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© 2017 MERRY JANE. All Rights Reserved.

Shatter Madness: Not Your Parents' Weed

The media perpetuates myths surrounding shatter extractions.

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Sound the alarm. A new menace has crept into homes and now teens are trying an entirely new narcotic called shatter. The media has been running stories that describe shatter as 'marijuana on steroids' to a drug that's 'up to six times stronger than the average marijuana cigarette.' The only thing alarming is that major new sources are running myth-packed shatter stories as fact.

“Authorities say the high concentration of the drug can be extremely poisonous and destructive to human nerve tissue,” a reporter at NBC in Illinois wrote. “Hallucinations, confusion, and violent behavior are some of the symptoms caused by [shatter].” Shatter, or butane-extracted hash oil, is definitely not a new drug, it's simply a marijuana extract.

Call them exaggerations or call it hype, but that's the way shatter is being portrayed in the media. Shatter has made its way to Canada as well. The police aren't having it. Mike Serr is deputy chief constable and chair of the drug abuse committee for the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police. "This is basically marijuana on steroids,” said Serr. “It's 30 to 90 percent highly concentrated. Some users have referred to it as smoking three joints at once. The people who are looking for the next level of high are seeking out these types of product.”

Just to prove how gullible the unsuspecting public can be, some readers had the misfortune of reposting a story about 37 marijuana overdoses on the first day of recreational marijuana in Colorado. Michael Pristoop, a police chief in Annapolis, MD cited the satirical story as fact when he testified against the decriminalization of marijuana. After experiencing Pristoop's slip, Senator Jamie Raskin was dumbfounded. “It makes sense this would be the first article to leap to his attention, because there's no data out there to support his position,” Raskin told the Huffington Post. "This is marijuana prohibition's last stand, citing a hoax article from the Internet."

Untrained extraction artists are making the situation worse by causing periodic explosions. Butane, the volatile solvent used in the process, is to blame. Angelo Valente, executive director of the Partnership for a Drug Free New Jersey, issued a shatter alert on New Jersey's 101.5 FM. “This is extremely dangerous, there are many home explosions in this process,” Valente warned. “So there’s not only concern about the use of this type of a chemical going into a child or a young person’s body, but also the immediate concern about explosions that we might be seeing in the state of New Jersey.”

Not everyone is buying it. Leafly ran a report on the wild accusations in media coverage. “If you were to read them in their full face-palmy glory, you’d think we were talking about some hardcore back alley drug that has no business in any well-adjusted adult’s life. And you’d never believe that patients actually use extracts medicinally,” Bailey Rahn wrote.

Good shatter is typically 80-90 percent THC, which is good and bad. Great for a packed punch. Great for avoiding plant material and contaminants. On the other side, there are solid reasons for avoiding concentrates to preserve your tolerance level. Flowers, of course, are the natural experience. Take your pick.