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The Avid Dabber: My Favorite Temperatures for Dabbing Cannabis Concentrates

January 25, 2018
(Sara Dilley/Leafly)
One question I get asked all the time is, “What temperature should I be dabbing at?” The simple answer is that it’s up to you. Some dabbers prefer hotter dabs that give them big clouds of vapor while others live by the low-temp dabber’s credo: “You got to waste it to taste it.”

Hot dabs always give me very immediate and pronounced effects that take a few minutes to settle into. Low temp dabs, on the other hand, tend to deliver a much lighter and tapered rise into cannabis’ euphoric effects. If you’re not sure which you prefer, I encourage you to use some of the techniques I shared last week to help you dab at the right temperature. Once you’ve experimented a bit, you’ll discover the range of temperature you prefer. To give you a good starting point, I’ll share a few temperatures that I like to dab at.

Where my #lowtemp dabbers at? This handy resource from @leafly shows some of the boiling points for some of the essential compounds found in cannabis. . . . #aviddabber #Seattle #leafly #onlydabthebest #onlythebest #onlysmokethebest #dab #dabs #cannabis #dabbing #dablife #dabstagram #shatter #dailydabbers #dabbersdaily #bho #sho #weshouldsmoke #highsociety #stayhigh #concentrates #710 #420 #710community GFX by @leafly

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But before I dive in, I want to share a quick reminder of the vaporization points for the essential cannabinoids and terpenes. Keeping these temperatures (see above infographic) in mind when you dab will help you fine-tune the effectiveness of each dab you take. A little personal tip: I always like to aim my temperatures a little higher than the boiling point for these compounds. That way I make sure they are completely vaporized once my dab gets capped.

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545-570°F

What temp do you dab at? . . . #aviddabber #Seattle #leafly #dab #dabs #cannabis #dabbing #dablife #dabstagram #shatter #dailydabbers #dabbersdaily #weshouldsmoke #highsociety #stayhigh #concentrates #710 #420 #710community #mininail 📷 @juliasumpter

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My sweet spot, or the temperature range I most commonly dab at, is nestled somewhere between 545° and 570° Fahrenheit. Or at least that’s what I set my e-nail to on my daily driver. Many e-nails give you a temperature reading for the heater coil, so you must account for some slight variation with the heat transferring from that coil to the dabbing surface. This is one of the main reasons why I specifically recommend The MiniNail. Their controllers are factory calibrated to account for this loss of heat and their temperature readout gives you more precise control over your dabbing experience.

I will use these temperatures for most of my dabs, but specifically prefer this range for hydrocarbon extracts like live resin, sugar resin, honey crystal, shatter, and crumble. I also use this range when dabbing my home-pressed rosin. I’ve found that dabbing these consistencies and forms between 545-570°F allows my dab to almost completely vaporize, capturing nearly all of its essence and potency without scorching or combusting any of the more heat-sensitive terpenes.

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500-540°F

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When I’m terp hunting, or really trying to savor the terpene profile of the hash I’m dabbing, I’ll drop my temperatures a little lower. The 500-540°F range is where I like to dab all the solventless hash I come across. In my experience, forms like ice wax, hash rosin, and other high-melt hashes are a little more delicate and don’t take as much heat. Often these natural separation methods don’t undergo a dewaxing process the same way that hydrocarbon extracts do. Dewaxing helps remove the fats and lipids from cannabis and is a way to further purify concentrates. So, when dabbing these less-processed forms of hash, it’s not uncommon to leave residue after each dab. A simple wipe with a Q-Tip and a couple drops of isopropyl alcohol will take care of that.

Some people prefer even lower temp dabs than this, so don’t feel like you can’t dip below 500°F. Just know that puddling is more likely to occur and will leave behind a small pool of hash oil that was not able to completely vaporize (this is where the phrase “you got to waste it to taste” comes from). Many flavor hounds view puddling as a badge of honor and a sign that they haven’t combusted any non-essential compounds. Others will tell you it’s a waste of good hash. I personally sit somewhere in the middle. I don’t mind a little puddle, but prefer my dabs to be flavorful, effective, and efficient.

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Over 600° F

Dropped this 0.3g 💎 of @westcoastalchemy X @ohmegafarms Candied Clementine 🍭 🍊 🍬 🔥 Using my @toro_glass 30mm Grail and my custom #1 @barry.glass Opal Coin cap ❤️👌

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Not often, but sometimes a hotter dab is needed. I reserve the hotter temperatures for isolates, like crystalline THCA and CBD. This really just comes down to my own preferences as I’m sure many will tell you that they actually like lower temperatures for isolated compounds. This makes since, because the single compound will have a more specific vaporization point than a full-spectrum hash that has many cannabinoid and terpene compounds in its profile.

