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Vaporizer Temperatures For Cannabis - The Ultimate Guide

Vaporizer Temperatures For Cannabis - The Ultimate Guide

There are a myriad of ways to get high - but one of the most clean and fun ways is to vaporize cannabis. While smoking a good old joint is a timeless ritual, vaporising herb offers an unprecedented level control over the high. Once the art of vaporizing is mastered, it allows for a pure and pleasurable experience.

Vaporizers work by heating up marijuana to the point were certain cannabinoids “boil” and literally evaporate, leaving behind just fibrous plant matter. When you light a joint, the smoke is a mix of cannabinoids and a number of somewhat toxic combustion by-products, such as PAHs.

In fact, analysis has shown that joint smoke only contains just over 10% cannabinoids, the rest consists of combustion products. In contrast, the clouds that come out of a vaporizer contain up to 95% cannabinoids, with only small traces of PAHs. In addition, because low temperatures don‘t destroy any cannabinoids through heat, the mileage you get out of your buds is much higher with a vaporizer.

One way to get to know your vaporizer well, is to just play around with the temperature settings - after all, it‘s pleasant research. But a slightly more scientific approach is to get to know the boiling points of the different cannabinoids and their properties. Now that‘s fun applied science!

What‘s the perfect temperature?

What‘s The Perfect Temperature?

Before exploring the depths of cannabinoid boiling temperatures, here are the key findings: There‘s a temperature range in which different compounds of cannabis are released, each showing unique qualities in effect.

While only experimentation will show you the high that suits you best, an ideal temperature to extract a wide range of psychoactive compounds is 185 °C. The optimal temperature range for cannabis is between 180 - 210 °C. Temperatures below 190 °C. tend to produce a more cerebral high, temperature above that tend to induce a body high.

Cannabinoid Temperature Guide

Cannabinoid Temperature Guide

The range of temperature in which all cannabinoids evaporate lies between 157 and 220 degrees Celsius. As all cannabinoids have different boiling points, vaporizing the same bowl of herb at different temperatures will generate different results. In general, there‘s two main effects which we will call the “buzz high” and the “body high”. As mentioned above, lower temperatures will have more of a heady effect, whilst higher temperatures will have a more body load effect.

Note: Although some of the following cannabinoids require temperatures above 200 degrees Celsius to evaporate, setting a vaporizer to that temperature runs the risk of causing combustion, which should be avoided.

Compound °C Information
THC 157°C It has both euphoric and analgesic effects, inducing a great sense of relaxation.
CBD 170°C CBD, famous for its medical benefits, is able to counter side effects of THC, such as anxiety.
Delta-8-THC 175°C This cannabinoid is very similar to THC, but it is more stable and less psychoactive.
CBN 185°C CBN is believed to break down THC and have a calming effect.
CBC 220°C This cannabinoid has anti-inflammatory and anti-fungal properties.
THCV 220°C THCV has been shown to moderate the psychoactive effects of THC, but more research is required.

Combustion: Dry weed can begin to combust at around 200 °C. The maximum heat weed can take before starting to burn is around 230 °C., depending on how humid it is.


Cannabis Flavonoids

Along with terpenoids, flavonoids are little known compared to the famed cannabinoids. Flavonoids are a large class of plant pigments that are sometimes referred to as Vitamin P. Terpenoids and Flavonoids are partly responsible for the looks, taste and smell of a particular strain. They are the reason we open the zip lock before we buy, because their smell reveals a lot about the character of the plant.

They are also thought to have secondary health benefits. The following outlines both the effects and the temperatures at which the flavonoids vaporize at.

Compound °C Information
Beta-sitosterol 134°C This flavonoid is thought to have anti-inflammatory qualities.
Apigenin 178°C Apigenin is thought to be estrogenic and have anti-inflammatory properties.
Cannflavin A 182°C This flavonoid is a COX inhibitor.
Quercetin 250°C Quercetin is an antioxidant and anti-viral flavonoid.


Cannabis Terpenoids

Terpenoids are structurally related to terpenes and are naturally occurring in a wide range of plants. In part, they contribute to what what gives plants their unique aromatic quality. The scent of cinnamon, cloves and menthol are examples of well known terpenoids. In fact, the strongest known naturally occurring psychedelic compound - Salvinorin A - is a terpenoid.

The following descriptions outline both the effects and boiling points of terpenoids.

Compound °C Information
Beta-caryophyllene 130°C Thought to be anti-inflammatory and anti-malarial.
Alpha-terpinol 156°C This terpenoid is an antioxidant, sedative, antibiotic and anti-malarial.
Beta-myrcene 168°C This is analgesic, an antibiotic and anti-inflammatory.
Delta-3-carene 168°C This terpenoid has anti-inflammatory properties.
1,8-cineole 176°C Increases cerebral blood flow and acts as a stimulant.
D-limonene 177°C D-limonene appears naturally in cannabis.
P-cymene 177°C P-cymene is an antibiotic and an anticandidal agent.
Linaloo 198°C This is an antidepressant, sedative and immune system potentiator.
Terpinol-4-ol 209°C This is an antibiotic and an AChE inhibitor.
Borneol 210°C Borneol is an antibiotic.
Alpha-terpineol 217°C This terpenoid is a sedative, antibiotic, antioxidant and AChE inhibitor.
Pulegone 244°C Pulegone is a sedative and potentially has memory boosting properties.

What are toxins?

Cannabis Toxins

Very simply put, toxins are chemicals that can be harmful to our body. The advantage of vaporizers lies in their unique ability to extract the active ingredients of cannabis, but without the toxins of combustions, such as tar and carbon monoxide.

Vapor can still contain trace amounts of toxins. But compared to the over 100 different PAHs found in smoke, the one single PAH discovered in vapour is obviously a massive reduction. On the other hand, toxins that come from pesticides, herbicides and other chemical agents will also concentrate in vapour - that‘s why choosing organic cannabis is always smart.

The following is small selection of some of the toxins that are released through combustion.

Compound °C Information
Carbon monoxide and tar - Released by combustion in the form of smoke. They are carcinogenic and can cause lung related problems.
Toleuene 119°C This is not thought to be a very serious toxin, and only appears in small amounts. Due to its low boiling point, it cannot be avoided.
Benzene 200°C Benzene is a carcinogen.
Maphthalene 218°C This toxin is possibly a carcinogen and causes light-headedness, nausea, loss of appetite and pale skin.

Cannabis moisture and vaporizer temperature

Cannabis moisture and vaporizer temperature

Unlike when you use a bong or smoke a joint, bone dry cannabis can still be a delight in a vaporizer. However, because it is so dry, it will vaporize much faster – if it is too hot you run the risk of flash boiling the active ingredients, eliminating taste and flavour.

As it is largely going to depend on the situation and cannabis strain you are using, there is no definitive guide to how to properly vaporize particularly dry weed; but as a rule of thumb you will want to reduce the temperature from your norm, going lower the drier it is.

Conversely, if your bud is fresh, then it may be very high in moisture. As a result, it can sometimes be hard to get cannabinoids out. To deal with this, it is recommended to do what‘s called a flavonoid run. By putting the vaporizer at a lower temperature (around 138 – 148 °C.), it is possible to gain a bag of flavonoid vapour whilst slowly drying out your cannabis a bit. After this run, your cannabis should be dry enough to vaporize efficiently at THC and other cannabinoid temperatures.

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