Cannabis Concentrates: What is Shatter?

By Tyler Knight | August 20, 2015

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Marijuana concentrates are the latest trend when it comes to the cannabis industry. “Concentrates” is an all-encompassing term for extracts from the cannabis plant. These concentrates can come in a variety of different forms and consistencies, and are referred to by several different slang terms. Whether it’s shatter, wax, errl, oil, live resin, or dabs, they all have one thing in common; they’re all extracts from the cannabis plant that concentrate chemical compounds (cannabinoids) like THC and CBD. These extracts can yield over 80% THC content. Cannabis concentrates are such a huge hit that the price of a gram can vary anywhere from $25-$100 based on the quality, potency, consistency, and location.

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(Source: @Xburna710 on the MassRoots app)

While cannabis concentrates vary in texture and consistency, most undergo the same basic process to be made. First, the cannabis buds are taken and a solvent (usually butane, CO2, or propane) is run through them to extract all of the necessary chemicals from the plant. The solvent is then evaporated from the compound and you are left with the plant’s resins- the psychoactive chemicals in marijuana.

Shatter is a commonly-used term to refer to the type of concentrate pictured above. It typically looks like honey with varying degrees of transparency and color profiles. When this type of concentrate is warm, it has a consistency actually quite similar to very thick honey. When it’s cold, its consistency is more similar to glass. It shatters just like glass does if it is dropped or tapped, hence the term “shatter”.

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(Source: @SmokeCartel on the MassRoots app)

For the ultimate high, concentrate fans use a “rig” – a glass water pipe similar to a bong with a titanium or glass “nail” where the bowl would be. A blow torch or electric heating element is then used to heat the nail to the optimal temperature (575 – 625℉) and when the concentrate is touched to the nail, it is vaporized instantly and inhaled by the user through the mouthpiece. There are many ways to enjoy concentrates, but using an oil rig is the most common method for vaporizing shatter.

Dabbing, the act of smoking concentrates, is not for the faint of heart. The high from a dab can be like getting high for the first time, even for the more experienced smokers. If you are dabbing for the first time, start small and explore the way you feel. After all, as the saying goes, “a little dab will do ya!”

Tyler Knight

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