Vape pens

What is a cannabis vape cartridge?

What is a cannabis vaporizer cartridge?
When it comes to ease of use, portability and functionality, one cannabis product stands out from the rest: cartridges. You may know them as vaporizer carts or pre-filled cannabis oil vaporizer cartridges, and they have quickly become the concentrated product for beginners and cannabis enthusiasts.
However, when it comes to choosing the right vaporizer, several factors come into play: many of these products look similar at first glance, but there are many nuances that set them apart. Understanding the differences between these disposable pens can help you make an informed decision about which product is right for you.

Go to a section of this article:

What is a vape cartridge?
How do vape pens work?
Why choose an oil cartridge?
What are the disadvantages of vape pens?
How to use a vape pen
Types of vape cartridges available
How long does a vape cartridge last?
What is a vape cartridge?
A vaporizer cartridge is a glass cartridge pre-filled with a gram or half gram of cannabis oil. This oil contains various combinations of cannabinoids and terpenes extracted from cannabis.

Most oil cartridges contain a high THC content, but more and more CBD-dominant cartridges are coming to market, as well as 1:1 THC:CBD products. Vape cartridges come in many forms: 510-threaded cartridges (the most common), as well as some proprietary forms such as Pax Era Pods and Airo Pro oil cartridges.

How do vape pens work?
Vape cartridges work in conjunction with Vape Pen batteries. The battery powers a nebulizer in the cartridge that heats the oil, thus activating the various chemicals it contains. You then inhale the smoke from the vaporizer, which produces the effects of cannabis. Some vape batteries have different functions that allow you to customize the temperature and administer the dosage.

Why choose an oil vape cartridge?
Here are some of the benefits of using oil vape cartridges.

Ease of use
Vape cartridges completely take the guesswork out of the equation. Unlike other methods of oil consumption, such as dab rigs and nail setups, cartridges require little to no effort: just press a button and inhale.

Portability
Oil vaporizer carts are the easiest way to enjoy cannabis on the go. Their sleek, minimalist design allows for discreet smoking without the distracting features of larger rigs, and they produce no smoke or noticeable odor.

Dose
For inexperienced users of cannabis concentrates, dosing can be a big concern. No one wants to have an overwhelming experience trying to enjoy cannabis. Unlike dabbing, using a pre-loaded vaporizer allows for a highly controlled dosage with each puff, giving you more control over how much you consume.

What are the disadvantages of vaporizers?
While vape cartridges are great for their ease of use, portability, and dosing, they do have some drawbacks compared to other methods of consumption.

Cost
Vape cartridges can be quite expensive, with costs ranging from $20 to $60 or more per half gram of hash oil, depending on the market and extraction method. When you can get an ounce of flower for much less than a 1-gram vape cartridge, choosing the latter is a bit more difficult.

Physical effects.
Vape cartridges tend to provide a shorter high than other methods, such as joints, dabs and edibles, because they are consumed in smaller doses. However, while the effects may be shorter in duration, they can also be stronger if used in excess, so be sure to monitor your dosage properly.

Battery life
Monitoring the usage and power levels of a vape battery can be quite annoying, as frequent use can drain it rather quickly. To avoid this, it’s best to recharge the battery every night before bed or have a fully charged backup battery on hand.

How to use a vape pen
It’s pretty simple: just connect the cartridge to the battery and start taking a puff. If there’s an on/off button, use it.

Here are some quick tips to remember when smoking an oil vape cartridge:

If your device has an on/off button, you will most likely turn it on by clicking it 5 times. The same number turns it off.
Make sure your pot is fully connected to your battery to avoid oil leakage.
Keep the vaporizer in an upright position to avoid oil leakage.
Start dosing slowly, as it is very easy to overdose with vape cartridges.
Monitor the temperature to make sure your cart is not burning too hot, which could alter some of the oil chemistry; usually 3 clicks is enough to adjust the temperature.

Types of vape cartridges available

Familiarize yourself with the many types of oil vape cartridges available on the market so you can purchase the one that best suits your needs or preferences.

Cartridge/battery combinations and disposables.
Most products usually have a standard 510 thread into which a battery screws. The exception is a pre-filled cartridge designed by a specific company for use with their vape/battery systems; an example is PAX Era Pods.

Alternatively, there are some “disposable” vape pens available, which contain a precharged battery designed to hold the device until the cart is depleted. These pens do not require refills and should be discarded after use. They contain no wires and are not intended to be separated from their battery.

