cbd boiling pointDecember 15, 2021
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Now for terpenes. Though not as familiar to most people, terpenes are the little hydrocarbons that give different cannabis strains (as well as other fragrant plants, like eucalyptus) their signature aromatic qualities. In cannabis, they are found in the plant’s sticky resin glands, where cannabinoids are also produced. Here are the five most common terpenes and their boiling points:
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Whether you choose to vape or smoke, the psychoactive effects of cannabis can depend on factors such as THC content, the plant strain, and the biological composition and tolerance of an individual person. But did you know that temperature can make a critical difference, too?
The two key players here are cannabinoids and terpenes. By looking at the most prominent subsets of these compounds, you can figure out the optimum temperatures for various effects.
The Right Temp for the Right High.
Cannabinoids (full definition here) are a number of chemical compounds found in a cannabis plant that interact with your body in different ways to produce unique medical benefits. The top five, each with varying boiling points, include:
Choosing Your Vaporizer.
First of all, there’s no such thing as the “perfect high” on a universal level. But depending on your individual expectations, you can do a few complicated little equations to ensure the right components activate at the right levels. Or, you could just copy our homework:
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Top 10 Temperatures to Care About.
Vaping has become increasingly popular among medical cannabis patients, and for good reasons. The ability to change temperature for a more tailored experience is one. For another, vapers aren’t at risk of breathing in ash or smoke, which is potentially harmful in the long run.
If a vaporizer is used at just the right temperatures, specific elements of the cannabis flower or concentrate are activated, or decarboxylated, to form new compounds. These new compounds produce certain flavors and effects. Set the temperature too low, and the cannabinoids won’t evaporate. Set it too high and everything burns, producing unwanted byproducts. So where is the middle? Let’s take a look at the separate components and the boiling points that release each one.
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If you’re one of many medical cannabis patients sold on the benefits of vaping, the next step is to choose a vaporizer – and you’ve got options. Different vaporizers are designed to hold concentrates, flowers, or both, which is generally a matter of preference. There are a few other things to look out for, too. These include: percolating water, through which vapor is filtered for smoother delivery; whether the device is designed to live in your pocket or on your desktop; battery efficiency; and glass durability. Don’t be fooled by complicated devices – the simpler the design and easier to use, the better.
The cannabis plant contains over 500 compounds, including more than 100 plant cannabinoids that have been isolated and identified.[8–10] Some of these plant cannabinoids impart therapeutic or psychoactive affects, e.g., cannabidiol (CBD) and Δ 9 -tetrahydrocannabinol (Δ 9 -THC), respectively. CBD is thought to effect pain sensation and mood but very little research substantiating these claims exist. Because of its psychoactive properties, Δ 9 -THC is a molecule of great interest in the research and law enforcement communities. However, there are several aspects of the compound Δ 9 -THC that make collecting and analyzing it in bodily fluids complex. For one, Δ 9 -THC is rapidly metabolized in the body into both a psychoactive (the hydroxylated metabolite) and a non-psychoactive (the carboxylated metabolite) compound. Δ 9 -THC is excreted in the urine as a glucuronic acid conjugate. Additionally, a small portion of Δ 9 -THC is stored in adipose tissue and is released slowly over long time periods (hours, days, weeks). Δ 9 -THC levels also depend on the mode of consumption (smoking versus eating), when the user consumed, whether or not they are a chronic, an occasional, or a first time user, and of course, what body fluid is sampled. In lieu of these complexities, some countries and states have set legal limits of Δ 9 -THC concentrations in the blood, including zero tolerance laws to established impairment.
One major problem in addressing potential public health impacts of cannabis use is the lack of a noninvasive testing method to determine use, impairment, and intoxication. The most common methods for determining cannabis usage detect Δ 9 -THC.[6, 7, 12–21] Devices that detect Δ 9 -THC in the breath are currently being developed and have many advantages. Breath sampling is attractive because it is non-invasive, can be portable, and has been shown to indicate recent use within 0.5 hours to 2 hours. Impairment, however, may last longer than can be observed by examining the exhaled vapors. The ultimate goal for breath testing of Δ 9 -THC is correlating Δ 9 -THC concentrations in the breath to concentration in the blood, and thus, a potential determination of impairment, but the science for this correlation is still lacking.
Cannabis is currently a Schedule 1 drug (illegal under federal law). In recent years, however, there has been a shift in some local or state policies towards the decriminalization of cannabis use. Decreased criminalization may lead to an increase in cannabis use and cannabis-related harm.[1, 2] Potentially negative impacts include: a rise in intoxicated drivers and workers, an increase in cannabis use among adolescents, and negative health effects from chronic cannabis use.[3–7] Unlike alcohol consumption, which can be detected by monitoring the concentration of ethanol in the blood or breath, determination of cannabis intoxication is not as straightforward.
