What’s The Perfect Temperature for Vaping Cannabis?
This article is a guest post from Michael Jacobs at gotvape.com.
Readers of this article are likely familiar with the advantages of vaping versus smoking cannabis. Vaping cannabis dramatically increases the availability of psychoactive compounds compared to smoking and there are far fewer toxins generated from combustion. But there is a hidden benefit that many are unaware of! Vaping allows for precise control of temperature, and this can have dramatic effects on how a particular strain feels in the body and mind.
The reason for this is that the different compounds in a dose of cannabis become more or less available at different temperatures. The vaping process causes the compounds (cannabinoids) to sublimate or “boil” off so you can inhale them. Smoking does this too, but the heat is so high that much of the cannabinoids burn off simultaneously. But when you have precise control, you get access to a wide range of effects. It’s like splitting white light (smoking) into colors with a prism (vaping). Editors note: We have a separate dabbing temperature guide if you're interested in the right range for your rig or e-nail.
Thus, a single strain can induce different effects depending on the temperature. Here’s what you need to know to start exploring this phenomenon.
Minimums and maximums
First, let’s look at the end points. THC, the cannabinoid with the lowest boiling point, starts to vaporize at 315°F (around 157°C). Thus, this is the minimum temperature required to feel any effects. If you keep temps right around the boiling point, you can get a mild high that’s great for new consumers and those with low tolerances. For those who also smoke for flavor, this temperature will also start releasing terpenoids and flavonoids, the compounds responsible for different flavors and scents from cannabis. Even if you like getting high fast, try more hits at this lower setting to experience some nice flavor effects.
The other end point is where combustion occurs. This can start happening around 450°F (230°C), though it won’t be certain until around 550°F (290°C). The cannabinoid with the highest vaporization point, THCV, requires 428°F (220°C) to begin vaporizing and most see their full expression around 465°F (240°C). Thus, we can set an upper limit of testing ranges to 465° Fahrenheit.
Boiling Points of Other Cannabinoids
CBD evaporates at anywhere between 320°F and 355°F (160-180°C) depending on strain and the amount of water in the plant – the same temperature that THC boils off. Thus, it can be difficult to separate out THC highs vs CBD highs by temperature alone. You’re better off choosing a strain with more of one cannabinoid than the other. That said, if you are looking for CBD for health purposes, you will need to turn up your vape mod high enough to release it.
Anti-nausea users should go to at least 355°F (180°C) to maximize release of Delta-8-THC, the cannabinoid most responsible for the anti-nausea properties of cannabis. Temperatures above 365°F (185°C) begin to release cannabinoids associated with relaxation like CBN. CBG requires temperatures above 390°F (200°C) to get released, with maximum release at around 445°F (230°C). THCV and CBC begin to vaporize as temperatures breach 425°F (220°C). We have also written an extensive discussion about the medical benefits of different cannabinoids.
Terpenoids and Flavonoids
These are naturally occurring compounds found in plants, fruits, and essential oils that give cannabis its recognizable smell and flavor. Aromatherapy lovers take note, you can get some of the same effects by finding a cannabis strain that matches the contents of your favorite essential oil. While it won’t be as potent (at least until we start seeing a lot of cannabis essential oils on the market!), there may be some beneficial effects.
From a vaping perspective, they enhance the aesthetic experience, but at higher temperatures they start to burn off, changing the smell and taste of the cannabis.
We can thus define some ranges that you can use to start experimenting with different temperatures:
Below 320°F: Too low to activate cannabinoids, might get some flavor.
320-345°F: Flavor-oriented vapor. Core psychoactive compounds are present but in mild amounts. Light high from THC and CBD with strength increasing commensurate with temperature. Good for beginners or testing a new strain out. Lower temperatures will also stretch out the life of your stash.
345-390°F: Deeper high. Different flavors come out, subtler flavors lost. Most variation in strains happens within this range. Likely the “best” range to vape most strains. The majority of vapers will find a comfortable cannabis vaping temperature in this range.
390-465°F: Sedative high and the release of more exotic cannabinoids.Those who love to explore the deeper highs can play around in this range, though temps at the higher end of the range may result in harsh vapor. Other cannabinoids like THCV and CBG begin boiling in this range.
Above 465°F: Too high. You’re combusting your cannabis and losing the benefits of vaping.
The water content of your strain will also impact these temperature ranges. Water has to be boiled out of the plant material before the cannabinoids can reach their full expression. Thus when comparing strains or temperatures you’ll need to control for water as best as you can. Age and moisture levels can also affect THC content due to the conversion of THCA to THC with time and heat – check out our article detailing decarboxylation for the science behind this. It’s important if you ever decide to make edibles!
About the Author
Michael is a marketing and creative content specialist at GotVape.com with primary focus on customer satisfaction. Technology and fitness combined healthy lifestyle obsession are his main talking points