The best temperature setting for your cannabis vaporizer
Most cannabis users have tried vaping, and they've found a lot of upsides over regular smoking. Perhaps most important among them is the fact that many vapes allow you to adjust the temperature. The option, then, lead to questions: Is one temperature better than the other? What perks come with higher or lower heat?
- HOW DOES VAPING TEMPERATURE ALTER YOUR EXPERIENCE WITH CANNABIS?
- WHAT’S THE BEST TEMPERATURE FOR VAPING CANNABIS?
- WHAT HAPPENS TO CANNABIS AT DIFFERENT VAPING TEMPERATURES?
- LOW-TEMPERATURE VAPING: 160–185°C/320–365°F
- MEDIUM-TEMPERATURE VAPING: 185–200°C/365–392°F
- HIGH-TEMPERATURE VAPING: 200°C/392°F OR OVER
- MAKING THE MOST OF YOUR (ALREADY VAPED) CANNABIS
- TURN UP (OR DOWN) THE TEMP ON YOUR VAPE SESSION!
Temperature plays a big role when vaporizing cannabis. It can affect everything from taste and smell to the actual high. Unlike smoking, which combusts everything in the plant matter all at once (destroying a lot in the process), vaporizing unlocks the various compounds in your herb as the temperature increases, without destroying them. It gives those who prefer to vape a lot more control over their experience and allows them to get the most out of their cannabis.
But which temperature range is best for vaporizing cannabis? Which "wins"? Below you can find a breakdown of what you can expect at each temperature range, and which compounds you will harness.
HOW DOES VAPING TEMPERATURE ALTER YOUR EXPERIENCE WITH CANNABIS?
It's good to know temperature adjustment changes the experience, but we'd be remiss not to tell you why. That answer mostly lies in one factor: boiling points. See, like basically every other compound, cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids all have their own boiling points. They become volatile once they get heated to that point, and thus turn into a vapor you can inhale. As you raise the temperature you'll start to activate different compounds. Vape at one temperature, and everything—from the flavour of the smoke to the high you experience—could be different than it is at another temperature.
WHAT’S THE BEST TEMPERATURE FOR VAPING CANNABIS?
Does "different" mean "better", though? Should you be trying to activate certain compounds over others?
As with almost every decision involving you and cannabis, it comes down to personal preference. Before doing anything, consider what you want out of your vaping experience, then take a look at what you're smoking.
If it's flower (as opposed to concentrate), how dry is it? Is it more likely to combust at a higher temperature, or can it handle the heat?
What strain is it? That information alone gives you most of what you need to know, as a simple online search of the name will give you an idea of what cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids you'll have access to. Look at that list, then consider what you want out of the strain, whether it's recreational pleasure or something different. What flavours do you want running across your tongue? What type of high do you want to feel? With an adjustable temperature, it's all up to you.
WHAT HAPPENS TO CANNABIS AT DIFFERENT VAPING TEMPERATURES?
As we've been explaining, you'll notice different effects and flavours as you increase and decrease the heat. The way it breaks down is different for each strain, but certain things stay true across the board. To show you what we mean, we'll talk about how you'll feel, as well as what compounds you'll inhale, as you vape at certain temperatures.
LOW-TEMPERATURE VAPING: 160–185°C/320–365°F
• Boiling points:
Delta-8 THC: 175–185°C/347–365°F
While we're sure some of you are genuinely interested in other cannabinoids, we get it if most of you are just concerned about THC. Fortunately for you, THC has the second-lowest boiling point of the main cannabinoids at 157°C, which is around 314°F. CBD isn't far too off from there either, with a volatilisation range of 160–180ºC (320–356ºF). Since those are the most popular cannabinoids, you usually won't find a vape with a lower heat floor than 160ºC/320ºF. At that point, you'll also shoot well past CBG's boiling point, which is a comparatively chilly 52°C (125°F).
Most terpenes will hit their boiling point in this temperature range. Amongst them, you'll notice three of the most well-known: pinene, beta-caryophyllene, and limonene. Pinene, true to its name, leaves hints of pine as the vapor runs along your tongue. Following close by, beta-caryophyllene mimics black pepper, and limonene tags in with a wave of citrus once you hit 177ºC (351ºF). Along with providing these flavours, lower temperatures provide softer vapor that lets them stand out that much more.
Considering THC hits the boiling point early on, you'd think low-temp vaping gets you as high as always. Surprisingly, though, people report not feeling as stoned when they smoke their strain of choice at a lower temperature. In contrast, it's more likely you’ll experience a slight euphoria or soothing sensation, feeling it all with a clear mind. This is perfect if you just want a little pick-me-up before getting work done or heading to bed. It's also ideal for those who prioritise tasting what they're smoking.
MEDIUM-TEMPERATURE VAPING: 185–200°C/365–392°F
• Boiling points:
Not quite as much is happening here. THC and CBD are volatilised at a faster rate at this range, though, so the adjustment isn't useless by any means. In turn, CBN hits its boiling point at 185ºC, or about 365ºF. That cannabinoid tends to build up more in older flower, so keep mid-temp vaping in mind when you're clearing out the older stuff in your stash.
