Cannabis concentrates have been making a lot of noise in the cannabis space in recent years.

And it’s all for good reasons. Well, arguably.

Through one perspective, fanatics, experimenters and those who are seeking alternative medical therapies can now access what was deemed forbidden and unable to heal, that is, cannabinoids and terpenoids in their purest form.

But through another perspective, a lot of new challenges are created, some more problematic for society than others.

One challenge is that there’s a knowledge gap – how are concentrates made? How can they be used? What are their side effects? And so forth.

Shatter is most certainly one of those concentrates.

That’s why, as your trusted cannabis information providers, among other things, we’re here to help by breaking down what is shatter, how to smoke it, and why you should even think about doing so.

So, here we go.

What is Shatter?

what is shatter

Shatter, the brown, caramel glass-like concentrate, is easily one of the highest THC concentrates out there, reaching levels close to 90% purity.

However, it’s high THC purity usually comes at a price, that is, the price of being a less flavored option when compared to its concentrate relatives.

What this essentially means is lower terpene content for shatter.

But this doesn’t mean it holds no flavor at all, as using bud strains with high terpene content during extraction can somewhat change the result. Also, a specific methodology and technology used can have a drastic effect.

You can find more detailed information about different extraction methods and technology here.

As for now, we’ll carry on with the most common method used in making shatter, that is, with butane and propane.

How to Make Shatter

how to make shutter

Being a derivative of butane hash oil (BHO), shatter is generally made through, well, you guessed it, the petroleum-based solvent, butane. However, propane also serves as an effective substitute, and in fact, is usually mixed alongside butane in extraction efforts.

The one-two reliable solvents for shatter, in other words.


This is changing as we speak.

As cannabis becomes legal, IQ and financial capital are poured into the research and development side of things, therefore, pushing concentrate making technologies to new levels.

So in other words, butane and propane are historically common ways of making extracts but are becoming more inferior.

For now, however, we’ll use butane as an example for making shatter.

End of sidenote.

So, how is butane used?

Essentially, butane pulls most of the cannabinoid and terpene molecules – in the form of resin and bud crystals – from dry flower buds or even leftover “shake” leaves.

Once the resin and bud crystals are fully extracted, and the butane chemicals are filtrated out, what’s leftover is a brown gooey substance resembling molten caramel.

This is then cooled into a glass-like form that shatters when being slammed into hard surfaces – hence the name “shatter.”

Such a name couldn’t be more fitting in our view.

Make Sure Your Shatter is Made Safely

In addition, methods for butane extraction differ depending on the manufacturer, given that equipment can resemble state-of-the-art facilities or amateur DIY home labs.

But manufacturing differences aside, one thing remains certain:

Butane hash oil concentrates should always be made in closed-loop systems with the best lab equipment and highly-trained professionals, given that butane is odorless, colorless and highly flammable, along with being easily dispersed into the air.

If closed-loop systems aren’t used, what you have are the ideal ingredients for real-time Hollywood explosions.

So amateur chemists, don’t create any flammable-solvent extracts at home, that is unless you’d like to be a part of the many, many home explosions.

How to Smoke Shatter

How to Smoke Shatter

Shatter should only be consumed through a variety of bongs, vape pens or rigs suited for the purpose.

As bongs are ubiquitous, they won’t be explained here.

As for vape pens, or its other label, e-cigarettes, they’re battery-operated, with vaporizing-power heating chambers suited for dry cannabis, or any concentrate of your choice, including shatter.

Related Article: How to Vape Weed Correctly with Extracts and Flower in 4 Steps

Rigs, on the other hand, are like bongs, but differ by having a titanium nail as a weed bowl. These titanium nails require a blow torch to become bright-lava hot, which, when meets shatter or any other concentrate of choice vaporizes instantly into smoke for inhaling.

Nope! Not your grandmother’s preferred way of smoking cannabis, not even close.

Make Sure Your Concentrate is Clean

Since inhaling butane, or any other harmful solvent is the last thing you want contributing to your experience, ensuring your shatter is made with the best equipment, and strictest guidelines is a health-must.

You’d be surprised by how many producers fall far short from effectively filtrating solvents out of their finished concentrates.

Clean concentrates can’t be stressed enough.

Why Smoke Shatter?

Have you ever wondered about the personal reasons that lead people to vape shatter?

What about just the sheer number of shatter users in general?

Well, thanks to comprehensive study after study, we now have a pretty good idea.

For instance, one broad National U.S. survey reported as many as 36.5% of all cannabis users are of the concentrate kind, and, I mean the regular concentrate kind, as in using at least monthly.

Fortunately for us, surveys like this include shatterAnd as you can imagine, the answers vary, being somewhat similar to dry cannabis.

Here is an overview of why shatter is used, according to studies:

Recreational purposes: 

  • Simple enjoyment and pleasure
  • Safer than alcohol and isn’t dangerous
  • To create comfort in insecure situations

Therapeutic purposes: 

  • Sleep disorders like insomnia
  • Anxiety 
  • Pain 
  • PTSD
  • And we’re sure a lot more

Shatter is not a Panacea

However, this doesn’t mean shatter is a panacea for these symptoms. Not by a mile.

The truth is – medicine is complex, and differs according to the individual, to one’s biology and to one’s specific set of circumstances, so, we’re not saying shatter will help.

But rather, we’re describing that shatter, along with other concentrates, could help, that is, if you find yourself in a difficult medical situation with nowhere else to turn.

And if it doesn’t help, then you’ll know for sure.

That’s it for now. Thanks for reading! Please leave comments and look out for more articles.

As always,


Hey! I’m the editor of Herb Approach News, and i'll write on just about anything cannabis related. You can find me in British Columbia, exploring off the beaten path hiking trails, relaxing on cozy beaches in the summer or strolling through the city streets!