Shatter vs Wax: What are the Differences

Shatter Vs Wax

Concentrates like shatter and wax are quickly becoming best sellers in the cannabis industry and may even surpass the sale of marijuana flowers in the coming years. As more consumers of legal age try cannabis concentrates, the question arises: “What are the differences between shatter and wax?” Before answering that question, it is crucial to learn about three things: concentrates, dabbing, and BHO. 

What are Cannabis Concentrates?

Concentrates are extracts of cannabis taken from raw plant material. The extraction process increases the THC potency to more than 80%, thus making it stronger than cannabis flowers. 

If you want to experience a marijuana high, you do not have to smoke a whole joint. A dab of any potent concentrate is enough to get you there. That is why consuming a cannabis concentrate is also called “dabbing.”

There are different ways to make concentrates. The usual method is called Butane Hash Oil (BHO) extraction. Using butane and heat, you can separate and extract the terpenes, flavonoids, and cannabinoids from the other plant materials. The result of the process is called BHO. 

What is Dabbing?

Dabbing is the consumption of marijuana extract by heating BHO in a dab rig and inhaling the vapor. The name originates from the dabs of concentrate heated in the rig to achieve a high. 

What makes dabbing controversial is the higher potency of THC in the extract compared to the herb. Tetrahydrocannabinol or THC is the psychoactive ingredient of marijuana. Here is a representation of THC in both the herb and the concentrate:

  • Regular Herb – 15-20% THC
  • Concentrate – 80% or more THC

Concentrates are four to five times more potent in comparison. You can get high when you smoke marijuana or eat a marijuana brownie. Imagine inhaling just a bit of vapor from a BHO dab rig. 

The high level of efficiency in dispensing THC to your system in the form of dabbing is what makes it popular. Using BHO can give you a powerful high. However, is taking a byproduct of butane safe?

The Process of Butane Hash Oil (BHO) Extraction

Butane extraction is the most popular process of extracting THC from raw cannabis. This method requires forcing butane through the plant material to separate the essential oils that contain:

  • Flavonoids
  • Terpenes
  • Cannabinoids

The result is called butane hash oil. Once you vaporize this material through dabbing, you can get a high instantly. Some users testify that this high is more powerful and longer-lasting than that taken from the herb. 

Butane is one of the common solvents used for extraction. Ethanol and propane can serve the same purpose. However, butane is a more efficient solvent in extracting vital ingredients from the cannabis plant. 

Be careful when considering making cannabis concentrates at home.  Butane is highly flammable. Never risk your safety and those around you.

Also, butane is a toxic substance. While inhaling small amounts is harmless, constantly exposing your body to it for a long time may take its toll on your health. 

The Products of Extraction

Butane hash oil refers to all concentrates produced through extraction. Under its umbrella are the following terms:

For clarification, concentrate is the term for the oil extracted from the cannabis plant. Butane hash oil extraction refers to the method used to produce it. BHO Shatter, crumble, wax, and budder refer to the appearance of the concentrate. 

Shatter and wax are two of the most popular types of BHO concentrates today. Let us compare both types and decide which is better. 

How BHO Shatter is Produced

Shatter refers to a BHO concentrate that has a translucent, and nearly transparent, appearance. When butane is forced through cannabis, it produces an amber liquid. This liquid is subjected to a higher temperature and is left to cool. It solidifies into a nearly glass-like product that has the consistency of peanut brittle. 

The translucent quality of the final product is the result of the high heat used during extraction. As the temperature of the liquid cools, the molecules align in a way that allows more light to pass through. 

The thin brittle product can shatter into pieces when you apply force to it. Its brittleness is the reason it is called shatter. 

What Makes a Good Shatter?

Top-quality shatter is nearly transparent. It should not be dark in color. Always choose a clearer product because it signifies a higher quality. 

A good shatter has a rich aroma as well. A more noticeable cannabis smell is a sign of good quality. Although weed smells stronger, a high-quality dab should have an indistinguishable scent as well.  

If you do not want other people to notice that you are smoking a joint or trying out a new concentrate, be sure to have proper ventilation. Open the windows and turn the exhaust on. The airflow will allow the smoke and the smell to dissipate faster. 

How Wax is Produced

Wax, like shatter, is the result of butane extraction. It also starts as an amber liquid. However, the extracted liquid is cooled slowly to form an opaque material. The molecules form a loose bond as the temperature drops slowly. Hence, the final product has the consistency of peanut butter or coconut oil. The texture of the product is waxy, instead of brittle. 

What Makes a Good Wax?

High-quality wax, like shatter, should have an amber to gold color. If it has any green or dark tint, it may have plant matter in it, which lowers the potency of the product. If the wax is extracted correctly, it should not have chlorophyll or any plant matter left.

Shatter vs Wax: What are the Differences?

There is not much difference in terms of the consistency of shatter or wax. Both are extracted through a solvent. They are used in dabbing and produce a powerful and long-lasting high. However, there are subtle differences in wax vs shatter.


  • Looks brittle and glass-like
  • More difficult to produce
  • More stable and lasts longer
  • Harder to measure and handle because it is brittle


  • Looks more opaque and elastic
  • Easier to produce
  • Less stable and can degrade faster
  • Easier to measure and handle due to its coconut oil consistency

How to Use Shatter and Wax

You need a dab rig to consume either shatter or wax. The dabbing rig is a modified bong that uses a dab nail to vaporize wax, shatter, and others.

You take a few shards of shatter or a scoop of wax onto the dab nail then ignite it with a torch or a lighter. As it vaporizes, inhale as much smoke as possible.

Remember that smoking wax and shatter concentrate is a lot more potent than a standard blunt, joint, or Thai stick. It does not contain any plant matter. You get 80% or more TCH with very few impurities. 

You take in more cannabinoids, flavonoids, terpenes, and trichomes. Therefore, do not use too much shatter wax on your first try. Only a handful of shards or scoops of shatter wax is enough to get you high. 

Shatter vs Wax: Which Should You Choose?

Shatter and wax, what’s the difference? It is always better to experiment with different cannabis concentrates like BHO shatter and wax. Each is a different form of extract but both have almost the same potency. The main difference lies in the texture of the extract. Also, shatter is harder to handle, while the wax is a bit easier to place in dab rig equipment. 

Maybe you also experimented with joints, blunts, rock candy, cannagars, and Thai sticks. Joints and blunts are perfect for individual use or with a small group of friends. Cannagars and Thai sticks are for sessions that last longer. Unless you try each kind, you never know what is perfect for the occasion. 

The same is true with shatter and wax. Whether you produce it or buy it from a store, it is exciting to try each one to expand your cannabis experience. Of course, you will need to purchase new equipment to consume them.

Conclusion: Experiment with Shatter and Wax

Shatter and wax are both butane hash oil concentrates. You can get a more powerful and longer-lasting high from each. Both have almost the same THC content. They are at least four to five times more potent than regular weed. They do have different consistency and appearance, though. 

You may use shatter and wax along with smokable cannabis products. You can make stronger joints and blunts by lining them with any of these concentrates. You can do this also if you do not have any equipment to vaporize the dabs.