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Cannabis Concentrates: Shatter vs Wax

Shatter and wax are two different consistencies of BHO achieved by processing it differently.
12 June 2020
9 min read
Cannabis Concentrates: Shatter vs Wax

Contents:

Shatter and wax are two different consistencies that originate from the same solvent-based extract: BHO. Similar to what happens to rosin, applying a different combination of elements (like temperature and pressure) will result in different textures and consistencies.

1. Butane Hash Oil (BHO)

Before talking about Shatter or Wax, we must first understand what is BHO, because this extract is their primal form.

Butane Hash Oil (aka BHO) is a solvent-based extract, it is made by using butane to pull off the trichomes and all the compounds in it from the plant material. 

This is achieved with big industrial machines in a closed-loop, meaning there are fewer chances of exploding (because butane is flammable). Even though it is possible to make BHO at home, we do not recommend it.

Butane is highly flammable and there have been lots of accidents in the last couple of years, where whole houses caught on fire and people got hurt. Also if you don’t have the appropriate equipment, the final product will have lots of butane in it, which is toxic and will give you headaches when consuming it.

If you want to make something to consume in a dab rig, we recommend making rosin, which is made solely by applying heat and pressure, without the use of solvents, resulting in a safer and higher quality product.

2. Shatter

When talking about shatter, we’re not talking about a different extract. Shatter is one of the consistencies BHO can have (sometimes also called BHO shatter).

The different consistencies of BHO are achieved after the trichomes have been pulled from the plant material.

 

Cannabis Concentrates: Shatter.
 

Shatter is achieved with a higher temperature when processing the plant for BHO and left to cool down right after the extraction process, without applying heat or pressure. This makes the butane evaporate and gives it that glass-like consistency, which is extremely brittle and shatters easily.

3. Wax

Just like shatter, wax is a different consistency of BHO, but unlike shatter, it is achieved with a lower temperature when processing the plant material for BHO. Also known as BHO wax, this extract has the consistency of dried wax.

To reach this consistency, BHO is agitated with a slight heat to introduce oxygen molecules and evaporate any butane left, this also gives it a more opaque color.

 

Cannabis Concentrates: Wax.
 

Because of the lower temperature, wax also has more flavor and smell than shatter because the lower temperature avoids the evaporation of compounds.

4. Shatter vs Wax

Because both Shatter and Wax come from BHO, their potency is fairly similar, being around 60-70% THC. Although some terpenes and cannabinoids may evaporate depending on your goal.

The major difference in consistency comes when consuming it because shatter is brittle, you can easily break it down and smoke it in a joint or a dab rig.

Wax, on the other hand, can be wet and may be harder to smoke in a joint but can be easily smoked in a dab rig and provides the user a more complete effect because of the terpenes in it.

There’s no better or worse, it just depends on what effect you’re looking for.

5. Pros and Cons

Shatter

Pros

•  You don’t necessarily need a dab rig, can be smoked in a joint.

•  Can be handled with your hands.

•  Tends to last longer.

 

Shatter is brittle so you can easily break it down and smoke it in a joint.

Cons

•  Consistency can be harder to achieve.

•  Less terpenes.

Wax

Pros

•  More terpenes.

•  Easier to achieve consistency because you don’t need to be super careful.

 

Wax can be wet and may be harder to smoke in a joint but can be easily smoked in a dab rig.

Cons

•  Hard to smoke in a joint, you’ll need dab rig or vaporizer.

•  Harder to handle without the appropriate tools.

•  Tends to degrade faster.

6. In Conclusion

If you’re looking for a more complete effect, we recommend wax, but if what you want is a really strong high, you’ll prefer shatter. Even though BHO and derived consistencies are widely known by cannabis users, they’re not the best nowadays.

Because the cannabis market has developed so much in the last couple of years, you can find better quality solventless extracts, which not only are strong but will have more cannabinoids and terpenes, providing a better experience when consuming.

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