The truth behind super-strength cannabis shatter

Recent reports in the UK have suggested that super-strength cannabis ‘glass’ is being sold to teenagers on social media platforms, and while there may be some truth to the claims, this super strength cannabis is actually no more dangerous than the regular flower form.

Cannabis shatter, as it’s commonly
dubbed in North America, is a form of concentrated THC that is usually smoked
in a vaporiser or as a ‘dab’.

As it is a concentrated form of
cannabis, much less of it is needed to give the user the required effect. This
is why outlets in the UK - many of whom know far less about cannabis than our
friends over the pond - often tout super-strength cannabis as being dangerous
while the truth remains: it’s impossible to overdose on cannabis regardless of
its potency.

The Leaf Desk recently reported on Illinois’
decision to legalise cannabis for recreational use, with several of the top
dispensaries selling out of cannabis concentrate products in the first day.

One benefit of consuming concentrates
over cannabis flower is that it is discreet. Instead of smoking a huge joint
that leaves a billow of smoke trailing behind, shatter is commonly consumed
within a vape which leaves no trace at all.

Due to concentrates being vaped or
dabbed, if the product has been extracted properly, it can actually be less
harmful on the lungs than smoking traditional bud due to containing fewer
carcinogens and needing a smaller amount.

Concentrates have also risen in
popularity among the cannabis aficionados in the Americas, with the Cannabis
Cup often showcasing a wide range of shatters and oils.

How is it made?

It may seem strange to see cannabis
alter from a vibrant green flower to a translucent yellow piece of material,
but the production of it is actually quite simple.

There are a few forms of cannabis
concentrates, one of which is called Butane Hash Oil (BHO), this uses Butane as
a solvent to release all the cannabinoids, terpenes and THC.

Cannabis flower is flushed with Butane
in an extraction tube, concentrated THC then seeps out onto a glass dish where
is it left to dry into shatter.

The production process should be
confined to chemists in areas where cannabis is legal, as to use Butane can be
dangerous to people who are untrained.

The process of burning off the Butane
oil is not always 100 percent effective, which can lead to traces of it
remaining in the oil being made, which users then obliviously inhale. Butane
being inhaled in this manner can lead
to brain impairment, increased heart rate and dizziness.

In extreme cases, inhaling large amounts
of Butane can lead to death, which is why the manufacturing process is so
dangerous and not advised to those who are not well-versed in the method.

Dangers of consuming

Cannabis shatter is no more dangerous
than smoking cannabis flower itself. However, that does not mean that cannabis
itself is totally devoid of negative side effects.

As previously reported
by the Leaf Desk, cannabis poses a risk to those who may have any underlying
mental health issues, in particular bipolar and schizophrenia.

It can also negatively impact young
people who still have a developing brain, as reported
in recent studies. This is why although cannabis shatter shouldn’t be
particularly demonised, consumption of any cannabis product - especially at a
young age - should come alongside health warnings.

Concentrates are most often the method
of choice for seasoned cannabis users due to the fact that they are typically
much more potent than normal bud. Concentrates mostly fall into a potency range
of between 50 and 80 per cent THC, whereas bud is generally 10 to 25 per cent THC.

This can make opting for the right
dose very difficult for less experienced users, increasing the chance of the
user receiving negative effects if they take too large a dose. This is the
reason why concentrates are not suitable for those without an education on the
differing methods and dosage amounts.

Concern over citizens using
concentrates in countries other than the United States is legitimate, due to
the lack of legalisation and regulation in the respective areas meaning that
cannabis is not liable for product testing, and can subsequently contain excess
solvents and more poisonous additives.

However, concentrates purchased in
states or countries with relevant laws mandate product testing on all cannabis
forms, meaning that users are generally safe to ingest products in the
knowledge that no toxic additives have been included in the manufacturing

CBD concentrates more effective

Contrary to popular belief, not all
concentrates are filled with sky-high amounts of THC. CBD-rich concentrates are
non-intoxicating, with no “high” effects and can be far more affective in
delivering pain relief for those using medicinal cannabis to alleviate pain and

As CBD concentrates are more potent
than edibles or capsules, the user only needs to ingest a very small amount to
achieve the required dosage, as well as to notice a much faster onset of pain
relief than other commonly used methods due to the concentrates sending
cannabinoids straight into the bloodstream.

While concentrates are certainly more
potent than traditional bud, and if used incorrectly can result in experiencing
uncomfortable effects such as feeling anxious or dizzy, high-THC concentrates
are not a new phenomenon, as the commonly-known hash is also a concentrated
resin derived from cannabis.

is the shortened version of the word ‘hashish’, which originates from the
Arabic language which translates to grass. It is thought to have originated
around AD 900. However, it is suspected that it has been used for much longer
than that, due to charas (handmade hash collected from the resin residue on the
hands of cannabis farmers) being produced as a long-standing social tradition
in North India and Nepal.

The first documentation using the term
“hashish” was found
in a pamphlet published in Cairo around 1123 CE, in which the Nizari Muslims
where denounced as being “hashish-eaters”.

Originally Hashish contained high
levels of CBD due to it being grown in Lebanon and Morocco, but the Western
consumers’ desire for THC-rich hash has seen a shift in the market towards
higher THC content.

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