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Dear Mama: Wax, Crumble, & Shatter

What’s with the whole wax, crumble and shatter stuff and how is it made?

Thanks, Dee in Northern Arizona

Here it can get so confusing and there were also recent law changes, so it gets even more messy. Let’s start with your question and then let me give you a little warning about purchasing them.

The products you listed are all forms of concentrated cannabis. Like the name indicates, the THC levels can also be very concentrated, often testing at over 80%THC. Using them in inhalation form is called ‘dabs’, and many people use very specific tools and equipment to smoke this concentrated form of cannabis. Is it ok to call it fancy hash? I’d say that if flower is beer, concentrates are the shot of whiskey.

Personally, this old lady likes to use them as an add-in on top of a bowl of less than desirable cannabis. Sometimes, on a day where I need additional help controlling pain I will add a little concentrate to my bong bowl of flower, to increase the normal medicines effects. I also have a little electronic device that is an awesome way to get a little more potent medicine when needed. It has coils and can hold almost any kind of concentrate without needing a fancy dab set up.

Basically, cannabis concentrates are any form of concentrated cannabis that is obtained through an extraction process. Usually solvents such as hydrocarbons, like butane, CO2, or ethanol, are used to extract the properties of the plant without the plant material. There are lots of other methods, including all the good old fashioned hash methods like ice or bubble. Trapping the trichomes, full of cannabis medicine and leaving behind the plant matter that carries and produces all these wonderful compounds.

The different names help users identify its consistency and sometimes its process. Shatter is much like the name, glass like and will crack or “shatter”. Wax looks so much like ear wax, get the picture. Crumble? You guessed it, it crumbles. They can be strain specific or made in batches of multiple strains. You can usually buy it in various levels of purity, prices increasing as the purity increases. We have had some great deep talks on concentrates here at The Cannabis Cactus, so be sure to do a search on our website to get more clear process discussions.

A few newer forms are recently causing a stir, like live resin, my favorite, which is made from fresh buds that are usually flash frozen at harvest and retain much of terpenes and oils in the flavor of the finished product. Or the famous moonrccks or caviar, which is a flower bud, rolled in a form of concentrate then rolled in kief. Mmmm mmm good.

Not everyone is in to concentrates, but there are a few other uses for them besides ‘doing dabs’ (inhaling concentrates). I find that they are a great way to make edibles at home if you are new to dosing and want to know exactly how much medicine is in your cookie. Using my ballpark method, if your cannabis tests at 85% THC, then you can estimate that one gram of concentrate will have 850 milligrams of THC. I would melt that carefully into a pound of butter and you have a pound of 850mg butter to cook with. You can then do the math to determine dosage of your baked or cooked item by serving. Let’s say your recipe calls for a cup of butter and makes 85 cookies; each cookie would be 10mgs. If you can find a high quality, strain specific concentrate for your cookies you can control exactly how the cookies will affect you in dosage and the strain’s characteristics, like relaxation or energy and focus. Just be sure to ask for test results on the concentrate you buy. Then make your math teacher proud.

The messy part of concentrates right now is that I can not talk about concentrates without mentioning that currently, in Arizona, the courts have determined them to not be covered under the Arizona Medical Marijuana Laws. Long story short, the courts in Yavapai county recently interpreted the Arizona Medical Marijuana Program law as only covering flower buds of cannabis and not any of the products made from extracting the properties of the plant from the plant material. The shops continue to offer them for sale. They are available in most all shops in Arizona despite their current status as illegal. Maricopa County seems to have taken a wait and see approach while Yavapai and other counties have arrested those found to be in possession of concentrates. As of today, we are awaiting the supreme court of Arizona, who has agreed to hear the case, to determine the future of concentrate sales and manufacture, in Arizona.

Stay Lifted, Mama

Laura Mastropietro

Laura Mastropietro, former cannabis co-op grower and patient advocate, consultant, Edible Chef for two edible lines, featured in ‘Cannabis Saved my Life’ by Elizabeth Limbach, currently curates a learning hub called, stays active in the cannabis community while running a restaurant and commercial bakery in beautiful Sedona Arizona. Wife, Mother, Grandmother, with a full beautiful life and toss in a life altering disease, cannabis is the magic that helps her keep it all going. Have a cannabis question? Send it to Dear Mama at



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