The Perfect Dab Temperature (So You Don’t Burn Your Lungs)
One of the most critical factors in dabbing is finding the perfect temperature to take your dab at. When a dab is too hot, the vapor could burn your lungs. If you take your dab when the heating element is too cold you won’t get the full effects of your cannabis concentrates. This guide covers why dab temperature matters, the difference between each temperature range, and some helpful tips for finding your perfect dab temperature.
The Importance of Finding the Right Dabbing Temperature
Finding the perfect dabbing temperature is crucial to getting maximum flavor, effect, and enjoyment out of each dab. If you try to hit your dab when it’s not hot enough, you won’t get a full expression of the effect, and the extract won’t vaporize completely. On the other hand, when the dab is taken at too hot a temperature, you will lose flavor, and the vapor will be hot and harsh, which can potentially burn your lungs.
Different dab temperatures will produce different flavors from the same extract. In addition, each extract will have its own ‘sweet spot’ temperature that brings out the most well-rounded effect and flavor combination. Therefore, as you try different strains and types of concentrates, we recommend experimenting with various dabbing temperatures to find which temperature range works best for a particular strain or consistency of extract.
Thankfully, finding out this information is not as complicated as it might seem, thanks to all the tools at our disposal nowadays. We are lucky to live in a time where electronic vaporizers can make dabbing a near-exact science. However, suppose you prefer the more ‘analog’ method of blowtorches and glass bangers. In that case, plenty of videos and guides on the necessary tools and how to wield them safely and effectively.
We have designed this guide to be another useful tool you can bookmark and reference whenever you need to check the finer details of finding the perfect dab temperature.
The Role of Terpenes in Dab Temperatures
One of the main reasons you’ll want to find the right temperature for your dabs is the aromatic oils in cannabis concentrates, known as terpenes. Terpenes are the compounds that give plants, herbs, and spices their scent, and cannabis is abundant in terpenes – over 100 terpenes and counting have been found in our beloved plant. So whenever you check the scent of a strain, you are smelling the terpenes in that strain.
Terpenes are also fundamental to a true cannabis experience because they have an impact on your high when they are inhaled. Certain terpenes give a more energizing and stimulating effect, while others have a more relaxing and sedating effect.
They are the more fragile and volatile compounds in cannabis extracts, as they typically evaporate at lower temperatures than cannabinoids such as THC and CBD. This means that lower-temperature dabs will preserve more terpenes in the vapor produced, while the higher the temperature you dab at, the more terpenes are destroyed, and the flavor becomes impaired. Not only does it affect the enjoyment of your dab, but too much heat can also create harmful by-products in the vapor you inhale.
For example, take the most common terpene in cannabis – Myrcene – which has an earthy, musky aroma. The boiling point of Myrcene is 334°F, so it will begin to evaporate at this temperature. Dab temperatures can range between 400-600°F, meaning that Myrcene is sometimes vaporized at nearly twice the required temperature. When this happens, it degrades and creates Benzene, a toxic compound we want to avoid inhaling if we can.
Therefore, we must be aware of our dabbing temperatures to ensure we are not overheating our delicate terpenes, burning our lungs, and creating unwanted by-products in our vapor.
Standard Dabbing Temperature Range
The standard dabbing temperature range is between 500°F and 600°F, especially for those who use a battery-powered or electronic vaporizer. Adjusting these temperatures up or down in 50° increments can produce differences in taste and effect, as cannabinoids and terpenes present in a strain will reach their respective boiling points at different temperatures. This will result in different effects and flavor combinations based on your dab’s temperature range.
Keep in mind that as the majority of cannabis concentrates and extracts available are THC-rich, it will still be the predominant compound in your dab, and the choice of temperature is more likely to affect which terpenes are present alongside the THC – which is where understanding the differences in these ranges will help you find your ideal dab temperature.
While we appreciate the dabbing method using torches and bangers, it requires more expertise and tools to dial in your preferred temperature. If you are looking for an easy way to consistently dab at a specific temperature, we recommend investing in an electronic nail or rechargeable vaporizer that offers various temperature settings.
