So you want to know more about shatters? You may be wondering, what is a shatter really and how is it different from other types of concentrates like rosin? Don't worry, it’s completely normal to not have detailed knowledge of every cannabis extract out there– especially if you’re new to smoking weed or you consider yourself more of a traditionalist.
That’s why we created this detailed guide to help you improve your know-how in smoking shatter and take you through how you can (safely) get high off this potent cannabis extract:
What is shatter?
Shatter, also called shatter wax, shatter weed, and cannabis shatter is an extract produced using a combination of cannabis material such as CBD and THC, and hydrocarbon solvents (usually butane). The final product is a glass-like sheet of Butane Hash Oil (BHO) cannabis extract that you can smoke by breaking the shatter into small pieces and using a dabbing tool.
The Best Ways To Smoke Shatter (In Order)
There are several ways to smoke shatter, and depending on what tool/s you may have with you, shatter is best consumed through the following:
Smoke Shatter With A Dab Rig
Probably THE most popular way to smoke shatter, a dab rig is your best friend for this potent BHO.
A dab rig is an especially made tool that looks very similar to a bong. It works the way a bong would too – you’d have to light up the shatter to be able to get a good smoke (or in this case, inhaling it).
Less is always more when using shatter - don’t forget its potency! With cannabinoids level reaching as high as 80 to 90%, shatter can hit you harder compared to a joint. If this is your first time using shatter, it is best to start small; a rice grain-sized shatter will be enough. Whenever you buy shatter from reputable sellers, choose a strain that will best fit your needs.
A dab rig is essentially a water pipe for cannabis concentrates and its main components are a quartz banger or nail, a percolation device to cool down the smoke, and a mouthpiece. One thing to note is that a lighter won’t do whenever you use a dab rig as you would need more of a heavy-duty heating element to get those vapors running. Grab a creme brulee or butane torch to light up your shatter. You need high heat for the THC concentration to vaporize.
Dab rigs aren’t exactly new to the stoner market and because they’ve been around for quite some time, there are many dab rigs of different variations that can be bought easily nowadays.
Smoking Shatter With A Vape
No need to buy a dab rig just yet - you can also use shatter in vape pens. Though not highly recommended, vaping is an alternative to dabbing.
To vape shatter, you need to carefully take your vape pen apart until you can see where the heating coil spring is located. This is where you’ll place a minuscule amount of shatter. Before putting the vape pen back together, turn it on until the coils heat up the shatter just a tiny bit – this is so the concentrate can stick to it.
The beauty of using a vape pen is that it is discrete and economical. You can load one up before heading out and smoke it where it’s legal. You can generally get about 2 pulls out of a vape pen.
Rolling Joints and Blunts with Shatter
You can also use shatter with your joints. Simply sprinkle a bit of shatter over your blunt or joint before closing it up. However, the thing about using a blunt or joint is that you’d use a lighter (instead of a blow torch) and this produces a less-than-smooth intake. Shatter needs high heat for it to vaporize in the way that it should.
As you smoke a joint or blunt, shatter is liquidized and mixed with the flower, making a great combination for stoners.
Smoking Shatter With a Dry Pipe or Bong
No method is exempt from consuming shatter and if you have a dry pipe or bong, adding shatter into the weed mix will make for an interesting hit.
You would need to fill your bong bowl halfway through with weed then sprinkle a bit of shatter. If you are using a nail, you would need another metal tool to effectively remove the shatter from its tip. Don’t forget that shatter is quite sticky.
Put another bunch of weed on top and hit it like you always do. Just like a blunt or joint, the shatter will melt and be absorbed by the weed.
Simple Steps To Smoking Shatter With a Rig
If you just bought a rig or you already have one, here is a simplified step-by-step guide to getting the most out of your shatter:
Choose your strain
Shatter is available in different strains. Choose one that you like most! The beauty of shatter is that it is not limited to a certain strain - both Indica and Sativa strains are used to make shatter.
Remember that shatter may have a THC potency of up to 90% - less is more and if you’re new to this, there is no need to go overboard.
Grab your rig
Your rig may be traditional - made of medical-grade glass - but there are other rigs out there that can make dabbing a more enjoyable experience!
There are rigs made of silicon (no need to worry about dropping it) and there are rigs that have a built-in heating device - no need for a propane torch! Those with a built-in heating device will be a great investment for a stoner since it can control the heat and temperature, both of which need to be consistent while dabbing.
Heat the banger up
Using a torch, heat the banger until it’s red. As was previously mentioned, shatter needs high heat for it to vaporize. Once the banger is hot, grab a metal dabber (also known as an e-nail or dab nail) and get a very small piece of your shatter. Dab it into the banger and see the shatter combust almost instantly, creating a potent vapor for you to inhale. Some rigs don’t need a cup piece to cover the banger but some do.
The temperature which you use matters too - and getting it consistent every time makes heating a banger difficult. You can use an infrared thermometer to monitor the temperature every time you want to take a hit.
A lower temperature of between 315 °F - 450 °F produces the most flavorful vapors. A mid-range temperature of 450 ℉ - 600 ℉ gives the perfect balance of flavor and intensity. High-temperature range of 600 ℉ - 900 ℉ gives the user more of a rush and can result in sweating and tearing up. Anything higher than 900 ℉ and the concentrate will mostly combust.
To get the most out of your shatter, a heating temperature of 500 ℉ to 600 ℉ is the optimal level. Use a carb cap to cover the banger.
Due to its potency, you’d get high with just a hit or two. Cleaning up your rig yields two options: you can continue heating your banger until the oil residue left by the shatter completely evaporates or you can wait until it clogs up.
