What is Cannabis Shatter?
Shatter is a variety of cannabis concentrates produced by treating plant materials with solvents. The shatter is usually translucent and can range in color from the amber color of clear honey to a deep yellow shade similar to olive oil. It is one of many forms that BHOs can take.
The shatters may appear to be visually consistent, but the physical texture of the shatters varies from product to product. Some are very fragile; others are pull-and-click consistent, like toffee. This set of textures provides some clues about the cannabinoid profile of each product.
Shatters with high THC levels tend to be juicier than their precursor, tetrahydrocannabinolic acid (THCA). THC is a juicy oil at room temperature, giving products with a high THC content a sticky texture. Conversely, THCA is solid at room temperature and is prone to decomposition.
When BHO (Bubble Hash Oil) is heated, it produces vapor that cools back down into a clear, glass-like substance called shatter. It is the raw material used to make “crack” or “slang” (powder) forms of cannabis concentrates.
As with any other concentrate, the quality of the starting material used to make shatter directly affects the quality of the finished product. Using low-quality bud as the substrate for shatter will result in a lower-quality end product.
A high-quality, top-shelf shatter is very similar to the quality of material used to produce “gold” or “sugar” forms of cannabis concentrates. This type of shatter is clear, with a honeyed golden color. It has a pleasant herbal aroma and a soft, slightly sweet taste.
As with any other cannabis concentrate, the effects of high-quality shatter are dramatically superior to those of low-quality shatter. Whether you smoke the low-quality product by itself or incorporate it into a food or other dabble form, it is true.
Cannabis connoisseurs often describe the experience of smoking high-quality shatter as being like “smoking honey.
Elements of Cannabis Shatter
The primary ingredients in shatter are plant resin (aka cannabis bud) and water. Resin is considered both the “glue” that holds the different elements of the flower together and the source of much of the cannabis plant’s natural medicine. Dried cannabis falls apart into powdery dust without resin or any other binding agent. Resin is also what gives cannabis its flavor and aroma. In most cases, processing plant materials with water alone will not produce a usable product. Therefore, almost all shatter contains some form of resin and the other naturally occurring oils and fats found in the cannabis plant. These natural compounds are called terpenes.
Scientists identify more than 100 different terpenes. These organic compounds give cannabis the characteristic flavors, and fragrances often described as “couch grass,” “clove,” “pine,” “sweet,” “fruity,” “sour,” “spicy,” and many others. Each resin type has distinctive chemistry that determines its solubility in various processing liquids. It means that some resins are more likely to dissolve in certain solvents than others. For example, it’s not unusual for a connoisseur to be able to identify the variety of resin used to make a particular cannabis product based on its fragrance.
What is the Uniqueness of Shatter Than Other Concentrates?
Shatters differ in texture, consistency, and color from other extracts, but shatter production follows a similar manufacturing process. Perhaps, at least partly because of its shiny appearance, milling is often considered the purest and best form of cannabis concentrate. However, if certain elements are mishandled during manufacturing, such as initial extraction or vacuum purification, the resulting shatter may not proceed as desired. Even improper storage can compromise the pristine clarity of the shatter.
Other factors can also affect the production of shatter material. High temperatures, residual solvents, agitation, or unwanted moisture from the starting material of cannabis can end up as buds in the concentrate, rather than easily decomposing or creating a brittle texture in the shatter. And each concentrate is as rich as the original cannabis material or as rich in cannabinoids and terpenes. Many cannabis users prefer to shatter pens because of their high potency, ease of transport, and the use of stable concentrates in place with just a few taps.