Medically Reviewed by
Jason Crawford

Article Last Updated on December 28, 2022

Whether you’re a recreational marijuana user who’s after the psychoactive effects of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), or you’re using cannabis for medicinal purposes and are after the effects of cannabidiol (CBD), dosing weed is crucial for an optimal experience.

If you’re looking for cannabis products with a larger amount of THC, cannabis concentrates are the perfect option, and shatter is one of the most popular concentrates of all. But how much THC do dabs actually contain? If you haven’t read our article on how to make dabs from weed, read it now before you follow with this one which focuses on giving you information on the amount of THC you can find in dabs.

The 411 on Cannabis Concentrates (Dabs)

Cannabis concentrates, or dabs, are oils with a high concentration of cannabinoids (THC, CBD, and others), as well as the terpenes which are present in the flower. Dabs are obtained through the process of extraction with a solvent (for example butane), or a physical separation (like extracting kief or rosin). 

Dabbing, or consuming dabs, has become a popular method of cannabis consumption during the last few years. To consume dabs, you can use a small water pipe called a dab rig, a vaporizer, or you can add your dab on top of your joint for an extra kick. As high-quality and potent cannabis products, dabs are often sought after by seasoned recreational users who are on the lookout for potent products as the levels of THC in dabs can vary between 30% and 90%.

After your dabbing session, you can expect to feel the psychoactive effects almost immediately, and they will last between 1 and 3 hours (or longer). The length of your high depends on how much concentrate you’ve consumed, how tolerant you are of them, and how fast your body metabolizes cannabinoids in dabs.

Liquid Solvent Extraction vs Physical Separation for Making Marijuana Concentrates

Dabs are made using one of two cannabis extraction methods – the chemical method, and the mechanical one to harvest the trichomes (the small THC-rich crystals on the cannabis flower) from the plant matter.

The mechanical method, or the method of physical separation, either removes the trichomes by shaking the bud and collecting them, or uses a rosin press to press the flowers and get rosin or kief. The chemical method, on the other hand, uses solvents to separate the trichomes and produce Butane Hash Oil (BHO), Rick Simpson Oil, and other concentrates made from the cannabis plant. The most commonly used solvents for this method of cannabis extraction are:

  • Butane;
  • Propane;
  • Carbon dioxide;
  • Ethanol. 

Popular Cannabis Concentrates

When entering a dispensary, you can find a wide selection of cannabis concentrates, including:

  • Shatter (cannabis concentrate that’s easily breakable);
  • Crumble (shatter that’s whipped in a honeycomb consistency);
  • Budder (resin that’s whipped into a butter-like consistency); 
  • Oil (cannabis products which are made by infusing the carrier oil with cannabis;
  • Live resin (cryogenically-frozen freshly-harvested cannabis)
  • Rosin (cannabis concentrate made by pressing dried and cured cannabis flowers through a rosin press). 

THC Shatter – The Most Popular Cannabis Concentrate

Out of all the previously-mentioned cannabis concentrates, shatter is the most popular one. It has a typical translucent glass-like appearance and a honey-like or a darker yellow color. 

Shatter is made by using a solvent-based extraction method, and the most commonly used one is butane extraction, which makes butane hash oil (BHO), although you can also use a CO2 extraction, a liquified petroleum gases (LPG) extraction, or even an ethanol extraction.

Finally, the appearance of shatter is an indication of the THC levels of the cannabis product. Shatter with high levels of THC looks gooey compared to shatter with a lower amount of THC which is more brittle.

Making THC Shatter

To make THC shatter at home, you’ll need:

  • Cannabis buds;
  • A honey oil extractor;
  • A butane canister;
  • A filter;
  • A heat source for evaporating the butane;
  • Something to collect the shatter in;
  • Parchment paper;
  • A razor blade.

Here are the steps on how to make a shatter:

  1. Grind your dry cannabis flower and proceed with the extraction process outdoors away from potential sources of ignition.
  2. Fill the honey oil extractor with the ground-up weed, and place a dish or a container at the end of the extractor to collect the shatter.
  3. Spray butane into the extractor and collect the cannabis oil in the dish. Please be very careful with this step as it can cause fire (and burn your house down) if mishandled.
  4. Evaporate the butane on an electric stove since using a gas stove may cause a fire.
  5. Place the shatter on parchment paper to cool down.

After a few hours, your shatter is ready to be enjoyed. Break it down into pieces and look through the following paragraph to figure out how to use it.

Consuming Cannabis Concentrates

You can use cannabis concentrates in a few ways:

  • Edibles (you can add cannabis concentrates to your weed brownies along with cannabutter or cannabis oil);
  • Dabbing (vaporizing your cannabis concentrate with a dabber);
  • Vaping (using a vape pen to consume cannabis concentrates);
  • Topping (adding your concentrate on top of your joint to increase its potency);
  • Using a bong (adding your dab on top of your cannabis flower in the bong).

How Many Mg of THC Are in a Dab?

People who consume dabs are often after potent cannabis products which produce an intense high. Generally, concentrates like wax or shatter have at least 70% THC, while other dabs can even contain up to 90% THC. Compared with weed which has a THC content of about 25%, the levels of THC in dabs are indisputable.

If you do have an accurate weighing scale, it can be easy for you to measure how potent your dab is. To give you an example, we’ll take a dab with a THC content of 70%. One dab is about 0.5 g, so there’s 350 mg of THC per dab. When dabbing, you may lose one-third of the concentrate, so you’re left with 235 mg of THC per dab if you inhale it all in one hit.

As you can see, when it comes to calculating the amount of THC in your dabs, there’s no definitive answer. It all depends on how potent your dab is and whether or not you can inhale the dab at once.

Final Words on How Much THC Is in Dabs

Dabs, or cannabis concentrates, are a popular method of consuming the marijuana plant as they preserve most of the cannabinoid and terpene content in a small amount of product. They’re one of the most potent, high-quality, and versatile cannabis products, so they’re not recommended for first-time users with a low tolerance to THC.

How much THC is in your dab depends on the potency of the cannabis concentrate, the type of concentrate, and how you’re consuming it. If you’re using a dab rig, you need to take into consideration that one-third of the concentrate is lost in the process. You also lose part of the concentrate if you don’t manage to inhale the dab in one hit. In the end, it all depends on your metabolism, how you consume the concentrate, and how used you are to 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.


The information presented on this page is provided as a public service to aid in education and is derived from sources believed to be reliable. Readers are responsible for making their own assessment of the topics discussed here. In no event shall Leaf Nation be held reliable for any injury, loss or damage that could happen if using or abusing drugs.