Drug and Alcohol

Shatter: What to Know About Cannabis Extracts and Concentrates

What is shatter? Our blog takes a close look at this very potent cannabis extract. While not as dangerous as other drugs, cannabis is still addictive.

What is Shatter? The Facts About Marijuana Extracts and Concentrates

Table of contents

Written by

Brian MooreBrian Moore

Content Writer

Reviewed by

Jeremy ArztJeremy Arzt

Chief Clinical Officer

October 15, 2023

The Forge Recovery Center

Imagine a substance so pure and translucent that it glistens like a shard of glass. It's called shatter, and it's not your average cannabis concentrate. Like glistening shards of concentrated euphoria, this mesmerizing cannabis extract has taken the marijuana community by storm, captivating both seasoned connoisseurs and curious newcomers alike.

But what exactly is shatter, and what makes it stand out in a sea of cannabis products? The landscape related to marijuana is a dynamic one. Every year new cannabis-related products get launched into the market. The variety keeps doubling from flowers, oils, concentrates, tinctures, and edibles.

This article will explore the captivating world of shatter and uncover why it has become the go-to choice for those seeking an elevated cannabis experience.

Stats About Shatter:

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that 48.2 million people in the United States of America use cannabis at least once a year. They also mentioned that 1 out of every three people who use marijuana has cannabis use disorder (CUD).

What is Shatter?

Shatter is a cannabis concentrate. Cannabis concentrate, also known as cannabis extract, marijuana concentrate, or marijuana extract, is derived from the cannabis plant. This plant contains a potent psychoactive substance known as tetrahydrocannabinol or THC.

There are several ways to extract this substance from cannabis flowers. Some of these processes are the dry process, dry ice process, water-based process, heat exposure, and extraction of butane hash oil with the help of flammable solvents. 

What are Some Street Names for Shatter?

Cannabis concentrate goes by many names:

  • 710/OIL

  • Shatter/shatter weed

  • Dabs

  • Errl

  • Wax

  • Honey oil

  • Butane

  • Black grass

  • Butane honey oil

  • Earwax

  • Budder

The consistency of the substance during the extraction process of a cannabinoid determines what type of concentrate it is. Budder, for instance, has a creamy consistency, while shatter has a brittle and hard consistency similar to toffee.

Many cannabis extracts like shatter, hash oil, wax, honey, sap, and taffy have an opaque consistency. Where manufacturers stir the budder's texture to get a whipped cream-like texture, shatter remains untouched. It has a translucent and clear texture.

How Strong is Shatter?

Shatter is considered the purest form of THC. It is a widely found and used cannabis derivative highly regarded for its potency and golden-amber sheen. The cannabis experts consider it the best in the business. This golden honey-like substance with a glass-like sheen substance contains the highest level of THC, with 80 to 90 percent.

Wax derived from marijuana buds contains a high THC level ranging from 40 to 80 percent. The marijuana plant derivative has four times more strength than high-quality marijuana, with a THC level of up to 20 percent.

To gain more clarity, let's compare it with a marijuana flower. A typical marijuana bud has a THC amount of approximately 15 percent.

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What Does Shatter Look Like?

Different people claim different things when it comes to the appearance of shatter. Some people claim it looks glass-like, while others say it resembles a maple syrup chip. Shatter refers to the finished product that has a toffee-type look. A few say that it resembles honey or wax, too.

Shatter is highly addictive, and frequent use can lead to severe health disorders. Shatter consists of active compounds like terpenes and cannabinoids. It also has a residual amount of butane, a solvent used in the initial extraction process. The commonly experienced effects of shatter are relaxation and euphoria.

However, it also can alter the user's mood, the way they perceive reality, and more.

How Do People Use Shatter?

Shatter is used by the smoking method known as dabbing. Dabbing is done with the help of paraphernalia like oil rigs, vape pens, or pipes. An oil rig is similar to a glass pipe that can appear very much like a bong. It consists of a mouthpiece, a chamber, and a dab nail.

A dab nail is a device made from quartz, glass, ceramics, or other materials. It’s exposed to very high temperatures – usually with some form of torch -- and then placed on a piece of shatter. The shatter vaporizes, sending vapor into the chamber, which the user then inhales.

How is Shatter Made?

The process of the creation of shatter has various stages to it. First, the butane is used in the extraction process. The cannabis plant contains terpenes and cannabinoids. They must be extracted as they produce a potent cannabis concentrate known as BHO or butane hash oil. The main quality of these secreted chemical compounds is their effect and interaction with our brain receptors. Our brain has several receptors, and when these chemical compounds interact with them, it produces a euphoric and pain-relieving effect. This process can only take place with the help of butane or propane. 

Unfortunately, illegal production of shatter is taking place even in those states where marijuana is legal. There have been many instances where shoddy home labs and careless production have resulted in heavy loss of lives due to explosions and fires. Another point of concern is the dangerous chemical traces. Unregulated illegal production has resulted in the dumping of chemicals and toxic waste in the open. Drug-induced accidents, robberies, and violence are other by-products of shatter manufacturing. 

