Learn how to use vaping temperature to control your high.

Contents:

Vaping cannabis has exploded in popularity. This modern alternative to smoking has gained traction as a potentially healthier option. The lack of combustion and carcinogenic substances makes vaping easier on the lungs. Plus, lower temperatures help to preserve the complex flavour of each strain. In contrast, smoking exposes the herb to violently high temperatures. Whether bud is burned with a basic flint-and-steel lighter or a blowtorch, it’s still getting burnt.

Modern vaporization technology allows cannabis lovers to vape their bud at a range of temperatures. Not only does this level of control make vaping easier on the pulmonary system, but it also allows users to customise every single hit. This groundbreaking innovation has changed the way people enjoy cannabis, unlocking an ability to target specific molecules, tastes, and effects.

WHY VAPORIZER TEMPERATURE MATTERS FOR CANNABIS

The cannabis plant is an organic chemical factory. Its flowers produce small, mushroom-shaped outgrowths called trichomes. These tiny structures pump out resin loaded with psychoactive and medicinal molecules. Among this repertoire are over 100 cannabinoids, more than 100 terpenes, and numerous flavonoids. By modifying vaporization temperature, cannabis users can optimise the concentration of specific molecules in each hit.

Every cultivar contains varying levels of cannabinoids and terpenes. THC—one of the most common cannabinoids—provides a psychotropic high and a long list of therapeutic qualities. In contrast, CBD offers powerful therapeutic qualities without any psychotropic effect. Most modern strains offer high levels of THC. However, breeders have recently developed strains containing high levels of CBD, or strains with a 1:1 ratio of the two cannabinoids.

Science is starting to pay more attention to other major and minor cannabinoids. Research has already confirmed that CBG (cannabigerol) offers painkilling and anti-inflammatory effects. THCV (tetrahydrocannabivarin) can help to suppress the effects of THC and may combat pain and inflammation. CBC (cannabichromene) appears to reduce swelling and preserve mammalian brain cells. This is just the tip of the iceberg! As the science progresses, more data will surely begin to surface.

And let’s not forget about our friends, the terpenes. These aromatic molecules can be found all throughout the plant kingdom. Terpenes provide the signature scents and tastes of each cannabis cultivar, but their function isn’t limited to sensory pleasure. These molecules offer a host of therapeutic effects and are even believed to synergise[1]with cannabinoids to produce more pronounced medicinal effects. Myrcene is one of the most abundant terpenes within all cannabis cultivars. The chemical provides tastes of earthiness and cloves, and is known for its relaxing and sedating effects.

Myrcene enhances the anti-inflammatory effects of CBD, as well as the muscle-relaxing effects of THC. Caryophyllene is another major terpene found in cannabis flowers, contributing tastes of pepper and spice. Also recognised as a "dietary cannabinoid", the terpene is capable of producing anti-inflammatory effects[2] by binding to CB2 receptors of the endocannabinoid system.

Cannabis users often select strains based on their cannabinoid and terpene concentration. Recreational users may choose a high-THC strain for maximal psychoactive effects. They might also look for a variety high in myrcene to ensure a sedating high. By comparison, medicinal users might opt for a strain high in CBD, with a good caryophyllene profile to boost the anti-inflammatory effects.

By altering vaping temperature, cannabis users can ensure they receive maximum levels of the desired constituents. Plus, playing around with temperature settings can make each hit more pleasant. Users can set their devices to low temperatures while still getting all of the desired molecules. This allows for smooth hits loaded with cannabinoids, that are also less harsh on the throat and lungs.Below, we’ll discuss how to use temperature settings to zero-in on certain cannabis chemicals.

THE SCIENCE OF VAPORIZING CANNABINOIDS AND TERPENES

Every molecule has a specific boiling point. When exposed to a certain temperature, terpenes and cannabinoids transform into vapor. However, these boiling points vary among the different constituents. In truth, the boiling points of many cannabinoids and terpenes have yet to be confirmed. Cannabis science is still in the early stages—thanks to decades of prohibition. There’s a bunch of conflicting information out there regarding which molecules evaporate at which temperatures.There are some rough guidelines and a couple of seemingly reliable guides. However, at this point, it’s largely a matter of trial of error. Cannabis users should experiment with different strains and temperature ranges to find the results that work best for them.

ISOLATING THC AND CBD WITH VAPORIZER TEMPERATURES

Some cannabis molecules do have very similar boiling points. For example, THC evaporates at a boiling point of 157°C/314.6°F. CBD evaporates at a slightly higher temperature range of 160–180°C/320–356°F. Is it possible to isolate these molecules during vaporization? Maybe with an incredibly accurate vape, but the chances are low. Plus, THC will evaporate before the boiling point for CBD has even been reached.If you’re seeking significant levels of THC or CBD, it’s best to start off with a strain high in either cannabinoid. High-THC strains include Royal Gorilla and Fat Banana. For high-CBD strains, check out our top 5 list from 2019 here.

