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Dabbing Temperatures

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Did you know that I take requests for blog topics? For real, sometimes it feels like I’m a DJ or a cover band, because regulars who actually read these things will come in to our Durango dispensary and ask me to write something in-depth about this or that topic, and if it’s something I haven’t covered, I never argue. And this week, that’s exactly what’s happening, because the “what temperature should I use when dabbing” question has come up more than once, so let’s get into it.

First things first, if you want a refresher on exactly what it means to “dab,” click HERE, but then again, if you’re at the point wherein you’re looking for the perfect temperature, it might be a bit redundant. Now, as to temperatures, there are two ways to measure accurately after heating your nail or banger. One, if you’re the type of dabber who uses a torch, you’ll need a temperature laser gun, and a savvy shopper can get one for about $30 online. With this gun, you heat up your nail or banger with your torch per usual, but then you shoot it with the laser to get a temperature readout. If it’s too cold, use more flame, if it’s too hot, be patient and wait, or blow on your nail lightly.

Yes, this is the most labor-intensive way of achieving a perfect dab temperature, but it’s also the most affordable, because an E-Nail can cost quite a bit (but it’s quite a bit better). Long story short, an e-nail is an electronic doohickey that you attach to the ribs on your nail or onto the bottom of your banger. Then all you do is flip a switch to turn it on, and then set the temperature on the electronic readout to the exact reading you’d like. The e-nail will keep your nail or banger at the desired temperature, so there’s no need for torches or lasers, and you don’t have to worry about cooling, so you’ll get consistent dab temperatures for each hit.

Now, before we get to the actual temperatures (we’ll get there, I promise), there are two peripheral things we need to discuss, the first of which is the material out of which your nail or banger is made. Most people turn to titanium because they never break, but I’d suggest rethinking this choice, especially if you’re the type of consumer concerned with quality (and if you’re worried about exact temperatures, that’s exactly who you are). Yes, titanium is durable, it heats up quickly, and it retains heat, but the taste isn’t nearly as good as it is with other materials, and there are many different titanium alloys on the market, which leads to inconsistences. So, that would leave you with two material options: quartz, or ceramic. Quartz heats up very quickly and it gives a superb flavor, but it also cools down quickly, and since quartz is transparent, you cannot get an accurate temperature reading with one of those fancy laser guns. So, I recommend ceramic. It’s not transparent, so a laser gun will work, but ceramic also goes well with e-nails. True, ceramic nails or bangers take the longest to heat up, but patience is a good thing, and they retain heat as well as provide perfect flavor.

The second issue is that internal temperature differs greatly from surface temperature, but you only need to worry about this with e-nails because the laser gun method reads surface temperature only, and that’s what matters. So, if you’re using an e-nail and you’re hunting for the perfect dab temperature, I’d recommend reading THIS study, because the e-nail regulates internal temperature, which is usually lower than the surface temperature. So, when using an e-nail, you’ll need to crank up the temperature by ten degrees or so to ensure that the nail’s surface is where you want it.

Alright, on to the numbers. There are five basic temperature ranges, which I’ll give in Fahrenheit, but don’t worry, I’ll break these down as well:

1.) 0⁰-300⁰: this is a very low-temp dab, and it will give the best flavor, but many cannabinoids won’t be vaporized at this temperature, so you’ll end up wasting quite a bit of your dab, which is no good.

2.) 300⁰-450⁰: This range is the goldilocks zone because it’s just right, so aim here. You still get all the flavor from a low-temp dab, but you also vaporize all the cannabinoids, so the intensity is there as well.

3.) 450⁰-600⁰: You need to be careful at this temperature because with the last two, all you’re getting is vapor, but when you get north of 450 degrees, you also start to burn your dab, so your hit will be a mixture of vapor and smoke. So, you’ll gain intensity at the cost of flavor, and if you’re reading this blog, that’s not what you want.

4.) 600⁰-1000⁰: Don’t do this. Just about everything you’ll breathe in is smoke, and you’ll get absurdly high, but the harshness will cover up all the flavor. This is like taking double shots of whiskey instead of sipping it, and with fine whiskey, or fine dabs, that’s completely pointless and superfluous.

