Shatter vs Wax: The Ultimate Showdown

If you take a peek behind the cannabis curtain, all the options you see before you can be very overwhelming. Gone are the days of just joints and brownies!

Innovations like concentrates have been changing the marijuana game for a while now, but many new users find them overwhelming. The names and scientific processes behind creating concentrates can seem daunting, so we’re here to help.

Two of the most popular forms of concentrates you’ll find today are wax and shatter, and we’re going to break them down for you. Below, we’ll explain what concentrates are, how wax and shatter differ, and how exactly to use this popular form of cannabis.

So if you’re ready to get into the discussion of shatter vs. wax, look no further! Keep reading for all the info you need to get started on your concentrate journey.

What Are Concentrates?

Concentrates are exactly what they sound like: Concentrated versions of the chemicals found in marijuana. Things can get confusing quickly because there are so many types and names, but you don’t need to worry about knowing everything.

Though they may have different smells, consistencies, and tastes, concentrate is all made pretty much the same way. To obtain concentrates, makers will submerge cannabis flower in a large tube with a chemical to act as a solvent.

The most commonly used chemicals are butane hash oil (BHO), propane hash oil (PHO), and CO2. Regardless of the solvent used, it will do the same job.

While the flower is submerged, the solvent will extract the desired chemical from the marijuana. Once that’s done, the solvent, now carrying things like THC and CBD, can be further processed and readied for the market.

What really makes concentrates different from one another is the solvent used to make them and their treatment once the extraction has taken place.

In the end, you end up with things like shatter, wax, butter, rosin, and many more forms of cannabis concentrate.

Concentrates are popular because they contain large amounts of THC and produce very powerful highs compared to other methods.

Shatter vs. Wax: What’s the Difference?

Though they look pretty different, shatter and wax are actually quite similar. Both are known to be some of the most powerful concentrates around, making them a favorite of recreational and medical users alike.

Let’s take a look at each and how they’re made.

What Is Shatter?

Cannabis shatter can easily be identified by its thin and hard appearance. Shatter appears as an amber-colored or golden substance that often breaks apart, giving the concentrate its name. This concentrate is often transparent and full of small bubbles of trapped air.

Shatter is a concentrate made through an extraction process involving butane. Once the desired chemicals have been extracted, the shatter will go through a process to remove as much as the remaining impurities and butane as possible.

Shatter was one of the first concentrates to be developed, and it remains one of the most popular among cannabis users.

Because it’s made with BHO, or butane, low-quality shatter that hasn’t been well processed can pose health risks.

Quality shatter will be range from golden to light brown, so you should avoid any shatter that is dark. The darker the product, the less pure it is.

As with any cannabis product, it’s important to purchase quality shatter from reputable buyers.

What Is Wax?

Think of cannabis wax as shatter’s gooey cousin. Wax is also a concentrate made from butane, and it also has a high THC percentage.

When wax is produced, it will appear the same as shatter until it is processed in a different manner, leading it to appear as a thick substance some compare to ear wax or even peanut butter.

Unlike shatter, however, wax is pretty much never transparent.

Which Is Better?


Wax and shatter are both butane solvent-based concentrates, and both have THC quantities ranging from 80-90%. They both produce powerful, long-lasting highs as well.

What you use will come down to personal preference. Some users prefer wax because it’s easy to scoop, and others like being able to break shatter into pieces.

Both concentrates are used the same way, so the only real difference will come from appearance and price at the dispensary.

How Do I Use Concentrates?

When you sit down for a concentrate session, it’s called dabbing.

That’s because concentrates typically have THC percentages over 80%, which is more than you’ll find in any flower on its own. And since concentrates are so powerful, you only need a dab to achieve a powerful high.

To dab, you will flash vaporize your concentrate by exposing it to intense heat. Most users do this with a small butane torch; the same type used when making creme brulee. Once you vaporize the concentrate into smoke, you can inhale it.

For using concentrates, you’ll need either something called a dab rig. These are devices that very similar to water pipes (also called bongs where cannabis is legal).

Just like water pipes, dab rigs come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes, but the basic premise is always the same.

The heated concentrate vapor will pass through a reservoir of cooling water before inhaled, providing a smoother and purer smoking experience. The result is a powerful, long-lasting high.

Shatter vs. Wax For Newbies

So which is better, shatter or wax? Actually, they’re both great options! Both shatter and wax are cannabis concentrate made with butane, and both have high THC potencies.

When it comes to shatter vs. wax, there’s no need to stress. Either will do and what you choose to use will come down to personal preference. So if you’re ready to give concentrates a try, reach out to your dispensary or primary health care provider to learn more.

Have more burning questions about everything cannabis? Check out the rest of our site for more of the marijuana content you need!

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