What is shatter? Looking around on the web for CBD information and products you may have come across things with names like “shatter”, “wax”, “crumble” or the ever-popular “Dabs”. Terms like these come from the cannabis community and the products named are alike in many ways as the ones in the CBD world. One similarity is that of almost pure concentration. An essential difference is the total absence of THC, or if THC is present, below the legal limit of .03%.
Let me give you an overview of what these types of extracts are and why you might need to know.
Shatter – Don’t stir anything up
Shatter is a form of full spectrum extraction, that can have a sheen like glass, is translucent and should be somewhat brittle. The unique glass look is a product of the methods employed by the extractor, particularly by not stirring the mix and the quality of plant material and its cure can play a role as well.
- The best shatter comes from high resin cannabis plant flowers, presenting a problem for us looking for legal products.
In states with medical cannabis, there is no problem at all, there are several strains to be used. These strains of cannabis are indeed high resin, high terpene, high CBD and low THC and are readily available to make CBD dominant shatter. Shatter made from such plants is of high quality with a decent taste, and depending on the extractor and methods used, will be a very full spectrum shatter and can offer all the benefits of the entourage effect.
In non-medical states commercial hemp is being bred to produce more resin as of late, hence more CBD. However, commercial hemp has not been bred for aroma and flavor as a consideration like cannabis has. One doesn’t find grape, lemons, strawberry or cookies as a descriptor for any of the current commercially available legal hemp strains.
The flavor of a shatter made from industrial hemp is usually not a selling point, in fact, it’s not a flavor I would recommend. I will tell you some alternatives later on in the article.
Wax – A little agitated
Wax is yet another end result of a full spectrum extract process that started out the same as shatter did but during the process was agitated and stirred causing the molecules to bind together in a noncrystalline structure, also there is more moisture present.
Think of it this way, if you have a really great extraction run with the best plants you get a very nice shatter product. If things are good but not just perfect, maybe a little more moisture present you get a wax or budder product.
Wax will be a less concentrated than shatter. Wax can be in the 70% range. All the things about needing high resin cannabis plants for the best product holds true for wax as well. You see, there is really not much difference between shatter and wax when it comes to what is needed to make a great full spectrum product … high resin cannabis plants.
Just as CBD shatter, CBD wax made from industrial hemp will have flavor challenges for the same reasons: very limited selection of suitable industrial hemp breeds with unique pleasant flavor profiles. Despite the lack in variety of flavors, CBD wax can be had in a full spectrum natural state. There are more commercially available CBD full spectrum waxes available than true CBD shatter.
Alternatives are available many will find more appealing as far as taste, but as always there is a trade-off. Is the taste more important, or is a full spectrum product the driving factor in your choice?
Crumble – Why can’t we stick together
Crumble is in the same family made of the same very concentrated extract as both shatter and wax. Crumble is created like its sisters starting by creating a very highly concentrated full spectrum extract, usually done with hydrocarbons (butane, CO2 etc.) in a closed loop system.
In the early days of cannabis extraction experimentation, some do-it-your-self types made crumble using a water extraction method (bubble), and only the best plant materials results would produce a full melt crumble.
Crumble does just that, it crumbles easily and falls apart easily, usually from an even higher moisture content than wax, but more crystalline microparticles in the mix. The crumble has small little shards of crystal shatter in a wax or pastes holding it all together in little crumbly clumps. As the moisture is processed out the remaining product is crumble.
Crumble is just another variation on a theme, same high concentration, same industrial hemp taste. Finding full spectrum CBD crumble is hard and not widely available.
There are a few products I have found advertised are sold as crumble but is just a pure CBD isolates in a crystallized form. This confusing labeling I found on many sites for crumble, wax and shatter. Most all were a pure (97-99%) CBD isolates called one of these names (shatter, wax, crumble). Be aware and always do your homework to make sure you are getting what you intended.
Terpenes – Unmistakable flavors
One portion of a full spectrum extraction is terpenes. Terpenes are the aroma part of the plant with many know beneficial properties, that have been studied for their role in the entourage effect enhancing and helping the others work together better.
Terpenes have different effect profiles too! Ever wonder why certain strains of cannabis are recommended for certain things (sleep, anxiety, pain )? One theory says that the distinct terpenes in a particular strain are part of the unique way it acts upon the users’ system.
Terpenes do have aromas and flavors when vaporized like grape, strawberry, lemons, pine, and blueberries. All of these are very pleasant on the palette depending on your personal preferences. There are many strains of medical cannabis bred for these wonderful terpenes. Of course, terpenes can smell like a skunk too, so all are not created equally.
I won’t go into all the known terpenes or rumored benefits, but I will let you know terpenes can solve the flavor problem I have been lamenting about with industrial hemp and CBD shatter type products.
Is it really Shatter – reality sets in
If you do live in a medical state, yes you can get real full spectrum CBD shatter, CBD wax and CBD crumble. Your products will have some THC in them and will have been extracted from heavily resinous CBD dominant cannabis strains. The THC can be extremely low, but these products do not fit the criteria currently being used to determine legal status for CBD products in non-medical states. For the rest of us in non-medical states, we have to make compromises and get simulated full spectrum product.
The good news is terpenes can be infused into a pure CBD isolate to create a satisfying shatter product. These shatters, waxes and crumbles and even e liquids will be much more pleasant to partake of than an isolate alone. Some companies call these “terpsolates” and have many flavors of a 99% pure isolate infused with wide varieties of terpenes. I highly recommend trying these if you are looking to discover an alternative to most industrial hemp flavors.
In the world of CBD, pure isolates are the answer to getting as high of a dose possible with the rapid bioavailability of vapor. Adding terpenes to an isolate can also be beneficial to get some synergy and an added spectrum of effect. To use shatter, wax or crumble you can use a high-quality extract vape pen, or you can dab. I prefer my pen as it is very convenient, safe and easy to clean up. What is shatter? Now you know.
If you have any questions ask below and I will respond with your answer.