Vaporizer Highs, Part II

When we look at the various cannabinoids and their boiling points, we can certainly make some rough predictions about the systematic influences of a vaporizer on the character of a high. Temperatures higher than 185 ºC (365 ºF) will for instance produce more CBN, which is known to produce a more sedative, confusing effect. A vaporizer high will always strongly depend not only on a certain strain and its cannabinoid and terpene profile, but also on the exact temperature at which it is used. Precision vaporizers like the Volcano in the hands of skilled user will help us to answer many questions and to actually come up with new questions about how a vaporizer can affect a high. This sounds like a futile enterprise for nerdy high aficionados. But to answer these questions will help millions of users to use the potential of marijuana in a more meaningful and inspiring way. Many people use the marijuana high to better remember long gone events, to work creatively, to find new patterns in music or art, to better appreciate nature, to get in touch with their feelings and have a better introspective access to themselves, to enhance their empathic understanding of others, to make love, to generate great and live changing insights and to personally grow. Many of those users are on a voyage, exploring a new world, and the use of marijuana can be crucially important for their lives – and the lives of everybody around them. They will extremely profit from a progress in understanding how the various cannabinoids, terpenes and flavonoids affect a high.


Precision vaporizers and the future of cannabis research

When we look at the various cannabinoids and their boiling points, we can certainly make some rough predictions about the systematic influences of a vaporizer on the character of a high. Temperatures higher than 185 ºC (365 ºF) will for instance produce more CBN, which is known to produce a more sedative, confusing effect. A vaporizer high will always strongly depend not only on a certain strain and its cannabinoid and terpene profile, but also on the exact temperature at which it is used. Precision vaporizers like the Volcano in the hands of skilled user will help us to answer many questions and to actually come up with new questions about how a vaporizer can affect a high.

This sounds like a futile enterprise for nerdy high aficionados. But to answer these questions will help millions of users to use the potential of marijuana in a more meaningful and inspiring way. Many

Nutmeg fruit, which contains the terpene myristicin
Nutmeg fruit, which contains the terpene myristicin

people use the marijuana high to better remember long gone events, to work creatively, to find new patterns in music or art, to better appreciate nature, to get in touch with their feelings and have a better introspective access to themselves, to enhance their empathic understanding of others, to make love, to generate great and live changing insights and to personally grow.[1] Many of those users are on a voyage, exploring a new world, and the use of marijuana can be crucially important for their lives – and the lives of everybody around them. They will extremely profit from a progress in understanding how the various cannabinoids, terpenes and flavonoids affect a high.

Naturally, medical patients will immensely profit from this development, too. For them, other questions play a bigger role: at which temperature should I vape what strain to get the best analgesic properties while staying mentally functional? At which temperature should I vape my strain to get a good relief of my neuropathic pain without getting tired during the day?

Precision vaporizers are magnificent tools for researching the psychoactive properties of the various cannabinoids and terpenes, and we are certainly only at the very beginning when it comes to understanding these substances and their psychoactive potential.

Terpenes and Flavonoids

Many plants (and some insects) produce terpenoids for a whole variety of reasons. When ingested by animals, terpenes can be anti-oxidant, analgesic, anti-microbial, anti-carcinogen, muscle relaxant, anti-depressant, anti anxiety, sedative, psychoactive in various ways, and have various other effects. Plants need to defend themselves against pests and herbivores, but some also have to rely on animals:

“Many plants that rely on animals to disperse their seeds must limit feeding rather than kill the animal directly because it might loose a valuable seed carrier. Lipids (…) perform this function. The most interesting lipids are terpenes, which have a strong aromatic flavor. For example, myristicin, found in nutmeg and many other spices, prevents animals from seasoning their diet too heavily with those plants. If taken in sufficient quantities, myristicin causes dizziness and loss of motor coordination.”[2]

