When it comes to ease of use, portability, and functionality, one cannabis product stands tall above the rest—vapes. You may know them as vape carts or pre-loaded cannabis oil vape cartridges, and they have quickly become the go-to concentrate-based product for both cannabis novices and enthusiasts.
However, when it comes to choosing the right vape pen, various factors come into play. Many of these products seem similar at first glance, but there are many nuances that distinguish them. Understanding the differences between these disposable pens can help you make an educated decision on which product is right for you.
Jump to a section in this article:
- What is a vape cartridge?
- How do vape pens work?
- Why choose an oil vape cartridge?
- What are the drawbacks of vapes?
- How to use a vape pen
- Types of vape cartridges available
- How long does a vape cartridge last?
What is a weed vape cartridge?
Weed vape carts (sometimes called a pre-loaded cannabis oil cartridge or vape cart) are glass pods that are often filled with a ½ gram or a full gram of cannabis oil and a variety of terpenes and cannabinoids, all extracted from the cannabis plant.
A vape cart is a glass cartridge pre-filled with a gram or half-gram of cannabis oil. This oil contain various combinations of cannabinoids and terpenes extracted from cannabis.
Most oil vape carts are high in THC, however, more and more CBD-dominant vape cartridges are entering the market, as are 1:1 THC:CBD products. Vape cartridges come in many forms: 510-threaded cartridges (the most common), as well as some proprietary forms like Pax Era Pods and Airo Pro oil cartridges.
How do vape pens work?
Vape cartridges work in conjunction with vape pen batteries. The vape battery will power an atomizer in the cartridge that heats up the oil, activating the various chemical components in it. You then inhale the vape smoke, which produces the effects of cannabis. Some vape batteries have multiple functions that enable temperature customization and dose management.
Why choose a cannabis vape cartridge?
Weed vapes have quickly become one of the most popular ways to enjoy cannabis amongst smokers today, but many still find themselves wondering what are the real benefits.
Ease of Use
Rolling a joint or packing a bowl can sometimes require more work than desired after a long day of work. Vapes allow you to simply kick back, press a button, and quickly get to the effects. No messy grinding, no fumbling with papers, and no dirty bong water.
Vape carts have also garnered a reputation for being easy to carry and take on-the-go. Vapes are usually about the size of a pen so they make for easy transport. There is also no need to worry about them breaking or falling apart in your pocket or bag, as vapes are made with durable, leak-resistant material.
Unfortunately, it’s not always possible (or appropriate) to simply spark up in the middle of the day or take a few puffs before a nerve-wracking situation. Some users prefer to keep their smoking to themselves, and vapes make it much easier to keep smoking low key.
Not only are vapes small in stature they also come in inconspicuous designs and are virtually odor-free. What happens in the private smoke circle, stays in the private smoke circle.
For some smokers, it’s important to know exactly how much THC they are consuming in every drag. Vapes offer consistent dosing capabilities and often come with dosing guides that are easy to understand and apply.
Many brands pride themselves on providing cannabis vape carts that are terpene-rich and flavorful. Usually added after the distillation process, brands tailor the added terpenes for perfectly bold-flavored results.
How to use a vape pen
It’s pretty simple: Just attach your cart to the battery and start puffing. If there’s an On/Off button, use it.
Here are a few quicks tips to remember when smoking an oil vape cartridge:
- If your device has an On/Off button, chances are you turn it on by clicking 5 times. The same number turns it off.
- Make sure your cart is completely attached to its battery to avoid any oil leakage.
- Keep your vape pen upright to avoid oil leakage.
- Start slow with dosing as it is very easy to overconsume with vape carts.
- Monitor temperature to make sure your cart isn’t burning too hot, which could alter some of the oil’s chemical components—usually 3 clicks will adjust the temp.
Distillate cartridges vs. CO2 oil
For a vaporizer cartridge to function properly, its contents must have the proper viscosity, otherwise the oils will either be too thick or too thin to properly vaporize within the device. Depending on the starting material used, cartridge manufacturers use several methods in order to create the perfect oil for their pens.
CO2 oil. Certain high-grade winterized CO2 oils are uniquely compatible with vaporizer cartridges due to the fact that they do not require additives of any kind to meet the viscosity levels needed to vaporize in an atomizer. If made properly, these oils are able to retain modest levels of plant-based terpenes, which act as natural thinning agents as well as give the oil their signature strain-specific flavor.
Distillates. A cannabis distillate cart is a highly refined oil containing pure cannabinoids and almost nothing else. The upside to using distillates in vaporizer cartridges is that the oil can be produced from a range of starting materials. Virtually any cannabis oil variety from CO2 to BHO and everything in between can be purified into a distillate with the right equipment.
The downside to using distillates in vape cartridges is that because there are no residual terpenes left behind, there is nothing to cut the viscosity of the material. In order for a distillate to be used in cartridges, a thinning agent of some kind is often required.
Additives. These are sometimes used in vape cartridge oils as a supplemental thinning agent. In some cases, methods have been taken to cut or infuse various cannabis oils with certain substances such as polyethylene glycol (PEG), propylene glycol (PG), vegetable glycerin (VG), or even medium chain triglycerides (MCT), such as coconut oil, in order to maintain a less viscous and lasting oil consistency conducive to standard atomizer functionality.
This process has become highly controversial due to raised health concerns, and products containing these thinning agents are showing up less on the market.