Now, let’s get into exact temperatures. As you know, when you dab something, the heat from your nail or banger should cause the product to boil, not burn (which is why the last two temperature ranges are too high), so what you’re breathing in is the “steam” or vapor from the flash-boiled material. So, all you need to do to dial in your dab temperature is to find the exact boiling point for the cannabinoid or terpene you’re trying to enjoy. For instance, here are the three boiling points for three different cannabinoids:

THC: 315⁰

CBD: 356⁰

CBN: 365⁰

So, can you see why the “0-300” degree range will give you good flavor but not much intensity? You’ll boil some terpenes, but the THC itself won’t boil until 315 degrees, so you’ll be missing out on most of the high. However, (and this is where we get into the connoisseur stuff), quite a few dabbers are looking to enjoy specific terpenes, so I’ll provide those temperatures as well. And I’m not going to get into the terpenes themselves, because if you’re about to dab them, you already know (but for a refresher, click HERE). Here are the boiling points and tasting notes for six of the most famous cannabis terpenes:

Myrcene: 330⁰ This one tastes like cloves and funk.

Limonene: 350⁰ This one tasted like citrus fruit rinds.

Linalool: 388⁰ This is the floral-tasting terpene.

Caryophyllene: 390⁰ This one tastes peppery.

Pinene: 420⁰ Yes, it tastes like pine.

Humulene: 435⁰ This one tastes like the forest (trust me).

The last thing we need to discuss is hand-held vape pens. The affordable ones have low, medium, and high temperature settings, so again, I’d go with medium because balance is always best. However, if you spent the money and got a vape pen with a digital readout, go ahead and use the same degree settings as you would with a nail or banger because you’ll get the same flavor profiles, albeit with a smaller vapor cloud.

There! That’s just about all there is to know when it comes to vape temperatures, and if you’re one of the people who requested this topic, I kept my promise! However, if you still have questions, come in and see us at 208 Parker Avenue, or give us a call at (970) 403-3710, and we’ll answer them. Or, if there’s something pot-related you’d like me to write about, come in to our Durango dispensary and ask for Jesse and then tell me your idea. We’re always willing to take requests to keep you informed, because We’re Your Best Buds!

A Breakdown of Cannabis Concentrates

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This week’s post is just gunna be a quick-and-dirty alphabetical listing of all the cannabis concentrates out there on the market, because one of the top-ten questions I hear as a budtender is “what’s the difference?” So, I wanted to write something short and simple you could use as a reference, if you needed to. As to the list itself, it’s important to remember that some concentrates can be dabbed, because they’re “full-burn” or “full-melt,” but some cannot (these work best as “bowl-toppers,” or concentrates you sprinkle on top of pot to kick things up a notch); I’ll make sure to tell you which ones are which. And here we go…

1.) Badder or Budder. This is exactly why things are so confusing when it comes to marijuana concentrates—the terms “badder” or “budder” deal with the consistency of a concentrate, not the concentrate itself. Cannabis oil can be whipped and heated into a consistency reminiscent of cake “batter” or room temperature “butter,” and that’s where the names come from (stoners replaced the t’s with d’s because that’s what you do when you’ve got bud on the brain).

2.) Bubble Hash. There’s no difference between “bubble hash” and “ice-water hash,” so the two terms are interchangeable. We make this concentrate at The Greenery Hash Factory by submerging marijuana in ice water and agitating it. The cold water freezes the trichomes on the surface of the plant matter, and the agitation breaks them free—once this is complete, we drain the slurry and run it through a series of filters. Then we collect, compact, and freeze the hash, before weighing it out and selling it to you for $40 a gram. This concentrate isn’t full-burn, so the best way to enjoy it is to sprinkle it on top of a bowl, or to mix some in with your flower when you roll a joint.

3.) Caviar. Caviar isn’t dabbable (did I just make up a word?) either, but it’s some of the best stuff on earth: a trifecta of potency, as we call it. This is another product we make in-house, and we do so by taking premium marijuana flower, painting it with oil, and then battering it in kief. You simply put it in your pipe and smoke it, and then forget about things for a while… all things. For a long while.

4.) Crumble. This is another one of those consistency-only concentrates: crumble is nothing more than wax with a different, honeycomb-like consistency.

5.) Crystalline. Quite plainly, this is the world’s strongest cannabis concentrate. Crystalline is a purified resin (which I’ll tell you about in number nine) consisting of 99.99% pure THC. Frankly, it’s like marijuana crack (but without the addiction and associated murder rate).

