Whether you’re a recreational or medicinal cannabis consumer, there’s a good chance you’ve heard of the term “shatter.” An exceptionally potent form of hash oil, shatter—sometimes referred to as “sap” or “pull ‘n’ snap” depending on its consistency—contains high concentrations of cannabinoids, which deliver very strong results in just a single hit. This makes it a good option for patients suffering from acute pain or struggling to break free of a PTSD flashback. And it may appeal to others in search of intense psychoactive effects.
Looking for the easiest way to make shatter? We’ve rounded up everything you need to know about this increasingly popular form of cannabis and created a step-by-step guide for making it yourself.
What Is Shatter?
Shatter is essentially what’s extracted from cannabis flower when that flower undergoes a process that produces a product that contains a highly concentrated amount of cannabinoids and terpenes. This extraction process can employ chemical solvents such as butane to produce, in this case, butane hash oil (BHO).
BHOs are the most popular method of extraction, because they’re significantly more potent than raw plant material and other forms of cannabis. They contain active ingredients in concentrations of 50–90%, according to research from Portland State University.
There’s some controversy over the fact that trace amounts of butane are present in the resulting shatter. As well, if your flower contains pesticides, those chemicals will also get extracted in a potentially higher concentration in that shatter.
How Do You Consume Cannabis Shatter?
The most popular way to consume shatter is via dabbing, which involves the use of a purpose-made dab rig. A dab rig is a type of water pipe specifically designed for shatter; it heats the concentrate and creates vapour, which is then inhaled.
A dab rig features:
- A nail: A titanium (sometimes ceramic or quartz) surface on which you heat the shatter.
- A dome: A piece of glass used to trap the vapour. Domeless nails are also sometimes used.
- A dabber: A pointy utensil for picking up a piece of shatter and dabbing it on the heated nail.
You’ll also need something to heat the nail up. Many people use a crème brûlée torch. Alternatively, if you want to avoid flames altogether, consider investing in an e-nail. The advantage of an e-nail is that you can control the temperature of your dabs. Dabbing at very high temperatures can introduce carcinogens into the vapour. As such, the American Chemical Society’s ACS Omega recommends that folks keep their e-nail temperature below 611 degrees F.
It’s worth noting that you don’t necessarily need a dab rig to consume shatter. You can also use a hash pipe or certain vaporizer models. You can even mix it with flower in a joint.
How Do You Make Shatter?
Before we begin, there are a few safety precautions you need to be aware of when making shatter. First, butane gas is extremely flammable. We can’t stress this enough. So, if you’re interested in trying this extraction method, it’s vital that you’re sober, and that you don’t smoke or have an open flame anywhere near the extraction site.
All extractions must be done outdoors to prevent the butane gas from accumulating in one area. Always wear eye protection and gloves, and keep a fire extinguisher handy.
If you’d rather try your hand at an extraction process that skips the butane and all chemicals for that matter, check out this tutorial on how to make cannabis dabs with a hair straightener.
Things You’ll Need to Make Shatter With Butane:
- An extraction tube
- Rubber bands
- A canister of butane
- Two Pyrex dishes (ideally, one should be able to fit inside the other)
- Coffee filters
- A towel
- A decent amount of cannabis (about half an ounce will do)
- An insulated container
Performing the Extraction Process
- Pack the extraction tube with cannabis. Pack it tightly, but ensure that air can still pass through.
- Fit the coffee filter over the open end of the extraction tube and secure it with a rubber band.
- Heat some water on the stove.
- Use a thermometer to monitor the temperature of the water. When it reaches 160 degrees F, pour the water into your insulated container.
- Take your insulated container outdoors into a well-ventilated space, far away from any possible source of ignition.
- Pour the water from the insulated container into the larger of the two Pyrex dishes. Ensure the smaller Pyrex dish is positioned on top of the larger Pyrex dish.
- Wrap your towel around the extraction tube. Position the extraction tube a few inches above the smaller Pyrex dish, with the filter end facing downward.
- Fit the butane canister to the top of the extraction tube. Apply pressure for a few seconds. Butane will begin to fill the tube.
- A thick, dark oil will start dripping into the small Pyrex dish.
- Continue applying pressure in five-second bursts until the butane canister is empty.
- Allow all of the oil to filter down into the small Pyrex dish.
- Let the oil sit until the water in the large Pyrex dish is completely cool.
- Replace the cool water with hot water as described in step 3 and allow that to cool.
- Wait 15 minutes and leave the small Pyrex dish to sit in a well-ventilated area, out of direct sunlight.
Enjoy Cannabis Shatter Responsibly
After about 48 hours, the shatter will be ready to use. In terms of appearance, shatter sports a golden complexion. Its translucency is often associated with its purity, but in reality, the opacity has little to do with its quality or cannabinoid content.
When warm, shatter has a consistency like thick honey. When cold, it settles into a hard, glassy substance that will shatter (hence the name) if it’s dropped or knocked.
Be sure to stay safe when performing the extraction process and enjoy shatter responsibly.
Photo credit: WeedPornDaily