Vapor pressure is the very first thing needed to begin a rudimentary equation of state (EOS). An EOS is necessary to provide an avenue for predicting thermophysical properties that are important for designing and engineering a specialized device such as a cannabis breathalyzer. Vapor pressure measurements can be used to predict the normal boiling temperature (NBT, temperature that the fluid boils at 1 atm), which can then be used to predict the critical constants (critical temperature, critical pressure and critical volume). The uncertainty of calculations from these models is of course dependent on the uncertainty of the input data; more data and lower uncertainty is always desirable. For cannabinoids, there are no available data, thus these will be the first available measurements for the field. Well-developed models like standard reference equations are based on hundreds of measurements, whereas the models developed here are a rudimentary beginning but are far better than “chemical intuition” for predicting the important thermophysical properties for device optimization.
Most commercial methods for measuring vapor pressure are designed to measure volatile or moderately volatile compounds. These methods typically require day to weeks to collect sample and can require large sample sizes. A previously developed technique employing porous layer open tubular-cryoadsorption (PLOT-cryo) technology made vapor pressure measurements of cannabinoids possible [22, 23].
To provide law enforcement personnel with the best breathalyzer for Δ 9 -THC detection, a three-pronged research approach has been developed. First, fundamental data and models necessary for developing a Δ 9 -THC breathalyzer will be provided; material properties for choosing the best materials for “catch” and “release” of Δ 9 -THC will be investigated; and research into the chemical signature of breath that corresponds with cannabis intoxication will be conducted with “breatholomics” efforts. This approach is collaborative, and each prong is necessary for (and enables) the other efforts. For example, in order to develop the measurement science necessary to obtain fundamental data measurements and develop useful models, material properties will be characterized. Additionally, the chemical signature of the breath while intoxicated from cannabis usage will dictate which compounds require fundamental data measurements and where to focus modeling efforts. Collecting this chemical signature will require advances in material design and apparatus development. The focus of this work is fundamental data and models, specifically vapor pressure measurements.
PLOT-cryo is an ultra-sensitive, quantitative, trace dynamic headspace (HS) analysis technique that was used to determine the mass of sample collected from the vapor phase at a given HS collection temperature. This method is used for trace vapor analysis (of polar and non-polar solutes of moderate to low volatility) with high reproducibility and thermodynamic consistency. In PLOT-cryo, a sweep gas is carried through a fused silica tube into a sealed vial containing the sample, with the entire assembly located in an oven ( Figure 1 ). The HS vapors are then carried by the sweep gas and trapped on a PLOT capillary ( Figure 2 ) contained in a temperature-controlled cryostat. PLOT-cryo has the inherent ability to stabilize labile solutes because collection is done at reduced temperature. The PLOT capillary column is robust, reusable, inexpensive and has a large temperature operability for less volatile solutes. While alumina is used in this research, the sorbent phase can be tailored for the chemistry of interest. Analytes are eluted from the PLOT capillary using a suitable solvent or thermal desorption and a gas flow. The collected analytes are then determined by use of any instrumental technique, but typically gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS).
The quest for a reliable means to detect cannabis intoxication with a breathalyzer is ongoing. To design such a device, it is important to understand the fundamental thermodynamics of the compounds of interest. The vapor pressures of two important cannabinoids, cannabidiol (CBD) and Δ 9 -tetrahydrocannabinol (Δ 9 -THC), are presented, as well as the predicted normal boiling temperature (NBT) and the predicted critical constants (these predictions are dependent on the vapor pressure data). The critical constants are typically necessary to develop an equation of state (EOS). EOS-based models can provide estimations of thermophysical properties for compounds to aid in designing processes and devices. An ultra-sensitive, quantitative, trace dynamic headspace analysis sampling called porous layered open tubular-cryoadsorption (PLOT-cryo) was used to measure vapor pressures of these compounds. PLOT-cryo affords short experiment durations compared to more traditional techniques for vapor pressure determination (minutes versus days). Additionally, PLOT-cryo has the inherent ability to stabilize labile solutes because collection is done at reduced temperature. The measured vapor pressures are approximately 2 orders of magnitude lower than those measured for n-eicosane, which has a similar molecular mass. Thus, the difference in polarity of these molecules must be impacting the vapor pressure dramatically. The vapor pressure measurements are presented in the form of Clausius-Clapeyron (or van’t Hoff) equation plots. The predicted vapor pressures that would be expected at near ambient conditions (25 °C) are also presented.
A schematic of the experimental apparatus used for ultra-sensitive, quantitative, trace dynamic headspace analysis with an adaptation of PLOT-cryoadsorption. Arrows indicate the flow of the sweep gas. The temperature of the cryostat can reach temperatures as low as −40 °C.