Experts define shatter as a kind of cannabis concentrate, produced by drawing out the cannabinoids and other chemical compounds from the cannabis plant. The term was coined in reference to the cannabis concentrate’s translucent texture that causes it to “shatter” as though glass.
To make cannabis concentrates, a solvent, such as butane or isopropyl, is passed through cannabis material (may be fresh or cured) that has been finely crushed. This result is a thick amber-colored cannabis oil rich in the plant’s active chemical compounds.
What Makes Shatter Unique?
Practically speaking, there is a small difference between shatter and other marijuana extracts. Everything is consumed with mostly the same potency range and in mainly the same ways. Of course, shatter is quite unique because of how it looks.
Possessing an amber or gold color, it has a certain degree of transparency. This semi-clarity possessed by shatter is attributed to the structure of the molecules in the extracted cannabis oil. In shatter, the molecules are all stacked in neat, perfect rows, one above the other. This allows to pass through it and lends it its glass-like attributes.
Heat, moisture and terpene content all have a hand in shatter’s final texture and extraction, all of which can give it a more fluid consistency like sap while maintaining its translucence.
Excluding shatter and sap, concentrates are whipped, stirred, or shaken from time to time during the process, which disturbs the individual molecules. Since shatter does not go through this type of processing, it retains a translucent property.
Otherwise, when cannabis oil molecules are disrupted, irregular opaque structures are produced, and light is unable to pass through as freely. Hence shatter is far more transparent than wax. Disturbing the oil results in the formation of opaque wax or similar cannabis concentrates which are different from shatter’s clear concentrates.
Why Shatter Over Other Concentrates?
Dabbing shatter has a huge advantage – cannabinoids end up in the bloodstream incredibly faster, thus causing near-instant effects. And since shatter is highly potent, “less is more,” allowing users to moderate their cannabis consumption.
Dabbing shatter means there is no need to inhale huge amounts of burning plant material to get the desired results. Certainly a plus! Instead of smoking entire joints and exposing their lungs to toxic chemicals found in the smoke, users can simply dab once or twice for their cannabinoid fix, breathing in just vapor but not smoke.
And with its molecular structure, shatter is more stable and lasts longer than any other cannabis extracts, including wax. It may be harder to break up into individual portions because of its hard consistency, but users will eventually find a way around it with practice.