Low Temp Dabbing Range: 400 – 450°F
The low-temperature dabbing range is usually considered to be between 400-450°F. This temperature is ideal for those who really want to taste the terpenes in their extracts. Low-temperature dabs are excellent for cannabis concentrates with a significant terpene percentage. These extracts have higher concentrations of terpenes that primarily vaporize between 270°-390°F, so dabbing at higher temperatures than 450°F is where you start to lose terpenes to heat.
400°F — Usually the lowest setting available on an electronic vaporizer, at this temperature, you are evaporating terpenes more readily than cannabinoids, meaning it is a very flavorful experience with a milder effect than dabs at higher temperatures. Dabbing at this temperature is an excellent way to truly taste the various notes in the flavor profile of a strain, producing a thin vapor accompanied by a gradual, soft high.
450°F — Either the lowest or second-lowest setting on most electronic vaporizers, this temperature begins to elicit more vapor while retaining many of the terpenes at 400°. The flavor is very pronounced, most extracts taste good at this temperature, and the psychoactive effect is more noticeable.
Mid-Range Dabbing Temps: 500 – 550°F
The mid-range of dabbing temperatures is from 500-550°F, which most regular dabbers favor as it offers a good balance of flavor and effect while producing a satisfying amount of vapor.
The main difference between low and midrange temperatures is that the psychoactive effect is more pronounced, and depending on the complexity of the strain, the flavor profile can change. Typically, low temperatures give the fullest flavor available from a dab. Still, due to the stronger psychoactive effect, many feel that the midrange offers a better combination without sacrificing too much flavor.
500°F — The sweet spot for many seasoned dabbers, where flavors are still full and clearly detectable. This range produces more vapor than low-temperature dabbing, as the oil is more fully vaporized, resulting in more vapor to inhale. Psychoactive effects are also well-rounded, with a more rapid onset and longer duration.
550°F — The higher end of the midrange temperature is where the heat level begins to destroy a larger amount of cannabinoids and terpenes. While it offers a thicker smoke than the lower end of the mid range, more terpenes degrade when they touch the vaporizer’s heating element — these temperatures are 200°F hotter than the boiling point for most terpenes. As a result, psychoactive effects become heavier, the flavor is less pronounced, and sweeter notes are lost.
Hot Dabs (High-Temperature Range) 600°F+
At 600°F and higher, the temperatures become too hot for most cannabis concentrates to be enjoyable. Hot dabs had become popular before we understood what temperature ranges are best for dabbing, and they do not offer any benefits over any of the lower temperatures.
Harmful compounds begin to be created at this temperature, as some compounds in the cannabis extract will burn when exposed to this heat level. The thickness of the vapor is partly due to this combustion, which is not desirable when the aim of dabbing is to vaporize your concentrates.
It is also dangerous to dab at 600°F regularly, as the harsher and hotter vapor can burn the tissue in your lungs and cause respiratory issues. We do not usually recommend dabbing at this temperature, most flavor is lost, and the effect can be unpleasantly heavy.
This is especially worth noting if you prefer traditional cannabis concentrates, such as water hash, where there are tiny plant particles that burn and impair the flavor of the rest of your dab.
Dabbing Tools to Use at Various Temperatures
Now that you know the perfect dab temperature for your needs, it’s time to learn about the best tools. Depending on what kind of concentrate you’re using and what vaporizer you have, different tools can help you get the most out of your session.
What do I dab with?
There are various dabbing accessories you can use to consume cannabis concentrates, and what you’ll need will depend on your concentrate and the vaporizer you’re using.
Consider the following:
- If you have a solid concentrate like budder or wax, you’ll need something to scoop it up and hold it before applying it to your heating element. For this purpose, you can use a dabber, a small tool with a scoop on one end and a pointed tip on the other. This allows you to get small amounts of concentrate and apply it directly to your nail without making too much of a mess.
- If you have an oily concentrate like shatter or live resin, you may want to use a dabber with a flat head instead of a scoop. This will help you get an even layer of concentrate on your nail to vaporize evenly.
