Drug and Alcohol

What Is Shatter: Effects and Risks of Cannabis Extract

What is Shatter: Effects and Risks of Cannabis Extract

Shatter is a highly potent cannabis extract that's gaining popularity. It may also be more addictive. Learn more about the risks of shatter here.

New ways of using old drugs seem to always emerge, raising curiosity and inspiring further talk about the risks related to substance abuse and addiction. concentrates have been doing rounds in lobbies supporting and debating the sale of such products in the open market. Within the niche of cannabis extracts, shatter seems like the new entrant.

Like many other hemp-derived products, shatter is increasingly available in states where it's legal. Unlike many other hemp-derived products, however, shatter can be incredibly strong, catching some users unaware.

Shatter's intensity also means it may be more addictive for many. Cannabis use disorder, while perhaps milder than other substance use disorders, can disrupt life with the same destructive behavior patterns.

Shatter: A Brief Primer on Cannabis Extracts ... And Their Risks

Cannabis extracts, made by extracting THC from cannabis flowers, are a rapidly emerging way of using cannabis. THC stands for delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, the active ingredient in cannabis. Shatter is one such product, it's created in labs and not naturally grown. It's In some ways, it's got a history similar to cocaine.

See, cocaine is produced from coca leaves. Coca leaves grow naturally in the Andes and has been used for centuries for spiritual purposes. They're even given to tourists as a way to acclimate to the high altitude of Andean cities like Cuzco or La Paz. On their own, coca leaves are a mild stimulant.

However, through a complex process, coca leaves can be concentrated into cocaine, a highly addictive and often lethal drug. While shatter isn't deadly (although making it involves butane, which can be very dangerous for amateur chemists), it's a way of making a more powerful and more addictive drug from a natural plant.

Shatter, wax, and butane hash oil, are all basically the same thing. Their names are based on the appearance of the finished product. Hash oil is a viscous fluid; shatter is a glassy, hard, and brittle substance. These concentrates are very potent as well. In some of these concentrates, the purity level of the cannabinoid can be as high as 99%, making them addictive. 

What Is Shatter?

The term "shatter" comes from the look of shatter. Shatter concentrate is quite thick, like an amber-colored resin. Some people opine that it looks like thick wax or even slightly melted glass. When shatter is broken, the texture looks like it is breaking apart into pieces, giving way to the feeling that the substance has been “shattered” into pieces.

Shatter is a potent cannabinoid, a manufactured substance that has become well-known for the dangerous manner in which it is made. Being a cannabis concentrate, using shatter presents a high chance of developing an addiction or overdosing. This concentrate is sometimes also called butane hash oil or BHO. Some other names for cannabis concentrate include:

  • Honey oil

  • Sap

  • Budder 

  • Wax

CTA background

We’re Here to Help You Find Your Way

Would you like more information about cannabis extract? Reach out today.

Shatter: Who Uses Shatter Cannabis Extract?

As a concentrate, shatter is preferred by people who want to use a stronger form of cannabis. It is unlikely to be used recreationally by first-time users, more likely to be used by people who have already experienced some form of addiction and now seek a new high. Shatter can have a near 60% to 80% cannabinoid content; in the purest form, this can go beyond 90%. The strongest and most expensive types of shatter can have as much as 99% cannabinoid content.

Even though a higher potency means people can get high, much faster, and stronger, shatter can be surprisingly strong for someone who has not tried it before. Even a 20% potency might seem like a lot to handle for someone who has never smoked pot before. If you or someone you know is using shatter, beware of the CBD potency or purity levels in the product. Even a handful of instances of using Shatter might be enough to get you hooked.

Shatter: How It's Made

One of the unique things about shatter is the manufacturing process, which is usually carried out in makeshift labs. Again, this process involves the highly flammable solvent butane., Often, there have been reports about shatter lab explosions.

Butane is an essential part of preparing shatter because it becomes a liquid to extract the cannabinoids and terpenes while processing the cannabis plant. BHO concentrate is the result of this extraction process. Butane is a very flammable compound, and when shatter is made in home labs, there is every chance of fire hazards surfacing and causing damage in the form of fire breakouts and explosions.

Butane gas is also very dangerous for people who inhale it when making shatter. In most states, making shatter at home is against the law, including locations where medical marijuana is legalized.

There is another fear related to using shatter: many times, the product is not made in hygienic, quality-controlled conditions. This is why there is a chance of many potentially dangerous chemicals used in the production process being retained in the final product that is not meant to be consumed by anyone. This is also why every batch of shatter is unlikely to provide the same effect and with little clarity about the potency maintained, the user too seldom knows what to expect in a batch of shatter.

People often assume that marijuana concentrates are made and sold by reputable companies in regions where medical marijuana is legal. However, even among reputable manufacturers, there is little clarity about the chemicals used in creating shatter concentrate.

