Shatter is the most brittle form of THC rich cannabis extracts, though it's not always brittle. It varies greatly in texture from clear and glass-like to sticky taffy, to brown sugar; and in colour from pale yellow to dark amber. Variations on the final form are produced, to make the product less sticky and easier to handle, and sold under different names such as "wax", "budder" and "honey-comb".
Shatter is sought after by many THC extract connoisseurs for its clear taste that expresses mostly the terpenes and cannabinoids of the source plant.
The process of producing shatter involves blasting dried marijuana flowers, or trim, with solvent(s) (usually butane, N-tane, or super-cooled pressurized CO2) to extract the THC, terpenes, and other cannabinoids. The resulting product is sometimes "winterized" or "polished" (sometimes simply using ethanol) to remove lipids and other unwanted plant contaminants. It then gets cured in vacuum ovens to remove the solvent(s) (not necessary for CO2 extracts). Some manufacturers then add terpenes (the flavourful plant compounds) to the product, either from the same source material or an external source, to add taste, or to re-introduce flavours that may have been lost during the extraction process.
Shatter is usually consumed by vaporizing, dabbing, or smoking. Low temperature dabbing or vaporizing generally offers the best taste experience.
Like all other cannabis extracts, a shatter's quality is directly related to the quality of the plant product used; the extraction process, the solvent(s) used and the process(es) used to remove them; as well as the additive(s) if any.