Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) agents in Houston are seeing an increasing amount of a type of high-potency marijuana known as “shatter,” ABC7NY reports.
Some forms of shatter have as much as 90 percent THC, the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana.
That is about five times the potency of unrefined smoked marijuana. It is more powerful than standard hash oil. Shatter is a thin, hard layer that is similar to glass. It can shatter if dropped.
The drug, also called wax or 710, is a concentrated form of marijuana oil. “If you’re looking at something that has three, five, seven, or nine percent THC content, that’s a drastic difference to somebody that is consuming something with 80 or 90 percent THC content,” said Wendell Campbell, DEA special agent.
Houston DEA agents report an increase in marijuana concentrate seizures in the past year, the article notes. The concentrates are often hidden in beauty product containers.
The Drug Enforcement Administration, in its 2015 National Drug Threat Assessment, said that marijuana concentrates are growing in popularity and that the drug’s ease of use through portable vaporizers presented new challenges to law enforcement.
“Marijuana concentrates are extracted from leafy marijuana in many ways, but the most frequently used, and potentially most dangerous, method is butane extraction,” the DEA stated. “The butane extraction method uses highly flammable butane gas and has resulted in numerous explosions and injuries, particularly on the West Coast, where production is most common.”
In December, The Washington Post reported shatter is appearing on the East Coast. The product is legal for recreational use in Colorado and Washington, and is sold in medical marijuana dispensaries in other states, the newspaper notes. It is faster-acting and much more easily hidden than marijuana.