Applied Technology

Temperature Control During Vaporization

Tamir Bresler
Written by Tamir Bresler

What Temperatures Should Users Be Setting Their Devices To?

If you’re used to vaping cartridges, then you don’t have much control over the temperature of vaporization. Common vapes like the ones in the headline image can only alter the voltage. Without getting too technical, the volt (V) is the standard (SI) unit for reporting differences in electric potential. In other words, one volt is the difference in potential energy between two systems that, when connected to each other in a way that allows electrical current to flow, produces one standard unit of electrical current (the ampere, or amp). Clicking your vape three times—which in most models will change the color from green to blue to red—will only increase the electric flow into your cartridge.

If, however, you have a more sophisticated vaporizing apparatus that is used for smoking flower, you should be able to set the exact temperature your rig will heat to.

So, what temperature should you be vaping at? Well, let’s look at the basic data. Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol has a standard boiling point between 155-160°C (or, 311-320°F). The “standard” boiling point is measured at a specific temperature and pressure, so under our everyday temperatures and pressures we usually have to add more heat than the standard measurement implies.

The advantage of using cannabis with a vaporizer is that,“heating the plant product to below the temperature of combustion [permits] inhalation of volatilized gases minus hazardous pyrroles produced by burning”. [1] In other words, you are able to extract the delicious cannabinoids and terpenes into the gas phase without inducing a combustion reaction.

So, as it turns out, the trick is to heat the cannabis up just enough so that the cannabinoids and terpenes vaporize into the gas phase, but not high enough that the leaves and plant matter begins to burn. Sources have reported combustion of cannabis flower as low as 380°F and as high as 440°F, although the actual temperature is dependent on the water-content (moisture) in the sample.

To get a good, safe burn, set the vaporizer anywhere from 340-380°F, starting out low and adjusting as needed depending on how sticky your bud happens to be. A good vaporizing run will produce minimal white haze, but will give you a fulfilling, whole-body high that leaves the mind unclouded while resulting in very little coughing.

References

Grant, Igor, et al. “Medical Marijuana: Clearing Away the Smoke”, Open Neurol J., 2012, Volume 6, pages 18–25.

 

About the author

Tamir Bresler

Tamir Bresler

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