Shatter vs Wax

Shatter vs Wax

New Frontier Data shows that cannabis concentrates such as shatter and wax are responsible for approximately 57% of legal marijuana purchases in America as of 2020. This market equates to approximately $10.2 billion in total sales of cannabis extract products such as concentrates, edibles, vapes, tinctures, and topicals.

Since shatter and wax are both cannabis concentrates, you shouldn’t expect much difference from the two. They both have a higher concentration of cannabinoids, approximately 60% higher than traditional marijuana options like joints. However, they differ in manufacturing procedures, the appearance of looks and texture, and prices.

Even though all concentrates are growing in popularity, shatter and wax are not on top of that list. Instead, live resin and live rosin dominate the charts since they are the fastest-growing market.  The huge spike in recent years is due to studies showing that cannabis flower buds only yield 30 percent cannabinoids. Cannabinoid concentration in flowers is small compared to the 80 percent that can be obtained from cannabis concentrates.

In this article, we will look at shatter and wax to show you how the extracts are made and their core differences. Furthermore, we will dive into how these concentrates can be used through dabbing and other means.

Cannabis concentrates and how they come about

Cannabis concentrates are extractions from the cannabis plant formed by distilling down all the most effective ingredients, leaving all the excess parts. These extraction processes concentrate on all the cannabinoids and terpenes of the marijuana plant without any extra non-beneficial ingredients.

Examples of these marijuana extracts include shatter, budder, live resin, wax, and live rosin. They are favourites among pot smokers due to their higher concentration and their discretion compared to smoking joints. In addition, these concentrates can be used for multiple applications, such as making edibles and other accompanying products.

The extraction process is done with the help of extraction machines that extract the cannabis compounds from the rest of the marijuana plant. These machines can be as industrial as any production machine or as small as a kettle. Many agencies and companies use butane, CO2, and ethanol to concentrate with the extraction machines.

The solvents are then passed through fresh marijuana materials that have been well-grounded. The run-off results in producing a thick gold, bright honey-like yellow marijuana oil highly concentrated with cannabinoids such as THC. The extraction process ends with the removal of the solvent through heating or vacuuming. After these processes, manufacturers perform post-process procedures to create various forms of concentrate, which we call wax, shatter, budder, etc.

Every type of concentrate has a different production method that gives its distinct physical appearance, colour, texture, mode of use, and effects. Needless to say, cannabis concentrates are more expensive than the traditional forms of weed.

Most companies opt to use butane as the solvent in their extractors to get an extremely potent concentrate for shatter and wax. They use butane because producers can use butane to make Butane Hash Oil (BHO), typically having eighty to ninety percent THC concentration.

Moreover, BHO is known for preserving more of the THC compound that gives users therapeutic effects. It can also relieve chronic pains, muscle spasms, reduce stress, and also help with anxiety. The effects of shatter and wax may differ slightly depending on the user, but they will both give you an instant high.

What is Shatter concentrate?

The shatter concentrate is by far the most striking concentrate due to its translucent appearance and fragile texture. The texture is brittle and hard; this texture can compare to hard candy. If you drop it too hard or tap it, it will shatter (which gives it its name).

Due to its thin dimensions, shatter will snap in two if not handled with care. As a result, the colour will often vary from bright honey-like yellow to dark yellow, depending on the production process and preservation.  

Its colour is also affected by its purity. Pure shatter will often resemble the commonplace golden or honey-like yellow, whereas a less pure one will look brownish. A highly pure form of shatter will be very bright, glass-like, and taste cleaner than an impure shatter. The impure form will often taste musky due to the huge number of impurities.

Shatter is in abundance in the market, which has led people to believe it is the most popular concentrate, even though the most famous is live resin. Moreover, it is very accessible since many companies, such as Craft Concentrates and Green Dot, make it plenty.

What is wax?

Wax is aptly named for its texture resembling ear wax, candle wax, flakey clay, and other gooey substances. It is thick, soft, opaque, and very malleable which means it is easy to manipulate. The colour is usually yellowish-brown, but like shatter, this will depend on its purity, mode of production, and how well it is preserved.

