What’s in your vape cartridge?
Plants are fickle in being alive. Look at the same plant on two different days and its internal chemistry will have changed. Take chlorophyll in cannabis plants. Over time, chlorophyll degrades into the terpene phytol. And phytol? Well phytol is a precursor for manufacturing of synthetic forms of Vitamin E.
Back when black market vape pens were causing a serious health problem in the US, vitamin E added to the cartridge was considered a likely suspect of the popcorn lungs people were coming down with. There are many things in nature that are safe in one form and not in another. Vitamin E is great for the skin but harmful breathed into the lungs. Phytol is no different.
Phytol is a naturally forming terpene, and research is suggesting it has health benefits. But remember vitamin E. Phytol in vape cartridges is not there as a terpene like myrcene or pinene. Some manufacturers use phytol to thin their vape oil to prevent clogging. That is where the issue comes in.
Once subjugated to high temperatures, phytol changes on the chemical level and can form toxic forms. One of the rearrangements done via heat that terpenes turn into is the carcinogenic benzene. Not something you want involved in your high.
So what do the scientists suggest? Target your vaporizer heat setting for 180°C and never higher than 240°C. Over 180°C extra heat doesn’t get you more THC or terpenes, but the chance of problems increase.