Wax, shatter, crumble and budder are terms used to describe and categorize different consistencies of cannabis concentrates. Whether you prefer the shiny, hard candy like appearance of shatter or the soft, creamy texture of a budder chances are you have a preference for what you dab. But, what is the real difference between these extracts? Shatter fans will tout that their translucent favorite is purer and that other consistencies, but is that true? All of these concentrates are extracted using similar methods, equipment and materials Despite using similar materials, equipment and product techniques what makes the end products so different and unique?
As mentioned above, shatters and waxes go through a similar production process. They are all generally extracted using butane, propane or another hydrocarbon solvent to blast the cannabis in a closed loop system in order to separate the cannabinoids from the plant solids. This solution is then purged using heat and air to remove the remaining solvents so that all you’re left with is the good stuff. Whether a concentrate comes out as a budder, crumble or shatter it is going through that same basic process, so where do the differences come from? The key factor comes down to one thing that happens, or doesn’t happen while the final products sets, movement.
Shatter, with its smooth, glass like appearance is the most popular form of concentrate on the market in most dispensaries. Really, it’s no wonder why with that glossy, amber shine a top quality shatter sure is easy on the eyes. The signature consistency of this hash oil is achieved through very careful control of heat and other factors during the manufacturing process. If this isn’t done just right then the shatter will come out cloudy, or crumbly, rather than the glassy, hard-candy like structure that you expect from a quality shatter. A range of factors which include; heat, changes in moisture and physical agitation can all impact the translucent quality of a shatter.
Basically, as the extract cools it must be entirely still for the concentrate to crystalize into a glass shatter. On a molecular level, as the cannabis extract cools if it is disturbed the crystalline structure gets disturbed. Light is unable to pass through the structure if this occurs which will result in a cloudy, opaque appearance. This can also produce bubbles and other defects in an otherwise wonderful shatter. As you can see, this concentrate takes a high level of precision to get just right.
Wax is an umbrella term that can include any of the softer, opaque oils that are created in the extraction process. This includes your budders, crumbles and honeycomb. The main difference between a budder and crumble or honeycomb comes in their consistency. These waxes differ in shatter because they are often agitated in the extraction process. Because of this, the molecules don’t form a uniform, crystal structure that light can pass through this gives the various types of waxes their opaque appearance. This is especially true of budders which are often whipped or churned like butter to achieve their consistency. This gives budder’s a texture that is softer than the more brittle crumble and honeycomb varieties of wax.
Which is Better?
Now that we’ve looked at the fundamental difference between what makes a wax and a shatter, which comes down to; heat, moisture content and movement in the cooling concentrate, that still leaves the question of which is better? While many believe that a translucent shatter is purer than a crumbly wax, this true, especially, when you buy the high quality brands that we carry. Regardless of texture, all of our extracts are solvent free and lab tested for purity. So ultimately, which is better comes down entirely to your personal preferences.