(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!



  • 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.

  • I’m the guy that figure out THCa Pseudopolymorphism and this explanation is way off.

    Graeme Masciuch June 12, 2019

    Big statement. Please substantiate it. I don’t mind changing my blogs to be accurate, but making a statement like this without saying what is wrong with the article is..well wrong. I looked you do have knowledge of extractions. If this is incorrect then please say what is wrong. I am all about truth for rosin and my customers. If you figured it out.. share it.

  • I’m the guy that figure out THCa Pseudopolymorphism and this explanation is way off.

    Graeme Masciuch
  • Yeah to each his own, I still enjoy hash with heat and pressure that you can even do at home with parchment paper weapped around kief few times tightly then press with hair straightener on 210 degrees and press for 10-15 seconds as hard as you can about 30 times spaced in between 20 second cool downs and while in between applying heat roll out with a glass bottle or rolling pin to compress more and burst they trich heads. Than I put in freezer for 20 minutes take out and let sit in a dark place with little air ventilation for 2-3 days then I smoke ! Hash all day, most people nowadays smoking tane soup even from dispensaries lol

    Kiffer man
  • Let me share some knowledge for everyone… about BHO
    First of all your Terps will not evaporate unless they reach an ideal temperature..
    Bho is a cold extraction
    At no point does the oil reach 112 degrees.. nor does it reach super critical cooling levels such as co2..

    Now I have weed that smells amazing 2 years later. –
    The smell is there because the Terps have not evaporated..

    When BHO is made..
    The material you want is fresh frozen.. rich with full trichromes they are like balloons.. if one pops the Terps and oils & waxes comes out. ( keep in mind you do not want to pop the heads you want full balloons)
    Once you begin to purge the gas / liquid/ wetness..
    You will notice waxing.. the waxing is from the dry Terps / full balloons that have not popped and still hold structure.
    They won’t ever be fully clean but you can get it very close ..
    Without losing any flavor..

    Dry goods/material = dry goods/material

    If you want shatter supply melt at low temps until glass.
    ( and be careful that is really glassy)
    Shatter becomes dry and Terps only become damaged when the person destroys them.

    To make perfect oil you must never touch the buds themselves.. never grind
    Always fresh always frozen
    The water will evaporate the easiest..
    Purge at 80-110
    Muffin then release till bubbles mellow ..
    Pour one or multiple slab(s) and purge without agitating
    Purge till you see a honeycomb cookie/tray

    Let’s look at other examples

    Bubble hash
    Dry materials dry results
    Short path ( accelerant used – 241 dagrees and above)
    Result – Wet material / fluid
    Much like a short path tho can separate everything including Terps ,cbc,cbn, cbc,isolates ect ..
    241 dagrees and above also

    Bho as a shatter is considered poison according to natural liberty of medicine/HSDB
    Has been associated with nausea,irregular heartbeat,increased risk of cancer & even death
    TERPENES not originally from cannabis are also known to cause death in lab rats when added to cannabis..

    It is horrible that many dispensaries sell oil with Terps that are not from the cannabis plant and is poisoning my friends and family..

    If you care please share this knowledge..


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