Like the various cannabinoids, terpenes and flavonoids have been developed by plants for many reasons

and therefore can be used for a whole range of medical purposes; and they have many diverse influences on mind and cognition. Clearly, the distinctive terpene profile of a certain strain importantly contributes, and – in addition to the cannabinoid profile – defines the character of the high coming from that strain. The boiling points of terpenoids (when dried and cured, terpenes turn into terpenoids) are also distributed over a whole range of temperatures. Myrcene, the most prevalent terpene found in marijuana has clove like, earthy, citrus, mango and minty nuances [3], boils between 166-168ºC (331-334 ºF) and is said to be analgesic, antibiotic, and anti-inflammatory. D-limonene boils at 177 ºC (351 ºF) and has hints of citrus fruits, rosemary, juniper and peppermint, is anti-bacterial, repulsive for predators and is found in many rinds of fruits and flowers. It can also be anti-carcinogen and anti-depressant. The sedative 945-terpineol boils only at 217-218 ºC (423-424 ºF) and has hints of lilac, citrus, apple blossoms and lime. The flavonoid apigenin boils at 178 ºC and is believed to have anxiolytic and anti-inflammatory properties.

This short list should already illustrate that we do not only have to look at dozens of cannabinoids, but also at a whole variety of terpenes, flavonoids and their distinctive boiling points if we want to understand the distinctive highs coming from various strains vaporized at a certain temperature.

Flavan, the basic chemical structure of flavonoids
Flavan, the basic chemical structure of flavonoids

Also, vaporizers do not burn terpenes and can therefore bring out their full aromatic potential. You will not only get a high different from that of burned cannabis because you get a more favorable cannabinoid/terpene/flavonoid profile almost without toxins. Your high will be positively affected by a distinctive sensual aromatic experience. When you drink a 30-year old Port Ellen whisky, your consciousness is not only affected by the alcohol in your beverage. The complex aromatic experience opens up your mind, makes you sensitive, and lets you go on a sensuous trip. Users of vaporizers can have more of this aficionado component in their use, especially when vaping marijuana at lower temperatures.

Conclusion

Precision vaporizers offer new dimensions in exploring the mind-altering potential of cannabis. A marijuana high is the result of the effect of dozens of cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids, which all have different boiling points and therefore vaporize at different temperatures. Many of the generalizations about vaporizer highs that can be found in forums are probably wrong; others, like the claim that the vaporizer high offers a much “clearer”, less confusing and less sedated experience make sense not only regarding the many users who endorse this view, but also on the basis of what we know so far about the psychoactive properties of some cannabinoids, terpenes, and their various boiling points.

In the next years, our knowledge about the psychoactive role of the various cannabinoids and terpenes will grow, quickly. There is already much knowledge concerning these questions coming especially from the medical dispensaries in the US and their patients. I hope that many inspirational users will soon be in a better position to better access a much higher quality of marijuana and to enjoy its effects in precision vaporizers. Their feedback and that of medical marijuana users to medical and other professionals will be crucial for the research of the potential of marijuana. And there is no doubt that vaporizers will play a fundamental role in this journey, a journey that will essentially help millions of marijuana users in the future to generate a crucially useful altered state of mind.

The Australian koalas know their favorite plants. They eat only select types of eucalyptus. Some aromatic oils of the eucalyptus go from their inside through their skins to protect them against ectoparasites, while other oils “decrease blood pressure, lower body temperatures, and relax their muscles.” Usually, they eat the mature leaves for these purposes in hot climates, but in cold climates, they eat younger ones containing phellandrene, which increases body temperature. Maybe it is time for us marijuana users to follow their example and to get to know our cannabis better.

Footnotes:

  1. Compare Lester Grinspoon (ed.) (2014), marijuana-uses.com.
  1. Ronald K. Siegel (1989, 2005), Intoxication, The Universal Drive For Mind Altering Substances p.29.
  2. Steep Hill, http://steephilllab.com/resources/cannabinoid-and-terpenoid-reference-guide/

Comment Section

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Josh

When I look at vaporizers, I feel overwhelmed by all the choices. I bought a cheap one (still, over $100) a few years ago that turned out to be a waste of money, and don't want to make that mistake again. At the same time, I can't afford to drop $500 on one of these hardcore models. How precise can I get for less?

I'm not just looking for reviews, I've Googled reviews, but I need advice that's a little more specific to someone who has no idea where to start. Can anyone help narrow it down for me?

08/11/2014

Flowemate V 5.0 Pro

Probably this answer comes many years too late but still I want to tell any futur readers of this comment that I'm using the Flowermate V 5.0 which only costs about a hundred € and I am a big fan

19/01/2019

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