- If you’re using a portable vaporizer, you may not need anything more than the vape itself. Some vapes come with special attachments for consuming concentrates, or you may be able to purchase them separately.
Dabbing Best Practices
Here are a few tips for using various dabbing accessories and the optimum temperature to get the best possible experience:
Low Temp Dabs
If you’re using a vaporizer with temperature control or are dabbing at 400°F and below, we recommend using a quartz banger or titanium nail. These surfaces heat up quickly and evenly, which helps to prevent your concentrate from burning.
Medium Temp Dabs
For the mid-range of temperatures from 500-550°F, we recommend using a ceramic nail or quartz banger. These surfaces hold heat well, so your dab will vaporize slowly and evenly. This prevents the concentrate from overheating and burning, giving you the perfect hit every time.
High Temp Dabs
We do not recommend dabbing at high temperatures, as this can harm your health. However, if you must dab at 600°F or higher, we recommend using a titanium nail. Titanium is the only material that can withstand these high temperatures without beginning to break down and release harmful compounds.
Helpful Tips to Find The Perfect Dab Temp for You
The perfect dabbing temperature is the one that produces the vapor and effect that you personally enjoy the most. While general guidelines help you find a starting point, everyone’s perfect dabbing temperature will differ.
Here are a few tips to help you find your perfect dab temp:
- Start low and slow: If you’re new to dabbing, start with a low temperature and work your way up. This will help you get used to the process and prevent you from accidentally taking too big of a hit.
- Pay attention to the flavor: The flavor of your dab will change as the temperature changes. At lower temperatures, you’ll taste more of the individual terpenes that give cannabis its unique flavor. As the temperature increases, these flavors will degrade, and you’ll taste more of the plant’s cannabinoids.
- Find a balance: The perfect dabbing temperature offers a balance of flavor and effect. If you want a stronger psychoactive effect, you’ll want to go with a higher temperature. If you’re looking for more flavor, go with a lower temperature.
- Try different concentrates: Give yourself some options and experiment with different types of cannabis concentrates. You may find that you prefer the flavor of one type over another or that a certain concentrate vaporizes better at higher or lower temperatures.
- Experiment with different methods: There are various ways to dab, and each offers its own benefits. Try different methods and find the one that works best for you.
- Keep a dabbing journal: As you experiment with different temperatures, keep track of the ones you like and don’t like in a dabbing journal. Then you will remember what works for you and what doesn’t, making it easier to find your perfect dab temp the next time.
Now that you know about finding the perfect dab temperature, it’s time to get out there and start experimenting!
What is a dab rig?
A dab rig is a type of water pipe that is designed for use with cannabis concentrates. Dab rigs typically have a small chamber and a nail, which is heated to high temperatures to vaporize the concentrate.
What are cold start dabs?
Cold start dabs are a technique that involves pre-loading the nail with concentrate before heating it. This allows you to get more flavor from your dab as the terpenes have time to vaporize before the cannabinoids begin to degrade.
What is a dabbing heating unit?
A dabbing heating unit is a device used to heat the nail to the desired temperature. There are various dabbing heating units on the market, including butane torches, e-nails, and induction coils.
How do you clean a dab rig?
Cleaning a dab rig is essential to ensure that it functions properly and doesn’t become contaminated with bacteria. You will need isopropyl alcohol and cotton swabs to clean a dab rig. Simply soak the cotton swabs in the alcohol and use them to wipe down the inside of the rig. This ensures it’ll reach all of the nooks and crannies. Then, allow the rig to air dry before using it again.
Dab with The Higher Path
If you’re looking for the perfect place to dab, look no further than The Higher Path. We have a wide selection of cannabis concentrates that are perfect for dabbing. Our knowledgeable staff can help you find the perfect one for your needs. We stock every cannabis extract type available! Whether you love solventless hash or are hunting for a new batch of live resin, you’re sure to find something to enjoy.
Check out our cannabis extracts menu, where you can order online for pick up or delivery, or stop by our store to learn more about our selection of concentrates!