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By Dr. Dabber

Shatter vs Wax | What Are The Differences & Which Concentrate Is Best For You?

Shatter vs Wax | What Are The Differences & Which Concentrate Is Best For You?


Whether you are new to the cannabis industry or looking to just get more involved, you might be wondering what the difference is between shatter vs wax. Both are very fast sellers and are becoming more and more popular within the cannabis industry. 

Since they are both types of cannabis concentrates, many people of legal age across the country are starting to try them and see which one they like better. 

To understand the difference between shatter and wax, you first need to know what concentrates and dabbing are. Dr. Dabber goes over everything in detail in this article to give you a full understanding. 

Everything You Need to Know About Cannabis Concentrates 

Wax and shatter are both cannabis concentrates that can be used in dab pens. A concentrate is an extract of cannabis that increases the potency of THC to more than 80%. They are much stronger than cannabis flowers. 

Dabs of these potent concentrate options can get you much higher than smoking a joint. This is why people are starting to move towards concentrates and leaving the actual cannabis flowers behind. 

There are many different ways to make cannabis concentrates. Most of the concentrates are made by separating and extracting certain parts of the flowers including the flavonoids, terpenes, and cannabinoids. 

This process is called Butane Hash oil or BHO extraction. We will discuss this more a little later on. 

What is Dabbing?

Dabbing is simply the way that you consume cannabis extract. The BHO is heated in a dab ring and then the vapor is inhaled. Although many people are turning to dabbing, it’s still a controversial subject to some people and in certain states. 

This is mostly because when you dab, the potency of THC is very high. THC is the part of cannabis that is psychoactive and makes people feel high. 

In the regular herb, there is about 15 to 20 percent THC while concentrates have 80 percent or more. This makes concentrates about four to five times more potent. This means you only need to inhale a small amount of vapor since it can give such a powerful high. 

If you are not sure how much to use, you might want to ask someone with some more experience. A few shards or one scoop of wax is a good rule to follow at the beginning until you know for sure how much you can tolerate. 

How is Butane Hash Oil Extracted? 

BHO has to be extracted to make concentrates like shatter and wax. It’s important to know how the process works since you will be using concentrates. Butane extraction refers to the process of taking THC from raw cannabis. 

Butane is forced through the cannabis flower and then separated into three major components called the flavonoids, the terpenes, and the cannabinoids. These three oils combined make butane hash oil. 

The cannabis plant material is then vaporized when you dab which gives the instant feeling of being high. While some extraction processes use ethanol or propane, most use butane. This is because butane is much more efficient and only takes the best ingredients out of the cannabis plant. 

Since butane or ethanol is needed to make concentrates, many professionals encourage people not to try and make extracts at home. Butane is highly flammable and can cause fires and damage to homes very quickly. 

Butane can also be toxic. You don’t want to expose your body to it for large periods. Always buy your concentrates from a reputable company to ensure there are no health risks for you or the people around you. 

Extraction & Concentrates

While shatter and wax are the two most common concentrates made from the extraction process, there are many others including:

  • Crumble 
  • Rosin 
  • Resin 
  • Budder

Shatter and wax are the two most commonly used, although you might find crumble and budder fairly often as well. Comparing the types and their results is important because you want to make sure you are choosing the right one for your lifestyle. 

How They Are Made 

One of the biggest differences comes in the way that they are made. They are processed very differently from the beginning giving a very different result. The extraction process that makes wax uses much less heat than the one that produces shatter. The cannabis concentrate for wax is also mixed much more aggressively. 

The wax molecules are usually held together in a different way that is much less organized than the molecules you find in shatter. The way that shatter is filtered also makes a huge difference. 

Wax and shatter are both extractions though. They both come from cannabis and both the extracts are capable of giving people psychedelic effects. 

Concentrates are even said to produce more of a high than smoking the plant alone. This is why many people have used shatter and wax rather than smoking the plant directly. 

Part of the reason why concentrates give such a high is because of the flavonoids, cannabinoids, and terpenes. 

How to Use Dab Wax vs Shatter


cannabis concentrates - Dr. Dabber

Most people decide which one they prefer based on how they are used and the results. In general, shatter is much more difficult to use. If you are new to dabbing, you might want to go with wax or have someone show you how to properly use shatter. 

