Shatter is a translucent–sometimes transparent–concentrate that looks an awful lot like rock candy or a Jolly Rancher. Just like other concentrates produced using butane, it is produced by forcing the chemical through cannabis material to produce an amber liquid like the one shown below.
Left to “cool”, this amber liquid solidifies into shatter which often has the consistency of thin peanut brittle.
Shatter’s transparent quality results from the temperatures used during the extraction and finishing process (as well as other variables) and can only be described by some pretty heavy chemical jargon.
To put it in simpler terms, think about the molecules in the BHO (that amber liquid) as Lego blocks. In shatter, they’re all stacked nice and neat, one on top of the other, like you had just built a wall. This molecular alignment allows light to pass through and gives the shatter it’s brittle format.
Like shatter, wax is a BHO concentrate that has the consistency of coconut oil and looks, for lack of a better description, like ear wax. Like shatter, wax starts off as the amber liquid that results from butane extraction.
Whether by accident or by design, the extracted oil is agitated or heated differently to produce an opaque material that can range in consistency from peanut butter to the aforementioned ear wax to honeycomb.
Avoiding all the technical chemistry jargon, let’s go back to the Lego block analogy. While the Lego blocks in shatter are stacked neatly in rows (like a block wall), the Lego blocks in wax are a jumbled mess (like you’ve just dumped them out into a pile).
Because the Lego blocks are going every which way and have no semblance of organization, wax is opaque and has that coconut oil consistency. Granted, both of these descriptions are overly-simplified–I certainly wouldn’t use them on a chemistry test–but they can help you visualize what’s going on at the molecular level.
So What’s The Difference?
Nothing really. Both shatter and wax are BHO concentrates that have roughly the same THC potency. They’re both used in dabbing. And they both provide a more powerful, longer-lasting high. The only real difference is in their appearance. This appearance is merely a product of how the concentrate is produced.
That said, there are some use and storage differences that need to be considered:
- Shatter can be more difficult to produce (it’s very finicky).
- Wax can be easier to produce (you don’t have to be as careful).
- Shatter is more stable and tends to last longer.
- Wax is less stable and tends to degrade faster.
- Shatter can be harder to handle, measure, and use because of its brittle nature.
- Wax is usually easier to handle, measure, and use because of its coconut oil consistency.
How Do You Use Shatter And Wax?
Shatter and wax are both consumed using a dabbing rig. A dab rig is basically a modified bong who’s bowl accommodates a dab nail instead of bud nugs.
See the gold-looking thing in the upper right corner of the picture (where the bud bowl on a bong would be)? That’s the dabbing nail. To get your daba-daba-doo on, you scoop a bit of wax with your dab tool (a.k.a. a dabber) or drop a few shards of shatter onto the nail. Then you ignite your blow torch (Yes, really. Trust us, it works better than matches.) and put flame to nail.
From there, it’s just a matter of inhaling as much of the smoke as is physically possible. As we’ve mentioned in other parts of this article, the hit from a dab rig is A LOT more potent than your standard joint, blunt, Thai stick, or vaporizer.
That’s because the shatter and wax you burn in the dab rig are concentrated canna-goodness. There are no plant matter molecules left floating around waiting to be inhaled. And there are no impurities or additives to get in the way.
All that’s left are the cannabinoids, terpenes, flavonoids, and trichomes. It’s this stuff that gives marijuana the psychedelic kick that makes us love it so much.
Which Do You Choose: Shatter vs Wax?
The best way to answer the shatter vs wax question is to try them both for yourself. I mean, really, how can you go wrong? It’s marijuana after all. Plus you can use it as an excuse to “consume” more of your favorite strains (we can’t even say smoke now, can we).
Call it a science experiment. “Leave me alone, Ma! I’m doing science…by the way, do we have any Twinkies?” I wonder if you could get a grant for something like that (without the Twinkies, of course)?
So whether you buy it or produce it yourself, concentrates (like shatter and wax) can be an interesting addition to your marijuana arsenal. Yeah, you’ll need some new equipment and you’ll need to learn how to use it, but that’s half the fun.
For more information on all things marijuana and to check out our 100-percent all-natural cannabis products, visit HonestMarijuana.com today. You won’t be sorry.