Child on father's shoulders

What Is Shatter? Side Effects And Shatter Addiction

Have you ever heard of shatter? While there are plenty of illicit drugs on the market whose properties have been discovered simply by human trial and error of various plants and naturally occurring minerals and compounds, other kinds of illicit substances, such as shatter, are intentionally manufactured to produce an intended effect in the user.

Coca plants, for instance, are plants that grow naturally without human intervention. They are native to western South America. Indigenous populations in the region, such as the Incas, made use of the coca leaves to help speed up their heart rate and boost alertness. These effects were particularly useful to the Inca people who dwelled in the mountainous regions of South America and made their home amongst the Andes.

With a thinner atmosphere at such high altitudes, coca leaves were useful in helping the Incas thrive in the thin air. In addition, coca leaves were also used during religious ceremonies, as an anesthetic for surgery, and other health purposes.

A substance such as shatter, for instance, is not found in nature the same way coca plants are. Shatter is a manufactured potent derivative of marijuana. This substance has become notable for its volatile manufacturing process and unique manner of use.

What Is Shatter?

Shatter is a highly potent cannabis concentrate. This concentrate is sometimes known as butane hash oil (BHO) and has plenty of street names including honey oil, wax, sap, and budder. The name “shatter” refers to the texture and appearance of the concentrate. Shatter is an amber-colored substance and has a certain translucent glass-like appearance. When shatter is broken and used, the texture appears to shatter, hence its fitting name.

As a concentrate, shatter is desirable to users who are seeking a more potent form of cannabis to use. Shatter is very strong and can contain anywhere from 60% to 80% of cannabinoid content. Some very intense forms of shatter can even contain between 90% to 99% cannabinoid content. To put this number in comparison, cannabis that is smoked and used in a non-concentrate form is growing more potent these days. Despite the growth in potency as users look for a quicker and more intense high, concentrations of THC in typical everyday pot usually fall at around 20% or lower. Anything above 20% is seen as more of an anomaly.

Although to an inexperienced pot user 20% might seem quite potent, people who are more experienced with smoking weed might come to desire something stronger from their marijuana fix. Adventurous users and those looking to find a quicker, more intense, and exciting high may turn to shatter as a way of trying out something that is more potent to test their boundaries and feel a new kind of thrill.

The explosive process of manufacturing shatter is one of the more unique and recognizable qualities of the substance. Making shatter requires using butane, a highly flammable and easily liquefied gas, to extract cannabinoids and terpenes from a cannabis plant. The result of extraction is the highly potent concentrate of BHO. These kinds of compounds are naturally secreted from cannabis plants. Upon interaction with certain receptors in the brain, a sense of calm, relaxation, and euphoria is induced while also relieving pain.

Unfortunately, given the highly flammable nature of butane, the manufacturing of shatter, especially in shoddy home laboratories, has led to explosions, fires, numerous injuries, and even fatalities. 

In general, home shatter manufacturing is illegal, including places where the medical use of marijuana is permitted. In addition, there are many concerns about the potential for batches of shatter to end up tainted with hazardous chemicals during the manufacturing process.

For example, the butane gas used in extraction from cannabis plants is removed from the mixture with heat. However, if the mixture is not heated long enough or at an adequate temperature, excess butane gas can remain in the mixture. Butane gas is extremely toxic to individuals who inhale it while smoking shatter.

Marijuana concentrates that are produced and sold by reputable organizations are often considered safer to the user than makeshift home manufacturing labs are. For this reason, shatter is often considered more toxic overall than its plant-based counterpart. Reputable manufacturers, on the other hand, are legally constrained to ensure that the levels of butane within a marijuana concentrate are within what regulations allow.

heart shaped hands

Questions About Treatment?

Call now to be connected with one of our compassionate treatment specialists.
(844) 951-1939

Side Effects Of Shatter

Using shatter induces a quick high in the user, but the effects of the high are not always desirable. Some users can simply be intoxicated as a result of using the concentrate, but other users can experience periods of intense anxiety or paranoia. Of course, these are only a few of the side effects that occur from shatter use.

Some side effects of shatter use can include

  • Increased heart rate and blood pressure
  • Heightened anxiety
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Trouble remembering
  • Weaker immune system
  • Increased risk of infection (i.e. bronchitis, asthma, sinusitis)
  • Irritation of airways
  • Persistent sore throat
  • Bloodshot eyes
  • Increasing tolerance (leads to using larger amounts to achieve the same effect)
  • Difficulty sleeping or lower quality of sleep
  • Lack of coordination

How Is This CBD Used?

Shatter is used through a process called “dabbing.” Dabbing is the process in which a user will heat BHO using special equipment and inhale the vapor that is produced to get high. Although the process of heating a substance up and inhaling the result to get high is sometimes compared to smoking, dabbing is its own unique flash-vaporization process.

In order to produce vapor, users can add the shatter concentrate, or other marijuana concentrate, to a heater water pipe attachment. This attachment, sometimes referred to as a nail, can be made out of different materials although glass and metal are most common. The glass or metal attachment is then heated up with the use of a butane torch. As the substance is heated up, a user inhales the vapor that is released for an intense high.