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Is Shatter Safe?

This isn't an easy question to answer. While cannabis may not be as immediately dangerous as most other drugs, shatter's potency makes it a very risky drug to use. Also, the process to make shatter can be dangerous, with many toxic ingredients left behind in the final product.

The major concern around shatter is its extraction process. Butane is a highly volatile substance that is flammable in nature. The process of making shatter requires erasing its traces from the extract. The substance has to be heated to achieve this. Some professionals and experts can safely navigate that while others fail. Their failure resulted in fires, explosions, and deaths.

The next point of concern is shatter’s potency. Shatter can result in a person getting far higher than they intended to, especially if they’re not used to the effects of cannabis. While this sounds like a minor problem, high doses of THC can cause vomiting, intense nausea, anxiety, and even hallucinations.

What Are Some Shatter Side Effects? 

As we’ve written, the high concentration of THC level is the most dangerous thing about shatter. First-time users are especially at risk. The onset of the effect can begin quickly and go on for several hours.

There is a high risk of shatter overdose because of its potency. People might feel panicked, confused, and become paranoid too. Some have reported experiencing vivid audio and visual hallucinations.

A few side effects of using Shatter include:

  • Respiratory issues

  • Asthma

  • Palpitations

  • Hypertension

  • Stroke

  • Bronchitis

  • Anxiety

  • Addiction

  • Sleep disorder

  • Sinusitis

  • Cardiovascular issues

  • Irritation in airways

Shatter can also make a person very anxious, making it hard to focus on things. As a result, it can lead to accidents and other potentially fatal outcomes. 

Difference between Shatter and Wax

Some major differences between shatter and wax are:

Consistency

The biggest difference between the two is their consistency. Shatter, as explained, is hard and brittle with a glass-like texture. Wax, on the other hand, has a waxy and thick texture. 

Usage

Wax and shatter can be dabbed with a dab ring, but wax can also be used for twaxing. Twaxing means combining dry herbs with concentrate. This is very hard with shatter. 

Stability

Shatter has a tight molecular structure that does not break down easily. It has a more durable nature with high shelf life. Wax can deteriorate with heat exposure and is not preferred for extensive storage. 

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Treating Shatter Dependence

Shatter is a cannabis concentrate that many people develop an addiction to. People use different cannabis concentrates like hash oil, shatter, hashish, honeycomb, and kief. Shatter dependence or cannabis use disorder (CUD) can be rehabilitated with the help of comprehensive and effective treatment.

CUD is similar to other substance disorder forms but has fewer long-term health consequences. Reports claim that many people with CUD suffer from mental health disorders too. It has also been noted that they might have an addiction to other substances and alcohol as well. The best way to treat addiction with psychiatric disorders is through standard treatment combined with behavioral therapy. 

Medications

No medications are approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for treating marijuana addiction. However, scientific research continues to take place. A few clinical trials have shown positive results with medications like the sleep aid Ambien, anti-anxiety medication BuSpar, and anti-epileptic drugs like Horizant & Neurontin.

In addition, nutritional supplements like N-acetylcysteine and chemicals called FAAH inhibitors can also be helpful. 

Behavioral Therapies

Drug usage affects both our physical and mental capacity. The physical side effects can be taken with the help of medications and drug detox, but mental issues are more complicated. This is where behavioral counseling can make a significant difference. There are various options here. Some of the commonly found therapies are:

Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

CBT motivates the patients to exercise self-control and lets them identify where the problem lies. They also address other problems. 

Contingency Management (CM)

CM is a unique approach where the patients are rewarded with tangible items like discounts, movie coups, and sale discounts to stay sober. These are tangible reinforcements to motivate patients in recovery. 

Motivational Enhancement Therapy

Here, the focus shifts towards mobilizing the patients into staying sober. They do not try to treat the patient but bring internal change. 

Feel Like Your Shatter Use is Out of Control? Talk to The Forge Recovery Center

Marijuana or cannabis use is taken very casually. Many consider it safer than other forms of drugs. They overlook the dangers associated with them since there have been no fatal reports related to cannabis overdose and dependence.

However, cannabis and its related products can lead to drug dependence and addiction. When a person continues to misuse these drugs over a long period can lead to mental and physical dependence. Various health risks are attached to cannabis use disorder (CUD) or cannabis addiction. These dangers include increased irritability, memory problems, hot flashes, lung diseases, restlessness, and sleep troubles.

If you or anyone you care about shows signs of cannabis dependency or drug abuse, it is best to seek help. The Forge Recovery Center uses evidence-based care to successfully treat shatter abuse and cannabis addiction. With us, you (or your loved one) won’t be alone on their recovery journey. Our team of experts will be in their corner every step of the way.

Cannabis addiction robs people of the lives they deserve. Get your life back today. To learn more about our evidence-based, effective cannabis addiction treatment program, reach out to The Forge Recovery Center today.

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