Vaporizers

THE IDEAL TEMPERATURE BRACKETS FOR VAPORIZING CANNABIS

Cannabis users can expect different psychoactive effects at different temperature ranges. This will, of course, vary depending on the strain and the individual. Below is a rough outline of the effects produced by each temperature bracket.

LOW: 119–159°C/246–318°F

Vaping within this temperature range will liberate THC. This bracket will also target numerous terpenes that add pleasant tastes and therapeutic effects. Let’s take a look at the main target molecules.

• Caryophyllene: 119°C/246°F

Caryophyllene is a dominant terpene within most cannabis strains. The molecule is also referred to as a dietary cannabinoid due to its presence within food sources such as black pepper, and its action on the CB2 receptor. Caryophyllene may help to manage pain by reducing inflammation.

CARYOPHYLLENE
CATEGORY Terpene
EFFECT Reduce inflammation
PSYCHOACTIVITY Non-psychoactive
FLAVOR Spicy
STRAIN Sweet ZZ

• β-sitosterol: 134°C/273°F

β-sitosterol is one of several flavonoids found within cannabis. The molecule has demonstrated anti-inflammatory activity[3].

Β-SITOSTEROL
CATEGORY Flavonoid
EFFECT Anti-inflammatory
PSYCHOACTIVITY Non-psychoactive
FLAVOR Unflavored

• α-pinene: 156°C/312°F

α-pinene adds delicious tastes of pine and rosemary to this temperature bracket. The terpene is associated with anti-anxiety effects and may help to prevent the adverse effects of THC, such as short-term memory impairment. α-pinene may also synergise with THC to increase airflow to the lungs.

A-PINENE
CATEGORY Terpene
EFFECT Anti-anxiety
PSYCHOACTIVITY Non-psychoactive
FLAVOR Pine, Rosemary
STRAIN Haze Berry

• THC: 157°C/314°F

THC is the main psychotropic component in cannabis. The cannabinoid penetrates the blood-brain barrier and activates CB1 receptors in the central nervous system. THC alters the firing pattern of neurons and catalyses an acute rise in the neurotransmitter dopamine. This results in euphoria, happiness, giggles, and increased appetite. High levels of THC can induce a profound altered state of consciousness that causes anxiety in some users.

THC
CATEGORY Cannabinoid
EFFECT Euphoria and happiness
PSYCHOACTIVITY Psychoactive
FLAVOR Unflavored
STRAIN Hulkberry

• CBD: 160–180°C/320–356°F

CBD induces a relaxing and calming effect, but it’s not psychoactive in the same sense at THC—it can’t get you high. Instead, CBD is known to counteract some of the effects of THC by temporarily blocking CB1 receptors. CBD is also believed to act via numerous other molecular pathways to decrease inflammation and impart antioxidant and neuroprotective effects.

CBD
CATEGORY Cannabinoid
EFFECT Antioxidant, neuroprotective
PSYCHOACTIVITY Non-psychoactive
FLAVOR Olive oil or Hemp seed
STRAIN Solomatic CBD

LOW/MEDIUM: 160–180°C/320–392°F

Vaping within this temperature range invites some extremely interesting molecules to the party. If you’re vaping high-CBD flowers, this is the optimal range to release the molecule alongside key terpenes. If you’re vaping high-THC flowers, you’ll unleash a lot more terpenes at this temperature.

• Myrcene: 166–168°C/330–334°F

Myrcene is the most common terpene within cannabis, and it becomes available within this temperature bracket. The molecule provides tastes of earthiness, grapes, and spice. Myrcene exerts a slightly sedating effect and is the chemical behind the relaxing properties of most indica cultivars.

MYRCENE
CATEGORY Terpene
EFFECT Relaxing
PSYCHOACTIVITY Non-psychoactive
FLAVOR Grapes, spice
STRAIN Dance World

• Δ8-THC: 175–178°/347–352°F

Δ8-THC adds a subtle psychoactive kick to this temperature bracket. It’s an analogue of THC that binds to CB1 receptors to produce anti-nausea, anti-anxiety, appetite-stimulating, painkilling, and neuroprotective effects. However, Δ8-THC only occurs in cannabis in very small amounts. Additionally, it has a lower psychoactive potency than its more common counterpart.

