Shatter vs Wax: What’s The Difference?

There is no denying that cannabis extracts are at the frontier of the legal cannabis movement, evolving and re-inventing cannabis derivatives to reach higher and higher highs.

In shatter and wax, these are two of the most popular extracts used when dabbing. Dabbing involves superheating and cooling extract vapors via some water-filtration system for inhalation.

If you want the full run-down on what dabbing is, we have a guide for that too for old timers like yourself 🙂

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What is Shatter?

Shatter and wax both refer to the appearance and consistency of a final cannabis extract or concentrate product.

Shatter is usually semi-translucent and has an amber-golden coloration. Shatter also often has little air bubbles in it as well that get trapped during cooling.

The texture is brittle, much like a flattened piece of rock candy or thin slab of slightly sticky ice. Peanut brittle is a good analogy although if you have chunks in your shatter you have issues.

Shatter is produced by forcing butane through cannabis material to extract concentrated THC. Chemically similar to butane hash oil (BHO) shatter is unique in that the molecular structure is more organized, allowing it to form solid sheets.

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What is Wax?

Wax is the softer, more messy cousin of shatter. Like shatter, cannabis wax concentrate is really just BHO concentrate but with a softer opaque coconut oil viscosity.

Imagine sticking your pointer finger three knuckles deep into one of Shrek’s ears, or belly button. What is stuck to your finger is a good starting point to understanding the texture and coloration of cannabis wax, although cannabis wax undoubtedly smells MUCH better.

shatter vs wax

Primary Differences

In terms of THC and potency, shatter and wax are pretty similar. Both are BHO concentrates and both can contain 80-90% THC.

Both provide long lasting and intense highs when dabbed. The primary differences come down to texture, price, and personal preference.

Wax lovers like how it’s easier to scoop out precise portions because it is more malleable and it’s generally a bit easier to produce.

Shatter lovers like the beauty of the product and the fact that it can be more stable for longer periods of time (preserved).

types of cannabis concentrates extracts explained

Also, given that shatter requires a little more processing (made using higher temperatures than wax) the equipment it is often a bit more expensive than an equivalent potency wax.

Personally, we here at Herb CEO are slightly bigger fans of shatter, mostly because of how pretty it is (we are also suckers for THC diamonds as well) but also find that dropping a bit of shatter portion in the dab rig is easier than messing with sticky wax. But this is just personal preference.

Don’t worry though, your trusty dab rig or fancy e-rig if that’s your style, will happily chow down on whatever physical form of pure cannabis extract you’d like to put in there, so we recommend, if you are of the legal age and living in a legal state that you try them all to determine which is best for your unique physiology.

To learn about all of the cannabis concentrates and extract types check out this 101 guide.

Do you prefer shatter or wax? Let us know which in the comments and why!

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