Dab temperature has long been a hotly debated topic, with either side of the high-temp vs. low-temp divide firmly standing their ground. But preference isn’t the only factor, there is science behind each choice.
You need to know the key differences between high and low temp dabbing before you can decide which choice is right for you. Keep reading for the dab temp info every wax user needs to know.
Some Background on Dab Temperatures
Dabs, or oils or concentrates, are technically liquids. When you heat your nail (either using a torch or an e-nail), and put your dab in it, the dab melts, and then it boils. When it boils, it’s vaporizing, producing the vapor you inhale for the desired effects, so the boiling point is really important.
The different elements of your dab, like the THC and the terpenes, boil at different temperatures. In some cases, depending on how clean your wax is, they can even produce carcinogens if overheated.
The dab temperature has a direct effect on the vaping experience.
High Temperature Dabbing
High temperature dabbing is where a lot of people go wrong. Far too often, I’ve seen people heat their nails to a red hot point, wait about 5 seconds, and then take their dab. This experience can be uncomfortable because the vapor is extremely hot and intense.
So why do some people try high temp dabbing? It can cause fast, intense highs but there are significant negative effects too. Here is a list of the effects of high temperature dabbing:
- Intense high that hits hard and quickly
- Fast pain relief right after the high
- Throat pains
- Coughing fits
- Potentially headaches afterwards
- Risk of carcinogen production
As mentioned previously, a lot of the components of marijuana (and its extracts) have boiling points at, or below, 400F, like the terpenoids and THC. Heating the dab to anything over this point, while not “harmful”, is certainly not doing you any favors either. We wouldn’t recommend inhaling hot vapors regularly.
How to High-Temp Dab
- Heat the nail until it’s slightly glowing red.
- Once it’s red, let it cool for about 20 seconds.
- Take your hit, making sure to inhale all the vapor produced, and exhale shortly after.
High-temp dabbing will definitely get you high, and you’ll feel a bigger head rush because of the increased heat, just remember to be cautious when you try it.
Also, it’s important to note that animal and plant oils often become rancid when overheated and can, in some cases (as with coconut oil), release small amounts of acetaldehyde, a class 1 carcinogen. Carcinogens are cancer-causing substances that enter our body, and are found in your car’s exhaust fumes, for example. You definitely want to avoid that risk.
Low Temperature Dabbing
On the other hand, low-temp dabs are where it’s at, both scientifically and bro-scientifically. As stated before, most compounds in marijuana have an effective boiling point of less than 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Anything hotter is overkill.
To back that up, the “National Organisation for Reform in Marijuana Laws”, or NORML, did some research into the health of vaporizing. They found that the optimal temperature to vaporize marijuana is between 350 and 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
At these temperatures, the most commonly found terpenoids vaporize efficiently and effectively, providing you not only a much more pleasant dab, but also a much better tasting one.
Here are some of the terpenes commonly found in marijuana & its extracts, and their boiling temperatures:
- α-Pinene: 311°F
- ß-Caryophyllene: 320°F
- ß-Myrcene: 334°F
- D-Limonene: 349°F
- Humulene: 388°F
- Linalool: 388°F
Seeing as they’re all boiling even before 400 degrees is reached, it’s optimal to keep your dab a little on the lower-temp side.
How to Low-Temp Dab
If you’re using a traditional nail and torch setup, it’s a little complicated. It depends on how well seasoned your nail is, how hot your torch gets, and for how long you initially heat up the nail. You could get an infrared temperature gauge but…. That’s overkill.
A good general practice would be the following:
- Heat your nail until it’s slightly glowing red.
- Turn off the heat.
- Wait about 40 seconds.
You should be able to feel the temperature from about an inch away. It shouldn’t be burning hot, but a noticeable heat. That’s when you’re ready.
The better alternative is to use a dab pen like the A$AP Rocky vape pen, or a quality e-nail like the Dabado Bolt V2 for your home setup. These are optimal because they let you adjust the temperature of your dabs on the fly, and will then maintain that temperature. E-nails, in particular, are great because they have the most granular control over temperature.
The ability to set your temperature ensures that you’ll have a quality vaping experience every time. If you’re ready to step up your dab game, check out some of our favorite vape pens and the best e-nails this year.