There’s a nagging seed of doubt living in the heart of every owner of a personal vaporizer. A riddle for the modern age. A question every bit as vexing as those that drove the philosophers of ancient times to the wilderness to think, or the medieval alchemists into stone towers to conduct experiments. The question is this; What’s the ideal temperature at which to vaporize dry herbs?
The answer to that question is that it depends. And not just on whether we’re talking about centigrade of fahrenheit because we will only be talking about fahrenheit in this space
That’s not a cop out or a way cover-up for lack of diligence in our investigation of the topic. It’s the fact of the matter that most vapable botanicals are a complex symphony of organic chemistry, each chemical compound possessing its own unique traits, each trait expressed at a different temperature. It doesn’t simplify things that there are many different types of people using the dry herb vaporizers, with a host of different goals. And in a sense, the ability to pursue a precision experience is the single most freeing and democratic aspect of the portable vaporizer revolution.
So let’s start with a range of temperatures to be within, the zone between having a passive potpourri scent and the beginnings of combustion. With essentially any common herbal blend, you’ll start making actual smoke at around 450 degrees fahrenheit, but you’ll want to have your upward limit much lower than that because some of the undesirable components in smoke start to form at temperatures above 415 degrees. So, we’ll suggest that the upper limit be 410 degrees. At those temperatures, you’re going to be getting a quick release of all the different herbal vapors available from the material, and everything that can volatilize will. Provided you can keep things cool enough to prevent combustion, vaping at these higher temperatures is certainly OK. There is a downside though; Given that the technology allows you to curate your own experience, high temperature vaping is a comparatively like drinking from a firehose, and there are some enjoyable elements that will be lost to you.
At the opposite extreme we have some specific compounds that express their potential at low temperatures. Most of terpenes that are present in dried herbs will begin to vaporize at around 320 degrees, and around that temperature is where you want to be to explore the different flavor and aroma possibilities. Between 320 and 350 degrees, you’re receiving mostly the types of benefits you’d expect from aromatherapy, while to a large extent the other medicinal components will be left behind in the plant material. That’s not to say that they’re wasted, since they can still be vaped off later, or decarboxylated and used somewhere else. It just means that at low temperatures, you’re inhaling those compounds at low, very steady rate, especially when compared to the terpenes.
And what of that golden middle ground? There must be a temperature that the average user of a personal vaporizer could set and feel confident that it’s right. Well it turns out that the range is still pretty broad, and the general consensus is that between about 356 and 392 degrees is the sweet spot. At those temperatures, you’ll be getting plenty of terpene profile in your vapor while at the same time releasing the other medicines in a controlled and deliberate manner.
In case that’s all too wordy, and you’ve skipped to the end hoping to see a helpful summary that will give you precisely the information you want, with no extra information or entertainment at all, here it is:
Below 320 is too cold.
Above 410 is too hot.
Around 360 is just right.
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