If you’re looking to buy food-grade terpenes for cannabis to add to your chosen concentrate, it’s worth noting that there are a number of crucial considerations to make before vaping terpenes. Many first-timers wind up wasting money on the wrong products, experiencing technical mishaps or even burning the terpenes in their vaporizers — likely getting bitter hits and sore throats for their troubles.
In order to keep your experimentation as hassle-free as possible, we’ve put together this short beginner’s guide with everything you need to know.
Why vape terpenes?
When using terpenes with CBD cartridges, THC cartridges or cannabis concentrates, you are allowing for the natural synergy or “entourage effect” between cannabinoids and terpenoids, wherein they interact in tandem with the CB1 and CB2 receptors in the endogenous cannabinoid system (ECS), essentially enhancing each other’s medicinal and therapeutic potential.
Terpenes produce a number of complementary entourage effects: they inhibit hormonal actions that cause chemical imbalances in the brain, increase saturation thresholds for select cannabinoids within the nervous system and even prime the crucial enzymes that process neurotransmitters. Pleasant flavors and aromas aside, the addition of quality terpene isolates can do plenty to enhance your CBD or THC vaping experience.
The prospect of vaping terpenes or CBD for the first time can be significantly less daunting for beginners with the use of a simple three-part checklist. In this post, we go over these considerations in order of importance — from procuring the proper hardware to enjoying the benefits of terpenes as designed by nature.
Finding the right device for your needs
Any vape shop will tell you to consider your lifestyle before purchasing a vaporizer. The consensus rule of thumb as of this writing is that cartridge or pod devices are best for casual vapers with on-the-go lifestyles, while box mods and tank systems are more suited for technical users with solid knowledge of how each vaporizer component works. But if either class of vapers is looking to make use of terpenes, there’s an extra consideration to make.
The use of unregulated devices with refillable, non-proprietary attachments (i.e. cartridges, pods etc) is necessary for vaping terpenes because of the DIY aspects of the practice. Users will be adding terpene isolate into their e-liquids, oils or concentrates — thereby changing the ideal temperature at which to vape them. Because of this, devices with locked attachments and fixed temperature presets are unsuitable for vaping terpenes. When shopping for your vaporizer, don’t just bear in mind the particularities of your lifestyle, but your intended use case as well.
Awareness of proper terpene vaping temperatures
Knowledge of individual terpene boiling points is perhaps the single most important factor in maintaining a quality vaping experience after infusing your favorite e-liquid or concentrate. It’s also crucial to be aware that very few terpenes share similar temperature thresholds. If terpenes are pushed beyond their respective boiling points, they could evaporate, lose potency or even turn bitter and dry.
Pulegone is easily the most manageable terpene to vape, with a boiling point of 435°F. On the other hand, terpenes like beta-caryophyllene boil at a notably low 246°F, and can only be vaped on low-power regulated devices such as a micro pod mod. If you’re not using an unregulated device, it’s doubly important to do your due diligence on individual terpene boiling points when you decide to use them.
Keeping track of terpene nomenclature
Another topic worth understanding is the current convention for naming terpenes. All too often users just starting to dabble in terpene infusion buy from their local dispensary or order online, only to receive an entirely different terpene from what they were expecting. This is because of subtle differences in terpene names known as isomer prefixes.
The most common example of consumer confusion over isomer prefixes is the purchase of l-limonene when the target terpene is d-limonene. The former has a minty, somewhat turpentine-like flavor and aroma, while the latter tastes and smells of lemon and citrus peels. Obviously, vaping one while expecting the flavor and benefits of the other can make for an unpleasant experience.
To avoid these sort of mishaps and save money on unintended purchases, it definitely pays to understand isomer prefixes and the current naming conventions around terpenes.