The exceptionally complicated cannabis plant is made from an array of chemical compounds. Cannabidiol (CBD), delta tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), and terpenes are all part of the chemical makeup of the plant. When utilizing hydrocarbons (butane, hexane, ethanol) or supercritical gases (CO2) to make budder, shatter, and other extractions we are actually hyper-concentrating these same compounds. The best methodology will extract the cannabinoids and terpenes without taking any undesirables (chlorophyll and lipids along). This is because terpenes and cannabinoids are where all of the smell, flavor, and of course healing properties of cannabis derive from.
CBD, THC, CBN, and common terpenes all have varying aromatics, flavors, and properties. In the same regard, each compound also has its own boiling point. Because of this aspect of the plant, it is important to pay attention to the temperature of our rig while we’re dabbing. This is because when we dab at these astronomical temperatures, we generally burn off all of the terpene content of our concentrates. This is unfortunate since terpenes deliver all of the delicious flavors of cannabis that we love.
Here are some of the boiling points of our favorite terpenes and cannabinoids:
Bisabolol: 153 °C
Using a Torch
Dabbing at lower temperatures will preserve the terpene profiles of each strain, but do keep in mind that low-temp dabs require a bit of control. Most dab rigs are set up with a titanium nail or a quartz banger – these pieces are heated using a torch, which can reach temps above 537°C. At this high temperature, all of the healing and delicious compounds are promptly burnt off before ever reaching our lungs. Dabs taken at this temperature will have a gross flavor and lose any healing properties. Most who still use a torch to take their dabs will wait for a specific time in order to let the piece reach a low enough temperature to preserve flavor.
Using an E-nail
The e-nail has changed the game for low-temp dabbers. E-nails are a device that connect to our banger or nail using a conductive metal coil. The other side of the wire is connected to an electrical box that allows us to set the exact temperature we want to dab at. This technology is ideal for any connoisseur who prefers those loud, flavorful dabs. To dab with an E-nail, everything goes as usual until after the wax hits the nail or banger. This is when it’s time to grab a carb cap. Since the piece is at a lower temp than usual, it will burn the wax more slowly. Using a carb cap will prevent wax from pooling in the bottom of the banger. A carb cap will retain the heat of the piece while we’re dabbing and help us vape every last bit of oil.
Don’t get me wrong, it is totally possible to take delicious low temperature dabs without investing tons of cash in an e-nail. Also, dabbing at low temps using a torch is possible, it just takes a little finesse and attention to detail. Either way, taking it down to a lower temp is a great way to get a smoother hit and get more out of each dab.
Cara began working in the retail cannabis industry of San Francisco, CA in 2011 and continued in that sector for years. In 2015 she put down her budtender hat and dedicated herself to writing full-time. Her passion for the written word and deep respect for the healing properties of the cannabis plant fuel the passion in her posts.