Medically Reviewed by
Jason Crawford

Article Last Updated on January 10, 2023

Marijuana aficionados are always looking for new cannabis products to try out. THC shatter, being a relatively new concentrate on the market, is one such product. It’s made from cannabis Sativa, a versatile plant that’s used both medicinally and recreationally, but what’s the exact process?

Making shatter requires separating the trichomes from the cannabis plant by using liquified butane. In this article, we’ll give you all the information about how cannabis shatter is made, including an overview of other cannabis concentrates and extracts.

What Are Cannabis Dabs?

Cannabis dabs are sticky oils that have concentrated doses of cannabinoids like THC and CBD. They’re extracted from the cannabis flower using a solvent like butane, or by using physical separation to extract kief and rosin. Dabs are heated on a hot surface and then inhaled through a dab rig, which is a method that has been very popular for the last 10 years.

Dabs are often used by recreational users because of the stronger and longer-lasting high they produce. That, together with the higher quality of the product compared to other cannabis products, have made them a go to for a lot of experienced cannabis users.

Characteristics of Cannabis Concentrates (Dabs)

Cannabis concentrates, or dabs, are processed from the marijuana plant and contain all the cannabinoids and terpenes that are present in the flower. Generally, the levels of THC in cannabis concentrates can vary between 30% and 90%, which makes them a good price-performance option for regular cannabis users.

Dabs are consumed in a dab rig or a vaporizer, but they can also be used to top your joint or blunt. The typical “high” you get from concentrates can last between 1 and 3 hours, depending on the amount of vapor you’ve inhaled together with your metabolism, tolerance levels, and how often you consume cannabis.

The Difference Between Liquid Solvent Extraction and Physical Separation for Making Cannabis Concentrates

There are two cannabis extraction methods for making cannabis concentrates, the mechanical method and the chemical method, and each harvests the trichomes that are the basis of the concentrate from the plant matter. The trichomes are the small crystals located on the flower of the cannabis plant and they contain the highest levels of cannabinoids and terpenes.

On the one hand, we have the mechanical, solventless method of extraction that removes trichomes by shaking or pressing the flower to get the end result – rosin or kief. On the other hand, the chemical, solvent-based method of extraction that uses solvents like butane, propane, carbon dioxide (CO2), and ethanol to separate the trichomes is used for producing Butane Hash Oil (BHO), Rick Simpson Oil, and other cannabis concentrates.

What Is Shatter?

Shatter, or Butane Hash Oil (BHO), is a cannabis concentrate created with butane extraction (solvent extraction method). This high quality cannabis concentrate has a translucent yellowish color that can range from bright amber, to a darker yellow. 

The texture of the shater can vary from product to product, some are very brittle, while others look like taffy. That is often an indication of the cannabinoid content of the shatter. Shatter that is more brittle contains a lower THC percentage, compared to shatter that has a gooey texture at room temperature.

How to Make Shatter With Butane Extraction?

Making shatter is relatively easy, however, it’s not recommended that you do it at home since manufacturing shatter and other concentrates can be dangerous and illegal. To get the final product, you’ll need a few essentials as listed below. Note that this section is purely for educational purposes only.

  • High trichome buds;
  • “Honey oil” extractor;
  • Butane canister;
  • A filter;
  • A heat source to evaporate the butane;
  • A Pyrex dish to collect the shatter;
  • Parchment paper;
  • Single-edged razor blades.

Instructions for Making THC Shatter

The butane extraction method can be done in a few easy steps:

  1. The first thing that’s done prior to making shatter is grinding the dried weed prior to the extraction process.
  2. The extractor should have a small hole on the one end, and an internal filter with more holes on the other. 
  3. Next, the “honey oil” extractor is filled with plant material that’s packed tight (not too tight), and a Pyrex dish is placed under the extractor.
  4. To make the cannabis extract, butane should be sprayed through the top hole of the extractor, and a thick green cannabis oil should drip into the Pyrex container. (Butane should only be sprayed outdoors as far as possible from all potential sources of ignition)
  5. Next comes the evaporation of butane on an electric stove (gas stoves can cause fire) and the process is done once the shatter stops bubbling.
  6. After evaporating the butane, you should focus on purging the excess solvent with a vacuum oven under the right temperature to avoid burning the oil.
  7. The final product should be scraped with a razor and placed on parchment paper to cool down.
  8. The shatter is ready to be enjoyed.

Other Types of Cannabis Concentrates

If you enter your local dispensary, you can find a whole array of cannabis products and cannabis concentrates that fit the needs of all cannabis users. For the purpose of this article, we’ll go over some of the most commonly used concentrates you can find on the market today:

  • Crumble (whipped shatter that’s purged in an oven at low temperatures and has a dry honeycomb consistency).
  • Budder (whipped resin or heated shatter that has a butter like consistency which users spread on a joint or dab it with a dab rig).
  • Wax dabs (high quality, pure, and sticky cannabis products with the highest levels of THC and CBD).
  • Oils (cannabis products made with a CO2 extraction).
  • Live resin (cannabis product made by cryogenically freezing freshly harvested cannabis plants). 
  • Rosin (high THC cannabis concentrate that is made from dried and cured cannabis flowers by using pressure and heat).

Consuming Cannabis Concentrates

Depending on your personal preference, the most common cannabis concentrates consumption methods include:

  • Topping (placing cannabis concentrates on top of joints to increase their potency);
  • Dabbing (vaporizing the concentrate with a dabber and inhaling the smoke);
  • Vaping (placing the concentrates in a vaporizer or vape pen and smoking it);
  • Adding them to a bong or bowl (concentrates can be placed on top of the cannabis flower in a bong to increase its potency);
  • Edibles (cannabis concentrates can be used instead of cannabutter or cannabis oil to make weed brownies or other baked goods and savory dishes).

Final Thoughts on Shatter

Shatter is a very popular and potent cannabis concentrate that’s made by using the butane extraction method. This solvent-based extraction method produces a cannabis product that is one of the most preferred products among cannabis aficionados because of its potency and high quality, which makes it a powerful painkiller. Even though it’s very popular, it isn’t recommended for newbies who haven’t developed a higher tolerance to THC. 

Although consuming dabs can be an interesting experience, we advise against making shatter at home (it may also be illegal in your state/country). The solvent extraction method can be dangerous for inexperienced chemists, and you can even light your house on fire if something goes wrong due to your inexperience. So, leave the process to professionals and head to your local dispensary to buy some BHO if you plan on dabbing.

A passionate advocate for the benefits of cannabis. Fraser Horton, who has a background in botany and a strong love of nature, has spent years researching how cannabis affects the body and mind. He established Leaf Nation in 2020, where he has devoted himself to educating people about the legalisation of marijuana and its safe and responsible use. Fraser is committed to highlighting cannabis’ potential for improving wellness and working to dispel the stigma associated with its use.


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