How to Make and Use Shatter

By Anthony Pellegrino Updated October 24th, 2022

Have you always wondered what shatter was? You may have seen it for sale at your local dispensary, and it may not be immediately clear what it is or how to consume it if you’ve never used it before. But don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. Let’s take a look!

What is Shatter?

Shatter is a specific type of marijuana extract. It’s clear and glasslike, usually with a brownish or amber color. Unsurprisingly, shatter derives its name from the fact that it’s a rigid concentrate that can break or shatter like glass. It’s a highly valuable extract, given the lengths necessary to produce it properly. You shouldn’t be surprised to find that shatters are often the priciest cannabis concentrates being sold at your local dispensary.

How to Use Shatter

So how do you use shatter? By and large, shatter can be used with a specific type of water pipe called a “dab rig.” Dab rigs look very similar to normal bongs or water pipes, but instead of a glass bowl used to smoke flower, they include a flat bowl called a “nail.”

The process of dabbing shatter is no different than any other extract. The dab nail must first be flash heated with a butane torch, and then allowed to cool. The extract is then applied to the cooled, but still-hot nail, causing it to vaporize.

Dabbing shatter can be a little tricky for those with little experience doing so. You may find that you need some practice to cool the nail to the proper, sweet spot temperature. Nevertheless, after a few rounds of trial and error, you’re bound to find the sweet spot on your particular dab rig.

How Potent is Shatter?

Of all the cannabis extracts, shatter can be one of the highest in its THC potency. Typically, marijuana extracts’ concentration of THC (the primary psychoactive compound in marijuana) can tend to fall in the 40-80% range. Shatter frequently resides on the higher end of the spectrum, with most containing 60-80% THC.

In fact, the actual consistency of the shatter reflects the extract’s particular potency and cannabinoid profile. You see, shatter can come in a few different consistencies, ranging from a highly rigid and glass-like texture that will break and shatter to a more bendable and pliable consistency similar to that of saltwater taffy. The more potent the shatter, the more glasslike its consistency will be.

How to Make Shatter

Note: Manufacturing your own shatter can be extremely dangerous and illegal if not done properly or without the necessary manufacturing licenses.

Equipment and Ingredients Necessary: 

  • At least 1 oz of marijuana
  • Butane canisters
  • Extraction tubes
  • A large glass dish to collect the shatter
  • Silkscreen material
  • Hose clamps
  • Parchment paper
  • Razor blades
  • A vacuum oven
  1. The marijuana is ground to expose more surface and trichomes.
  2. The stems and lower leaves are removed.
  3. The ground cannabis is then packed into the tubes tightly enough that no air pockets remain, but still leaving enough room for the butane to travel through the tubes.
  4. Then a silkscreen material is placed over the mouth of the packed extraction tube, and attached using hose clamps.
  5. The butane is then “blasted” through the extraction tube with the mouth facing downwards into a glass dish or extraction tray. (This process is done in a specially designed room that is well-ventilated and blast proof. When done improperly by an unlicensed person at home, fires and explosions are common. Many people have died or inadvertently killed others when practicing unlicensed extraction.)
  6. As the weed is completely saturated, the marijuana extract drips and sizzle in the glass dish with the butane.
  7. The liquid butane is then allowed to evaporate, leaving only the shatter in the dish.
  8. A scraper is used to scrape the shatter from the dish onto a large piece of parchment paper.
  9. The paper is then placed in a vacuum oven to purge the remaining butane found in the shatter.
  10. Once the purging is complete, the shatter is allowed to cool and solidify completely.

CO2 is becoming a more popular solvent for extraction because it is safer and less toxic. The process is basically the same, but the equipment involved is more expensive. Home extraction with CO2 is illegal in many districts as well and must be performed by a licensed professional.

Those who wish to extract their own product at home might want to consider a rosin press instead, which uses low heat and very high pressures rather than volatile substances. Rosin presses are generally legal and can be found for as little as a couple hundred dollars to several thousand dollars depending on the complexity of the machine.

Warnings & Dangers

Don’t try making shatter at home. Accidents and deaths are extremely common and the risk affects those in close proximity to the manufacturer. Unless you have the proper marijuana manufacturing licenses, extracting your own shatter is very illegal, and could lead to significant legal troubles if you’re caught.

While it may be something you’re interested in, producing your own extracts is not a casual endeavor. The legal licenses and the equipment necessary are remarkably expensive to acquire. If you’re looking at extracting as a means to supply your own shatter, you may find it’s both cheaper and easier to simply purchase it at your local dispensary or a weed subscription box.

How to Find and Buy Shatter

Shatter shouldn’t be too hard to find and buy if there are legal dispensaries in your local area. The majority of pot shops offer several kinds of extracts with their wares, of which shatter is included. Depending on the particular marijuana laws in your state, you may need a medical marijuana license to purchase shatter.

So there you have it: the NuggMD guide to shatter. If you’re looking to buy some shatter for yourself, you may need a medical marijuana license. However, with the NuggMD telemedicine platform, you can connect with a  licensed physician in your state and be approved for medical use in as little as ten minutes. What are you waiting for? Sign up today!

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