In contrast to smoking, dabbing has been touted by some users as supposedly being healthier for lung health; consider the fact that the user inhales vapor instead of smoke. This argument is comparable in many ways to the argument that vaping is better for overall lung health than smoking cigarettes. Dabbing is also lauded by users for producing clean flavors and a more properly-refined extract of the concentrate. Of the various marijuana concentrates that exist, shatter is considered one of the most potent.

During the dabbing process, additional filtration can be used to rid the substance of additional waxes and fats that are naturally occurring. Shatter is so potent due to its status as one of the purest forms of marijuana extract. This, of course, is appealing to any user seeking a very intense and powerful rush.

Although dabbing is a common method of using shatter, there are also a variety of other methods that some individuals turn to. Smoking, for example, is also a manner of using shatter. Shatter can be crumbled on top of the bowl of a pipe or also crumbled into a joint and smoked.

Comparing Marijuana Concentrates: Shatter Vs. Wax

There are a variety of different marijuana concentrates that exist. One of the most comparable concentrates to shatter is called wax. They are similar in some ways, but there are also differences between them.

Shatter tends to be more stable than wax, but shatter is more difficult to handle. Wax usually also degrades faster than shatter.

Shatter is translucent and not mixed at all in order to create a new consistency. Instead, it dries to a hardness when the butane gas used in its production evaporates. Wax, meanwhile, is semi-solid and opaque. The evaporating mixture is agitated to form wax.

In general, the temperature and finishing processes of these two concentrates are some of the main differences between them.

Weed (CBD) Dependency And Addiction

It is possible to become dependent on marijuana and its variations in the form of concentrates such as shatter or wax. Mentally dependent users may find themselves feeling as though they need to use shatter to get through the day, otherwise it will be too challenging to properly carry out responsibilities and work.

Physical dependence can also develop. When a user is physically dependent on the drug, they will need to take larger and more frequent doses to achieve similar effects. Users can feel physically uncomfortable and feel various aches if they do not use a marijuana concentrate.

It is also possible to experience withdrawal symptoms when a user abruptly stops using marijuana concentrates or uses smaller doses. Withdrawal symptoms can include

  • Feeling anxious, uneasy, or fearful
  • Feeling excited, confused, and tense
  • Trouble falling asleep or staying asleep
  • Upset stomach
  • Increase in feelings of depression

Treating Shatter Dependency

Treatment for shatter dependency is possible! Through an evidence-based treatment program filled with expert and compassionate staff, recovery is possible and can become a reality. 

At Vertava Health, we understand the seriousness of shatter, and marijuana addiction and dependency. We’re here to support you and your loved ones with life-changing recovery programs. Through evidence-based, individualized treatment plans, long-term success is available to you, no matter your circumstances or past addiction history. 

With a comprehensive, full continuum of care, you have options for addiction treatment that work for you. Vertava Health has you covered as you set out on a journey towards lifelong recovery and a better future. Discover the tools you need to overcome addiction and join a compassionate community who hold each other accountable. 

As you progress through our medically-supervised detoxification program, to inpatient rehab, to outpatient programs, you’ll be one step closer to maintaining your lifelong recovery. 

With four unique campuses across the country, we have a plan for you. Facing addiction is tough. We’re here to help you through the process and support you every step of the way. Our expert staff are prepared to guide you through treatment and recovery. 

Get answers to your questions or start your admissions process by contacting a counselor at (615) 208-2941.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is shatter the same as wax?

Shatter and wax are similar cannabis concentrates, but they are unique substances. The potency is similar between these two concentrates, although shatter is generally considered the most potent concentrate.

Wax is less stable than shatter, is easier to handle, and degrades faster. On the other hand, shatter is more stable of a substance but can be challenging to handle. It does, however, last longer than its counterpart.

Many of the differences between these concentrates can be chalked up to the finishing process and the temperature. The shatter mixture is not agitated or mixed in a way that is intended to create a new consistency. Shatter dries into its trademark toffee-colored translucent sheet when the butane gas evaporates. Meanwhile, wax is opaque and semi-solid, forming something that looks similar to hair wax or cream.

The wax mixture is agitated during production. The variables that cause opaque wax to form out of a translucent oil include temperature, moisture, and physical agitation. This agitation causes THCA, a cannabinoid, to precipitate from the oil and transform into crystals.

Is shatter the same as dabs?

Like dab wax, shatter is also BHO that has been extracted from a cannabis plant. Most of the differences between these two concentrates has to do with the cooling process.

Unlike dabs that are left undisturbed (without agitation), to solidify, the BHO is stirred during its cooling process. This results in a solid cannabis concentrate. Shatter appears translucent and has a glasslike texture.

The two are quite similar, however, with both substances being derived from BHO.

Why is shatter called shatter?

The name “shatter” refers to the texture and appearance of the extract concentrate. Shatter is an amber-colored substance and has a certain translucent glass-like appearance. When shatter is broken and used, its glass-like texture appears to shatter, hence its fitting name.

What is shatter high like?

Shatter is popular and well-known for its ability to produce a quick and powerful high. Essentially, it’s a way to get higher faster. Overconsumption is possible, especially to users who are not accustomed to shatter’s potency. A shatter high is notable for terpene-rich flavors and aromas, with many users claiming that shatter (and the use of substances by dabbing) results in a more refined extract of the concentrate.