This post is part of our High-tech High series, which explores weed innovations, and our cultural relationship with cannabis, as legalization in several U.S. states, Canada, and Uruguay moves the market further out of the shadows.
Cannabis users have always been fine-tuning their experience. Rolling a joint tighter or grinding bud finer will result in a different high, so it’s no surprise that users want that option when it comes to vaping. So what’s the best temperature to vape at? That depends on what you want out of your high.
Thanks to the rise of sate-level legalization in the U.S., vaping cannabis went from being a somewhat clunky and niche experience to a convenient and discreet norm. Whether you’re vaping oil or flower, the high tech gadgets being produced today allow users to curate their own experience, offering up a high they can learn to expect.
Vaping oil is the new standard
In recent years, vaping cannabis oil has exploded, and it’s helped introduce many to the world of legal pot. While smoking weed or downing an edible can offer an intense adventure, vaping oil can give users a more mellow and manageable experience. Additionally, it’s less smelly, there’s no smoke, and it’s an overall cleaner ordeal.
“You have all of this plant matter when you light it on fire you’re creating smoke. There’s a lot of that plant matter that doesn’t impact your high whatsoever — your experience whatsoever. So what vaping does, especially in the non-flower form, is it extracts all that plant matter and provides you just with the active compounds,” JJ O’Brien, VP of Strategy at Pax Labs said in an interview.
When you purchase vape oil from a legal store, it usually comes with a standard fitting. Users can then purchase a battery relatively cheaply, which can be reused and recharged.
While some batteries allow users to select between a few set temperature settings, companies like Pax allow people to set the temperature they’d like down to the degree.
At $29.99 the Pax Era is the company’s response to the industry’s oil boom. But there’s a catch — you can’t just go buy any type of oil you want because it does not use the industry standard 510 threaded batteries. Instead, the Era uses its own pods which are sourced from cannabis manufacturers they trust. Sure, while this may be a little inconvenient and limit the variety of oils you can buy, this model and others like it feel like a little bit more of a high-end experience.
The Era is app-connected, which allows you to unlock a number of features, including temperature control from your smartphone. The vape can be set as low as 430 degrees Fahrenheit, and as high as 790. To set a temperature that’s right for you, it all depends on what you want out of the vape.
No temperature is the right temperature
“The unique part about temperature when it comes to cannabis consumption is that every single one of those active compounds — all your cannabinoids … all of your terpenes … add to your holistic high and they all have different boiling points,” O’Brien explained. “Temperature is incredibly important in any type of cannabis experience because you’re wanting to consume all of those compounds at the right heat, which vary on the map, and you can’t necessarily consume the full spectrum as easily as you want sometimes.
While some cannabinoids — compounds found in cannabis that can provide the consumer with different effects — can withstand a higher temperature, terpenes, the essential oils of the plant which give it its taste and smell, cannot. So, vaping at a lower temperature will give a more perfume-like flavor, while a higher temperature will produce more vapor and will be a more intense high.
Activating these compounds is essentially what provides the user with an experience, one that is getting increasingly easier to manage thanks to technology.
“The joint is actually the best vaporizer out there.”
“The joint is actually the best vaporizer out there,” O’Brien admitted. “You’re combusting on one end, you’re pulling hot air through a controlled environment because you’ve wrapped the paper, and you’re actually hitting that flower with different heats as the combustion cools coming into your mouth.”
How to find your best temperature?
If you’re experimenting with different vape temperatures, the best thing to do is start low and try to be as mindful of your experience as possible. Take notes! Starting at a low temperature and waiting a decent amount of time between hits will allow you to take in how your body and mind are altered.
For the best results on the Era, select a dosage on the session control section of the app and slowly increase the temperature each time you vape. Remember that the effects of cannabis are cumulative, so this may take a few different days or even weeks before you find the perfect temperature for each situation.
If you don’t have an Era and can’t control the dose of your session, try to be aware of how hard and how long your pulling. For the most accurate results, remember to charge your vape battery often.
The future of fine tuning
While we can use things like vape temperature to help manage our highs, there are still so many factors involved in proving the same, repeatable experience which is essential to the mainstream acceptance of cannabis. How intense did you inhale and how long did you keep it in your lungs before exhaling? What was the THC percentage in the oil you purchased? CBD?
Temperature is only one factor in the very confusing and often overwhelming world of cannabis. A shot of whiskey is a shot of whiskey every single time. A hit of a joint or a puff off a vape can vary extensively.
Companies like Pax are allowing users to set their own preference through apps that fine tune temperatures and dosages. But without more research on how these compounds can effect us, many cannabis consumers are still playing guinea pigs with their highs. Widespread legalization at the federal level, like in Canada, may help us learn more about activating these compounds, and how we can better manage them.