Cannabis consumption is evolving. I’m not talking about the apparatus and how you’ve probably advanced your smoking from a pop can, to an apple, to a bowl, to a joint, to a bong, etc. etc. No, I’m talking about the form of the marijuana itself. It used to be that all you had was the bud; dried flowers to be smoked. Now, it’s advanced a bit, with all the various cannabis concentrates available. Oil, shatter, wax, honeycomb, crumble, sap, budder…there are many different names for marijuana concentrates. But what are they really? What are things like oil, shatter, and wax?
A marijuana concentrate is an oily substance made from extracting the chemical compounds of the cannabis plant, such as THC and CBD. Usually it is extracted using either butane, which gives you butane hash oil (BHO), or CO2, which obviously gives you CO2 oil. After extraction, the material that remains is a highly potent and concentrated form of cannabis that is usually used for either vaping or dabbing. These concentrates are coveted by medical patients who claim to get better and quicker results from a concentrate, and recreational users who love it for being more potent than bud.
While the many different names for concentrates may lead one to believe that they’re all inherently different, the differences are pretty superficial.
Shatter is known for resembling an amber colored glass, and is generally considered to be the most pure of all the marijuana extracts. However, just because it’s nearly translucent doesn’t necessarily meant that it’s high quality. Heat, moisture, and terpene content all play a role in determining whether or not the concentrate will be hard (shatter), or a tad runnier, in which case it would usually be called “sap.”
Marijuana wax refers to the softer, more opaque oils that are no longer transparent; the molecules crystallize due to agitation, which in turn forms the wax. Just as with shatter, things like heat and moisture affect the consistency of the concentrate. Runny oils with high moisture content tend to be very gooey and go by the name “budder.” The harder ones that become brittle generally go by either “crumble” or “honeycomb,” so the term wax is really just a catchall name for softer concentrates.
All marijuana concentrates start in the form of oil. Depending upon external factors during production, like heat, determines whether or not it will end up as shatter or wax, or have one of the sub-names in either category. Determining which one is best for you is entirely your decision.