(Updated March 2018)
Any fan of shatter and/or pull n snap hash oil will tell you that they have at some point experienced a “sugaring up” effect in their product. Some claim that this is a cause of condensation build up in the wax, while others claim that improper dewaxing could be the cause.


Dispensaries are responding to this by placing discounts on wax that has sugared up. So what is the truth behind why some wax sugars and why others do not? Is sugaring a sign that a sample has reached a shelf life? Is sugared up shatter an inferior product?

Polymorphism or “nucleation” is what happens when lipids and/or contaminants left in a sample of shatter begin to separate from the cannabinoids they homogenized with during the extraction process. . The trichomes are just looking to revert back to their natural state. This happens for several reasons and cannot be attributed to a single causation.

  • Strains with higher lipid content in the trichome heads, in other words a more dense waxy cuticle layer surrounding the bulbous head of the trichomes, tend to sugar up more when made to shatter. Also, other strains contain terpenes that are hydrophilic, meaning they attract water.
  • Contamination and or/agitation of the sample (dust, pollen, water, etc…) either during or post processing can also cause nucleation to begin in susceptible strains. As aforementioned, some strains contain hydrophilic terpenes that will increase the chance of water entering into the sample if it has been improperly stored.
  • Winterization, otherwise known as “dewaxing,” is a process used to remove the lipids from the finished product. Often, these lipids can be harsh on the lungs and unpleasant to inhale. This is why some hash users prefer a dewaxed product. This does not guarantee that a sample will not sugar up, but the process will certainly help.
  • Nucleation can also be triggered by changes in temperature, humidity, or overexposure to oxygen over a period of time. This is why proper storage of shatter is essential.

Some people claim that moisture in the starting material sample will cause nucleation to occur. This is only partially true in that moisture can be a trigger for nucleation just as any contaminant in the product has the potential to be. Besides, winterization solves this issue as well.

Sugared up shatter is not bad. It is still very safe to consume. Some hash connoisseurs prefer dabbing sugars over shatter. Their argument: it tastes better. Valuable terpenes are often lost during winterization. Not only are these terpenes responsible for the flavor, but they have the ability to modulate cannabinoid synthesis. It is because of this that some processors seek to recreate sugar in the lab. Others go a step further by adding back strain specific terpenes to samples.

To conclude, some strains will always sugar up regardless of winterization. Others will almost never sugar up, especially if dewaxing occurs. In the end, the best thing to do to avoid sugaring up is to store wax sealed in a cool, dark, dry place with little exposure to air movement. This will help ensure that your wax doesn’t prematurely sugar up. Also, be careful when handling your shatter. Don’t panic if your wax sugars up, it’s still perfectly dabbable.

Some fans of sugared product love the taste, (claims of a stronger and more flavorful product are not to be dismissed). Either way you like your products, sugaring will not harm your may even make it more tasty!



  • Greta wells..that is not shatter you have..that is fake black market dabs and I have bought countless packs over the past 5 months and its hell dont smoke it there are articles on facebook right now explaining what this is exactly but I cant stress dont smoke it!!

    Cody Green
  • I just purchased some shatter and it’s practically powder. Is there any way to make it the consistency of shatter again? I’m really pissed about this. The powder is flying everywhere

    Greta Wells
  • Sept 16/2019
    The past two weeks from this date. From two completely different guys. That i normally purchase from. Have definitely served me some of that sugar wax stuff. I can agree to flavours. I did read this entire article. And found that interest. Sugars…waxing…flavours.
    What i did not read or see about. Is this entirely new shatter. That when i hold it in my fingers. It doesnt gum together. Like many yrs prior…type of shatters. Its like glass. Will not bind together between fingers! Stays as glass. Wtf? Infact the taste is so chemically inclined. I cant even describe in words the taste. Gross. Ive smoked many brands. Many grams. Ive never encountered white powder on my shatter. Is it true? Do they micro dose meth into shatter? Phyto had a bad wrap about this i thought. Or is that fiction? Either way. Ive washed my rig. Etc. Opened new bag. Etc. It still tastes. Gross. Any feedback is not bad feed back.
    The yaba dab a doo guy

  • Lol hipsters ruin it faster than impurities 🤣🤘🐰

  • Heat and moisture A.K.A. Summertime can be a massive thread to your tasty extracts.

    If your local supply uses Cellophane type wrap instead of paper, this can lead to an awful rubber/plastic taste to become imparted on your once-shatter-now-brownsugar product.

    And as for a previous comment about the technical process of purging/pressurizing BHO: please do not recommend people ever bring their pressure-ovens higher than 94F; The negative pressure will achieve full purge at 88-92F over 72hr. Flipping of slabs every 6/8 hours is suggested instead.


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