Shatter – What Difference Does Your Concentrate Color Really Make

What Difference Does Your Concentrate Color Really Make

When it comes to choosing between two concentrates, one of the key factors which many of us recreational users will identify is the color. This is something which we react to probably without much scientific backing, and a choice which is more based off rumors we have heard and the forming of a routine than anything else.

Within this decision, there is certainly some bias. We are automatically attracted to the lighter shade of shatter. We have some pre-conception which has developed over time. This tells us that the lighter shade is somehow better, whether that be in terms of potency or quality.

In any case, the general consensus is certainly more favorable to a color which is lighter. Here we will set out to dispel this concept as a myth, and show that despite their broadly oppressed existence, shatter of darker shades can be equally as high quality and potent, if not even more so that their lighter counterparts.

The Fundamentals of Shatter- What is it?

In order to delve deeper into the issue of how important your shatter color actually is, we first have to recap on the basics of what it actually is, and how it comes about. Essentially, the term “shatter” along with a raft of other terms you may hear, is slang referring to cannabis concentrates. Just as the name suggests, these feature more concentrated amounts of the chemicals which cause the “high” from your favorite plants. These cannabinoids are extracted from the plant in a scientific manner which ultimately leads the creation of shatter. This can result in a product with an extremely high THC content, in some cases upwards of 75%. The potency of the concentrate is something which makes it valuable, particularly among more experienced users, or those seeking a more intense or speedy high.

This process is typically completed by isolating the buds, and running a solvent through them to extract the chemicals from the plant. After the chemicals have been extracted, the solvent is then burned off. What it leaves behind is a glass-like textured layer, with what many people describe as the color of honey. It is this color that we then have some discrimination towards. Ideally, in the minds of many experienced dabbers, this process should result in light, golden colored shatter, which is also somewhat transparent. The reality, however, is subject to many variables which we will examine further.

Factors That Determine the Color of Shatter

Certainly we may prefer that light golden color of concentrate, and this has absolutely been associated with higher quality shatter (though only in the mind). So, what are the reasons behind the changing shade? Why exactly does some of your concentrate appear as that prized light golden color, and others as almost brown? The answer to this can be determined by a number of factors which not only disprove the lighter color equals better quality argument but show that in many cases, you might actually prefer a darker shade which can be of overall better quality.


The age of the cannabis flower itself is a very important determining factor as to how the final color will turn out. Generally speaking, the younger a cannabis plant is, or fresher the actual cannabis flowers are, the lighter the resulting color of your shatter will turn out. On the other hand, when plants have become more mature, that is if the trichomes on the plant are developed particularly well, the resulting outcome tends to be a darker amber shade. The bottom line with this scenario is actually the reverse, where the plant quality can be more developed and of higher quality and maturity, your end color can turn out to be much darker, in some cases even close to brown.


This reason combines to factors to display how in many cases, a darker shade is more preferable than a lighter shade when it comes to your cannabis concentrate. As previously referred to, the process of extracting and perfecting the concentrate utilizes solvents such as BHO. These solvents also range in color which can produce a varying end result. There are also other options which are completely solvent-free. These options often prove to be very popular among users who are conscious of the impact of solvents. The end result though, if that these derivatives such as rosin, tend to be a naturally darker color. This purity, or a purging process which is completely thorough can both produce an end product which is ultimately darker that what some opinions would term “perfect”.

There are a variety of other issues which can occur throughout the delicate extraction process which may change the color of the end product. This could be dependent upon exposure to heat or if the concentrate was left out to dry for a sustained period of time.


It goes without saying that what goes into the mix will certainly impact the end result. In many cases, it can be found where more parts of the plant have been incorporated. With so many active chemicals in the plant, this is certainly bound to have a resulting impact on the outcome.

One of the thoughts among many who enjoy concentrates is that the ultimate goal should be to isolate the CBD or THC as effectively as possible in order to provide the “best”, most pure experience. In theory this may be ok, but in practice, each concentrate is very different. Far from being a negative point, including some left over plant can create a compounding effect which can enhance the high experienced by users.


Everything changes under certain conditions. Cannabis, and certainly concentrates are no different. The extraction process is a thing of precision. This means that if conditions such as heat, time, and humidity change, so too does the resulting shade of your shatter. These are all factors which may lead to the darkening of a concentrate, though that is not necessarily a negative. With slight changes, and the reaction of different compounds within the mixture, surprisingly positive results can be noticed within your next concentrate high.

Which Shade of Shatter is better?

This is the question which keeps popping up to be answered. Which color concentrate is actually better? This will again vary from person to person and be highly dependent upon preference. The lighter color concentrates are more likely to come from younger plants which have also utilized a lighter type of solvent and are more likely to produce a more energetic high.

On the other hand, for those who prefer a more grounded, body high, some of the darker concentrates have been known to produce effectively on this front. As we can clearly see from examination of their differing factors, overall quality is not something which is changed by the shade of the shatter. Certainly, people may have their preferences just as they do with any types of cannabis or products, color however, is clearly not something that can define quality in this regard.

Similarly to how terpenes can shape the scent and flavor of your cannabis which may be preferred from one user to another, the shade of shatter is something which is a very subjective issue. In reality, the only time you need to be genuinely concerned about the true quality of your concentrate is if it sports a black or green appearance. This is a key indication to walk away from your purchase. The black color, which should not be transparent at all when held to light, indicates that it has not been refined enough and is best suited to ingestion. The green color concentrate, on the other hand, is a certain no go. This shade tell us that chlorophyll was extracted into the oil, and thus should not be experimented with.

As a final point for consideration, those concentrates which are solvent free, and thus tend to be of a darker shade, may be suited to those who wish to avoid some of the chemicals used in the solvent based extraction process.


In conclusion, we can note that the concept of a darker shaded concentrate being of lower quality is a fundamentally flawed assumption. This has been propagated through a mixture of time, rumor, and most likely the visual connection between something clear and an association drawn that this equals better quality.

There are a variety of reasons why the shade may be darker, from solvent types, processing methods, and parts of the cannabis flower used as well as its age and maturity. This absolutely creates a number of different shatter or concentrate categories with slightly varying tastes and results, but is certainly no clear indication of quality. If you are going to dab in the near future, try out and new shade and see the difference for yourself!

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