Shatter has a much longer shelf life though which is why many people choose to go with shatter. It might be the better choice if you want to buy in bulk or if you don’t dab that often. 

Some people also prefer shatter because it’s stronger but has a weaker smell. This might be the better choice if you live with roommates or in an apartment complex where you don’t want everyone smelling the aroma. 

Wax and shatter have the same medicinal benefits though, so you don’t have to look more towards one or the other when it comes to that. Wax is much softer than shatter which makes it break down more quickly. Wax needs to be used soon after the purchase date. 

Wax is often used more often with bowl topping. However, you can use wax or shatter for dab pens. Shatter also lasts more than wax. You will find that your shatter lasts longer than wax which is another reason why some people prefer to go with shatter. 

However, bowl topping can increase the potency of the cannabis which is something to think about depending on how potent and strong you like your smoke sessions to be. 

Choosing between wax and shatter only depends on preference as both have their pros and cons when it comes to results and usage. Wax is easier to use, but shatter has a longer shelf life

Overall, both offer a high concentration that offers an intense high.

Shatter and wax are used in much the same way. You just scoop the wax or take some shards of shatter and put them into the dab nail. You will then need to light it and inhale it as it begins to vaporize. 

If it’s your first time, you might not want to inhale that much since the product is so potent. 

What is Shatter vs Wax? 

There are some similarities when it comes to shatter and wax, although you will find there are more differences than similarities. 

Both shatter and wax offer about a 60% higher concentration than other cannabis options. The reason why they are called shatter and wax has mostly to do with their appearance and other physical characteristics. 

Wax is often easier to handle which is why many new vape and dab users choose to go with wax. It’s usually opaque or transparent. Although it’s called wax, it doesn’t have the same consistency as candle wax or other waxes you might be thinking of. 

The texture is more like butter or thick oil. Some have more of a yellow color though and look like huge pieces of earwax. 

Shatter is much harder than wax. Some people say it even looks like caramelized sugar or rock candy. Shatter is also transparent because of the tightly packed molecules.

Shatter is also brittle. It’s called shatter because it can break so easily. This is why you never want to apply too much force to it. 

What Makes a Good Shatter? 

As with any cannabis product you’re buying, you want to make sure that the shatter is good quality. The best shatter is almost transparent. It should not be dark or have any dark flakes in it. The clearer the product, the better the quality is.

Good shatter should also have a very noticeable aroma. The more noticeable the cannabis smell, the better quality the shatter is. Keep in mind that shatter will never smell as strong as weed, but it should still have a very strong smell if it’s good quality. 

Of course, the stronger the smell the more likely people will be to notice the cannabis smell coming from your apartment or wherever you are smoking. With any good product, the smell will be stronger. Make sure you are opening windows and ensuring proper ventilation so that the smell is not too noticeable. 

What Makes a Good Wax? 

High-quality cannabis wax usually has an amber or gold color. Poor quality wax will usually have a dark tint or be green. Green signals that there is some plant matter in the wax which means the product has very low potency. 

When the wax is extracted properly, no plant matter is left. You shouldn’t see any of the slightest green tints if you have bought a good quality wax. 

Wax starts as an amber-colored liquid during the extraction process. Once the liquid begins to cool, it becomes opaque. The molecules also form a loose bond as they are cooled and the temperature drops. 

Wax is thick and not brittle making it good for new dabbers. 

The Main Difference

butane hash oil - Dr. Dabber

Although there are several differences to keep in mind, the main difference lies in the texture and that’s about it. Shatter is harder to handle while the wax is easy for everyone. Experimenting with each one can be fun though and can enhance your cannabis experience. 

Shatter and wax are both BHO concentrates that provide powerful and long-lasting highs. While they might have around the same potency and effects, the appearance and consistency are very different. 

Despite having different consistencies, you can still use them the same way by loading them into the concentrate chamber of your dab pen, lighting it, and then inhaling once the vapor is produced. 

You need more wax than shatter and shatter has a longer shelf life so it can be the more economical choice. Wax is easier to load though and is better for new dabbers.

We at Dr. Dabber hope this breakdown of shatter vs wax has helped you in deciding which of these concentrates are best for you!


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