Besides old school Hash, Shatter has to be our most asked about concentrate here at the dispensary.
If you aren't familiar with Shatter, it's an almost glass-like, and most often amber coloured, extremely potent concentrate that has shown up on the cannabis scene in the last few years, which looks a lot like the Amber which nature provides to us as fossilized tree resin. (Think the mosquito trapped in the amber head of the walking stick of the professor from Jurassic Park.)
First spotted around 2003, Canadian manufacturer Budderking were the first to offer such a product, and popularity has grown ever since, especially in the last five years or so.
What Is Shatter?
Besides looking like amber, what exactly is shatter? Well, one of the first things you'll notice is how brittle and breakable this glass-like concentrate really is. Funnily enough, that's exactly how we get the name...shatter. Because it does!
It ranges in colour from a lighter amber (big surprise) to a darker burnt golden or reddish-brown depending on the exact strains and techniques used to create it. Shatter is mostly translucent making it a really unique looking product that can definitely be easy on the eyes.
This translucent property is down to the molecular structure within shatter, and the fact that they stack neatly on top of each other, which then allows the light to shine through showing off its beautiful colours.
Those molecules happen to be made of very high levels of THC & THCA, meaning your shatter is likely to be in the neighbourhood of 80-90%, which when compared to the average THC levels in your flower (15-25%), is simply astronomical levels of potency! The old adage 'start low, go slow' is certainly useful here.
Obviously, that purity and potency has its benefits, but it also means that if you are looking to experience a flavourful concentrate, then shatter might not be the one for you. Compared to other cannabis concentrates such as live hash or rosin, shatter contains fewer terpenes and other cannabinoids, and it is these which are responsible for the more well-rounded, full flavours found in less potent (we're still talking 40-70%), but more full spectrum and fully-flavoured options.
But if you want potent, if you want strong... shatter is your friend.
How Shatter Is Made
That purity we find in shatter is due to the very complicated, and even somewhat dangerous procedure that is needed in order to create this magical treat. This is not something to try at home.
Firstly, fresh flower is 'washed' with a gas, typically propane or butane, or a blend of both. This removes the THC-laden trichomes from the remaining plant matter. This is what results in a lot of the potency of extracts which start with this process as the low THC material doesn't make it through the refining process.
Next, the solvent is filtrated out from the remaining cannabis resin by bubbling out the gas at very specific temperatures in specialized ovens and vacuums.
From there, it's filtered and cooled at very low temperatures, flipped every so often, until it becomes glass-like, caramel coloured perfection in large, thin sheets which are then broken up in to pieces... or shattered. Ta-dah!
How To Use Shatter
The best way to consume your shatter is to dab. If you are unfamiliar with the term, it's somewhat similar to using a bong, but it this case it's a slightly different apparatus called a dab rig.
Dab rigs, such as the one shown above, use what is called a nail instead of the traditional bong bowl in to which you typically pack your flower.
This nail is made with a high temperature resistant material like quartz, and has a flat bottom on which you would 'dab' your concentrate using a dab tool (basically, a temperature resistant stick) once you have heated the bottom of the nail to a suitable temperature using a butane torch or similar high heat source. The temperature required will vary depending on the concentrate used as well as other factors.
Want to know more about how to dab? Check out this short (2:27) video.
Besides dab rigs, some vapes can handle concentrates like shatter and some people prefer to just break some up and add it to a joint or bowl. You can even add it to coconut oil and turn it in to an edible! You'll find what works best for you.
Like most things cannabis, you will want to keep your shatter in a light-proof and air-tight container and store it in a cool place. How you store your cannabis and extracts can have a great effect on their flavour and potency. Learn more on great cannabis storage here.
Fireside OG Kush Shatter is available (most times) as are dab rigs & tools, at Good Roots Cannabis, your favourite weed store here in Sherwood Park.
Check out more on our series here:
The Good Roots Gang