While not many terpenes become newly volatile at this range, pay attention to terpinolene and linalool. The former provides a whole forest for your tasting pleasure, offering dashes of wood, pine, herbs, lemon, and flowers. Linalool provides a pleasure that's equal, yet different, crafting a bouquet of rose, lavender, and coriander spritzed with lemon. Needless to say, if you're in the mood for a refreshing, invigorating vape, start vaping around this temperature.
As mentioned before, more THC starts to come into play around here, so you'll be noticeably higher. On the other hand, CBD also has a greater presence, so that'll help mellow things out. As full vape clouds enter your lungs, you'll slow down to a comfortable pace without stopping completely. You'll be able to relax, but you won't need your friends to grab things for you. Linalool will also come into play, enhancing your mood and helping you let your guard down.
It's for these reasons that 185–200ºC (365–392°F) is considered a great starting temperature range for casual cannabis users.
HIGH-TEMPERATURE VAPING: 200°C/392°F OR OVER
• Boiling points:
As the temperature climbs up towards 220ºC, we'll see two cannabinoids hit their boiling point: CBC and THCV. Deriving from the same chemical process as THC and CBD, CBC is considered another "major" cannabinoid. While you won't find much in average strains, clinical research has noted how it increases levels of anandamide, a crucial endocannabinoid created by the body.
THCV, an analogue of the standard THC, is also scarce in most strains. There are some strains with larger amounts, but stoners likely won’t be too concerned. Why? Simply enough, THCV binds to the same receptors as THC, potentially blocking the effects of the latter.
You would've already evaporated some terpinolene if you stayed at the mid-range. Raising the temperature, however, only introduces more into your vapor, along with a host of other companions. One of them, borneol, releases a soothing aroma of herbs and balsam, then offering the taste of camphor. Pulegone is the last to arrive, with its 224ºC (435ºF) boiling point; and it'll make itself known by leaving invigorating notes of peppermint on your tongue.
If you are looking for a cannabis strain that provides a real taste sensation at this range, we highly recommend Green Gelato—its a staff favourite.
As the rest of the THC is decarboxylated, and the rest of that soothing linalool enters the picture, you can expect to feel highest at this temperature range. Every other terpene and cannabinoid is activated too, so this is where you really find out what your strain of choice has to offer.
This is also where it becomes clear how much you've been burning off when you smoke. If you're vaping a strain that you usually smoke, look at how high you get off the little bit you pack in there. You'd usually need a couple bowls to get going, right? Well, since you're burning off none of those precious compounds, but activating all of them, you're getting everything you paid for.
MAKING THE MOST OF YOUR (ALREADY VAPED) CANNABIS
If you're vaping flower, you might notice it doesn't turn to ash when you're done. In fact, it may seem like you could still get some use out of it if you tried. As it turns out, you can! We don't necessarily mean you can smoke it again (it's possible, although harsh and unpleasant), but its usefulness doesn't stop there.
We should note, however, that these tips only apply when you're vaping in the low or medium temperature range. We won't discourage you from trying any of this with bud heated past a certain point, but use your eyes and best judgement. If it looks more like ash than flower, after all, there's no point.
For starters, who's hungry for some edibles? Just like you'd use some shake, adding in pre-vaped bud is a great way to pad out your cannabutter. You can also add in some fresh, higher-quality nugs to ramp up the potency. If you don't want to bother making baked goods, it can be a great alternative to the cream you'd usually put in your coffee.
If you don't want to bother making the butter, but still want to eat the vaped bud, you could easily cure it. You can technically eat it without doing that, but it'll be bitter and rough, to say the least. Guides to curing vaped bud are accessible enough online, and the process doesn't take more than 23 days. You could also simply put the used bud into capsules and swallow it for a tasteless experience.
MAKE A TINCTURE OR CONCENTRATE
You also have the option to make your own cannabis oil or alcohol tincture. These oils/tinctures can, however, be a good complement to your evening cup of tea.
Now, we did say that smoking vaped bud is unpleasant, but there's a way to make it better. Specifically, if you really want to light it up, you could turn it into a concentrate with a rosin press! You won't get nearly as much wax as you would with fresh, resinous nugs, but it'll be something! If you have enough of it saved up, you might be able to supply a whole smoke session. How's that for recycling?
TURN UP (OR DOWN) THE TEMP ON YOUR VAPE SESSION!
No matter what temperature you're vaping at (within the acceptable range), it's clear there's great experiences to be had.
Just starting your day or taking care of some important work? Low temperatures will take the edge off and treat you right. If you want to have a little more fun, maybe turn your vape up to mid-range. Ready to kick back and clock out for the night? Set that temperature higher and start floating. Then, when you're done, reuse the bud!
You'll find your sweet spot as you experiment with different strains and temperatures, and we hope you have fun on the way there.