Solventless Hash and the Terpometer: A Match Made in Heaven
by: Nick Bucci, @hashwriter
After working with perfect genetics and flawless gardens, meticulous solventless extractions are producing the best hash ever seen. However, the ultimate level of enjoyment depends upon the methods and techniques of consumption. While a slew of digital devices and electronic dab rigs have surfaced the torch and quartz banger, when accompanied by the Terpometer, remains the most effective and efficient way to consume solventless hash and rosin. BHO extracts can handle higher temperatures, since they fail to contain the variety of cannabinoids and terpenes that make solventless hash and rosin superior. Overheating solventless hash destroys this full-spectrum profile. Without accurate temperature readings no two dabs were ever the same, until now.
Why It Matters
Proper dabbing temperatures are key to enjoying concentrates and the conversation needs revisiting for the solventless world. Just as solventless products require constant refrigeration prior to use, they should also be dabbed at reduced temperatures compared to BHO, or Butane Hash Oil. After taking extreme measures to deliver small-batch, handcrafted, solventless extracts to the market, adequate dab temperatures are the consumers' responsibility. Too hot and many of the valuable terpenes that set SHO apart, are scorched, burnt, and wasted. Dabbing at temperatures too low prevents burning but might not vaporize all the desired terpenes and cannabinoids.
For this reason, many long-time hash consumers lean toward the safe-side and dab at temperatures too low. My routine after torching and timing had my quartz at about 480℉. With the precise control of the Terpometer, I was able to safely increase my dabbing temperatures to get the most from each dab. When it comes to dabbing delicate ice water hash, the Terpometer is an absolute godsend.
Despite a ton of creativity and numerous attempts to perfect desktop IR temperature readers, it’s time to switch gears and rethink our methods of measuring temperature for quartz. Trying to measure the surface temperature of clear quartz with infrared lasers was doomed from the start. The emissivity of quartz requires detailed adjustments and a delicacy that will continue to produce problems and provide inconsistent results. Infrared lasers are designed to gauge surface temperature of opaque or solid surfaces “by focusing light that is coming from the object in the form of IR rays and funneling that light into a detector - which is also known as a thermopile. It is in the thermopile that the IR radiation is turned into heat, which is then turned to electricity, which is then measured,” according to General Tools. However, when trying to measure surface temperature of clear quartz, IR temperature guns, quite simply, are not the best tool for the job.
The idea of IR temperature guns is their contact-less method of measuring surfaces too hot to touch or measure otherwise. Our quartz banger remains in a suitable range to ditch the non-contact lasers in exchange for the precision of the Terpometer’s full-contact probe. Nothing comes close to the accuracy and consistent precision the Terpometer provides. Take full control of your dabbing experience, (finally!), with the ability to calculate temperatures down to the single degree.
Rather than trying to measure the bottom of your banger like desktop devices, the Terpometer is inserted within the banger, measuring the actual dabbing surface. The same surface that will be touching, heating, and potentially, burning your dab. While some devices provide a decent estimate, others leave you worse off than with a timer. The Terpometer is the first professionally made tool designed to give live-instantaneous temperature read-outs so you can dial in the perfect temperature every time. The consistency, reliability, and accuracy down to single degrees makes the Terpometer a must have for every dabber, hash-head, and everyone new.
Low-Temp. Compared to What?
"Low-temperature" dabs have long needed a rebranding. How about adequate or proper temperature dabs? Calling them “low-temp,” leaves room for "high-temp" dabs to be confused as functional, despite pain, science, and experience telling us otherwise. All the desirable cannabinoids and terpenes will vaporize at temperatures equal to or less than the boiling point of THC-V. Aside from tasting terrible, dabs that exceed the boiling point of THC-V by too much will burn and ruin the hash. So, while there can be some variance in your dabbing temperatures, they should be relative to the science of vaporization and combustion.
