Cannabis Shatter
3 min

What Is Shatter And Why Should You Try It?

3 min

Shatter is a highly concentrated form of cannabinoids extracted from cannabis flowers. Find out more and how to use it at Zamnesia.

Contemporary cannabis is certainly the most potent to have ever existed, with many strains topping 20% THC, and some even exceeding the 30% threshold. Yet, for those experienced tokers who have a high tolerance, simply smoking flowers just doesn’t flick the switches anymore. Then there are those who would rather get orbital without all the smoke that traditional consumption entails, and those who like to smoke the herb, but want some extra elevation in their mix. If any of these people sound like you, then shatter is where it’s at.


Although near-pure concentrates like THC distillate can exceed 95% THC, shatter only slightly sacrifices potency in favour of retaining essential terpenes. As such, shatter is an aromatic—and still extremely potent—cannabis extract containing 70% THC and above. This concentrate is aesthetically pleasing to say the least, and dabbing it will give your mind wings in a way you didn’t think was possible with weed.

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As one "species" of cannabis extract, shatter is gaining in popularity as a way to imbibe high concentrations of cannabinoids. Extracts can take on many different forms, which are largely dictated by the type of processing they receive post-extraction. Unlike budder or wax, which are agitated or whipped and purged for longer, shatter is purged for a shorter time, and is then left to congeal and harden into translucent, honey-tinged sheets.

Cannabinoids themselves vary in viscosity, so depending on the cannabinoid profile, the characteristics of shatter can vary slightly. For example, decarboxylated THC oil and CBD oil are viscous like molasses at room temperature, while THCA remains solid at the same temp. The same is true of many other cannabinoids and a number of terpenes, which all account for variations in texture, colour, aroma, and effect.

At one end of the spectrum, shatter quite simply “shatters” when it is dropped or tapped too hard with a dabbing tool. If you didn’t know any better, you would be forgiven for thinking it was a slab of toffee. Just as there are hard toffees, there are also soft toffees. So at the other end of the spectrum, shatter can also have a stretch and snap “pullability” like taffy.



Shatter is a form of BHO (butane hash oil) that gets mild treatment after it has been extracted in order to give it the characteristic shatter factor. In the lab, shatter is made to very exacting standards with expensive, high-end equipment that comes with minimal chance of personal harm. In the home, it can be made well, but is very dangerous to do. Plus, the purity is nowhere near lab quality.

Shatter begins its life the same way as most other extracts. Using heat and compression, the oils are stripped from the plant material; this can be nugs, trim, or even kief. Unwanted material is then removed with a solvent-induced vacuum purge. Compared to other concentrates, the temperatures (29.44–37.77°C) and pressures (-29 inHg) used during the purge are lower to create shatter.

Production of shatter follows these basic steps:

  1. A chosen source material fills a material column.
  2. Chilled solvent is passed over the chosen material to create a solution.
  3. The solvent is evaporated from the solution, then condensed to be reused.
  4. The resulting oil is carefully removed and left to solidify into shatter excellence.

A number of factors can turn intended shatter into other types of unwanted, but not necessarily any less potent, textures. Too much moisture in the source material, agitation, or incorrect temperatures during manufacture or storage can all inadvertently put the unique shatter texture in danger of becoming crystalline, opaque, and more like budder or wax in nature.



Shatter will behave in a dab rig the way other concentrates do. It will quickly melt and give up its cannabinoid goodness in a heady cloud of vapor. It can be easier to handle than some stickier options, which tend to cling to tools and fingers alike. Pieces are easy to pick up after shattering into handy dab-sized chunks, and they don’t stick to everything they touch. Long tong tweezers are your friend.

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Powdering or pulverising shatter lets you easily add some to a spliff or the top of a cone for some extra woo woo.

Stir a quarter of a teaspoon into a hot morning beverage for some slow-release intensity. You can move up from this amount once you get a feel for the high cannabinoid concentration, or move down if you spent the day at work totally shattered.

Most vaping devices, from pens to tabletop sets at home, will let you vape shatter. Break it down into small bits and fill the chamber to 50%, then vape away.


Shatter is a great way to experience the full intensity cannabinoids and terpenes have to offer. It is possible to explore a whole range of different cannabinoid profiles in their purer form. It is also a great way to increase the cannabinoid concentration of your favourite strains. Medical users who desire specifically tailored cannabinoid profiles will also benefit from shatter. Depending on your preferences, shatter could be a once-in-a-lifetime experience to remember forever, or your new best friend.

Steven Voser
Steven Voser
Steven Voser is an independent cannabis journalist with over 6 years of experience writing about all things weed; how to grow it, how best to enjoy it, and the booming industry and murky legal landscape surrounding it.
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