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Using Your Vaporizer Effectively – It’s All about the Temperature

Smoking is bad for you. Right….? Despite recent tests hinting that smoking marijuana may improve lung capacity, it is still pretty counter-intuitive to imagine that burning a lump of organic plant matter and inhaling the heated smoke emitted can do anything but harm.

Enter the vaporizer. Early vaporizers were often crude, Heath Robinson type affairs with little or no control over temperature. Indeed, most of us probably began vaporizing with a cheap oriental import that pretty much cremated our stash. Well, vaporizers have come on leaps and bounds since those early days and modern vapes are all singing, all dancing, boxes of high tech design that do everything except the washing up. But are they better for us than smoking? Well, a simple answer would be yes, but it is not as straight forward as vaping=good, smoking=bad.

In fact, to work truly effectively vaporizing requires a degree of precision that can only be found in the top of the range vaporizers. Whilst it is true that a lower end vaporizer is probably better for you than a blunt, it is missing out on a whole range of subtlety that could otherwise be available to you.

Let’s start with the basics: Heating THC (and other cannabinoids) and inhaling the fumes gets you high. This is the basic concept behind smoking weed and has been with us for millennia. When you heat weed to the point of combustion however, as with lighting a spliff or a bong, the resulting smoke contains not only THC but a whole range of airborne compounds including soot, tars, particulates and other toxins. Some of these toxins could prove to be carcinogens, especially if you build your spliffs with tobacco, and don’t forget that the heat itself can be injurious to the sensitive lining of your mouth, throat and lungs.

Vaporizer Temperature on Herbs

So the concept of a vaporizer is to heat the weed to a temperature that is hot enough to vaporize the cannabinoids and release their heady goodness, but not so hot as to combust the material and release the sooty particulates. And this is where some of the cheaper models fall down. With no temperature control it is difficult to guarantee that your weed won’t combust. You will still get high, but you won’t be able to avoid inhaling those particulates.

It gets more complicated too. There are 483 known compounds in cannabis, around 80 of which are cannabinoids that will have some kind of psychoactive effect. Each of these compounds will have a different and distinct temperature at which it vaporizes. The science is still in its early days and so there is some debate and argument about the absolute optimum temperature for vaporization. Most people reckon it to be around the 300oF to 400oF mark.

Some of the terps actually start to vaporize at around 260oF, but if you vape at this temperature you will get mostly aromatics (yum!) but no cannabinoids.

So let’s look at the big three – everybody’s favorite cannabinoids. These vaporize at around the following temperatures.

  • Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) 301°F
  • Cannabidiol (CBD) 403°F
  • Cannabinol (CBN) 415°F

Without accurate temperature control, as with a flame powered vaporizer for example, you are likely to run through these in order rather than hitting them all at the same time. So, for example, your fist hit might be full of terps and taste very nice, the next hit could be the THC which gets you nicely high, while the final hit could be all CBD and CBN and have you glued to the couch.

So here’s a thing. A vaporizer that offers reliable and accurate temperature control also gives you the ability to be selective in which particular compounds you wish to inhale. Many of our readers are all about the THC. Whilst it is the CBDs and CBNs that give the best pain relief to medical users, it’s the THC that gives the upbeat buzz that many of us recreational users are looking for. By simply setting your vaporizer to around 320oF it is possible to actively target the THC whilst avoiding the CBN and CBD, regardless of the ratio of cannabinoids in the weed.

This might seem a tad wasteful to many of you, but it very much depends on what you’re looking for. The point is that accurate temperature control is crucial to effective vaporizing. It also means that we’ve got a lot to look forward to as this relatively new aspect of consuming cannabis advances at such a pace.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 24 July 2013 08:04

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Why is vaporization so much healthier than smoking.

Perhaps the first place to start when thinking about this subject is to remember the reason why people smoke in the first place: whatever their substance of choice, people burn it and inhale the smoke in order to get to the essential oils and other essences  contained in the plant.  As an example, tobacco smoke contains over 4,000 substances.

People have smoked various plants and herbs over the centuries, including herbs, tobacco, and weed.  The sad fact is though that, although the constituents of the plant are made available by the burning and inhaling process, the process of combustion (burning) creates other substances.  As an example, tobacco smoke contains over 4,000 substances, 40 of which are known to be cancer-causing (carcinogens).  So, if 10% of tobacco smoke is positively toxic to your health, you can’t help but ask if getting at those life-enhancing/healing substances is worth the risk.  Especially as the combustion process also destroys much of the very substance you’re aiming to inhale – up to 50% of marijuana is destroyed when smoking a joint according to some reports.  And what about that aroma that fills the room when you smoke – that aroma is the perfume of all those essential elements just being let loose on the air.

Enter vaporization.  Vaporizing your herb, whatever that might be, releases those essential elements but doesn’t create the harmful by-products of burning; neither does it release fragrant, THC laden smoke to the air.

The upshot of this non-release of smoke is that you get as much weed-high from far less marijuana from your vaporizer than you would from smoking a joint; so while you are conserving your health you are also saving money.  As a rule of thumb you can expect to use half the amount of weed in a vaporizer compared to in a joint to get the same high.  Actually, some say the high is even better…

The initial outlay on a vaporizer may make you cringe but think again – better health, better finances, better high.  What choice is there to make?

Last Updated on Wednesday, 24 July 2013 08:04

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How vaporizing marijuana at different temperatures affects the vaporizing experience

One of the major selling points of up-market vaporizers is their wide temperature range.  The problem is, some people are confused by such a wide range and sweat over what temperature they should be using.  To add to the confusion, there’s lots of talk recently about how vaping at different temperatures either improves or dulls the experience.

The fact is that marijuana releases its essential oils and THC at temperatures between 175°C to 200°C, (that’s 347°F to 392°F).  Within this range of temperatures you’ll get all the essential elements of your cannabis but none of the harmful toxins that are associated with smoking. 

Unless you’ve been living in a different galaxy for the last thirty years or so you will know that smoking is harmful to health.  Some folks are under the impression that is the substance, i.e. nicotine, that is dangerous, but the truth is, it is the burning that produces most of the toxins.  This means that if you burn marijuana you are producing many of the toxins that injure or kill tobacco smokers.

If you set your vaporizer temperature at the high end of the range, you are very close to burning it; the vapor might taste a little smoky and your high is likely to feel harsh. Vaping at the higher temperatures produces a thick vapor that is not dissimilar to smoke. At these high temperatures, you will also destroy cannabidiol (CBD), which makes up 40% of marijuana’s active constituents.

CBD has sedative qualities, and it slows down the rate THC clears from the body; so your high won’t last as long. CBD will not last as long. CBD is also very valuable from a medical point of view, especially as a pain killer.

Turn the down the dial for the best experience. Take a look at your bud – if it’s turning dark you are into the burning zone.

Something else to remember is that, by using a lower temperature, you are not destroying anything – just extracting the active ingredients. As not all those essential vapors are used up in one sitting you are actually getting more for your money.

By keeping your screen clean and not over packing your bud you should find that you get a far cleaner hit at the lower temperatures, and you will also get more for your money.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 24 July 2013 08:04

Hits: 12078

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