Δ8-THC
CATEGORY Cannabinoid
EFFECT Anti-nausea
PSYCHOACTIVITY Psychoactive
FLAVOR Unflavored

• Cineole: 176°C/348°F

Cineole is a fascinating terpene. It’s one of the main components of eucalyptus, yet is quite rare in modern-day cannabis strains. The terpene has demonstrated[4] anti-viral, painkilling, anti-fungal, antibiotic, and anti-inflammatory effects. Cineole also increases cerebral blood flow.

CINEOLE
CATEGORY Terpene
EFFECT Anti-viral
PSYCHOACTIVITY Non-psychoactive
FLAVOR Eucalyptus

• Limonene: 177°C/350°F

Limonene infuses cannabis vapor with hints of citrus. The molecule makes the effects of THC more cerebral and euphoric. In animal research[5], limonene reduced anxiety and boosted serotonin levels in the prefrontal cortex, as well as dopamine levels in the hippocampus.

LIMONENE
CATEGORY Terpene
EFFECT Boost dopamine
PSYCHOACTIVITY Non-psychoactive
FLAVOR Citrus
STRAIN Green Gelato

• p-cymene: 177°C/350°F

p-cymene is found in cumin and thyme. It contributes a sweet and citrusy aroma, and has been shown in animal studies to display a sedating effect[6].

P-CYMENE
CATEGORY Terpene
EFFECT Sedative
PSYCHOACTIVITY Non-psychoactive
FLAVOR Sweet, citrus
STRAIN Sour Diesel

• Apigenin: 178°C/352°F

Apigenin is another flavonoid found in the cannabis plant. This molecule exerts anti-anxiety effects and is the key anxiolytic agent found in chamomile flowers. Impressively, it acts on the same receptors as benzodiazepines, yet doesn’t cause the side effects of amnesia or sedation.

APIGENIN
CATEGORY Flavonoid
EFFECT Anxyiolitic
PSYCHOACTIVITY Non-psychoactive
FLAVOR Chamomille

MEDIUM/HIGH: 181–200°C/357–392°F

This temperature range adds further therapeutic properties to cannabis vapor. The addition of a particular cannabinoid also adds a sedating and relaxing edge.

• Cannflavin A: 182°C/356°F

Cannflavin A is a flavonoid found in larger quantities within cannabis leaves. The molecule possesses impressive anti-inflammatory[7] properties.

CANNFLAVIN A
CATEGORY Flavonoid
EFFECT Anti-inflammatory
PSYCHOACTIVITY Non-psychoactive
FLAVOR Nutty
STRAIN OG Kush

• CBN: 185°C/365°F

CBN (cannabinol) was the first cannabinoid isolated from cannabis. Unlike other cannabinoids, it’s not made in the plant via enzymatic reactions. Instead, CBN results from the degradation of THC. CBN will add an element of sedation to the high, alongside anti-inflammatory effects. CBN also shows promise as an anticonvulsant and may reduce the symptoms of psoriasis.

CBN
CATEGORY Cannabinoid
EFFECT Anticonvulsant
PSYCHOACTIVITY Psychoactive
FLAVOR Unflavored
STRAIN Royal AK

• Linalool: 198°C/388°F

Linalool adds a potent floral aroma to many cannabis cultivars, with hints of lavender and citrus. The terpene is responsible for several of the potential therapeutic properties of cannabis. The molecule possesses antidepressant, anti-anxiety, and immunopotentiating properties—it directly enhances several immune functions.

LINALOOL
CATEGORY Terpene
EFFECT Antidepressant
PSYCHOACTIVITY Non-psychoactive
FLAVOR Floral
STRAIN Special Kush 1

HIGH: 201°C+/393°F+

This is the high end of the temperature spectrum. Here, further beneficial cannabinoids and terpenes evaporate. However, things are starting to get hot. This is where vaping becomes more like smoking and some detrimental molecules turn into gases. Although this temperature range is thought to release all of the beneficial compounds within cannabis flowers, it’s a fine balance between optimal vaporization and releasing harmful chemicals.

• Benzene: 205–365°C/401–689°F

Unfortunately, the beneficial molecules in this temperature bracket come along with a hit of benzene. This carcinogen is one reason many cannabis users are abandoning smoking. Although benzene has a boiling point of 80°C, some vape models have been proven to eliminate the chemical up to temperatures of 200°C. So far, there’s no confirmed figure of the vaporization point of benzene in cannabis consumption. Some reports suggest the number could be as high as 365°C.

Terpineol: 218°C/424°F

Terpineol provides a subtle scent of lilac and commonly appears in perfumes and cosmetics. The terpene has demonstrated multiple therapeutic[8] effects, including anti-malarial, antibiotic, antioxidant, and sedative properties.

