Shatter is a highly concentrated cannabis extract typically made by butane extraction. Over the past decade, shatter has gained popularity among cannabis users for its glassy, photogenic texture and high THC potency. Let’s take a closer look at what shatter is, how it’s processed, and how we test it.

Concentrated Cannabis Extract

Shatter is known by several different names including shatter wax, cannabis shatter, and shatter weed. Shatter is amber in color, semitransparent, and has a brittle, glass-like texture.

The name shatter comes from the extract’s glassy appearance. When shatter is made, the resinous extract forms sheets that can be broken apart or “shattered” into smaller pieces like glass.

Cannabis extracts like hashish have been used for centuries. However, shatter began to gain popularity in the early 2010s along with other concentrated cannabis extracts known as dabs.

Some critics are wary of shatter and similar cannabis extracts due to their high potency. While cannabis flower is often between 10-25% THC, shatter can contain up to 80% THC.

But some cannabis users, both medicinal and recreational, prefer the high potency of shatter because the effects come on much more rapidly and powerfully. This is an especially desirable feature for people seeking relief from chronic pain and other ailments.

How is Shatter Made?

Shatter is typically made using a closed-loop extraction system. Ground cannabis is packed into a column and chilled solvent—usually butane although other hydrocarbon solvents can be used—is passed over the cannabis to extract cannabinoids, terpenes, and other compounds from the plant material.

The extract mixture is then removed and heated to get rid of as much of the solvent as possible. When the remaining mixture cools and settles, a thin sheet of shatter is formed. Because the production process involves the heating of flammable solvents, it’s best left to trained professionals with the proper equipment.

How We Test Shatter

Like all cannabis products sold legally in California, shatter must undergo testing by a third-party lab. Shatter falls under the category of cannabis concentrate. As a result, shatter must be tested for the following:

●     Cannabinoid profiling/potency

●    Pesticides

●    Microbial screening

●    Heavy Metals

●    Mycotoxins

●    Foreign materials

●    Residual solvents

Residual solvent testing is especially important for shatter since it’s made by solvent extraction. Similarly, cannabinoid potency labeling is also critical for shatter because it’s so highly concentrated compared to other cannabis products.


Since the early 2010s, shatter has been steadily gaining attention from both cannabis users and critics for its high potency. All shatter sold legally in California is subject to the same rigorous testing requirements as other cannabis products. Encore Labs provides comprehensive cannabis lab testing to make sure your cannabis concentrates are California compliant.