A Canadian cannabis manufacturer called BudderKing first introduced shatter to the market in the 1990s. The techniques for how to make it were first published in 2005 in Cannabis Culture magazine.
By the 2010s, shatter had emerged as a staple in cannabis consumption across North America. This cannabis-derived product is becoming more widely-known and used in the UK, but what exactly is it?
What is shatter?
Shatter is a form of cannabis extracted using butane. It can contain a highly concentrated tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) level. And has risen in popularity in the UK due to its glassy texture and high potency.
This translucent, amber cannabis extract comes in a brittle, glass sheet form. It’s this glassy form that gives it the name shatter or wax.
When the extract is made, it forms resinous sheets that crack like glass. It's popular with both recreational and medicinal cannabis users due to its strength and its fast-acting effects.
How to make shatter
In an industrial context, shatter is made using a closed-loop extraction system. This means the extractor vessel never allows the solvent to come in contact with the outside atmosphere.
Making shatter at home is safe to do unless you’re experienced with solvent-based cannabis extraction. Cannabis concentrates like shatter (including hash and BHO) are made by harvesting trichomes; the glass-like crystals that coat the cannabis plant. Trichomes are where most of the THC and other cannabinoids can be found. If you are making it at home it’s advisable to use plenty of safety precautions and the correct equipment.
Some amateur blasters put butane sprayed cannabis in specially-made, stainless steel extractors called ‘honey pots’ and apply heat to extract the shatter. As butane is highly combustible, it’s advisable to spray the cannabis outside.
Benefits of wax
Due to its potency and rapid onset effects; shatter has been touted as the new way to consume both THC and CBD.
Cannabis concentrates like shatter can often have incredibly high THC levels. This potency—upwards of 60% compared to the usual 20% average of bud—makes this product extremely effective for severe pain.
When consuming highly concentrated THC products it’s important to be mindful of their strength and the possible side-effects you may experience. CBD shatter contains high levels of CBD and lower levels of THC. This compound is also thought to help relieve pain fast. Although, without the extreme high that would accompany the THC laden shatter.
Is it legal in the UK?
The question over whether shatter is legal in the UK depends on which type of shatter you’re discussing.
As THC is still very much illegal in the UK due to its psychoactive properties; shatter containing THC is not currently legal. However, as CBD is not a controlled substance, shatter that contains CBD with no more than 1mg of THC is considered legal.
The question as to whether THC will be made legal in the UK in the near future is still very much up for debate.
However, the decriminalisation of non-medical cannabis in 16 U.S. states, its legality status in Canada and changing laws and attitudes in certain E.U. member states means that change may be coming in the UK. In 2008, Boris Johnson indicated his support for the legalisation of medicinal cannabis.
What shatter sells for in the UK
Shatter wax isn’t currently as widely available or as well-known as other cannabis products.
Pricing discrepancies can be expected depending on the product. £40 to £50 is a price we’ve seen quoted for products that contains high levels of THC. We’ve also seen a legal, CBD broad spectrum shatter wax available online for £19.99.
This THC-free broad-spectrum CBD oil is great for sublingual ingestion, dabs, cooking or creating your own CBD concoctions.
While this compound is relatively new on the UK scene, shatter will capture people’s imagination. It’s unique and highly concentrated form makes it an interesting option for both CBD and THC fans. If THC becomes a legal pain management and treatment option in the UK, it’s popularity could soar.