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.
Shatter doesn’t offer anything special for the average toker. It comes in around the same potencies as other extracts or concentrates (70 to 90 percent THC). Where it usually differs is cost and ease of dabbing.
Imagine cannabis extracts existing on a spectrum that moves from containing the most plant components to containing the least plant components. On one end of this spectrum, you’ll find raw cannabis oil — the thick, black, sativa-saturated syrup called Rick Simpson oil, Phoenix Tears, or FECO (full-extract cannabis oil). Raw oil is essentially the plant in viscous form, so of all the different forms of cannabis extracts, it contains the most of everything: cannabinoids, terpenes, etc.