Concentrates are extracts derived from raw cannabis flowers. They are extremely potent, resulting in a mixture that contains over 80% THC. Just a dab of it can match the contents of a whole bowl of cannabis. Because of the intensity of this product, it is getting more and more popular as a way to imbibe cannabis. In fact, some people think it will eventually surpass the sale of buds and flowers! 

The field of concentrates can feel daunting to the uninitiated. One common question that arises is the difference between shatter and wax. Before buying either of these, read on. By understanding the difference, you might just be able to make a better and more informed decision. 

How are these concentrates made?

The most popular extraction method is the Butane Hash Oil (BHO) method. This process involves exposing the plant material to heat and butane to separate cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids. After these seep from the plant material, the butane is removed to make the product safe for consumption.

Depending on how this process is executed, it may result in a shatter or a wax dab. Some of these processes have similar steps to the extraction of other cannabis products, such as CBD oils.

The process behind wax dabs

Wax dabs are created by packing buds into test tubes that are blasted with butane. This causes the resin to separate from the unwanted plant material. After a sufficient amount of this resin has been produced, the excess butane is evaporated from the concentrate. 

This step of the process is conducted in a vacuum oven at low temperatures. The result is a sticky cannabis concentrate that is cooled and hardened before it is sold. 

Wax usually comes in colours akin to amber or gold. Green and dark colours in the wax are evidence that it was improperly extracted, as this is a sure sign that impurities such as chlorophyll and stray plant matter are still present. 

How shatter is made

Shatter is a translucent mixture that resembles amber and has the consistency of hard candy. It has a beautiful glassy appearance from which it takes its name. It is made by placing macerated cannabis in a volumetric flask. This is mixed with liquid hydrocarbons, which cause small explosions that separate the trichomes. 

After the mixture has been sufficiently separated, the mixture is heated until the butane fully evaporates. Shatter then settles at the bottom to form the transparent amber-coloured sheets that look like glass. 

As in wax, any dark discolourations in the wax are a sure sign of impurities in the mix. However, there are varieties of shatter that have darker shades, so make sure to bring this up with your provider before declaring a product to be “bad.” As with CBD oils, however, the clearer the product, the better it likely is. 

The differences

In terms of potency, shatter usually beats wax. This, however, does not always mean that it is the better product. Beyond this, there are few differences outside appearance. At the end of the day, it falls to preference and habits to decide which product is the right one for you. 

Final thoughts

The world of concentrates and dabs is the next frontier in cannabis consumption. Many cutting-edge products and extraction techniques are being developed every day to make products like wax and shatter more accessible to your average cannabis user. They are a good way for long-time users (and new ones) to bring some variety into their consumption experience.

If you still remain undecided about which product to buy, send us at Quintessential Tips a message. We have a wide selection of CBD oils and extracts for you to choose from and try.