Cannabis 101

In June we covered the major cannabinoids in cannabis and its impact on your high. At least 85 different cannabinoids have been found in cannabis to date, each with different properties and boiling points (the temperature at which the cannabinoid compound is vaporized from the organic plant matter into the air).

Cannabis also contains another critical compound called terpenoids (more broadly known as terpenes), which are responsible for the wonderful aromas and colors. We all know how important sight and smell are to the experience. Research has also shown that THC and CBD alone don’t explain all of the psychoactive and medicinal effects from using a particular strain. Similar to cannabinoids, terpenoids have been shown to have numerous beneficial health properties. Terpenoids are as critical as THC and CBD to your overall experience, and each terpenoid also has a different boiling point.

Using a vaporizer with temperature controls, such as the Ascent by DaVinci, a Volcano or Arizer Solo Extreme, you can control the precise temperature used to heat your cannabis, and therefore which cannabinoids and terpinoids are released into your vapor mist. Because all of those wonderful cannabinoids and terpenoids have different boiling points, if you vaporize the same cannabis batch at two different temperatures you will have two different experiences. The lower the temperature used to vaporize, the fewer the compounds will have reached their boiling points, which means they won’t contribute to your high. This is in stark contrast to the blunt force trauma of combustion, where you inhale all the compounds plus the burned organic cannabis plant matter.

In the next article, we’ll dive deeper into the names, medical properties, and boiling points of the cannabinoid and terpinoid compounds. For now, lets assume we’re targeting two different kinds of highs:

  • “Daytime” High: Typically using lower vaporizer temperatures to deliver a more mental and energetic high, less of a body high. This high can be considered more discreet with less of an aroma and vapor plume, more of a clear odorless mist.  For sativas and sativa-dominant hybrids, THC typically gets fully released, maybe some CBD, but only a portion of the other cannabinoids and terpenoids with higher boiling temperatures. For more indica heavy strains where the experience is less dominated by THC, the daytime temperature setting is a bit higher to add additional compounds.
  • “Nighttime” High: Typically using higher vaporizer temperatures to deliver more of a body high with pain relieving and sedation effects from boiling more cannabinoids and terpernoids, such as linalool and THCV (if these compounds are present in your strain). This is less discreet as there is more of an aroma and vapor plume due to more terpenoids released at higher temperatures.

The table below serves as my humble opinion on a starting point for those new to controlling temperature with some caveats listed below. Each weedist should find their own optimal temperatures by cannabis strain to customize their high based on personal preferences and medical needs.

Suggested Vaporization Temperatures By Cannabis Strain Type

Sample Strain (Type)Fav Daytime TempFav Nighttime Temp
Candy Jack (Sativa) 178°C / 352°F190°C / 374°F
Super Lemon Haze (Sativa dominant)190°C / 374°F195°C / 383°F
Cherry Pie (Indica dominant)195°C / 383°F202°C / 396°F
Granddaddy Purple (Indica)202°C / 396°F208°C / 406°F

High Temperature Note: With temperatures above 200°C traceable amounts of benzene are found in the vapor mist (a compound you’d rather avoid). Benzene contributes to couch lock and the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has concluded that there is sufficient evidence for carcinogenicity to humans. Although for all these alleged carcinogens in cannabis, still no proof has yet been found to link cannabis to lung cancer. Combustion of the cannabis plant matter begins at 230°C, where larger amounts of benzene are noted as well as other toxins such as carbon monoxide and smoke tars.

Caveats & Assumptions for Temperature Table:

  • Assumes you grind your cannabis,which is optimal for the vaporizer.
  • Assumes smoking a traditional sativa (lower CBD:THC ratio) for mental high and smoking a traditional indica (higher CBD:THC ratio) for total body high. There’s no perfect fit, i.e. not every sativa has similar CBD:THC ratios and other compounds still differ.
  • Assumes your cannabis is cured and stored well.
  • Each vaporizer can differ in its temperature accuracy.
  • Each strain and each batch of a given strain are unique.

Now throw your personal preferences into the mix. Hopefully this information will help you start some fun and invaluable personal research to share with weedists everywhere!

Tailoring Your High Series:

  1. Tailoring Your High: Intro to Temperature Control With a Vaporizer [this post]
  2. Tailoring Your High: Compounds in Cannabis, Properties and Boiling Points
  3. Tailoring Your High: Medical Properties of Cannabis Defined

I concure with your detailed insights and truly appreciate the time you obviously invested in providing extremely meaningful data.

FYI, I'm a novice to Vape pens and the various mediums which can effectively be enjoyed with positive outcomes. I come from a technical background and have realized early on that information on cannabis, strains, medium and the basic ways to gain effective intake is utterly confusing and apparently lacking in basics. Yet standards of measurement and devices is starting to appear, which is very positive!

With Vape pens I'v realized from posting and actual use of two different pens, with several different strains and types of medium, i.e. Wax & Concentrate oils, that temperature setting clearly modify the depth and quality of a hit in very significant ways. I'v started with wax at medium temp initially, then move to the next level after the second hit...etc, with each level the quality of the hit has been consistently good. On a positive note the lack of odor is great, yet it's an odd sensation without the after burn cloud in the air👶🏻 Yet the physical and phychological have been consistently above average Vs a joint....and defiantly no carbon, tar and dry mouth...supper clean taste and feelings.

Appreciate your temp/ strain matrix!


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