The boiling point of THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), the main psychoactive compound in cannabis, has been debated for decades. Here you'll learn why cannabinoid boiling points matter and how to consume THC at the right temperature.
Why are cannabinoid boiling points important?
Heating cannabinoids like THC activates their possible therapeutic and psychoactive properties. The heating process (called decarboxylation) causes the formation of new compounds to form, which produce varying flavors and effects. Extremely low temperatures will evaporate THC and nothing will activate, while excessively high temperatures burn the cannabinoid and can release harmful byproducts. The same principle applies to cannabinoids other than THC, such as CBD.
“Cannabinoids and terpenes are particularly sensitive to heat ranges, and good concentration science is able to capture and preserve these compounds,” said Carlton Bone, Chief Information Officer of Medical Cannabis for Women's Health.
Some cannabis consumers may experiment with different THC boiling points depending on the type of high they want to experience. The general rule is that, within a certain range, the hotter the boiling point, the more potentially intense the THC high.
How we came to discover THC's boiling point
“The consensus seems to be that the range for decarboxylation is between 200 to 400 degrees Fahrenheit,” Bone said.
Bone provides a broad range and some scholars have narrowed it to between 315 and 390 degrees Fahrenheit, though different researchers have reached different conclusions. Since the science isn't certain, you may want to try different temperatures and see what works best. One crucial factor in finding the right THC decarb temperature is your consumption method. Vaping, smoking, and making edibles each call for different temperatures.
How to consume THC at the right temperature
Each cannabis consumption method has a different ideal temperature. The following guidelines can help you find the right temperature for consuming THC in the form of concentrates, flower, and edibles. If you're primarily interested in CBD or other compounds, a different temperature might work better.
- Concentrates. Use an electronic nail to calibrate temperatures precisely and accurately. Vaporizers with adjustable temperature settings are an alternative. Between 310 and 315 degrees Fahrenheit is a good target for maximum THC delivery.
- Flower. Smoking flower in a joint or a bong gives you little control over the temperature. You light it, it burns. To consume the THC in the flower at its perfect temperature, use a dab rig or vaporizer with temperature controls. The ideal temperature for decarbing and delivering maximum THC is between 392 and 410 degrees Fahrenheit, according to a study published in 2016 by the Public Library of Science.
- Edibles. There are a variety of methods for decarbing cannabis to be used in making edibles. It can be simmered in oil or butter that's then used in baked goods or even spread on toast. You can also decarb weed in the oven, a slow cooker, a sous vide machine, and more. Baking with cannabis and making cannabis concentrates is a pretty open-ended endeavour. Different methods call for different temps but the range is around 212 to 230 Fahrenheit.
“Individual preference will always win the day, but there has been significant scientific work done into understanding the process of decarboxylation and how it affects cannabis,” said Bone.
Bottom line on the boiling point of THC
While people may argue about the ideal boiling point of THC, 315 degrees Fahrenheit is a widespread target and a range of 200 to 400 degrees Fahrenheit is an even safer bet.