What Makes Wax Different From Shatter Concentrates?

Contrary to popular belief, medical marijuana has been available in various forms for over 3,000 years. Although dried cannabis flowers have been smoked for centuries, cannabis oils and concentrates such as hash have also been widely used.

In the cannabis culture, Wax and shatter are two relatively new marijuana extracts.

Read on to learn about the various forms of marijuana concentrates and the distinctions between Wax and shatter so you can choose the one that best suits your needs.

What Are Cannabis Concentrates?

Marijuana concentrates are cannabis products with higher than average THC concentrations.

THC levels in currently available marijuana strains can reach up to 35%, and THC concentrations in concentrates range between 60% and 90% of the psychoactive ingredient.

Marijuana concentrates provide recreational users with a more potent high and less material to bake, which is advantageous for those with a high THC tolerance. Wax and shatter, for example, can provide marijuana patients with faster and longer-lasting relief than flower and other less potent forms.

Where do concentrations come from? There are two methods for removing significant amounts of THC from the parent plant.

Solventless Concentrates

Solventless concentrates, as the name implies, are made without a solvent. Natural factors such as pressure, heat, or ice are required to extract the beneficial components from the plant. The most traditional method is to make renowned Nepalese hash with one’s bare hands, but other methods require using a mechanical press or other tools (e.g. hairdresser).

Example of Solventless Concentrates:

  • Hash
  • Ice water hash
  • Bubble hash
  • Kief
  • Dry sift
  • Rosin
  • Live Resin

Solvent-based Concentrates

The cannabinoids and terpenes in this marijuana concentrate are extracted from the plant material using a solvent. CO2 or hydrocarbons are commonly used to generate concentrations based on solvents (butane and propane).

Examples of Solvent-Based Concentrates:

  • Tinctures
  • Wax
  • Shatter
  • Crumble
  • CO2 oil
  • Budder

What is Shatter?

Nobody should be surprised that Shatter is the purest cannabis concentrate, given its opaque honey-gold colour and glass-like consistency. 

Shatter is typically 90 per cent THC by volume and can be produced using butane or carbon monoxide. Is it possible to generate shatter at home?

Although technically correct, even if your local law allows the sale of marijuana concentrates, buying shatter online may not be legal where you live. This is because hydrocarbons like butane and propane are highly flammable and can cause explosions if mishandled. CO2 is costly and requires specialized knowledge, putting it out of reach for most people. Finally, shatter must be refrigerated after purchase to maintain its solid state.

What is Wax?

Wax, which resembles earwax and is more flaky and brittle, is another method for extracting BHO. In addition to the medicinal benefits of the wax, just like shatter, it provides an intense, long-lasting high.

After the initial butane extraction, when the extract turns into an amber liquid, the wax extraction process begins. The liquid is then heated to create a translucent and slightly loose texture that resembles earwax and honeycomb. This is due to Wax’s more complex molecular structure than other substances.

What’s the Difference Between Marijuana Wax and Shatter?

Although shatter and Wax are derived from the same plant, some prefer one. Select the option that best suits you using the information in this section as a guide.

Methods of Consumption

Because of its homogeneity, shatter is challenging to manipulate. It is typically inhaled with a dab rig or vaporizer.

Wax presents a unique situation. Shatter cannot be consumed in the same ways that Wax can. You can add Wax to a joint or bowl or mix it with cannabutter to make more potent edibles and use it in a rig or vape.


Shatter consistency is solid. This concentration resembles a thick, easily broken glass sheet. Because of this, it is more difficult to manipulate for ingesting than Wax. On the other hand, wax has a crumblier texture that lends itself to various ingesting methods.


In general, shatter is more potent than Wax. Some shatter strains have up to 90% THC content. Shatter may reach this potency more frequently than Wax, but Wax typically contains 70 to 85 percent THC.


Shatter contains fewer plant-derived components (such as waxes and oils) than Wax, making it a pure concentrate. Additionally, shatter is not as pure or potent as Wax but tastes better.

Terpene Content

As THC concentration increases, more terpenes are lost during the extraction process. Because of its high purity, shatter has little flavour of any marijuana concentrate. We recommend Wax over shatter if you want a more robust flavour in your dab.

Final Thoughts 

Although marijuana wax and shatter are derived from the cannabis plant, these two forms of the drug are very different in terms of their psychoactive effects, flavours, textures, uses, and production methods. Unlike wax, which degrades over time, creating shatter is more labour-intensive. The lack of variation in shatter makes it harder to evaluate and consume. Furthermore, it has less flavour, which may lead some customers to describe its potency as “bland.”

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