CTA background

We’re Here to Help You Find Your Way

Do you have more questions about cannabis extract? Reach out.

Side Effects of Using Shatter

When someone uses shatter, they tend to get high rather quickly. Still, the effects of the high are not controlled when compared to people using medical marijuana to relieve the pain due to cancer treatment or for glaucoma relief. Some people who use shatter and other cannabis extracts simply want to enjoy its effects. Others dangerously combine shatter with alcohol. In such cases, the person can feel intense anxiety and paranoia. If you ask a drug rehab specialist about the most probable signs of using shatter, you are likely to find the following:

  • Heightened sense of anxiety

  • Trouble concentrating when doing simple tasks

  • Trouble recalling the simplest details

  • Falling sick repeatedly with reduced immunity

  • Undue increase in the heart rate 

  • Increased blood pressure

  • Suffering from repeated bouts of sinusitis

  • Irritation of the nasal passageways 

  • Sore throat without a clear diagnosis

  • Difficulty in swallowing food

  • Red, inflamed eyes

  • Seeking more of the Shatter extract as tolerance develops

  • Poor quality of sleep

  • Lack of coordination when doing simple physical tasks

  • Developing bronchitis or asthma without any prior history

Using Shatter: How Is This Cannabis Extract Consumed?

Dabbing is the most common way in which shatter is used. Dabbing is a way to get high by heating shatter using special equipment and inhaling the vapor to feel the high. Some people compare heating a substance and inhaling the smoke to get high with smoking, but shatter dabbing has its own dynamics. The flash-vaporization process is unlike smoking a traditional cigarette.

Typically, a shatter user will employ a heater water pipe attachment to create a vapor that is easy to inhale. This attachment is now becoming increasingly available online. It is called a nail, and it can be made of different materials, but the most common materials used to make the attachment are glass, quartz, and metal.

Further, using shatter requires a butane torch. It is used to heat the glass or metal attachment. The concentrate is thick, and it has to be heated well. Once the substance gets heated, a cloud of vapor is created, ready for the person ready to experience a new high. Some users might say that dabbing is better for their lung health as compared to smoking other forms of cannabis, as the user inhales vapor instead of smoke. However, this argument might not be entirely true.

This argument comes from the same opinion that favors vaping over regular cigarette smoking, advocating that this can better protect the lungs. This also might not be true. Remember, there are real concerns about impurities left in shatter after it's made. Also, there's very little research surrounding cannabis concentrate use, and any effects shatter use may have on the lungs aren't fully understood.

CTA background

We’re Here to Help You Find Your Way

Do you need advice about cannabis extract? Reach out today.

Shatter Withdrawal Signs & Symptoms

Cannabis addiction is real, and it's possible to experience withdrawal symptoms as well. Just like it is possible to suffer from withdrawal symptoms if you stop using marijuana suddenly, the severity of withdrawal can quickly build up, especially if cannabis concentrates are used and suddenly stopped.

If you have been contemplating going cold turkey as a means of treating shatter addiction, consider the risk of developing very painful and potentially dangerous withdrawal symptoms. THC is similar to chemicals naturally produced in the body. When the body gets used to increased amounts of THC, it struggles to find balance when those amounts of THC aren't present. This causes withdrawal.

The more common shatter withdrawal symptoms include:

  • Feeling uneasy without a reason

  • Trouble maintaining concentration at home, work, or school

  • Gastric problems like reflux or reduced hunger

  • Increased bouts of depression

  • Feeling confused in simple, daily-life situations

  • Trouble falling asleep 

Shatter Withdrawal: A Quick Timeline

Shatter Withdrawal: A Timeline
What is Shatter?
Phase 1 of Shatter Withdrawal
Phase 2 of Shatter Withdrawal
Phase 3 of Shatter Withdrawal
Shatter Addiction: The Good News
How to Get Treated for Shatter Addiction

Need Help for Shatter Addiction? The Edge Treatment Center Will Help

As we've said, it's possible to develop an addiction to cannabis, particularly through the use of potent cannabis extracts like shatter. Remember, drug addiction isn't about this substance or that substance, it's about behaviors and outcomes. If you're regularly using shatter and finding it's interfering with your life and causing problems, it might be time to consider getting serious help.

The Edge Treatment Center provides expert, proven treatment for cannabis addiction as well as other forms of substance abuse. We'll help you find a drug detox center where you can detox from shatter. When you enter treatment at our outpatient drug rehab, you'll learn healthy coping skills and other ways of leaving shatter behind.

Want to learn more about shatter addiction and how it's treatable? Contact The Edge Treatment Center today.

CTA background

We’re Here to Help You Find Your Way

If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction, there is hope. Our team can guide you on your journey to recovery. Call us today.

Written by

brian-mooreBrian Moore

Content Writer

Reviewed by

jeremy-arztJeremy Arzt

Chief Clinical Officer

Drug and Alcohol

March 2, 2023