The reason I prefer a higher temperature for isolates, specifically THCA, is because it is the chemical precursor to the psychoactive compound THC. THCA in its isolated form is not considered intoxicating; it must convert to THC to gain its euphoric properties. This process, known as decarboxylation, happens naturally over time as cannabis flowers dry, but it can also be accomplished in a shorter amount of time with heat.

When dabbing an isolate like crystalline THCA, that conversion process is taking place in real-time on the hot surface of your nail. So, while a low temp dab can still manage this chemical conversion, a higher temp will expedite that conversion so that it is more instantaneous. My thought process there is that the efficacy and efficiency of that conversion can take place in a shorter timespan under my carb cap.

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Avid Dab of the Week

#GSC 6* Hash Rosin washed by @voodoomelts . . . #aviddabber #Seattle #leafly #dab #dabs #cannabis #dabbing #dablife #dabstagram #Hash #rosin #cookies #girlscoutcookies #dailydabbers #dabbersdaily #sho #weshouldsmoke #highsociety #stayhigh #concentrates #710 #420 #710community

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I’m back into my solventless head stash for this week’s Avid Dab. I was over at my good friend’s (@voodoomelts) place to catch up on life and business over a steady stream of delicious solventless dabs. He had two flavors he recently washed and it was hard to choose which to dab first. At his recommendation, I chose the GSC six-star hash rosin and was not disappointed. It has an unforgettable flavor profile that mixes sweet candied notes with pungent earthy undertones. It’s a complex terpene profile that creates a deeply relaxing and euphoric mix of effects. It finishes with a subtle doughiness that is present in a lot of GSC genetics.

What’s your preferred temperature to dab at? And what are you dabbing this week? Share your temperature tips on Instagram and tag me (@the.avid.dabber) and use #aviddabber. Or tell me what’s up in the comments section below. Stay tuned to The Avid Dabber column where next week I’ll break out my Nectar Collector and show you what makes this unique dabbing piece so great. Until then, remember to ONLY DAB THE BEST!

Will Hyde's Bio Image

Will Hyde

Will is a cannabis expert and co-host of Leafly's "What Are you Smoking" podcast. He's a cultivator and former budtender who loves complex hybrids with piney and gassy terpene profiles. Follow him on Instagram at @the.avid.dabber

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  • Disqustipated

    I’m surprised there have been no comments for this yet: it is by far one of the best online articles about specific temperatures for dabs: it is detailed and concise yet fairly comprehensive as well. Nice work, Mr. Hyde: I’m glad to have discovered it.

  • Frederick S Tolliver

    Thank u avid dabber im a new first time dabber i listened to u and got a mininail im VERY PLEASED WITH cudos on that ive only had my mininail to 600° n under im in Massachusetts where its legal i have my mmj card i just got CHUCK OG LIVE ROSIN,3CHEM ROSIN,ECHO ROSIN(HIGH CBD)Never tryed a cbd b4,DOMENSHIA WAX,FLO OG SHATTER,SWEETH TOOTH WAX,GOLDEN LEMON SHATTER,TRIPLE OG SHATTER i got 9 grams for 300$ i got 110$ off cuz i just recertified my mmj card so would have been more$ mass is expensive when recreation starts almot 25% tax on non medicated mmy iteams that will add up no taxes with medical card

  • JohnH

    Thanks for the very precise information on the melting points of concentrate compounds, I a 68 yer old !00% disabled Vietnam Veteran in colorado who’s only been dabbing about 6 months, just got my enail and can’t wait to try it out! Your information will help the conversion from the uncontrolled heat of the torch, to the enail. (Thanks to my adult son for the purchase/gift!) Been enjoying herb since my 14th birthday in 1965. lived in Florida most of my life, a little over a year in Colorado! (This is the Cannabis dream come true!) Concentrates work so much better than the herb here, and now I’m starting armed with the correct range of temp’s to use! I’ll be following your feed!
    I can tell you that if it weren’t for herb, my PTSD from Nam would be out of control, now the medical community finally see’s the positive use of this miracle that I discovered in 1965.
    Being raise in Miami, Florida and my Sister and her husband owning the only 4 head shops in miami, I have been immersed in the culture for most of my life! A BIG THANKS TO ALL THE BROTHERS AND SISTER WHO SERVED OR SERVE IN THE MILITARY FOR YOUR SACRIFICES, REGARDLESS OF YOUR CHOICES IN LIFE AS FAR AS USING OR NOT!