Differences Between Shatter and Wax | How They Are Made & MORE

Shatter VS Wax

Concentrates are becoming more popular in cannabis products, and some experts believe that sales will rise in the coming years.

This is because more and more people are trying concentrates, but the catch is that they get confused between shatter and wax. Before you decide which one is the best, you need to understand what concentrates are.

Are shatter and wax the same thing? Yes, shatter and wax come from marijuana concentrates that can help you get a stronger high. Shatter is known to be the most potent, and wax features the same high THC levels but has a different consistency and appearance.

In this article, you will learn the difference between shatter and wax and how they are made. Also, it is necessary to know how to use these two to get the stronger psychedelic effect you are after.

What Are Concentrates?

Concentrates are pretty self-explanatory; they are concentrated versions of the original marijuana buds. You can achieve concentrates through a process called solvent extractions.

In this process, the trichomes and other chemical goodies are stripped from the plant itself. When the stripping process has run its course, all that is left are the cannabinoids, the terpenes, and the flavonoids.

It is the concentrate that will make dabbing a very nice experience.

Solvent extraction might sound intimidating, but you can easily do this using several different chemicals like isopropyl alcohol, chloroform, and carbon dioxide.

The most common solvent that you can use to make your very open concentrates is butane. Using butane as your solvent will create an end-product called butane hash oil (BHO).


Shatter is among the most common concentrates; it is a translucent and sometimes transparent concentrate. It may look like rock candy or a Jolly Rancher.

Like any other concentrate produced using butane, it is produced by forcing the chemicals through cannabis material to produce an amber liquid.

If you left it to cool, this amber liquid would solidify into shatter, which has a consistency similar to that of thin peanut brittle.

Shatter’s transparent quality results from the temperature you used during the extraction and finishing process. It can be described only by different chemical jargon, so you can skip it.

In simple terms, you need to think about the molecules in the BHO, just like Lego blocks. They are all stacked together nice and neat in shatter, on top of each other.

This molecular alignment lets light pass through and gives shatter a brittle consistency and look.

Shatter can be easily recognized because of its translucent BHO, which looks like amber and hard candy. It has a beautiful, glassy texture.

That’s why it is called shatter: because it can be shattered into smaller pieces. Although, in reality, weed shatter is known to be stretchier than it looks but certainly not as pliable as wax concentrates.

How Shatter Is Made

All concentrates are made by isolating all trichomes. Macerated cannabis is placed in a flask and mixed with other liquid hydrocarbons.

A small explosion is responsible for separating the trichomes, and then the mixture is slowly heated to remove as much butane as possible.

It is worth mentioning that smoking butane can be harmful to your lungs because it is toxic. Just be aware of that. Once the resulting substance settles to the bottom, it will form a transparent sheet of BHO.

How to Smoke Shatter

The good news about smoking shatter is that it can be used in many forms. It is best to try using different methods, like a vape pen or water pipe, or the hot knifing method, or sprinkle it on top of a flower in your joint.


Like shatter, wax is a BHO concentrate and has the consistency of coconut oil and ear wax. Wax starts as an amber liquid, just like shatter, resulting from the butane extraction.

The only difference is that the extracted oil is agitated or heated differently to produce an opaque material. It can range in consistency from peanut butter to honeycomb.

To understand the science behind it, you need to go back to the Lego analogy. While the Lego blocks in shatter are stacked neatly in rows, the Lego blocks in wax are jumbled messes.

This is because the Lego blocks are going every which way and have no sense of uniformity. The resulting wax is opaque and has a coconut oil consistency.

The wax is heated and cooled during and after the solvent extraction; its molecules will arrange themselves so that its consistency is different from that of shatter.

It might be quite similar in essence, but crumble wax concentrate looks and feels a little softer. Do not expect to look through this yellow concentrate.

How Wax Is Made

Marijuana buds are packed into test tubes, and they are blasted in butane. While under the influence of butane, the cannabis resin is separated from the plant’s unwanted parts.

Once the initial reaction is completed, the excess butane must be evaporated from the concentrate. The concentrate of butane honey oil is applied to a baking sheet and cleaned in a low-temp vacuum oven.

As a result, you will get a sticky cannabis concentrate. Once it is cooled, it will harden and be sent to storage containers.

How to Smoke Wax

Although there are plenty of ways to smoke your favorite wax, you won’t want to use the extract in most joints or vaporizers.

This is because the substance is sticky texture-wise, and it will be hard to handle. But with that being said, you can try to smoke wax by either dabbing, vaping or sprinkling it on a joint.

The Difference Between Shatter and Wax

When it comes to differences, the only thing that you will notice is that shatter and wax have a different consistency and are made differently.

But both shatter and wax are BHO concentrates that have the same THC potency, and they can be used in dabbing. They provide a powerful, long-lasting high.

With that being said, you need to consider some use and storage matters when it comes to concentrates.

  1. Shatter can be more challenging to produce because it is very finicky.

  2. Wax is a bit easier to produce so that you can be less careful, but you still need to follow precautions as you are dealing with chemicals.

  3. Shatter is more stable and tends to last longer, while the wax is the opposite and tends to degrade faster.

  4. Shatter can also be harder to measure, handle, and use because of its brittle consistency, while the wax is the opposite because the end product is like coconut oil.

  5. The only difference between shatter and wax is due to the temperature and the finishing process.

How Do You Use Shatter and Wax?

Both concentrates, whether shatter or wax, can be consumed using a dabbing rig. A dab rig is a modified bong whose bowl can easily accommodate a dab nail instead of bug nugs.

Most dab rigs have a gold-looking thing in the upper right corner where the bud bowl on a bong would be. That area is called the dabbing nail.

To get the best of it, you can scoop a little bit of wax with your dab tool or a dabber and then drop a few shatters onto the nail.

Then you will have to ignite your blow torch and put a flame to your nail. From here on, it is just a matter of inhaling as much smoke you can handle.

The hit from a dab rig is even more potent than that of your standard joint, blunt, or even vaporizer. This is because the shatter and wax you burn in your dab rig are the concentrated parts of your cannabis plants.

There is no plant matter left floating around waiting to be inhaled, and there are no other impurities or additives that will get in your way. All that you have left are cannabinoids, terpenes, flavonoids, and trichomes.

These are all the things that give your marijuana the psychedelic effect that makes people go crazy.


Overall, shatter, and wax are basically the same concentrates; they are just made differently. The only differences are in their consistency, texture, and final appearance.

When it comes to figuring out which one is best for you, you can try them both and see what you prefer.

Scientifically speaking, they are the same when it comes to contents, but some people prefer to use wax over shatter, as they noticed that it is easier to work with wax.

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