Cannabis concentrates are growing in popularity due to their high potency, rich aroma, and excellent flavors. Although there are many different types of cannabis concentrates out there, shatter and wax are two of the most in-demand products. Cannabis wax can also refer to all kinds of cannabis extracts, but we will get to that later.
If you are new to cannabis concentrates or want to try different cannabis wax types, our BHO wax guide gives you the knowledge you need to safely use wax, shatter, or any other cannabis concentrate. Ready to find out which cannabis concentrate is for you? Let’s get started!
What Are Cannabis Concentrates?
A cannabis concentrate is a concentrated form of cannabis plant resin. Starting material includes dried or fresh-frozen cannabis (trim, flower, etc.) that undergoes processing and refinement in a closed-loop extraction system to create various types of cannabis concentrate.
Here are some of the most popular cannabis concentrates:
Cannabis companies make concentrates using solvent-based or solventless methods. All extraction methods strip the cannabis resin from the rest of the cannabis plant material and remove contaminants from the end product.
Solventless methods use agitation to mechanically remove the plant’s trichomes. These methods include dry sifting, bubble hash/ice water extraction,. Heat and pressure are then used to make rosin or live rosin.
Solvent-based methods use chemical solvents to dissolve the trichomes. Extraction technicians must perform a purging process to remove the solvent from the final product. Common solvent-based extraction methods typically use hydrocarbons.
What Is Dabbing?
Dabbing is a consumption method that involves heating cannabis extracts in a dab rig and inhaling the vapor. Cannabis extracts, also called dabs, like the shatter concentrate come in a wide range of textures and can be consumed in a dab rig, electronic rig (e-rig), or dab pen.
Dabbing is a popular consumption method due to the high concentration of cannabinoids (THC, CBD, CBN, etc.) found in concentrates and the fast onset of effects that comes from inhaling cannabinoids. Cannabis flower can have potency levels as low as <1% and up to 30% or slightly higher. In comparison, cannabis waxes have potency levels between 50% and ~85.%.
What Is Butane Hash Oil (BHO)?
Butane hash oil (BHO) is a marijuana extract derived from a butane extraction process. Commonly used hydrocarbons include butane and propane. In some cases, processors may use a blend of both solvents to preserve more of the plant’s terpenes. Both solvents are popular due to their relatively low boiling points compared to other solvents.
Shatter vs. Wax
One of the most commonly asked questions about marijuana concentrates is “what is the difference between shatter and wax?”. It is important to note that there are no standard classifications for concentrate types, which can make things confusing when trying to pin down the exact definition of a wax type.
Here, we will discuss the similarities and differences between BHO-derived shatter and wax. Both the shatter and wax terms can refer to concentrates made using the butane extraction process.
What Is BHO Wax?
Marijuana wax is a term that can be used to refer to all cannabis extracts, including shatter, crumble, budder, live resin, and others. Wax can also refer to a specific type of extract with viscous consistency, soft and pliable form, and opaque color.
What Is BHO Shatter?
Shatter is a potent concentrate that has a brittle and hard consistency. This concentrate has a high cannabinoid concentration and relatively low terpene levels. Shatter usually has a golden yellow color, depending on the starting material and production method.
What Is the Difference Between Wax and Shatter?
Cannabis shatter and wax have many similarities. For example, cannabis companies can make both shatter and wax from butane hash oil extraction. In addition, wax and shatter have very high concentrations of cannabinoids, starting at 60%.
One of the primary differences between these two extracts is their appearance and consistency. Although both may have a light-to-dark amber color, shatter is brittle and glass-like, while wax is softer and more viscous. As we mentioned before, wax can also refer to any other cannabis extract, including BHO shatter.
How Are BHO Concentrates Made?
Shatter, wax, and other BHO extracts are made through a process called butane hash oil extraction. This process is performed in a lab-grade setting that adheres to all state, local, building, and fire regulations. Since butane and propane are flammable solvents, processors need the proper ventilation, gas detection, and other safety measures to reduce the risk of fire or explosion.
Extraction technicians begin by packing a material tank full of plant material. The closed-loop extraction system will start to wash over the plant material with the solvent. As the solvent soaks the material, it strips away the cannabinoids, terpenes, and other essential oils, leaving behind the rest of the plant matter. The solvent is then collected and recycled in the closed-loop extraction unit.
After the primary extraction run, processors must purge concentrates of the residual butane and/or propane. Extraction technicians place the concentrates in a vacuum oven for purging. In this environment, the vacuum atmosphere reduces the solvents’ boiling points. This allows technicians to remove the impurities and leave behind the cannabinoids and terpenes in the end product. Analytical testing may be required or performed to test for potency and contaminants.
Benefits of BHO extractions
- Preserves more terpenes and create a full-spectrum extract containing all of cannabis’ therapeutic compounds
- Fast and effective throughput compared to other extraction methods
- Minimal to no need for post-processing, reducing time and labor
- Can produce a wide range of products, including extracts, vape cartridges, tinctures, edibles, beverages, pills, and topicals
How to Buy BHO Wax and Shatter
Cannabis wax and shatter are widely available online and in-store. Keep in mind that cannabis is still a federally illegal substance in the U.S. Sales of THC extract are reserved for legal adults from licensed dispensaries or delivery services in a legal cannabis market.
Because of the 2018 Farm Bill, farmers have been able to grow hemp, a legal variety of cannabis that contains less than 0.3% THC. Hemp has a high concentration of cannabidiol (CBD). CBD products are legal for use, sale, and distribution as long as they are below the THC limit. Consumers can buy CBD shatter and wax online or in person.
How to Use BHO Wax and Shatter
Note: Keep cannabis extracts in a dry, dark, and cool place for a longer shelf life.
Grab a dab rig and your favorite shatter or wax. Heat the dab nail with a blow torch and wait for the nail to cool down to get the right temperature. You do not want to scorch your dabs or leave an unheated puddle, either. For the most convenience and reliability, an electronic rig can maintain precise and consistent temperatures and remove the guesswork.
Cannabis wax and shatter can be consumed with a vaporizer designed to vaporize cannabis extracts. In some cases, some vapes can handle both extracts and marijuana flower. Vaporizers use a battery-powered heating chamber to heat the concentrates and produce a vapor that can be inhaled. Vaporizers range in price, features, temperature precision, and build quality.
BHO shatter and wax can also be smoked in a joint, pipe, or bong. Sprinkle bits of your favorite wax inside your joint or heat the material beforehand to make it more pliable. Cannabis wax can enhance the potency of your flower.
Cannabis concentrates can be a cost-effective way to make your favorite edibles. Instead of using dried cannabis material, you can substitute it for cannabis concentrates that can be decarboxylated in the oven and be used to create cannabutter or cannabis oil as a base for your recipe.
Cannabis topical infusions provide localized relief when applied liberally. Create your own creams, lotions, and salves with cannabis wax. A coconut oil base or other carrier oils and your favorite essential oils can complete your topical recipe.
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Shatter vs. Wax: Which One Is Right for You?
Ultimately, choosing the right cannabis concentrate for you is a completely personal preference and may even change once you try one or the other since cannabis affects everyone differently.
One of the main factors that may affect which extract you choose will be how easy it is to handle. For example, how easy is it to break apart a dab of shatter or wax and apply it to your dab rig or vaporizer? Do you have the right dabber tool to handle this specific type of consistency?
Shop around for different types of cannabis waxes and shatter from licensed retailers and ensure they have been tested for contaminants by a third-party lab. If you are new to cannabis, start with a low dose (about 5 mg) and gradually build up to your desired effects over time.