Pot smokers looking for a heavier-hitting high are turning to “Shatter,” a weed concentrate that packs up to 80 percent cannabinoid content. Drug officials aren’t sure how to deal with the drug, a smooth, glassy substance that’s significantly more potent when smoked but is still, ultimately, a marijuana derivative and thus not particularly unsafe.
Shatter is just one form of dabs, the catch-all term for marijuana concentrates produced by extracting cannabinoids like THC and CBD, the plant’s psychoactive chemicals. Other well-known forms include “budder,” which has a creamier, wax-like consistency, and oils, which are golden and honey-like. For all dabs, extraction involves running a solvent — usually butane, carbon dioxide, or propane — through marijuana buds to pull out the cannabinoids, then evaporating the solvent and gathering the resins left behind.
Of all the concentrates, shatter is the most potent — it goes through an additional filtration process to get rid of other naturally occurring fats and waxes — which is how it manages to pack its active ingredients in crazy high amounts (regular weed, when smoked, only has about 5-18 percent cannabinoid content). While this extra step optimizes purity, it also filters out the dank hydrocarbons known as terpenes, which make up marijuana’s flavor and scent.