Many cannabis consumers think that customizing their cannabis buzz is limited to the strains they have on their shelves, but temperature is an equally important factor.
Think of temperature control as the key to unlocking whatever effects a strain can offer. A strain that’s high in CBD (non-psychoactive, relaxing, anti-epileptic), for example, must be heated to the compound’s boiling point of 356°F if you’re to reap its benefits. Likewise, the relaxing terpene linalool isn’t unleashed until you hit 388°F. Temperature can also determine a strain’s intensity: higher temperatures typically exaggerate effects while lower temperatures offer a more gentle, mellow experience.
This type of customization isn’t possible through smoking. When you bring a lighter to your bowl, you’re combusting the plant material which creates smoke, carbon dioxide, and other harmful byproducts. The temperature is hot enough to activate the THC and other compounds, but this “sledgehammer approach” isn’t terribly efficient, as temperatures that high can also destroy volatile but pertinent cannabinoids and terpenes.
Low Temperatures for Clear-Headed, Functional Effects
310°F to 330°F
Recommended for: mild euphoria, focus, productivity, subtle relaxation
There’s a time and place to be stoned off your rocker, but sometimes all you need is the slightest kick from your cannabis. For days when you need uplifting relief to carry you through chores and tasks, low-temp vaping is the key to a functional, productive buzz.
Turning the heat up to 330°F, the high became slightly more intense but tasks and concentration were still completely manageable. The 290-330°F range seems the perfect fit for those who wish to stay productive and functional, cannabis novices and newbies, and/or anyone sensitive to THC’s side effects (dizziness, paranoia, dry eyes/mouth, lethargy, etc.).
Moderate Temperatures for a Balanced Buzz
330°F to 370°F
Recommended for: moderate euphoria, enhanced sensory awareness, mood elevation, functional relaxation
As you increase the heat, more THC is volatilized and your high becomes more intense. This middle range — 330°F to 370°F – gives rise to more euphoric effects that help elevate the mood, stimulate giggles, and kick start the appetite. It’s more functional than when you push past the 370°F mark, but you will most definitely start to feel the stone that lower temperatures spared you.
Whether you’re kicking back with a book, exercising, socializing, cleaning, or playing video games, these moderate temperatures provide most of the cannabinoids and terpenes you want without fully volatilizing the THC – I know many people who would want as much THC as possible, but for others it’s about achieving a careful balance of clear-headedness and blissful elevation.
High Temperatures for Intense Euphoria and Relaxation
370°F to 430°F
Recommended for: intense euphoria, sleep, heavy relaxation, meditation
For ultimate THC decarboxylation mode, turn your vaporizer above 370°F. At these high temperatures, you get terpenes like linalool (calming, anxiety relief) and cannabinoids like THCV (energizing, appetite suppressant), but keep in mind that they’re approaching combustion territory. You may even notice the vapor become smokier and harsher on the lungs.
That bring us to the final and most obvious consideration when attempting to customize an experience: the strain.
Differences Between Cannabis Strains
The above temperature tiers don’t so much “create” effects – they modify them, so keep in mind that the limits of your customization are set by whatever strain you’re working with.
Temperature is basically the volume knob: turn it up for intensity, and turn it down for subtlety.
But, in summary, don’t forget that with increases in temperatures, you can uncork more essential compounds. However, go too hot and you may be destroying some of those delicate cannabinoids and terpenes. Everyone has their own preference, and it’s up to you to find your own favorite temperature, but knowing exactly what is vaporizing at those temperatures may help.