TERPINEOL
CATEGORY Terpene
EFFECT Anti-malarial
PSYCHOACTIVITY Non-psychoactive
FLAVOR Lilac

• THCV: 220°C/428°F

THCV (tetrahydrocannabivarin) evaporates at higher temperatures. This cannabinoid is an analogue of THC and occurs in minor concentrations. However, cultivars high in the cannabinoid do exist. THCV works to activate and block CB1 receptors. The cannabinoid is associated with anticonvulsant properties[9] and has shown the ability to combat pain and inflammation. THCV may also assist with weight loss and fat metabolism.

THCV
CATEGORY Cannabinoid
EFFECT Combat pain
PSYCHOACTIVITY Psychoactive
FLAVOR Unflavored

• Pulegone: 224°C/435°F

Pulegone generates a pleasant odour of peppermint and camphor. Heating your vape to these temperatures might be worth it to access this terpene[10]. The molecule exerts memory-boosting and sedating effects. Some evidence also suggests that pulegone can combat fevers.

PULEGONE
CATEGORY Terpene
EFFECT Memory-boosting
PSYCHOACTIVITY Non-psychoactive
FLAVOR Peppermint

• Quercetin: 250°C/482°F

Quercetin is a cannabis flavonoid with an antioxidant[11] potency that rivals that of vitamin C. The molecule also possesses antiviral and antineoplastic effects.

QUERCETIN
CATEGORY Flavonoid
EFFECT Antiviral
PSYCHOACTIVITY Non-psychoactive
FLAVOR Bitter

TIPS FOR FINDING THE IDEAL VAPORIZER TEMPERATURE

Identifying the best vaporization temperature will vary from person to person and from strain to strain. It’ll largely depend on the desired outcome. Recreational users seeking mostly THC can keep their temps medium. Medicinal users might want to boost temps to access more molecules, while keeping them low enough to avoid carcinogens. Here are some key tips to finding the right vape range for you:

• Research your vape before you buy it

Not all vaporizers offer the luxury of altering the temperature range. If you want the liberty of targeting specific temperatures, you’ll need to buy a vape that’ll let you. Here are some tips to help you choose the right model.

• Just wanna get high?

If that’s the case, you can save your lungs some work and keep temperatures at a maximum of 170°C. You’ll evaporate most of the psychoactive molecules and still access some tasty terps. You might miss out on some CBD, but there won’t be much around anyway if you’re smoking high-THC buds.

• Aim high
Aim around 10°C hotter than the boiling points of your desired constituents. Not all vapes are accurate, and you’ll want to ensure than you actually vaporize every last bit of your target molecules.
• You’ll need heat for a full-spectrum hit
As you’ve probably gathered from the information above, quite a bit of heat is needed to make the most of your flowers. If you’re a medicinal user looking for an array of terps and cannabinoids, you’ll need to hit temps of around 220°C.
• You can’t access CBD without evaporating THC
If you’re vaping a 1:1 strain, you're going to get high in the pursuit of CBD. This is because it has a higher boiling point than THC. If you want to vape CBD without getting baked, you’re going to need to start out with a high-CBD variety.

WHAT TO DO WITH VAPED BUDS?

Chances are, there are still some residual cannabinoids left over after a vape session. Your bud will appear brown and unappetising, but it’s still useful. Don’t throw it away! This material can get you baked once again. Use it to make edibles or tinctures. Oh, and did you know? Cannabis isn’t the only fun herb to vape. There are plenty of legal herbs you can try out if your stash runs dry, or if you want to try something different. They all taste great and offer unique effects.
External Resources:
  1. Taming THC: potential cannabis synergy and phytocannabinoid-terpenoid entourage effects https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov
  2. The cannabinoid CB2 receptor-selective phytocannabinoid beta-caryophyllene exerts analgesic effects in mouse models of inflammatory and neuropathic pain - ScienceDirect https://www.sciencedirect.com
  3. Cannabis and Cannabis Extracts https://www.tandfonline.com
  4. Cannabis Pharmacology: The Usual Suspects and a Few Promising Leads - ScienceDirect https://www.sciencedirect.com
  5. Cannabis Pharmacology: The Usual Suspects and a Few Promising Leads - ScienceDirect https://www.sciencedirect.com
  6. Cannabis and Cannabis Extracts https://www.tandfonline.com
  7. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1300/J175v01n03_08
  8. Cannabis Pharmacology: The Usual Suspects and a Few Promising Leads - ScienceDirect https://www.sciencedirect.com
  9. Cannabis Pharmacology: The Usual Suspects and a Few Promising Leads - ScienceDirect https://www.sciencedirect.com
  10. Cannabis and Cannabis Extracts https://www.tandfonline.com
  11. Cannabis and Cannabis Extracts https://www.tandfonline.com
Disclaimer:
This content is for educational purposes only. The information provided is derived from research gathered from external sources.

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