In North America, the conversation around cannabis has transformed in the last decade with more and more people consuming the plant than ever before. As one incredibly booming industry, it has brought millions of dollars to the table and can be found selling at nearly every corner store, with shatter being a particularly popular product. 

While research has been digging up the healing potential in the marijuana plant, there is a new product on the market that is turning heads and raising some eyebrows: shatter drug. Not only is it one of the most popular and desired forms of marijuana, many cannabis consumers enjoy their favorite strains in the form of shatter.

Questions around this high potency THC product are asked now more than ever with the increasing popularity of legalized marijuana. And, if you have yet to experience shatter, you might have questions such as: What is shatter? How strong is shatter? Is shatter safe? How is it made? Or, how do you smoke it? Below you’ll find answers to such questions as well as other information to help guide you in the right direction before your next re-up.

What is shatter?

The shatter drug, also known as “wax,” “budder,” or “shatter” earns its name from toffee-like consistency. It is a product of a condensed form of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) made from cannabis flowers and solvents to obtain a potent type of marijuana extract, also known as butane hash oil, that gives a potent high.

The concept of cannabis extracts is simple. The cannabis plant is processed through a solvent, usually butane, isopropyl, CO2 or hexane. This produces a thick cannabis oil that’s gold or amber in colour. The term “shatter” directly refers to its transparency and ability to shatter like glass. 

Once the solvents have extracted all of the plant’s desirable compounds, the slurry is then purged to remove any and all leftover solvent to create a safe product. Resembling a golden sheet of melted sugar, the substance is then collected to be smoked in dab rigs and bongs.

Marijuana extracts, such as shatter, are a fast and efficient way to consume cannabis, with many feeling the need to smoke less in order to feel the desired effects — that’s big savings for your stash and your buck. 

Shatter is highly potent, containing 80-90% THC. Its effects are quick and can last for a few hours. Because of this, it takes far less product to get you high when compared to the cannabis flower, which typically contains up to 30% THC. The high felt from using shatter drug is often described as strong and quick, making it a good choice for both recreational and medical users.

How to make Shatter?

What distinguishes shatter from regular marijuana is that shatter is the near complete extraction of everything desirable within the cannabis plant. The plant’s terpenes, flavonoids and cannabinoids such as THC are extracted while the undesirable elements, the plant’s lipids, chlorophyll and fats are removed.

Butane is the most popular solvent used to extract these compounds from cannabis. Cannabis flower is first saturated with the solvent and then agitated to ensure the buds soak everything up. After a period of time, the solution should turn dark green and murky. This is visual proof that the plant’s compounds are leaving the flower. 

From there, the extract is poured onto trays to be purified. Hydrocarbons and other undesirables are boiled off slowly. This process gradually removes the butane from the solution and results in a sheet of yellow-colored toffee. Depending on additional processes it can also appear as a wax-like substance.