6.) Distillate. This concentrate is made by refining cannabis oil, but for it to be considered a true distillate, a still needs to be used (yes, just like the ones they use in the Ozarks to make moonshine). However, solvents can also be used in some instances. Distilling the oil purifies the concentrate, and makes it more potent. It can be dabbed or vaporized, but this concentrate is also used in many of the edibles on the market.

7.) Isolate. This concentrate is made by using chemicals to “isolate” the THC or CBD from marijuana plant matter. It can be smoked in a number of ways, but since isolates are most commonly white, powdery substances that dissolve instantly in water, this concentrate shows up in infused beverages more often than not.

8.) Kief, or Kief Brick. Kief is sometimes referred to as “dry-sift” because that’s the way it’s made. We make this one as well, and we do so by tumbling marijuana in a filter drum. Then we collect the kief (trichomes) and compress it into a brick which we sell for $30 a gram. This concentrate isn’t full-burn, but since all the marijuana terpenes live in the trichomes, kief is by far the most flavorful concentrate.

9.) Live Resin. This concentrate is made by flash-freezing an entire, living marijuana plant, and then by using a chilled solvent (butane) in the extraction process. I’m not going to get too deep into purge times or extraction techniques because your eyes would glaze over, but basically, frozen pot is stuffed into a huge metal tube through which cold butane is pumped. They open it up and scrape up the live resin, which once dried, looks like little crystals mixed with honey. Sometimes, you’ll hear people talk about marijuana “sugar,” but that’s just a form of live resin that has the consistency of granulated sugar. All live resin is full-burn.

10.) Moroccan Hash. This concentrate is made by decarboxylating (heating) kief, and kneading it with a little water. The final product is a darkened ball of awesomeness that’s enjoyed best on top of a bowl (you can’t dab it because it’s not full-burn). This one is my personal favorite, so much so that I wrote an entire piece about it you can read here.

11.) Oil. You’ll see many types of oil on the market, and they’re separated via the differing chemicals used during the extraction process; CO2 and Butane extracted oils are the most common. And you’ll hear a bunch of other names for marijuana oil like “CO2 oil,” “BHO,” which stands for “butane hash oil,” “hash oil,” “dragon tears,” which is just a proprietary name, or “dragon balls,” which is just a unit of measure (given that a dragon ball is a ten-thousand-dollar glass ball filled with 3,000 grams of high-THC oil, I doubt that you’ll get it mixed up with the other concentrates). Oil can be dabbed just like all the other full-burn extracts, but it can get pretty messy, so most people prefer to use a marijuana vape pen when smoking cannabis oil.

12.) Resin. This is the black stuff that accumulates inside your pipe that you scrape out and smoke with shame when you’re too broke to buy pot. We’ve all been there.

13.) Rosin. This stuff is way better than the last one, and it’s one of the only full-burn concentrates on the market that’s made without solvents. We make this one in our factory by compressing cannabis flower between two heated metal plates. The heat and pressure work in concert to squeeze out all the cannabinoid-rich “rosin,” which looks like light-brown tar. This one is dabbable (I’ve decided officially that “dabbable” is a word), and we always have rosin on our menu.

14.) Sap. This one is just oil with a thicker consistency—this stuff has the viscosity of tree sap, and that’s where the name comes from. Totally dabbable.

15.) Shatter. This concentrate is made in a tube or a vacuum purge oven just like live resin, but the temperatures are different. Butane is used when extracting this concentrate, and the final product is an amber, translucent sheet that looks like hard candy. And it’s easy to break, which is where the term “shatter” comes from. Also, totally dabbable.

16.) Wax. Wax looks and feels like wax, and it’s extracted just like shatter. Different temperatures in the purge stage produce differing consistencies, and wax is just shatter that was produced at a temperature leading to a fluffier, wax-like product. Technically, both “wax” and “shatter” are consistency-based names, and both concentrates are actually subsumed under the “BHO,” or “butane hash oil” category. But yes, you can dab wax all day long.

That’s it! I guess the list didn’t end up as “short and simple” as I planned, but worse things have happened. And as always, if you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to give us a call at (970) 403-3710, or come in and see us at 208 Parker Avenue, right here in Durango, Colorado. We’re Your Best Buds, and we’ll tell you all you need to know about the differences between cannabis concentrates; all you need to do is ask.

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Moroccan Hash by The Greenery Hash Factory
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Kief Brick by The Greenery Hash Factory
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Bubble Hash at The Greenery Hash Factory