To be able to enjoy cannabis either recreationally or medically and fully experience the benefits and effects of THC (as well as the other cannabinoids), you first need to heat it up so the tetrahydrocannabinolic acid (THCA) can convert into the psychoactive ingredient tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). This is a process known as decarboxylation. When smoking a joint or a spliff, the weed combusts at very high temperatures. Therefore, the cannabis smoke which contains harmful toxins and carcinogens forms as a result of smoking (and may be harmful to users).
To preserve the quality of the cannabinoids and terpenes, as well as reduce the problems associated with the potentially harmful smoke, vaporizing weed has become a popular consumption method all over the world. If you’re wondering at what temperature the THC cartridges are heated in comparison to the combustion temperature of joints, read on. This article will give you all the information on vaporizing THC and the suitable temperatures for vaping for all of you vapers out there.
The Cannabinoid and Terpene Profile in the Cannabis Plant
Each cannabis plant has its own cannabinoid profile, and each cannabinoid has its own unique properties. Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) produces the psychoactive effects recreational users know and love, while cannabidiol (CBD) has therapeutic qualities. As more research was done into the marijuana plant, researchers discovered plenty of other cannabinoids. Some examples include cannabigerol (CBG), which provides pain relief and has anti-inflammatory properties, cannabichromene (CBC) which reduces swelling and preserves brain cells in mammals, tetrahydrocannabivarin (THCV) which combats pain and inflammation and suppresses the effects of THC, and many others.
Apart from the cannabinoids found in weed, you can also find other substances like terpenes, terpenoids, and flavonoids. Flavonoids and terpenoids are the secondary metabolites in plants which have high therapeutic properties due to the antioxidants they contain and the ability to fight free radicals, as well as the ability to provide protection against some diseases.
Finally, if you’ve been using cannabis for a while now, you probably know that the flavor of different cannabis strains comes from their aromatic substances – terpenes. They’re the hydrocarbons responsible for the distinct weed smell that you get when consuming cannabis.
The goal when heating all of these substances is to get them to a temperature which vaporizes them while preserving the terpene and cannabinoid profile, as well as their therapeutic properties, which is why users modify the vaporization temperature. (Russo et al, 2011)
The 411 on Vaping and Vape Pens
One of the newest methods of consuming cannabis is vaping. As an alternative to smoking joints and blunts, vaporizers are devices that heat the cannabis plant matter at a lower temperature and preserve the unique flavors of each strain. Traditional smoking methods heat the plant material to high temperatures and create smoke, carbon dioxide, and other potentially carcinogenic and harmful byproducts, so it’s no surprise why a lot of people climbed onto the vape train.
The newest vaporization technologies enable cannabis users to vape cannabis at different temperatures by providing temperature control on their vape pens (which allows users to control the vaping temperatures depending on the strain they’re smoking). These temperature settings are responsible for getting your vaporizing experience to the next level, and we’ll tell you all about how you can take advantage of these settings in the next paragraphs.
Using a Vaporizer and Preserving the Cannabinoid and Terpene Profile
The temperature control on your vape pen is your key to unlocking all the flavor profiles of the cannabis strain, and we’ll explain why. Each molecule has a specific boiling point, and so do the terpenes and cannabinoids found in marijuana. Though every cannabinoid or terpene has a different boiling point, here is where the temperature control of your vape pen comes in handy.
Isolating THC and CBD by Adjusting Vaporizer Temperatures
THC has a boiling point of 157 degrees Celsius, or 314 degrees Fahrenheit, but CBD has an even higher boiling point (160–180°C / 320–356°F). So, if you have a strain high in CBD, increase the temperature. And when smoking strains high in THC, decrease the temperature of your vaporizer to take full advantage of the psychoactive cannabinoid. Therefore, you’ll need a higher temperature range for CBD and a lower one for THC. To get the optimal cannabis experience, choose a strain high in either cannabinoid. While all the boiling points for different cannabinoids and terpenes haven’t been confirmed, we’ll give you an overview of the ones that have.
Boiling Point Temperatures of Cannabinoids and Terpenes in Cannabis
By knowing the boiling point temperatures of terpenes and cannabinoids, vapers can experiment with different cannabis strains and temperature ranges and figure out which one works best for them. Generally, higher temperatures exaggerate the effects as well as the intensity of the cannabinoid, while lower temperatures offer a more gentle experience.
Cannabis users should experiment with different strains and temperature ranges to find the results that work best for them.
Boiling point temperatures of various terpenes:
- A-Pinene (156°C / 312°F)
- Beta-Caryophyllene (119°C / 246°F)
- B-Myrcene (166–168°C / 330–334°F)
- Limonene (177°C / 350°F)
- Linalool (198°C / 388°F)
- Humulene (198ºC / 388ºF)
- Benzene (205–365°C / 401–689°)
Boiling point temperatures of various cannabinoids:
- THCA (105ºC / 221ºF)
- THC (157°C / 314°F)
- THCV (220°C / 428°F)
- CBDA (120ºC / 248ºF)
- CBD (160–180°C / 320–356°F)
- CBC (220ºC / 428ºF)
- CBN (185°C / 365°F)
Why Is Dry Herb Vaping Better?
To get the most benefits and minimize the potential side effects of your weed, you can try dry herb vaping which is more effective than using a regular vaporizer (since you can vaporize the cannabinoids at just the right temperature). To try this new method of vaping, you’ll need to purchase a special type of vaporizer which is meant to be used with dry herbs, purchase some quality weed, and light up.
Most dry herb vapes withstand high temperatures while effectively vaporizing the cannabis product, and can be compatible with e-juices, concentrates, and dry herbs. They have an adjustable temperature setting which is ideal for vaporizing THC at the right temperature, heat up the product in 10-30 seconds, and are easy to use.
Final Thoughts on What’s the Best Temperature for Vaporizing THC
For the ultimate THC decarboxylation mode, vapers can choose different settings depending on their desired results and the quality of the dry herb.
- For a relaxing high, set the vaporizer at about 320ºF and you’ll get a good taste of the dry herb.
- For a more intense high, set the vaporizer at 365ºF. Not only will you take in more THC, but terpenes like limonene heated at that temperature will also boost the absorption of this cannabinoid.
- For pain relieving properties and a very relaxing high, vaporize at 430ºF. If you’ve purchased a strain that has CBD and linalool, you’ll also experience an intense, body-wide effect.
Choose the strain you like, get your dry herb vaporizer, and light up at the temperature that best suits your needs.
Russo E. B. (2011). Taming THC: potential cannabis synergy and phytocannabinoid-terpenoid entourage effects. British journal of pharmacology, 163(7), 1344–1364. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1476-5381.2011.01238.x