Cannabis Vaporizing 101: What Temperature Is Best?

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What’s the best temp for vaping? Depends on whom you ask. Chances are, if directions came with your vaporizer, the manual recommends a range between 392° and 380°F (200° - 250°C).

What’s behind that guideline? And, how do you control it? The better question might be “What temperature is best for you?”

What’s behind the temperature guideline?

Dr. Ian Mitchell of the University of British Columbia sets the range lower: 347° - 392°F (175° – 200°C). Dr. Amo Hazekamp at the Netherlands Bedrocan BV says, “In general, I would say 210°C is the best balance between efficient evaporation of terpenes and cannabinoids and smoothness of the vapor.”

The guideline temperature debates a range based on some assumptions:

  • How moist, dry, or fine your grind is.
  • The sort of vape you are looking for.
  • The type of vaporizer you use.

Hazekamp’s research shows that you are inhaling terpenes at low temperatures, but that means you experience milder high. On the other hand, the higher temperatures produce more potent THC effects. Because temperatures above 455°F (235°C) will burn harshly, you can conclude the lower temperatures are safer than the higher numbers.

If this sounds confusing, you should know that there is an optimal temperature for each of the major cannabinoids and terpenoids. Without going into that, you must remember that vaporizers bring the marijuana to a “boil” where the cannabinoids evaporate leaving behind the plant debris.

This is a different experience than smoking a joint and, perhaps, a more effective experience for those seeking a high, medicating health problems, or weaning off cigarettes. For starters, the smoke from any joint contains toxic elements like ammonia, benzene, carbon monoxide, formaldehyde, naphthalene, and tar. But, vaping improves the experience because it does not burn up the cannabinoids and contains no debris.

Why does temperature matter?

Different components of marijuana vaporize at different temperatures. You’ll miss the high if the temperature is too low, and you produce unwanted elements when you burn too hot.

Researchers at Steep Hills labs determined the following boiling points for cannabinoids:

  • THC = 157°C/315°F induces euphoria and psychoactive effects.
  • CBD = 180°C/356°F relaxes and relieves pain.
  • CBN = 185°C/365°F sedates and provides anti-emetic and anticonvulsant remedies.
  • CBC = 220°C/428°F reduces tumors and inflammation and exceeds CBD for mitigating anxiety and stress.
  • CBG = 52°C/126°F and stimulates bone growth and brain cells.

The same testing produced numbers on terpenes:

  • Pinene = 155°C/311°F has anti-inflammatory powers that expand the bronchial airways.
  • Limonene = 176°C/349°F treats acid reflux and fungus.
  • Myrcene = 168°C/334°F unlocks the power of THC and delivers anti-inflammatory, anti-tumor, and anti-spasticity effects.
  • Beta-caryophyllene = 160°C/320°F fights anxiety, bacteria, fungal infections, inflammation, sepsis, and tumors.
  • Linalool = 198°C/388°F aids in sleeping, treating psychosis, and reducing anxiety.

How do you control temperature?

Controlling the temperature depends on your specific vaporizer. But, if it comes with a Temperature Control (TC), you can set the maximum coil temperature you want. When the vaporizer gets to that temperature, it will limit or stop the heating. Regardless how you vape, the TC will fix the temperature.

Temperature Control once cost you, but it now comes on most quality vapers. You adjust the TC mode according to the metal in your vaporizer’s coil, preferably a Titanium coil. Ironically, the TC does not actually measure the temperature. But, it does recognize the level of resistance in the coil metal. With the coil installed tightly in the tank, you set the wattage control (if you have one) to 30W. Then, you set the temperature and start vaping.

Older vaporizers relied on voltage or wattage control. For example, the e-cigarette lets you adjust the voltage and wattage that powers the device. It helps you choose the amount of vapor produced and the hit you want.

Some flavors taste better at low temperature and others at high temperature. In time, you should be able to settle on a personal preference, and the voltage and wattage controls assure the battery will hit that mark each time you vape.

Your Temperature Control will prevent dry hits because it keeps the coil under the coil metal’s limit. So, it stretches the life of the coil and battery. Still, TC is not for everyone. It’s a little complicated and may not produce the desired smoke volume.

What temperature is right for you?

Of course, this depends on your taste and expectations. But, if you consider the possibilities, here are some general guidelines based on Christopher Teague’s work for Herb.

  • 320°F = Mellow feel-good high: You get the deep lung refreshment and flavor of pinene, the relaxation and spicy notes of beta-caryophyllene, and all that THC.
  • 365°F = Intense energetic high: As you start vaping myrcene, your THC high will skyrocket. Limonene will increase THC absorption in the mouth and mucous membranes of the lungs and sinus. If your strain has lots of CBN, the intensity will balance into a lasting cerebral euphoria.
  • 428°F = Deep body relaxation high: CBC and linalool knock you back, a couch-locking Indica experience best suited for deep pain relief.

When you come right down to it, if you are vaping, you will find your own best temperature. It will be a trial and error “journey.” One smoker likes this strain or that strain. Another smoker prefers THC to CBD high or vice versa. It’s pretty much the same with vaping. If you are new to it, you can talk to friends or check with your budtender.

But, if you invest in a quality vaporizer with a Temperature Control feature, you should be able to narrow in on the temperature best for the device, the strain, the smoke, and the effect.