Vaping devices are a relatively new invention, but they have already taken the world by storm. As of 2020, the global vaping and e-cigarettes market was valued at just over $15 billion, with a projected compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 27.3 percent over this year and into 2022.
People use vapes for various reasons; some to slowly decrease and control their nicotine addiction, others as a safer alternative to conventional cigarettes. They also make great gifts for smokers, as they’d be getting something both useful and enjoyable to them personally. However, it’s worth taking note of the safety information for vapes before buying one. It’s crucial to understand that vaping does involve heating up liquid, and there are risks involved in the process. The best way to avoid these risks is by taking the time to learn the ideal vaping temperatures for different substances that can be vaped.
Exactly how many “vapable” substances are there, and what’s the safest way to do so? In this post, we go over these substances in order of popularity among consumers, how they work and the best temperatures for vaping each respectively.
CBD-Based Liquids & Cartridges
Surprisingly, CBD-based vape liquids (e.g. oils, broad-spectrum formulations, cartridge products) have overtaken their nicotine-based counterparts — commonly called “e-liquids” — in popularity, even though e-liquids are what vapes and e-cigarettes were created for use with in the first place. Whether it be vaping CBD for anxiety disorders or pain relief, the popular cannabinoid has quickly become the most popular vapable substance in the industry.
CBD is the primary cannabinoid in industrially-grown hemp, and is currently being researched for its role in managing the symptoms of common physiological disorders. These include chronic inflammation, pain and even mood disorders like persistent depression. Studies show that CBD’s therapeutic potential is largely tied to its modulatory interactions with the human endocannabinoid system.
The boiling point for CBD is 356°F, so the ideal vaping temperature for it and other non-psychoactive cannabinoids like cannabigerol (CBG) and cannabichromene (CBC) is between 400°F and 410°F.
Nicotine e-liquids have been in the vaping space for as long as the industry has been in the mainstream. Nicotine liquids come in low, standard and high concentration formats, as well as in new “nicotine salt” types which allow for more concentrated hits without the large clouds that come with standard e-liquids.
Of the different vapable substances circulating the market today, nicotine e-liquids have the greatest flavor variety by far, with anything from Raspberry to Butter Toast Pancake flavors being common sights on e-liquid racks at vape shops. For DIYers, unflavored nicotine e-liquids are also available in retail and wholesale sizes.
Standard nicotine e-liquids are best vaped between 390°F and 420°F, depending on the proportion of propylene glycol (PG) to vegetable glycerin (VG) in the formulation of a specific product. As a general rule, e-liquids with less viscosity (higher PG) require less heat while more viscous e-liquids (higher VG) require higher heat levels.
Nicotine salt e-liquids, on the other hand, are best vaped on low-wattage regulated devices designed specifically for vaping them. In most cases, so-called “nic salt” e-liquids are best vaped on the lowest heat preset available on these devices.
Unlike CBD, THC is still technically illegal at the federal level due to its psychoactive properties, and is available for recreational consumption depending on the legal status of marijuana by state.
THC is commonly vaped to manage sleep dysfunction and help against disorders characterized by reduced appetite (e.g. Addison’s disease, liver or kidney disease). This is done by its effect on ghrelin, the hormone that controls hunger. THC has also been shown to reduce the severity of chronic pain tied to illnesses like cancer, nerve damage, shingles or multiple sclerosis.
THC is different from non-psychoactive cannabinoids in that it’s best vaped at significantly lower temperatures, namely 320°F to 355°F.
Salvia divinorum is a visionary herb that can be used in different ways. The most common of these methods involves lighting up with a traditional lighter and pipe, and inhaling deeply, which produces an intense trip with users reporting vivid colors and prophetic visions about the future or past. However if one knows what they’re doing there are lower-temperature vaporization techniques for this plant as well.
Vaping salvia with a conduction vape isn’t recommended because it’s unlikely to get hot enough. Conduction vapes work by having the herb sitting in a hot oven, and drawing cold air through it. This will not provide enough heat to vaporize the salvia properly and you’d likely just burn the surface of the leaf without actually reaching deep into the herb.
Convection vapes are a much better option as they generate a constant stream of hor air, more akin to holding a lighter flame onto the herb. Reports suggest that you still need a high temperature, so your vape should be able to reach at least 210°C.
If your vape is capable of reaching such a high temperature then this can work really well. Be careful and don’t underestimate the power of this method, as it can be quite intense.
Terpene-Infused DIY Liquids
Terpene infusion makes DIY vaping a little more complicated, as there are two main factors to consider: first, the liquid you are infusing terpenes into (e.g. CBD oil, nicotine e-liquid). Second, and perhaps equally as important to note, is the boiling point and ideal vaping temperature of the specific terpene or terpenes in use.
Why infuse terpenes?
A good number of consumers within the vape industry prefer to mix their own liquids in order to have full control over their personal formulation’s potency and consistency. Many of these DIYers also prefer natural flavorings to the synthetic, chemical-based ones that dominate the lower end of the market. This is where terpenes come in; they impart natural flavors and aromas to everything they’re infused into — from smoothies to vape liquids.
Terpenes are also being studied for their ability to heighten the therapeutic potential of cannabinoids like THC and CBD via a synergistic interaction known as the Entourage Effect. This means they aren’t merely viable as a safer or healthier alternative to synthetic flavorings, but as a possible source of health-positive benefits in themselves.
In terpenes’ case, the ideal vaping temperature varies by terpene. Linalool, known commonly as the lavender terpene, is best between 385°F and 388°F; the stress-relieving citrus terpene limonene is best vaped at 349°F; and the antibiotic resistance modulator pinene has a much lower ideal vaping temperature of 311°F.
In order to ensure vaping at the correct temperature is possible for both the base liquid and the terpenes infused into them, it’s best to match base liquids (e.g. THC, CBD) to prospective terpenes intended for infusion by their respective temperature thresholds before formulation.