There are three factors that greatly contribute to the quality of your high. First is harvest time, the second is curing, and the third is the temperature you use while vaping, dabbing, or smoking. Like properly aging wines and whiskey, the way cannabis is handled, prepared, and served post-harvest can slightly alter the overall experience. But, what matters the most? Is handling the plant most important, or is it temperature?
Plant vs. temperature
Hoping to custom-tailor the perfect cannabis experience? There are a few ways to boost your high and add additional layers of complexity to the taste, aroma, and overall experience.
These days, cannabis is more craft than ever before. New technology, testing labs, and genetic sequencing have enabled both scientists and growers to pinpoint what factors contribute to the diversities in cannabis experience. Here are three common factors that alter your high.
1. Harvest time
The best indication that your plants are ready for harvest is when the long white pistillate hairs have turned amber. During this time, trichomes will usually be a clear crystal white. However, pushing back the harvest date slightly may give you slightly different results.
As cannabis ages, chemical compounds in the plant change slightly. Over time, the main psychoactive component, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), breaks down into a less psychoactive component cannabinol (CBN).
Flavor and aroma molecules in the plant change and mature as well. Most strains have an optimal harvest window, and curious growers may want to experiment with letting some plants flower a little longer to see how they taste, smell, and perform.
Trichome color is considered a quality indicator for “trichome ripeness”. Harvesting plants right when the majority of the pistillate hairs are reddish brown and trichomes are white is thought to provide a more of an upbeat, energetic experience.
Waiting for trichomes to mature and establish amber coloration is thought to provide more of a relaxed, sedative effect. Many growers try to harvest sometime in the middle before trichomes completely darken to amber.
The second opportunity to influence the overall effect of cannabis comes during curing. Curing is a process of mindfully drying and preserving dried cannabis bud. Since the active compounds in cannabis break down and change with age, curing is when a lot of the more intricate cannabis flavors become alive and vibrant.
Drying and curing are two different processes. Drying occurs right after plants are cut down, transforming them from fresh flowers into something more akin to the dried bud found in coffee shops and dispensaries.
Curing is when dried buds are put into airtight containers to mature and finish. A minimal cure typically lasts about two weeks, though it’s possible to cure the herb for several months.
For more information on curing, check out the full article here.
Vaping and dabbing temperatures provide the final touches to the cannabis experience. The lower the temperature, the milder the high. The higher the temperature, the more euphoric and heavy-hitting the high.
For dried flower:
- Low-temp (290 to 330°F/ 143 to 165°C): moderate relaxation great for maintaining focus
- Moderate temp (330 to 390°F/ 165 to 198°C): decently strong high, more classic cannabis experience
- High-temp (390 to 445°F/ 198 to 229°C): powerfully psychoactive experience, euphoric, and sedative
For dab rigs:
- Low-temperature: 500 and 600°F (260 – 315.5°C)
- High-temperature: up to 1000°F (538°C)
For more information on cannabis and temperature, check out the full article here.
Which one is most important?
The beauty of cannabis is that every single plant is unique. Environmental conditions and how the herb was harvested, processed, handled, and consumed all greatly influence the end result of the strain.
Cannabis is like any other craft good, whether it is coffee, beer, wine, or cheese. While the plant may seem like a simple herb, it is chemically complex.
The plant can produce over 400 different chemical compounds in total, which include several hundred cannabinoids and terpenoids. Each individual plant will produce a different number and types of these molecules, which gives them all specific effects.
The only way to test and experience the customizable and diverse world of cannabis is to experiment with different cures and temperatures while working with the herb.