Extracts should never exceed "428 ºF (220 ºC), since this is the temperature that the two cannabinoids with the highest boiling points (CBC and THC-V), vaporize," says longtime cannabis scholar Michael Backes. In his updated version of Cannabis Pharmacy, Backes states that "vaporization works in stages, in that the lighter mono-terpenes boil off first, then the sesquiterpenes, then the cannabinoids" including alpha-pinene and THC. Next to vaporize as temperatures increase are limonene and myrcene. Then the "cannabinoids CBC and CBN, and finally the cannabinoids THC-V and CBC," which vaporize at the high temperature mark of 428 ºF. Therefore, everything desirable in cannabis vaporizes at temperatures around 428 ºF and below, however these numbers do not translate directly into proficient dabbing temperatures. The heat lost in the transfer of energy from your quartz into the dab, explains why average dabbing temperatures for solventless rosin are over 500 ℉.
Before blurting out exact numbers we need to talk technique. It was apparent from the first use that the Terpometer can have varied results unless used accordingly. Center the tip of the Terpometer in the banger, holding it perfectly upright and allowing the full weight of the device to be supported by the tip. Don’t press down hard into your banger, as the metal coils at the tip can bend.
Just hold it loosely so that the full weight of the Terpometer is applied and supported evenly on the ceramic tip. Supporting the Terpometer upright, you can watch and see the exact temperatures decrease until they hit your mark.
Dab Nation Averages
Having been blown away by the accuracy and consistency of the Terpometer, we asked around to find some average dab temperatures. Each person was asked to respond with two temperatures: one for dabbing ice-water hash and the second temperature for dabbing rosin. Over a hundred hash-heads, followers, and friends were polled to find these results:
For the Terpometer, temperatures reported were close together. The average was 520 ºF for dabbing Rosin, hash rosin, or Rosin Badder. For Ice-water hash using the Terpometer, the average was a well dialed 477.5 ºF. I stand by both these numbers and support them as accurate and reliable temperatures to work off. It’s always better to start low and increase temperatures by ten degrees until you find a temperature that works best for you.
Here’s the temperatures that I normally work off and would recommend others to use. Keep in mind how different and unique each phenotype of cannabis can be and how that may affect your temperatures. This will slightly alter the optimum temperatures depending on the consistency of your hash but is something you pick up with experience.
No other product on the market requires dab temperatures as low as ice water hash. Too often people are dabbing water hash like it’s rosin and scorching many of the terpenes that should instead be bubbling inside your banger. Holding the Terpometer upright, I take it out and immediately apply my dab of ice water hash once it reaches a temperature of 490 ℉. Dabbing ice-water hash, anywhere between 480 ℉ and 520 ℉ is usually the sweet spot.
Hash Rosin Temperatures
For hash rosin the temperature can be increased to around 550 ℉. It’s much easier to dab rosin without it burning like water hash. Start around 530 ℉ for fresh press rosin and increase to 550 degrees for hash rosin that’s buddered up. After rosin has buddered to an opaque solid, it can usually handle temperatures slightly higher than when it’s translucent and fresh. For hash rosin badders and rosin sauces, temperatures can near 560 ℉. These forms of hash are more stable than fresh-press rosins and can handle an extra 10 to 20 degrees.
Things to Keep in Mind
Temperature for dabs is admittedly a tricky subject and a set answer cannot be formulated that will work perfectly for every set-up. What should always be taken into consideration when determining dab temperature, is the size and shape of your quartz banger and its level of heat retention. A good banger that holds its temperature well might be better served at slightly lower starting temperatures, while a cheap, old, or thin banger may need increased starting temperatures to make up for poor heat retention. The size of the dab will also affect the ideal temperature, requiring higher temperatures for bigger dabs. These are things you can dial in after going off some of the averages reported, as you get a feel for dabbing solventless hash.
By narrowing down some variables, these reported averages, when gauged correctly, will provide an effective jumping off point to dial in your set-up. Remember, there's nothing “low-temp.” about dabbing the best hash and rosin in the most effective temperature range thanks to the reliability the Terpometer provides.