Concentrate Guides

The Great Concentrate Debate: Wax vs Shatter

Marijuana concentrates can have THC levels of up to 80 percent making them one of the most potent modes of consumption. That means that before you take a hit, you should find out more about these products

When it comes to cannabis extracts, it can seem like no one really knows what they are talking about. Words are thrown around often and seemingly interchangeably. You might have heard of rosin, shatter, wax, budder, and dabs, but, what exactly are they?

In general, these are all terms for extracts that come from the bud of the cannabis plant. The difference lies in the process they take to get there. Read on to learn more about the wax vs shatter debate and make an informed decision today.

An Introduction to Concentrates

The term for marijuana buds that have been reduced to an oil or resin is “concentrate”. Beyond that name, each concentrate product is different based on the extraction process that takes place or the THC extraction machine that is used.

For waxes and oils, a process called solvent extraction occurs. This is when the trichomes, terpenes, flavonoids, and cannabinoids are stripped from the plant matter that contains them by being combined with either carbon dioxide or butane.

Butane Hash Oil

To achieve a concentrate, a butane extraction process can be used. During this process, the oils are collected and the butane evaporates to leave behind a highly-concentrated substance.

It’s important to note that butane is a toxic substance and trace amounts could potentially be left behind in your concentrate. This shouldn’t be too much of a problem, as your body comes into contact with low levels of butane regularly if you use lighters.

But over time, these molecules could affect your health.

Understanding Wax vs Shatter

No matter what name your cannabis concentrate product goes by, it will most likely stem from a butane extraction method. The difference will be what your final product looks like.


Shatter achieves its clear glass-like appearance by being made at extremely high temperatures and going through a quick cooling process.

While the science behind shatter is very technical, in general, it is a more organized form of molecules. Think about it like the difference between saturated and unsaturated fats, or the way that ice molecules are structured when water freezes.


Similarly to shatter, wax begins as a liquid that frequently appears amber in color and is often the consistency of coconut oil. The material is opaque because its molecules are jumbled.

So What’s the Difference?

In actuality, wax vs shatter isn’t much of a debate. They are both butane concentrates and have similar THC potencies. You can use them both for dabbing and will have a lengthy and intense high.

The only real difference is how they look and how you will store it.

Shatter tends to be more shelf stable and can last longer, while wax can stick to things more easily and can degrade over time.

To learn more about cannabis and cannabis products, explore our blog.


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