What is a 510 cartridge?
A 510 cartridge is the most common type of vape cartridge. 510 describes the type of thread used to screw the bottom of the cartridge to the appropriate vape coil.

Distillate vs CO2 oil cartridges
For a vape cartridge to function properly, its contents must have the correct viscosity; otherwise, the oils will be too thick or too thin to vaporize properly in the device. Depending on the raw material used, cartridge manufacturers use different methods to create the perfect oil for their pens.

CO2 oil Some premium winter CO2 oils are only compatible with vape cartridges, as they do not require additives to reach the viscosity levels needed to vape in an atomizer. When properly made, these oils are capable of retaining modest levels of plant-derived terpenes, which act as natural diluting agents and give the oil its strain-specific flavor.

Spirit. A cannabis distillate cartridge is a highly refined oil containing pure cannabinoids and almost nothing else. The benefit of using distillates in vaporizer cartridges is that the oil can be made from a variety of starting materials. Virtually any variety of cannabis oil, from CO2 to BHO and everything in between, can be purified into a distillate with the right equipment.

The disadvantage of using distillates in vape cartridges is that since there are no residual terpenes, there is nothing to reduce the viscosity of the product. To use a distillate in cartridges, a diluting agent is often needed.

Additives are sometimes used in oils for vape cartridges as an additional diluting agent. In some cases, methods have been adopted 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. The process is used to maintain a less viscous and long-lasting oil consistency conducive to the functionality of standard atomizers.

This process has become highly controversial due to the health concerns raised, and products containing these thinning agents are becoming less and less available on the market.

One way that vape cartridge manufacturers have been able to move away from artificial cutting agents is through the use of terpenes.

Terpene infusions and strain-specific flavorings.
The use of terpenes in vape cartridges has reduced the viscosity of cannabis oil and increased flavor and aroma, making it a potentially safer alternative to other cutting agents.

Terpenes not only add flavor and aroma to the experience, but can also help modify the effects of a product due to their ability to influence how cannabinoids interact with our bodies.

There are several ways to use terpenes with vape cartridges. Some manufacturers use CO2-based extractions. Refined with ethanol, they make it possible to retain the plant-derived terpenes in such a percentage as to obtain a suitable viscosity. This is how producers can sell flavors based on natural strain profiles.
Natural cannabis-derived terpenes that have been broken down during refining can be reintroduced into cannabis oils in small percentages, creating a spectrum of flavors and effects and giving the oil the consistency needed to work in a cartridge.

Products labeled with effect
Sometimes, vape oil cartridges are labeled and marketed based on their purported effect on the consumer. Products of this strain tend to claim to provide “relaxing” or “energizing” effects, and some are labeled as indica, sativa or hybrid.

Many of these vape cartridges incorporate carefully blended combinations similar to what you might find in a strain or strain type. To what extent these infusions mimic a specific strain is debatable.

CBD-specific vape cartridges.
While many oil pens are labeled according to flavor or effect, some focus on cannabinoid concentration. In addition to the typical high-THC product offered by most pens, some manufacturers offer products with high levels of cannabidiol (CBD).

High-CBD pens may or may not contain added flavors, but offer a THC/CBD ratio that can range from 2:1 to 20:1 and higher. These types of pens offer great wellness benefits for those looking for CBD in an easy-to-consume product.

Full Spectrum Vape Cartridges
The pinnacle of vape oil cartridges in terms of overall quality is achieved with full spectrum extracts. These products are created using the full spectrum of bioavailable molecules found in a given cannabis strain. A full spectrum oil does not add, reintroduce or remove any active compounds in a strain and offers deeper flavors and effects than most other products.
Full-spectrum cartridges are hard to find and only offered in certain markets, and their price also tends to reflect their rarity. If you are lucky enough to live in a place where these products are available, you will want to shell out the extra money to try one. In terms of strain comparison, the flavor of a full-spectrum cartridge is incredibly similar to what you would experience with a flower.

How long does a vape cartridge last?
The lifespan of a vape cartridge depends entirely on the consumption rate of each one. The only thing we know for sure is that a one gram cartridge will last much longer than a half gram cartridge.

How to refill a vape pen cartridge?
Some vape cartridges can be filled with new oil using a syringe. It is important to use a syringe, as it reduces the risk of creating an oily mess. Proprietary cartridges such as Pax Pods are not refillable, so you should dispose of them and buy a new one.

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