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What are vape carts and how to choose the right one?

what-are-vape-carts

Sales of pre-filled vape carts are on the rise and although they mostly appeal to younger users, even the older crowd likes that their lack of recognizable smell lets you casually vape anywhere that allows e-cigs. But not all vape carts are created equal, so how do you know what to buy?

This guide will walk you through the different designs, battery types, various oil compositions, and how to use carts. By the time you’re through, you’ll be more prepared to choose a vape cartridge that meets your needs without feeling overwhelmed. Here’s everything you need to know:

WHAT ARE PRE-FILLED VAPE CARTRIDGES?

Pre-filled vape carts come in two basic styles. The tank style reuses the old cig-a-like technology from the e-cig industry that you rarely see today. They fit on any standard 510-threaded e-cig battery with a fairly low power rating (approximately 8W). Do not try to use them on a mod battery.

Trendier brands use JUUL-style pods. These are flat, rectangular tanks that use a specialized battery. Because JUUL-style gear looks more modern and is extremely popular with today’s e-cig smoker, it’s more discreet.

Regardless of style, a pre-filled vape cartridge includes the same basic components:

  • Tank — contains the THC or CBD oil
  • Coil — heats up to vaporize the oil
  • Atomizer — holds the coil
  • Wick — delivers the oil to the atomizer

You can also buy “single use” pre-filled vape cartridges that come with an integrated battery. There’s no way to recharge the battery, so when the oil is gone, you just toss the whole thing.

WHAT DIFFERENT KINDS OF CARTRIDGES ARE AVAILABLE?

THC CARTRIDGES

Pre-filled vape cartridges sold mostly for recreational use are formulated with very high THC levels, some as high as 90% THC. The label should always include the strain of origin and genetic type (Indica, Sativa or hybrid). It may or may not include the specific THC percentage.

Carts that contain pure THC with no other cannabinoids are usually made from distillates or isolates instead of extracts. This strips the oil of their natural taste and smell so producers add them back in using flavorings and terpenes.

CBD CARTRIDGES

High-CBD vape carts are made with the medical user in mind. If the oil is made from industrial hemp, the carts can be legally sold just about anywhere.

If the product contains a measurable amount of THC (>1%), it will probably be sourced from cannabis as opposed to hemp. CBD to THC ratios in medical vape carts can vary from 2:1 (twice as much CBD as THC) to 20:1 or higher.

These carts can also contain distillates or isolates instead of cannabis oil. Some may contain added flavors.

FULL-SPECTRUM VAPE CARTS

A full-spectrum vape cart is hard to find and expensive to buy. It’s made from the flowers instead of random trim, and contains a full array of cannabinoids, terpenes, and other organic chemicals. Nothing extra is added and nothing important is removed.

These carts taste and smell more like traditional weed or high-quality wax. Both the noticeable effect and medical benefits will be very close to what you’d get from a whole-plant product as well.Related

HOW DO YOU USE PRE-FILLED OIL CARTS?

All pre-filled vape carts, regardless of tank or JUUL style, work the same way. Attach them to a compatible battery, turn on the power, push a button and inhale. They’ll instantly produce vapor, as long as the battery is charged and there is oil in the tank.

The only variation in operation is by battery type. Most are simple, single-voltage types where you push the button 5 times to turn it on, 5 times to turn it off, and 1 time to vape. Multiple voltage batteries let you cycle through a low, medium, and high setting using a different click pattern so you can customize the vaping experience. Low usually means more flavor while high is for more potency.

Then there’s the draw-on-demand battery. This is an upgraded style that has all the same features as the others, but you don’t push a button to vape. The device has an integrated sensor that activates the coil when you take a draw.

HOW TO PICK THE RIGHT CANNABIS VAPE CART?

Like most decisions, choosing the right vape cart is a personal decision. Here are some things to consider:

  1. Do you prefer high-CBD or high-THC?
  2. Do you need a discreet product with little to no natural aroma?
  3. How much do you want to pay for a pre-filled vape cart? Prices can vary from $20–30 in a legal dispensary for a low-end brand to $90 or more on the street in places where cannabis is not yet legal. Beware of extremely cheap products; they’re probably knock-offs and may contain synthetic cannabinoid analogues, or worse.
  4. Does the oil look clean? Avoid anything with visible debris, sediment, or crystals.
  5. What’s the cartridge made of? Look for glass and metal components instead of plastic.
  6. Were any solvents used? What other chemicals are in the oil?

You can’t usually taste-test before you buy, but if a cartridge tastes off or burnt in any way, it’s a sign of poor quality in either the oil or the hardware. Some dispensaries will accept returns if you let them know about the problem right away.

THE BOTTOM LINE TO VAPE CARTS

Pre-filled vape carts are a simple and inconspicuous way to consume cannabis, and they allow users to obtain precise doses with an exact cannabinoid profile.

The demand for these items is growing at a startling rate, but not all are created equal. Pay close attention to labeling and build quality while keeping an eye out for fake products and inferior oils.