, but some people believe it does not extract compounds as well.
If your heart is set on trying shatter or any other solvent-based cannabis concentrate, the best idea is to buy one from a reputable dispensary. Making these products yourself is dangerous, no matter which chemical you choose. The risk is definitely not worth the reward.
There are two ways to use shatter and other solvent-based cannabis concentrates. Vaporizers are the most convenient tool for using concentrates. Many vaporizers feature a side cartridge designed for using concentrates.
Vaporizers help cut some of the smell of using cannabis products, and they are easy to carry with you and use anywhere. The biggest setback with vaporizing concentrates is the low heat level. These products are best used at much higher temperatures.
Dab rigs are much less convenient, but some users believe dabbing is the only way to use concentrates like shatter. Dab rigs are similar to water pipes and feature many of the same parts. The main difference between the two is the device used for holding the product during use. Water pipes or bongs need a bowl for holding the cannabis, and dab rigs use something called a nail. Butane torches are the best tool for lighting the nail, but they pose the same dangers as using butane in the extraction process.
The torch flame heats the nail and must stay there for at least one minute to reach the necessary temperature. That’s one reason a standard lighter won’t work. Holding it in place for an entire minute is hard to do, and the flame doesn’t get hot enough.
You can find handheld butane torches pretty easily. But if you don’t feel comfortable using one, you can try an electric nail or e-nail. The e-nail eliminates the risk because it doesn’t require a butane torch to use.
Solvents and Chemical Impurities
It’s never a bad idea to pay attention to what you’re putting in your body. Some people steer clear of using solvent-based cannabis concentrates, such as shatter, because they’re concerned about impurities.
Chemical solvents contain many harmful substances. Those substances typically get flushed out during the extraction process.
The problem is there is no way to tell if that happens without a professional lab test.
That’s why you always want to buy your cannabis shatter concentrates from a dispensary. That way, you will know the distributor, and the final product has been vetted by a professional first.
Getting the best hit from a dab rig is slightly different from how you achieve that with a bong. Inhaling large amounts of smoke and holding it for as long as you can is one of the best ways to get a huge hit with a bong. That’s not necessary when you use a dab rig to smoke your cannabis shatter. Small, spaced-out inhales will make for a smoother shatter smoking experience than sucking in all the vapour at once.
Cannabis shatter is a potent product and should be used carefully. High levels of THC concentration can lead to overconsumption and unintended effects. Take it slowly at first, and don’t try to make these at home.
If you are set on trying to make a concentrate on your own, start with a non-solvent product such as kief. That lets you achieve your intended goal without running the risk of burning down your house.