Shatter: How To Tell The Good From The Bad

smoking cannabis

Over the last couple of years, cannabis concentrates have become increasingly popular within the marijuana community for its wide variety of benefits. The greatest advantage of concentrates is that they are typically about two to three times more potent than regular marijuana flower. For medicinal smokers who require the additional potency this can be a huge game changer. In addition to being highly potent, cannabis extracts like shatter are more cost effective, less odorous and more convenient to consume. It’s no wonder why countless stoners are picking up the dabs and putting down their joints. 

As seasoned stoners, we all have a few general rules of thumb when it comes to differentiating “good” weed from bad weed. Trichome rich, aromatic and visually appealing buds are all things that come to mind as we are shopping for our next cannabis strains. However, there aren’t too many of us that know how to tell the difference in quality between cannabis concentrates like shatter. In this guide, we’ll be going over everything you need to look for when you buy cheap shatter online in canada.

What is Shatter?

Shatter is defined as a highly concentrated form of cannabis created by extracting the plants’ essential oils which include terpenes, cannabinoids, THC and many other chemical compounds found in the cannabis plant. Through various combinations of extraction techniques, solvents such as butane oil are used to concentrate THC & CBD to offer a highly potent final product with THC levels reaching upwards of 60-80% THC! 

Shatter is most commonly recognized by its glass-like consistency that tends to crack when broken apart, hence the name “shatter”. Though typically translucent in colour, this cannabis concentrate can vary from bright golden to dark, amber shades depending on how agitated the extracts’ molecules are during production. We’ll be going over what different shades of shatter can mean below. 

cannabis tea

There are numerous different methods you can use to consume shatter. For example, you can vaporize it, add it to a joint, or smoke it in a pipe. However, the most common method is to “dab” it. Dabbing is quite similar to using a bong, but in this case you’ll be using a rig. Dab rigs are a specialized type of bong which utilize a heat resistant flat nail which you would be “dabbing” your concentrates on instead of using a bowl. Nails are often made out of quartz and are then heated up using a butane torch or a similar high heat source.

Colour & Shade

Shatter comes in various shades of amber and gold. A common misconception about shatter potency is that a darker shade means lower quality while a lighter shade means higher quality. To a degree, this theory is correct. From vibrant golden hues to dark, amber shades, the colour of shatter can give insight within the entire process of extraction. Regardless of colour, light should be able to pass through the substance when held directly to a light source. Adding onto that tip, should you see anything in it, dont smoke it as it can be contaminants or even mold.

Darker, amber coloured shatter could mean one of many things such as: 

  • Older or stale cannabis material was used
  • Excessive heat during the purging process
  • Prematurely harvested trichomes on the input material

On the other hand, a darker colour may also indicate positive components like: 

  • More nourished buds being used
  • A very thorough extraction process
  • Higher levels of terpenes present

While the colour of shatter can indicate how good shatter will be to an extent, it is not the ultimate deciding factor into the overall quality of the shatter. Be sure to ask lots of questions and gain a full understanding of the product to know what to expect upon consumption.

Taste Test

One of the easiest ways to determine if you’ve bought some good shatter is to judge it based on how it tastes. It sounds silly but it makes total sense! Afterall, the only way to make high-quality shatter is to use high-quality marijuana throughout the extraction process. High quality shatter should taste like the cannabis strains from which they were extracted from. Does your shatter taste good and full of flavours? Can you taste those delicious terpenes? If so, you’ve got yourself some good shatter!

Much like the colour, taste can also determine how the concentrate was made. Poorly tasting shatter usually indicates that low-grade weed or even cannabis trim/shake was used during extraction. Additionally, if it tastes like chemicals or solvent-like, it can indicate the extract has been poorly processed and can pose health risks. It is always suggested to shop from a reliable source that puts an emphasis on quality. 

marijuana plant


  Another method used to determine the quality of shatter is by judging the effects and your overall experience of the “high”. Much like determining if you want to continue smoking a specific strain, this works the exact same way for shatter. All strains contain their very own distinct terpene profiles that produce different effects so once you find one that suits your needs, stick to it!   

As mentioned previously, shatter can reach THC levels of up to 60-80% making for a truly potent concentrate. It should not take much to get you high. Simply put, if your cannabis extracts aren’t getting you high there’s a good chance they aren’t high-quality. When shopping for the best of the best be sure to ask your local budtender for lab-tested results for purity and potency. 

The Bottom Line

Whether you’re an expert cannabis smoker or a newbie to the world or weed, choosing the perfect shatter is tricky. It comes in all different shades, strains, and consistencies making it even harder to seperate the bad from the good. According to experts, the absolute best way to get your hands on top-quality shatter & concentrates is to purchase from companies with a long track record of being a trusted and reliable source. Companies that put their products through various quality tests to make sure that their products are high-quality and safe for consumption. 

Red flags to look for when shopping for shatter:

  • Bad taste or chemical-like taste
  • Contaminants – if you see anything in your shatter DO NOT smoke it
  • Unpleasant smell
  • Improper storage
  • Lack of lab tests for purity or potency