'Tequila of Marijuana': Cannabis Drug Makes its Way to Illinois - NBC Chicago

'Tequila of Marijuana': Cannabis Drug Makes its Way to Illinois

The drug, called Shatter, can be six-times stronger than the average marijuana cigarette, according to Illinois State Police

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    Cannabis Drug Makes its Way to Illinois

    Illinois State Police have made several arrests over a potent drug that has made its way into the state. NBC 5's Katie Kim reports. (Published Wednesday, Nov. 18, 2015)

    Illinois State Police have made several arrests over a potent drug that has made its way into the state.

    The drug, called Shatter, is made by extracting and purifying resin from the cannabis plant, according to Illinois State Police. The finished product contains high levels of tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, which can be six-times stronger than the average marijuana cigarette.

    In August, authorities discovered 105 pounds of Shatter during routine traffic stops in the Grundy County area, which led to the arrests of three people. The drug has become increasingly more available, according to Illinois State Police.

    When created, the drug looks like a sheet of amber or brown glass which can resemble toffee or peanut brittle. The sheet is then broken into smaller pieces, giving the drug its nickname, Shatter.

    It is most commonly used by heating and inhaling the smoke.

    Amanda Lewis is a medical marijuana patient and a reporter with Buzzfeed who said she's tried the drug. She also said making it is more dangerous than smoking it.

    "It's much stronger, it's like the tequila of marijuana," Lewis said.

    "Some of the effects people have mentioned are paranoia, anxiety, panic attacks," DEA spokesman Dennis Wichern said.

    More than 30 house explosions in Colorado in 2014 alone were caused by people trying to make hash oil, or shatter, Wichern said. Lewis said marijuana concentrate obtained legally is typically safe, but the drugs trafficked on the street is a huge concern.

    "You dont know what's in it," Lewis said. "You don't know how clean it is, it was probably made with lighter fluid that contains neurotoxic compounds that are now potentially in your brain."

    Authorities say the high concentration of the drug can be extremely poisonous and destructive to human nerve tissue. Hallucinations, confusion, and violent behavior are some of the symptoms caused by Shatter.

    Creating the drug involves chemicals and gasses which can, and have, resulted in explosions, according to Illinois State Police.

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