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What Are Terpene Boiling Points & Why Do They Matter?

Posted by Daniel Gordon on

As the spotlight in the legal cannabis industry shifts from tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) onto non-psychoactive compounds, consumer interest in secondary cannabinoids and terpenes is at an all-time high. In this post, we examine one of the most aspects when making use of the latter: boiling points.

What are terpenes?

Terpenes are aromatic hydrocarbons present in all plant life, with over 200 terpenes found in cannabis alone. Aside from their distinctive aromas, flavors, and potential for infusion into a large variety of mediums, cannabinoids as well as terpenes are known for their medicinal and therapeutic potential — an area of study currently drawing significant attention from medical researchers.

Different terpenes produce various effects, ranging from analgesic standouts like beta-caryophyllene to antioxidant and anti-inflammatory ones like nerolidol, with others even helping to ameliorate symptoms of mood and anxiety disorders. 

Like the cannabinoid cannabidiol (CBD), terpenes aren't psychoactive, are found in many products including essential oils, and are legal for sale as well as consumption in all 50 states.

So how exactly can you safely and effectively infuse terpenes into your next CBD oil, homemade e-liquid, or tray of blueberry muffins? Let's go over why boiling points matter, as well as examples of popular terpenes and their respective boiling points.

 Terpene Boiling Point Comparison & Uses

Terpene

Boiling Point (Fahrenheit) 

Boiling Point (Celsius)

Uses 

Linalool

390°F

198°C

Cooking, baking, brewing tea

Limonene

349°F

176°C

Cooking at lower temperatures

Myrcene

334°F

167°C

Vaping and cooking at lower temperatures 

Humulene

225°F

107°C

Low temp vaping, brewing tea

Caryophyllene

266°F

130°C

Low temp vaping, brewing tea

Pinene

311°F

155°C

Vaping and brewing tea

 

Why Do Terpene Boiling Points Matter?

Whether you're thinking about vaping terpenes or incorporating them into your cooking, it's certainly worth noting the boiling point of each one. As hydrocarbons, terpenes change when pushed beyond their respective normal temperatures — affecting everything from their flavor and aroma profiles to their therapeutic potential. Some can even evaporate when heated beyond their boiling points, essentially resulting in an avoidable waste of terpenes, time and money.

 

 

Cooking & Edibles 

A generally safe terpene infusion method is to use it in room temperature mediums like salad dressing, DIY CBD cartridges or homemade recovery balms. However, if you'd like to incorporate some Apple Fritter or Cherry Pie terpenes into your teas and baking recipes, it's important to know the appropriate heating threshold for each. This can help to ensure the benefits of the terpenes in use remain intact within your final dish, pastry or beverage.

Vaping

Perhaps the most important consideration when working with terpenes is the use of vaporizers. Millions of vapers around the world enhance their vaping experience by mixing terpenes into their e-liquids, DIY cartridges and non-proprietary refillable pods. This is why terpene boiling points matter to consumers within the industry, who prefer vaporizers with fully adjustable temperature controls as opposed to devices equipped with two or three heating presets.

When working with a vaporizer, the ideal temperature for infused e-liquids will largely depend on the terpene (or terpenes) incorporated into the mixture. The ideal heat setting must simultaneously render the e-liquid into vapor while preserving the flavor, aroma, and potential benefits of the terpene in use. This means that solid knowledge of different terpenes, as well as each of their respective boiling points, is key to an optimal vape experience for avid vapers.

Popular Terpenes & Their Boiling Temperatures

As of this writing, established favorites have emerged among terpene consumers in the cannabis extracts space. These terpenes are more thoroughly researched than others and have more versatility in terms of infusion possibilities thanks to their flavor and aroma profiles. 

Let's look at four of these terpenes commonly found in cannabis and their respective boiling points below.

Linalool 

A spicy and herbaceous terpene found in cinnamon, black pepper and birch. Linalool has shown some potential as a viable anticonvulsant, although more in-depth studies are needed to determine its usefulness in the future. Until then, linalool may prove useful to individuals already supplementing with CBD to help reduce the occurrence of sporadic seizures.

Linalool has the highest boiling point of all popular terpenes at 390°F, making it one of the easiest terpenes to infuse in baking or tea brewing.

Limonene

Likely the most recognizable terpene in the cannabis industry, Limonene occurs in large concentrations in many popular strains. As its name suggests, limonene imparts the flavor and aroma of lemon and citrus peels — making it a natural choice for infusion into everything from food to bars of soap. Limonene is currently being studied for its antifungal effects and antibacterial properties.

Limonene's boiling point is a fairly high 349°F, giving it significant viability in the kitchen, albeit with a little less versatility than linalool.

Myrcene

It's renowned for the fact that it's the most abundant terpene in almost all common cannabis strains. Myrcene has an earthy and musky profile, with analgesic, muscle relaxant, and pain-reducing sedative properties. Aside from cannabis, it can also be found in mangos and herbs like parsley.

Myrcene is a good candidate for infusion among the growing number of athletes regularly supplementing with CBD for sports recovery, pain relief and sleep disorders. With a boiling point of 334°F, it can be infused into cooking or vaped with little to no risk of wastage.

Humulene

Humulene has piqued the interest of medical researchers due to its ability to impart energizing, uplifting effects when paired with CBD to treat mood and anxiety disorders. Humulene can be found in hops, and shares its distinctive aroma. Aside from infused CBD, individuals struggling with symptoms of depression or social anxiety can experience humulene's benefits by consuming a high humulene cannabis strain, such as Sour Kush.

Humulene has the lowest boiling point of all popular terpenes at 225°F, so mindfulness of temperature is particularly important when infusing or vaping with it.

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