When it comes to dabbing, the question of temperature comes up a lot. There’s a lot of debate about what dab temperature will produce the best high. Low-temp dabs have become more and more popular these days, while the intensity of high-temp dabs still remains the ideal choice for some. Some people like to dab because at a lower temperature it can be a healthier option than smoking while others prefer it for the rush. When it comes down to it, this is a personal preference but it’s a decision that should be made only after having a full understanding of the different dab temperatures and their specific effects.
The Heating Point of Cannabinoids
Every concentrate is different with a different chemical composition. The two main compounds in cannabis (also known as cannabinoids) that people seek to ingest are THC and CBD. Both of these cannabinoid compounds have boiling points below 400 degrees F which means that the hotter you burn these, the more they are likely to simply combust rather than produce the effects for which they are known. CBD is known for its anti-inflammatory, pain relieving properties as well as its ability to create a sense of calm, working to combat stress and anxiety. THC is the psychoactive compound in cannabis, known for its ability to inspire creativity and for its euphoric effects as the compound that makes you feel high. Concentrates contain high levels of these compounds in varying degrees and combinations. For the best effects from the dab, you want to be sure these aren’t destroyed through delivery.
The Impact of Terpenes on Your Dabs
Another major factor to consider is how terpenes contribute to the effects of your concentrates. Terpenes are the compounds in cannabis and other plants and fruits that contain essential oils, the smell and flavor of the plant. The terpenes also have their own therapeutic effects that contribute to the effects of the cannabis. For example, limonene, a terpene with a citrus taste and smell that is found in Lemon Diesel and other strains, also has the ability to be a mood elevator, produce positive feelings and be uplifting. It is also known to reduce stomach acid. The boiling point for this terpene is 349 degrees F, at which point it will combust and cease to deliver the goods.
The Importance of Knowing Terpene Boiling Points
Every strain of cannabis and its corresponding concentrate has a number of terpenes also present that contribute to the physical and emotional effects of the strain. Terpenes generally have a boiling point that is somewhere between 310 and 390 degrees F. Pinene, which has a pine-like taste and smell, is an excellent expectorant, bronchodilator and anti-inflammatory that is very good at clearing the mind and helping with focus. Its boiling point is 311 degrees F, however, so any dabs that are too hot will destroy this terpene. Linalool, a floral smelling terpene that is also present in flowers such as lavender, is an excellent relaxant with an ability to very effectively treat anxiety and depression. It has a higher boiling point of 388 degrees F. Even at this higher boiling point, the temperature is still relatively low. The threat of combusting the beneficial and psychoactive properties of the cannabis has a lot to do with what dab temperature might be best for you.
Another factor not to dismiss is health. Carcinogens are created that are toxic to the body when cannabis is heated at higher temperatures. Some of these carcinogens such as acetaldehyde, are class-one carcinogens, which are known to cause cancer. Acetaldehyde forms when temperatures reach 446 degrees F. Other carcinogens such as benzene, toluene, and naphthalene are created at 392 degrees. This is a major point of consideration for many and the reason a lot of cannabis users converted to vaping rather than smoking cannabis. Temperatures are lower when vaping and the process is deliberately designed to avoid boiling terpenes and cannabinoids as well as avoiding the ingestion of carcinogens.
Knowing Your Dab Temperature Range
With all of this in mind, you can take a look at each dab temperature and understand its pros and cons.
Low-Temp Dabs (300-330 degrees F)
At this dab temperature, you will experience the dab as a burst of flavor filled hot air. This is a vaping dab temperature. You may not even see any of the vapor. It might take quite a while to burn through all the concentrate and it’s best to take slow, deep inhalations. If you don’t have an e-nail to measure the temperature, you may be able to gage it by lighting the nail to the point of it becoming red hot and then allowing it to cool for anywhere between 10 and 30 seconds. Trial and error may be necessary to get the right timing for your rig and torch. You will need a carb cap if you have a domeless rig. These will cover the nail and keep the heat trapped so that you can take your time and get all of the concentrate to slowly vaporize. The high this creates is mellow and nice. It’s also less likely to get you too stoned. It is a healthier way to dab that avoids the ingestion of carcinogens and allows you to get the full flavor and effects from your cannabis in a gentle way.
Standard Dabs (330-390 degrees F)
For many this is still considered a low-temp dab, but on the higher heat range. For those with a domeless rig, you can heat the nail to the point of being red hot and then allow it to cool for 7 – 10 seconds. This is the ideal dab temperature for giving you a powerful high without the carcinogens and without combustion being an issue. This creates a psychoactive high with powerful effects. At this temperature you can get the pain relieving, anti-inflammatory and general medicinal effects of your cannabis strain quickly and effectively. The high is euphoric and long lasting with full medicinal benefits intact and less risk of ingesting toxins. There is still a lot of flavor range (similar to the low-temp hit) and it’s less likely for residue to be left behind as the concentrate is more likely to burn up.
High-Temp Dabs (390+ degrees F)
For those who want an incredibly intense and psychoactive high quickly and powerfully, high-temp dabs are the way to go. Some people even go for 1000 degree F dab hits to get the most intense hit possible. At these high temperatures, the terpenes and cannabinoids are affected and carcinogens are created and ingested but for some the quick and powerful high is worth it. The high lasts for less time but it is very strong. Another plus is that all the concentrate burns up on the nail without leaving behind residue.
Now that you know a little more about dab temperatures and their effects, you can have some fun experimenting with which works best for you.