If it does clog up, cleaning may be a bit of a hassle: you need to immerse your pipe in isopropyl alcohol, boil it until the alcohol disappears, and then remove any stains or residue.
What is Shatter: A Closer Look
Shatter is one of the purest and most concentrated forms of cannabis - and it can hit you in more ways than one.
Shatter contains 80-90% THC (the primary psychoactive component in marijuana) and turning greens into this beautiful golden amber-colored concentrate can be dangerous if done incorrectly.
A shatter is a form of butane hash oil or BHO that solidifies into a glass-like texture – and yes, it can “shatter” just like a piece of glass would, which is how it earned its nickname. Shatter is made from the trichomes of the cannabis flower, usually with the use of butane (isopropyl alcohol, ice water, and CO2 can also be used in this process but butane seems to be the most popular choice). Terpenes found in shatter give it its distinct aroma and flavor profile.
A tube with cannabis flowers is filled with butane gas. The flower crystallizes and leaves behind a mixture of resin and butane. The trichomes turn into an oil-like substance which is then further processed into what we know as shatter today. It is highly advisable to not attempt to do this on your own because there are chemical compounds involved.
Butane, a highly flammable gas, turns into liquid during the extraction process. To remove butane, it must be heated for it to evaporate which is where things become tricky. Since butane is a “heavy” gas, it doesn’t rise to the air as oxygen would. Instead, it falls to the ground and if you’re not in a well-ventilated room, it could be the beginning of the end for you when it comes in contact with heat or flame. Before it becomes a shatter, the butane removal process is repeated until most, if not all, of the gas, has been eliminated. It is not advisable to use shatter in edibles for the simple fact that it may still contain butane.
Many had been seriously injured and even fatally killed while trying to make their own shatter so it’s best to not attempt a DIY project for shatter.
Shatter’s CBD and THC levels are considered top-tier and are one of the perfect ways to enjoy cannabis.
Shatter Vs Wax
If you’re new to the complex art of getting stoned, it is easy to get confused with the different BHO products that can give you that sought-after high.
Shatter and wax are both very potent sources of THC and what sets them apart is how they are processed after extraction. Shatter undergoes a rather tedious process of heating and purging for several cycles until it turns into the glass-like texture people love today. Wax, on the other hand, is whipped while the solvent is evaporated. Wax is also known as butter and under (as well as over) whipping can turn BHO into multiple textures that stoners have come to appreciate in recent years.
Shatter and wax both fall under the umbrella of weed concentrates; keep in mind though that not all concentrates hit you the same way and others are much stronger than others. If you want to smoke shatter, the dab rig is the best tool.
What is A Dab…And What is ‘dabbing’
Dab is another word for concentrates and they are mainly pure THC. They remind you of earwax because of their consistency and color. The thing about dabs is that they can hit you hard even if you are an experienced stoner. Due to the high level of THC within a dab, the hit you get can be pretty nerve-wracking.
Dabbing is the process of consuming dab and the best way to do so is with a rig. The rig effectively transforms a tiny amount of dab into an electrifying vapor that will hit you like a truck.
Getting high with dabs is different from a regular joint or blunt, mainly because of its high potency levels of THC. If a dab has up to 90% THC levels, a joint would roughly have an average of 30 - 50%.
Even the most experienced dabbers don’t go overboard with the amount of dab they use. One size of TicTac candy will be enough if you use shatter.
There are a variety of dabs available in the market today. Aside from shatter, there is also sap, butter, sugar, honeycomb, budder, and wax.
The most common solvent used to extract THC from cannabis is butane but CO2 is becoming fairly widespread as well. CO2 is considered a “cleaner” way of extracting THC and is mainly used for extractions used for pre-filled vape cartridges. It may also be turned into a solid form similar to by-products produced by using butane. Other solvents include isopropyl alcohol and propane.
Experienced dabbers are aware of the electrifying high concentrates give and are usually cautious about the amount of smoke concentrates.
How safe is a shatter?
Owing to its high potency, shatter and other concentrates can easily be labeled as “unfit” or “unsafe” for consumption. This is, of course, false. As long as you buy your tools and shatter from a reliable, trustworthy source, shatter can give you an enriching experience just as much as a blunt or a bong would.
Even with this piece of good news, you can overdose on shatter. The best way to test your tolerance for it is to always use very small amounts. Less is more with shatter and don’t doubt the fact though you might be consuming much less than with a bud, you will get higher. See your body react to shatter and work your way up.
Shatter isn’t used in edibles and for good reason: there might be leftover solvents (such as butane) in the shatter and this poses a health risk.
Another risk of using shatter is where you get your stash from. Shatter produced by amateurs has its own health risk. Remember that its solvent is butane and if it’s not eliminated properly from shatter, it can harm your body. As such, it is best to spend and invest in a product that comes from a reliable producer or dispensary.
Despite these precautions, some people have reported experiencing problems. This is mainly because they aren’t smoking shatter correctly and while it can be consumed using various methods, a dab rig is still your best choice for getting the most out of your shatter.
Cannabis can be enjoyed in many ways and because of people’s ingenuity, the plant has been turned into many forms over the years.
Shatter utilizes weed’s THC levels through a process that has been proven to bring the best out of cannabis. While a shatter may not be everyone’s cup of tea, it can bring a whole new dimension to your weed experience. If you want to give shatter a try, make sure to use a dab rig.
The future may offer us more innovative ways of enjoying cannabis but in the meantime, just dab away!