Shatter placed onto a table during manufacturing

As marijuana use and legalization continues across the nation, new potent forms of the drug continue to emerge. One of these extracts, known as “shatter”, typically has the highest potency of all known marijuana extracts. Here we take a look at the dangers of these extracts.

Marijuana extracts are drugs that are made by deliberately concentrating THC from marijuana plants. Extracts that are made using various solvents have collectively come to be known by the slang name “dabs”.

One type of these, known as shatter, is the highest concentrated form of dabs currently being produced. (1)

How strong is shatter?

The average THC content of shatter is about 80%. In some cases, purity levels of up to 90% A man uses an oil rig to smoke shatter productshave also been reported. This is more powerful than normal hash oil. It is also approximately five times the potency of normally smoked marijuana. (2)

To compare, most medical-grade marijuana is roughly 30% pure THC today, while in the 1960s, the average THC content in marijuana was far less than 10%. (4)

How is shatter made?

THC is not soluble in water, and thus need certain solvents in order to extract them from raw marijuana buds (the part of the plant that is smoked to achieve a high). THC extracts (a.k.a. dabs) are made using various solvents, but most commonly butane.

Cannabis is packed into tubes and “cleaned” or “washed” with hydrocarbons, most commonly butane. The remaining mixture is then heated to eliminate any butane residue. The mixture is then placed onto paper and spread out as a thin sheet.

The result of the extraction is sticky oil that typically appears bronze in color.

Contrary to popular opinion, the translucent properties of shatter do not count towards its purity. The number of hydrocarbons that have been purged from the substance and the quality of the cannabis used decides shatter’s purity. The drug gets the name “shatter” from its hard and glass-like appearance.

How is shatter different from wax and other concentrates?

Shatter is different from wax and other dab concentrates because it goes through an additional purification step. This additional purification step removes most of the remaining fats and waxes. The resulting product has a much higher potency than other concentrates and it typically demands higher prices. (3)

How is shatter smoked?

Shatter is smoked just like most other marijuana dabs. In today’s time, many rely on vaporizers to combust the shatter rapidly into smoke. A vaporizer combines a battery with a cartridge (sometimes refillable) that contains the shatter product or dab.

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Another popular method for smoking shatter is the use of a device known as an “oil rig”. An oil rig is a water pipe (bong) but instead of a conventional “bowl” piece, there is a glass or metallic nail head.

The user heats up the nail head with a butane torch, and then uses metal dental tools to place the shatter onto the hot nail head. This instantly combusts the shatter into smoke which is then inhaled through the oil rig’s mouthpiece.

What makes it so dangerous?

The highly concentrated nature of shatter makes it particularly intoxicating. The effects in which very small amounts produce are incredibly strong and come on much more rapidly than other methods of ingestion. The high obtained from Shatter can also last for longer periods of time than conventional marijuana buds.

Marijuana can cause severe physiological addiction in chronic users despite popular belief to the contrary.

Many manufacturers of shatter products also use marijuana that has been heavily sprayed with pesticides. These pesticides often find their way into the final product. (5) Although many manufacturers and produces claim their shatter is pesticide-free, independent lab testing has revealed the opposite for some brands.

Final Note

This article is intended for those considering a new way of life, free of the pain of drug and alcohol addiction. For more information on recovery and anyone seeking help with addiction and substance abuse problems, please call True Recovery at (844) 744-8783 or visit us online.


Sources:

  1. https://adf.org.au/drug-facts/butane-hash-oil/
  2. https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/public-safety/shatter-super-high-potency-marijuana-now-appearing-on-east-coast/2015/12/23/e09dfde4-a8fa-11e5-bff5-905b92f5f94b_story.html?noredirect=on&utm_term=.599b7c9aa17c
  3. https://www.inverse.com/article/9645-what-is-shatter-weed-and-is-it-the-future-of-marijuana
  4. https://www.cbsnews.com/news/marijuana-far-more-potent-than-it-used-to-be-tests-find/
  5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5679763/