Wax may be more potent than shatter since it precedes the extraction process, but the difference may not be obvious due to their huge cannabinoid concentrations. The THC levels in wax can range from 60 percent to 80 percent, comparable to shatter. It is also not uncommon to get wax concentrates with over 90% THC, equating to approximately twenty joints.

Wax is also expensive like shatter due to its high concentration, and you will often find it sold at around $70 to $100 in dabs. You can use wax by dabbing or vaping, but most people prefer dabbing since it is easier to do with wax and provides a higher instant hit.

You can make a wax at home, but it can be quite dangerous without the proper equipment and experience. There have been reports of explosions and fires which were started solely because of making wax. Therefore, it is advisable to purchase it from a well-known dispensary to avoid injuries and waste.

How to make shatter vs. wax

Source: PotGuide

Wax can be made at home using a simple process that requires butane (or any other appropriate solvent), a tube, and some heat. However, it is advisable not to risk making it at home since it can be dangerous depending on your approach. Many DIY methods of making wax concentrate at home, but all are at high risk of creating fires and small explosions.

Most cannabis concentrate companies use expensive and industrial closed-loop extraction machines to perform the extraction safely and controllably. However, the fires and explosions are a risk since butane, and other solvents, are flammable and easily prone to getting out of control. Also, such equipment helps in mass production, which takes a significantly shorter period than DIY methods.

To make shatter and wax concentrate, you will need raw uncut marijuana, extractor, solvent (preferably butane), double boiler and hot electric range, a dish to collect the shatter, parchment paper, and razor blades. Start by filling the extractor with raw uncut marijuana. Then, proceed to saturate the weed with the solvent. The extractor has bottom holes; pouring the solvent on the top will cause a thick green-brown oil to drip from the bottom into the collecting dish.

Put the dish with the accumulated oil in a boiler and place it in a hot electric range. Allow the liquid to evaporate. After a short period, the solvent will evaporate, leaving the concentrate. You can use a vacuum pump to purge any excess solvent left in the concentrate.

The purification process is what differentiates shatter from wax. During the purification stage in making wax, the oil is whipped in a whipping process to produce a frosting-like texture. This process will facilitate the mixture of air and concentrate on forming a soft, malleable texture. On the other hand, shatter will undergo multiple filtration and purification processes that reduce the terpene content in the final shatter product.

How to use Shatter vs. wax

Dabbing is the best way to consume both concentrates since it is less messy and provides a quicker high than vaping. The dab rig includes a dab nail that is heated up to give enough heat that heats the concentrate scooped into the rig. Don’t have a dab rig? Learn how to smoke shatter without a dab rig.

Wax is easier to dab than shatter due to its malleable consistency and ease of scooping. Or either of them, you will need a specialized dabbing rig that can take advantage of the varying textures. Follow the following steps if it is your first time dabbing:

  1. Use a blow torch to heat the bottom of the dab nail for approximately 60 seconds. Use less heat to activate terpenes since higher temperatures can reduce aromas in the concentrate.
  2. Allow the rig to cool down and then proceed to place a small portion of the concentrate (dab) into the dabbing rig.
  3. Cover the dab nail to prevent airflow. Proceed to inhale the vapor as much as possible as quickly as possible and exhale.

There are concentrate vapes (wax pens) that can be purchased which allow you to vape shatter as well.

Final thoughts and recommendations

Since both shatter and wax are cannabis extracts, their potency, flavour profiles, and aroma can be very similar. However, a few variations exist depending on the user’s experience and how weed affects them. Moreover, the effects can vary if the drug is used for recreational or therapeutic purposes, such as relieving chronic pain and reducing anxiety.

With that said, you should expect fewer terpenes, which equates to fewer aromas when you smoke shatter. In addition, the multiple purification stages reduce the number of terpenes, which means wax will have more aromas than shatter.

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