Make your own shatter
As someone who loves weed and hasn’t had my head in the sand for the last few years, I’ve definitely heard of shatter, also referred to as wax or dabs. If you’ve tried it, you know it’s awesome.
But how do we make shatter? If we’ve ever paid the high price for shatter at a dispensary, we might be asking ourselves how to make wax from weed at home. There are several methods for extracting the resinous trichomes from cannabis plant matter, but for simplicity’s sake, let’s stick to the popular “BHO” (butane hash oil) method.
I’m going to walk us through everything we need to know about how to make BHO using butane solvent extraction. To start, we should keep in mind that the BHO method tends to be a hazardous process. Making shatter indoors is a terrible idea and stands a decent chance of blowing our house off its foundation. However, BHO can be done in relative safety if thorough caution is used.
What we will need to make shatter
The first step to making shatter at home is to gather our supplies. We’ll need:
- An ounce of uncut marijuana
- An “extraction tube”
- At least one butane canister
- A coffee filter
- An electric range and double boiler
- A Pyrex dish to collect the shatter
- Strips of parchment paper
- Single-edged razor blades
How to make shatter
With all our required supplies at hand, let’s grind our weed and let it sit for a while. We want it to be dry, not too fresh. If we pack an ounce into the extractor and spray it with a full 12-ounce canister of butane, we should get roughly 3.5 grams of shatter. The amount of concentrate we produce will depend on how laden with crystals the buds are; some BHO extractors get up to a 20% yield.
Step 1. Fill the extractor with ground marijuana
To continue making shatter, let’s fill the extractor with pot. These “honey oil” extractors can be purchased at most head shops, but we can also make one ourselves. Be sure the weed is packed tight, but not too tight. We don’t want air pockets, but we want the butane to saturate all the marijuana.
Step 2. Saturate marijuana with butane
One end of the extractor should have a small hole, the other a cap with several holes and an internal filter. Store-bought extractors come with a filter, but coffee filters also work for DIY. To make our concentrated marijuana, carefully and slowly spray the butane through the top hole until the canister is empty. A thick green-gray-brown oil should drip from the bottom holes into our Pyrex container.
If we want to know how to make marijuana wax without destroying our home at the same time, listen up. This part is absolutely essential: Spray the butane outdoors, with ample ventilation, as far as possible from any buildings, vehicles, or other potential sources of ignition. Even a hidden pilot light could spark an explosion, and we definitely don’t want that.
Step 3. Evaporate off the butane
The next step in making shatter can also be rather dangerous. Fill our double boiler and put it on a hot electric range. Make sure it’s electric: Use a gas stove and we’re liable to start a fire. Now place the Pyrex container in the top portion of the boiler and let the liquid evaporate. This gradually removes the butane, leaving us with true shatter.
It’s important to make sure we boil all the solvent away when we make shatter – otherwise, we could end up smoking a product still tainted by butane, which is bad for our lungs, not to mention potentially explosive. We’ll know the process is finished when the shatter stops bubbling.
Step 4. Purge remaining butane
At this point, we’re left with a thick, amber shatter with trace amounts of butane, and many feel that the solvent must be further purged before consumption. This can be done using a pressurized vac pump, and our grower’s process goes like this.
“We vacuum purge all concentrates to remove the remaining traces of liquid butane. We do this using a 3 cfm one-stage vac pump (don’t waste your time with two-stage units). The BHO is placed in a thin layer on a glass dish inside the chamber, and the air and butane are sucked out through the pump. It is important to have a gauge that shows you the temperature inside the chamber to avoid burning off the oil.”
After the vacuum purge operation, we will have removed almost all traces of butane from our cannabis oil, leaving us with a pure, flavorsome product.
Step 5. Scrape and store
Finally, let’s use a razor blade to scrape the potent concentrates off the bottom of the container and place it on parchment paper to cool. We may need more than one razor to scrape up our full-extract cannabis oil, as they can become hopelessly sticky.
How to consume shatter
As fellow cannabis enthusiasts, we love exploring the many ways to consume shatter. One of the most common ways we consume shatter is through dabbing with a dab rig. When dabbing, we add a small amount of concentrate to a hot nail and inhale the vapor through the dab rig’s mouthpiece.
To get started, we can purchase a dab rig, a quartz nail, a dabber to break apart the shatter, and a carb cap to enjoy those flavorful low-temp dabs. We’ll also need either a torch or an eNail for heating the nail. And why not add some terp pearls and quartz inserts into the mix for good measure?
There are also ways to consume dabs without a rig. Shatter can be enjoyed using a portable vape pen, one that’s specifically designed for dabs.
We can also infuse shatter into any edible or meal by first infusing it into butter or oil. Cooking shatter, however, can expose our concentrate to high temperatures that may cause us to lose out on some of the terpenes.
Finally, we can add bits of shatter on top of our bowl packed with flower or inside of a joint. Keep in mind, these methods can degrade the taste and flavor of our shatter. On the plus side, we get an extra kick of potency to our flower strain.
Concentrate extraction methods
Cannabis extraction techniques vary by manufacturers, but they generally fall into two camps: Solvent-based and solventless extraction methods for concentrates. Solvent-based methods utilize solvents such as butane, propane, carbon dioxide (CO2), and ethanol to dissolve the cannabinoids and terpenes from the plant matter.
Solventless extraction methods bypass the need for harsh solvents. Instead, solventless extraction uses sifting techniques with fine mesh screens or heat and pressure from a pressing machine to extract the plant’s trichome resin. Solventless extraction methods can produce flavorful extracts such as rosin, bubble hash, kief, and hash.
Each extraction method offers its own pros and cons, but butane and propane are the most common solvent types used to make high-quality shatter due to their ability to strip the plant’s psychoactive compounds in a fast and effective manner. Butane and propane also can produce a wide range of concentrate consistencies.