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Sunday November 21, 2021

By Paul Barach

Someone heating up their dab with a torch Education

When it comes to the “best” temperature for dabbing, it really comes down to the dabber’s preference. Some prefer a blazing 1500℉ to vaporize their concentrates, while others go for a relatively cooler (but still extremely hot) 900℉ just for the convenience of no clean up. It’s simple, fast, and gets you hella stoned (once you’re done coughing.)

Here at PotGuide, we believe that the best dabs are taken at temperatures ranging between 400℉ and 350℉. Low temp dabs offer a smoother, more luxurious ride through dab country. You’ll enjoy the full spectrum of those flavorful, beneficial terpenes while still vaporizing nearly all of the cannabinoids that you know and love. You may even find that you enjoy dabbing just below 350℉, so take our range as a suggestion.

But why is the 350℉ 400℉range  the best temperature to dab at? Why isn’t higher better? 

Why Are Low Temp Dabs Better?

THC is not the end-all, be-all of the cannabis plant. It’s certainly the star player, but THC isn’t the entire team. There are a number of other cannabinoids and terpenes that help THC perform at its peak. This is called the “entourage effect.” In order to take advantage of it, you’d need to consume the range of beneficial terpenes and cannabinoids found in cannabis.

However, high temp dabs vaporize almost all of these delicate plant essences before you can inhale them. THC performs better with its teammates. Vaporizing concentrates at anywhere above 300℉ allows all those terpenes to join in the fun. This leads to a more complex, luxurious, and long-lasting high. Additionally, it tastes better and lessens the irritation to your throat. 

Cannabis Vaporization Chart

There’s a little bit of clean-up involved afterwards, since not all of the concentrate will vaporize at these temperatures. A quick swab with a q-tip will prepare your nail for the next hit.

You can play with the temperatures in this range to find your ideal, but once you get over 400℉ your terpenes will start combusting rather than vaporizing. This means less flavor and a more intense high. Once you get to the 900℉-1000℉ range, you’re looking at a smoke-flavored dab that provides a short-term, intense high. All those aromatic terpenes have been sacrificed to whatever fire god is culturally relevant for you. 

Some dab fans are only looking for the effect and convenience, which is why there are so many high temp dab advocates out there. Why would someone choose high-temp dabs? They provide large clouds, and are much easier than timed, low temp dabs. You just get the nail red-hot and go right into the dab. No waiting, no guesswork, and no clean up (the residue will likely burn away, and if it doesn’t it surely will on the next heat up). If you can get through the throat irritation and charred taste, some find the narrower headrush of a higher temp dab more appealing.

Torching a quartz banger
Be mindful of your temperatures and torch time. Dabs that are taken too hot may have adverse health effects.

Effects aside, low temp dabs are also better for your health. At high temperatures, concentrates can form harmful compounds that head straight into your lungs. While more research needs to be done, a recent study found that dabbing could deliver "significant amounts of toxic degradation” to whoever inhales it.

Concerns were also raised over a terpene’s oxidative liability when exposed to high temperatures. The study also found that the toxic compound benzene is released at temperatures around 930℉. At temperatures below 750℉, none of these harmful compounds were released.

Getting the Perfect Dab Temperature

Reaching the best temperature for dabbing depends on your concentrate, your heat source, and your nail. In other words, your best temperature will vary. 

If you’re using the classic dab rig and torch, it’s going to require some trial and error. You might check the temperature by holding your wrist above the nail, or by using a timer to decide when it’s cooled down enough.

To use the wrist technique, you’re aiming for a temperature that is hot, but that you can still comfortably hold your wrist above it about 1-2 inches. You can test the heat at intervals by holding your wrist above it for a few seconds and waiting to. If the heat becomes even a little uncomfortable, move it away from the area above the heated nail, you’re probably still too hot. Be very careful not to burn yourself! You can also splurge a little and buy a laser thermometer to be certain of your nail’s temperature.

Taking a low temperature dab
Aim for 350°F to 400°F for the best low temp experience.

An e-nail is another option. While it’s a bit pricier than a dab rig, it allows you to set your desired temperature. This eliminates the guesswork of low-temp dabs. We should note that many e-nails will get you close to the desired temperature, but disparities between the surface and the heating unit are common, so be prepared to adjust as needed. 

Whichever method you’re going with, the technique is the same. Heat your nail up to about 800℉, then let it cool down to around 350-400℉. Once it hits that ideal temperature range, touch your concentrates to the nail and inhale.

The Wrap Up

While your preferred dab temperature may vary, here at PotGuide we believe that best temperature for dabbing is in the 350-400℉ range. This provides you with a tasty, full-spectrum mix of cannabinoids and terpenes that provides a long-lasting, full-body, enjoyable high without inhaling any potentially harmful chemicals.

Frequently Asked Questions

What’s the best temperature for dabbing?

Between 350℉-400℉

What are the benefits of low temp dabs?

The high lasts longer, it’s more full-bodied, more flavorful, and less intense than a high-temp dab. It’s also potentially safer.

How do I get my nail to the right temperature?

Heat it up to 800℉ then let it cool down to between 350-400℉. A laser thermometer will help you get a more accurate temperature reading. Or you can buy an e-nail which will stay at any temperature you set it.

Do you enjoy dabbing? How do you get the perfect temperature?


Paul Barach Paul Barach

Paul Barach is a Seattle-based freelance writer, editor, and author with experience creating well-researched, edited web articles covering cannabis news, culture, history and science. Paul is a regular contributor to PotGuide and has also contributed to publications such as, SlabMechanix, Litro, and The Trek. He prefers to spend his free time outdoors and most recently hiked the Pacific Crest Trail. So far he has only fallen into the La Brea Tarpits once. You can follow him on Instagram @BarachOutdoors and stay up to date professionally through his LinkedIn page.

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