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What is Shatter? Side Effects, Dangers, and More

Shatter is another name people use to describe butane hash oil (BHO), which is a powerfully concentrated form of cannabis. Shatter is more potent than other forms of marijuana, and using it can cause short and long-term harm to your mental and physical health.

This article will examine the effects and dangers of using shatter, as well as the signs of marijuana abuse and how to seek treatment. Reach out to the caring specialists at the Mandala Healing Center for help finding the treatment you need or guidance at any stage of your recovery journey. 

What is Shatter?

Shatter is a form of cannabis created through unique extraction methods. The process of making shatter involves using solvents like isopropyl, hexane, and butane to remove cannabinoids and terpenes from marijuana plants. The resulting compounds dry into a brittle solid that resembles amber-colored glass, which can be “shattered” into pieces–giving the drug its name.

The high concentrations of THC and cannabidiol (CBD) in shatter can produce intense intoxication and euphoria in users. Users ingest shatter by using a vape pen or vaporizer, or by heating it in a water pipe and inhaling it. 

Shatter use is associated with several short and long-term side effects and can be addictive for some people. Since shatter contains higher concentrations of THC, it can be more addictive than regular marijuana.

Can You Become Addicted to Shatter?

The leaves and buds of the marijuana plant typically contain relatively low concentrations of THC, but people who abuse THC regularly can develop a tolerance. According to the CDC, approximately 3 in every 10 people who use marijuana have a marijuana use disorder, and many regular users report experiencing mild to moderate symptoms of withdrawal if they suddenly stop using cannabis. People may experience cravings for marijuana or feel they need it to manage anxiety, depression, or other mental health symptoms. 

Cannabis extracts like shatter contain high concentrations of the psychoactive chemical THC–up to 90%. People who habitually use concentrated cannabis products may be more likely to cause physical and psychological dependence. 

Understanding the Effects and Dangers of Shatter

All intoxicating substances, including shatter, have side effects and risks. Marijuana slows activity in the central nervous system (CNS). Because shatter has a higher concentration of psychoactive cannabinoids and terpenes, its side effects may be more potent than other forms of the drug. 

Typical side effects of marijuana include:

  • Headaches
  • Lightheadedness
  • Fatigue
  • Disorientation
  • Hallucinations
  • Dizziness
  • Low blood pressure
  • Faster heart rate

Shatter’s high THC and CBD levels may cause mood changes like fear, anxiety, and panic. People who use shatter may also find it difficult to concentrate and may have impaired coordination.

While many of these side effects develop soon after a person ingests shatter and disappear as the body metabolizes the psychoactive compounds, some side effects can linger long after you use it. These include:

  • Upper respiratory infections
  • High blood pressure
  • Low blood pressure
  • Increased heart rate
  • Compromised immune system
  • Sore throat
  • Airway inflammation

After a prolonged period of heavy use, shatter can change how a person’s brain functions and impair communication between parts of the brain and body. Over time, these chemical changes in the brain can make learning and retaining new information, creating new memories, and focusing harder.

Shatter Withdrawal: Symptoms and Treatment

If someone uses shatter heavily or for a long time, they may develop symptoms of dependence. People who stop using shatter aren’t likely to have intense withdrawal symptoms common in withdrawal from other types of substances. However, they may experience mild withdrawal symptoms that can make it difficult to stop using the drug, including:

  • Feeling anxious or fearful
  • A sense of general uneasiness
  • Excessive excitement
  • Sweating
  • Confusion
  • Irritability
  • Difficulty falling asleep or frequently waking throughout the night
  • Cravings or urges to use cannabis

There may be a psychological component to shatter dependence, and people may feel they need to use the drug to get through the day. 

People who use shatter for a long time may develop physical and emotional dependence on it and require treatment to stop. Comprehensive addiction programs can help people identify the complex roots of their substance use and learn the skills to stop using. 

Marijuana addiction treatment plans typically include evidence-based and holistic therapies like:

  • Individual behavioral therapy
  • Group counseling
  • Family therapy
  • Medications to manage withdrawal symptoms and reduce cravings
  • Mental health treatment
  • Relapse prevention education
  • Exercise, mindfulness, nutrition support, and other holistic treatments to improve overall well-being during rehab

After completing treatment, people must develop and follow a relapse prevention plan to keep them committed to sobriety and connected to a supportive recovery community. 

Find Treatment for Shatter Abuse Now

We believe that people with substance abuse and addiction can recover if they have the support and care they need. If you or someone you love struggles with shatter abuse, contact the supportive Mandala Healing Center specialists to learn about our holistic treatment programs. 


  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC): Addiction (Marijuana or Cannabis Use Disorder), Retrieved August 2023 from
  2. National Library of Medicine: Characterizing marijuana concentrate users: A web-based survey, Retrieved August 2023 from
  3. Taylor & Francis Online: Butane hash oil and dabbing: insights into use, amateur production techniques, and potential harm mitigation, Retrieved August 2023 from