What is Shatter? How it’s Made and How to Use it

Shatter is one of the newest cannabis concentrates currently sweeping the market. It has already garnered massive popularity among the cannabis community for its potency, purity, and beautiful appearance. 

In the following guide, we’ll answer the various questions surrounding this bright cannabis extract, including how it’s made and how users consume it. 

We’ll also draw comparisons to other cannabis extracts to illustrate what makes shatter so distinct. 

By the end of this post, you’ll have a comprehensive understanding of shatter as well as what many users think makes it such a unique and desirable product. 

What is Shatter?

what is shatter

Shatter is a glass-like cannabis extract made by extracting essential oils out of cannabis flowers. As far as cannabis concentrates go, it’s one of the most potent and versatile varieties.

Cannabis shatter can contain upwards of 90% THC or more by weight, meaning that it’s one of the most potent options on the cannabis extracts market.

High-quality marijuana shatter is translucent and comes in varying shades of amber. The shatter is glass-like, in the sense that it ‘shatters’ when placed under pressure. The breaking apart of shatter into shards, like glass, is the reason for its name. 

The name tells you a lot about what to expect from cannabis concentrates. For example, shatter, wax, budder, and crumble are all names that describe the final product’s consistency. 

Is Shatter Indica or Sativa?

For users who might be curious about what cannabis flower strains, specifically, are used for shatter, the answer is any and every strain. Consumers can purchase this concentrate in both sativa and indica forms.

However, it is pertinent to note that the effects on consumers will likely vary. Factors such as physicality, weight and tolerance level will play a critical role.

Most often than not, the product will inform users of the starting plant content to help them make a more informed purchase.

How is Shatter Made?

how is shatter made

Producers make shatter using a hydrocarbon solvent, such as butane.

Carbon dioxide (CO2) is another solvent that is used to manufacture cannabis extracts. However, it is not a commonly used solvent for extraction. Instead, it is used to create distillate and cannabis oil.

The first step of creating shatter involves combing the cannabis plant material with the solvent of choice.


Once the solvent extracts the desired chemical compounds (cannabinoids and terpenes), the raw oil is cleaned. This purging involves whipping the raw cannabis oil and then placing it in a vacuum oven.

Producers then use heat and pressure to remove the solvent, leaving behind no residual hydrocarbons. At this point, there is essentially butane hash oil (BHO), which can be used to create numerous different concentrates, including shatter, wax, and crumble.


The next step is called winterization. This phase of creating cannabis shatter involves removing plant lipids and waxes. Practically speaking, pure ethanol is combined with the extract and then physically agitated. 

The extraction production then involves placing the mixture in a freezer. The cooling process causes the lipids to coagulate, separating from the rest of the mixture. Then, producers use a filter to catch these lumpy bits of lipids and remove them.

Winterization can be performed multiple times, usually 3-5 rounds. After this cooling and filtering are complete, the ethanol is evaporated from the mix. 

What is left behind is glass-like marijuana shatter!

A small amount of the final product is scraped-off and stored in airtight containers. 

Shatter vs. Other Cannabis Extracts

As mentioned, many concentrates, like shatter, are made by first creating butane hash oil (BHO). There are numerous ways to purge and process the mixture into various types of concentrates from this step. 

However, what makes shatter unique are the specific steps taken to process the BHO. Specifically, winterization is a crucial step to create the consistency of shatter.

Unlike cannabis oil, the extracts mentioned here come in a solid form. That said, their consistency and texture can range from buttery to firm. Compared to other cannabis extracts, shatter is one of the hardest varieties. 

This consistency and texture also lead to the shattering effect, which is unique to shatter.

Compared to other cannabis extracts, shatter is one of the most potent. Aside from THC isolate and THC distillate, there is no other concentrate more potent than shatter. With 90% THC or more, consumers may have a hard time finding other concentrates with comparable potency.

While other extraction methods garner higher levels of terpenes, shatter contains material levels of these aromatic compounds.

How to Use Shatter

By far, the most common and preferred way to consume shatter is by dabbing. This term describes the act of vaporizing a cannabis extract using a dab rig. For those unfamiliar with the term, a dab rig is essentially a modified water pipe or bong.

These rigs have a primary chamber filled with water, and users inhale the vapour after it passes through this water. That said, there is one critical difference between bongs and dab rigs.

What makes dab rigs unique is the use of a ‘nail’ instead of a bowl. Dab nails are made from high-heat-resistant materials. This resistance allows them to be heated using a small blowtorch. 

After the nail is heated, it’s cooled for a few moments before dropping a bit of concentrate onto it. The nail instantly vaporizes the cannabis concentrate, allowing them to inhale the subsequent vapour.

This action is typically performed using a dab tool to grab the concentrateand drop it into the nail. The key is finding the right amount of concentrate, as most consumers only need a small amount of this strong-form concentrate.

Ultimately, users are encouraged to start low and go slow, especially when it comes to cannabis extracts. 

Keep in mind that shatter contains highly concentrated THC, and this can cause impairment and other effects. It would be best for users to avoid dangerous behaviours, such as driving while impaired by THC. 

The advice is the same for consuming shatter and other marijuana concentrates like wax and budder.

The effects of this high-potency concentrate are not something to be taken lightly. Compared to dried flower and cannabis oil, the effects from dabbing and smoking concentrates are far more intense.

New consumers should consider selecting dried flower strains with more CBD and lower THC levels.

A Golden-Coloured Cannabis Concentrate

Due to its potency, practicality and versatility, shatter has become one of the most highly sought after cannabis concentrates currently available on the market. 

Users should also bear in mind that, like other cannabis concentrates and even more so, it’s much more potent than standard cannabis flower. It reaches THC potency levels of upwards of 90%.

While dabbing remains the most popular method of consumption, users can also consume it in a vaporizer, joint or pipe, as well.

Now that we’ve come to the end of this guide, you’re armed with the information necessary to enjoy shatter responsibly. Remember our tips the next time you consume this golden-coloured cannabis extract!

Sirona Pharma

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