Shatter and wax are two examples from a family of products known as cannabis extracts or concentrates. Cannabis extraction technicians endeavour to separate cannabinoids and other essential compounds from the green plant material they are derived from. Ultimately, the goal is to create a “concentrated,” clean, and highly potent final product. Of the numerous constituents isolated from plant matter, THC and CBD are perhaps the two most notable. However, terpenes, fats, omega acids, and phyto proteins can all be liberated with the extraction process.


There are several different types of concentrates, including hard hash, oils, budders, charas, and nederhash, among others. These all result from several different types of extraction methods. There are both solvent and solventless approaches to extractions. Carbon dioxide (CO₂), propane, pure hydrocarbons, alcohol, steam and cold pressing make up some of these techniques. Shatter and wax are types of extracts produced most often through the solvent-based method known as BHO or Butane Hash Oil.

BHO Butane Hash Oil

Butane acts as the solvent which dissolves the essential oils and other soluble compounds. The plant material and other membranes that hold the resins are left behind as waste. Unlike hard hash, which is essentially compressed trichomes that retain their membranes and sacs, BHO strips the oil from the trichomes, leaving behind cellular membranes and other organic reservoirs. This results in what is considered one of the “purest” forms of concentrate.


Matured and cured flowers and trimmings are packed into a tube. Then, butane is forced through the tube. In effect, the butane strips the cannabinoids and other desirables from plant matter. The butane is then purged and left to evaporate. This process is extremely important as butane residue is not exactly the healthiest thing to ingest. Depending on terpene profile, type of solvent, evaporation method, temperature, and post-processing, BHO will produce varying hues of concentrate with varying physical consistencies.

Shatter Wax Cannabis Extracts


Shatter is a translucent sheet that often dries to a toffee-like hardness when the butane evaporates. It is not mixed or agitated to create a new consistency. Sometimes, it will be viscous like cold honey and called “sap.” Other times, it is called “pull and snap” and has a consistency in between liquid and solid, just like taffy.

Wax is semi-solid and opaque, resembling hair wax or cream coloured ambergris. Wax is formed when the evaporating mix is agitated. The resin molecules do not settle symmetrically into the glass-like lattice of shatter.

Of course, genetics play a large role in determining the overall result of an extract. Regardless of which solvent is used, strain is still of the utmost importance.

Live Resin Cannabis Extracts


Wax and shatter are two styles of the same substance. The concentration of cannabinoids is consistently high, ranging up to around 90%. Both can be used in the same fashion by dabbing or vaping. Although, wax is usually easier to handle when it comes to dabbing. Both, however, will enhance a joint or bong of weed tenfold. Even still, wax and shatter can be gently heated and infused into edibles.

Concentrates are a rapidly expanding, legitimate industry. Gone are the days of dangerous extraction processes in garages and backyards. An educated and discerning market is being catered to with the best quality products. Laboratory equipment and modern extraction technology is resulting in some of the finest cannabis products to have ever existed.

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