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What is a Cannabis Vape Cartridge

What is a Cannabis Vape Cartridge

It’s undeniable that vaporizers have changed the world and the way that cannabis products are consumed. Vaporizers come in many shapes and sizes with different price ranges, features, batteries and cartridges. The majority of vapes are portable, carried around easily and stowed away into a pocket or purse.  

As the technology in vaporizers advance, vape pens and vaping accessories have become interchangeable. Batteries, tanks and cartridges from certain brands may be compatible with vapes by other brands and can be switched and swapped to provide the maximum benefit to users. 

In this guide, we’re going to focus on vape cartridges but more importantly the cannabis cartridge.  

A Brief History on Vaporizers

Vaporizers have been around for a long time – decades in fact. Early vaporizers had very limited features and were nowhere near portable as they are today. The modern-day vaporizers were invented in 1993 by Eagle Bill, who created the first publicly usable vaporizer. 

In 1996, the famous Volcano Vaporizer was released by Storz and Bickel; a desktop vaporizer that would “steam cook” dry flower. This allowed users to fill rooms with vaporized cannabis or use a mouthpiece to inhale a hit from the dried cannabis flower. Despite this vaporizer being extremely effective for consuming cannabis, it was incredibly costly at a whopping $800. 

Fast-forward nearly 10 years and the Shake and Vape was created (still considered one of the most efficient vapes to this day). Shake and Vape had a forced-air system of vaporization and users were able to discover an entirely new way to consume their cannabis. 

Nowadays, there are plenty of options available for cannabis enthusiasts to consume dry herb, concentrates, dabs and waxes. Users have a choice of vape pens, vape mods and desktop vaporizers. 

Vaporizer pens allow users to consume cannabis extracts like THC, without any of toxins or harmful substances. Vape pens are simple to use and highly portable, they are mainly comprised of a battery, a THC cartridge and a mouthpiece. Certain types of vape pens are refillable and others have disposable cannabis cartridges. Distinguishing the difference between the two can help you make a decision prior to purchasing. 

What Is a Vape Cartridge?

A vape cartridge or “cart” is a glass component that can be purchased pre-filled with a gram or half a gram of cannabis oil so there is no need to buy weed online for this. Usually, vape carts can be purchased filled with THC, CBD or a combination of the two with additional terpenes. 

The majority of weed cartridges available on the market have high THC levels but more CBD cartridges are becoming available as vaping cannabis oil becomes more popular. Vape cartridges are available in various forms, the 510-thread cartridges are the most common and can be bought from most cannabis stores. Certain brands have proprietary carts like the Airo Pro oil carts and Pax Era Pods. 

How Do Vapes Work? 

Vape cartridges work together with vape batteries and both are needed for the user to be able to consume cannabis oil. When the power button is pressed or the user inhales (on certain vapes), the battery gives power to an atomizer, in-turn heating up the cannabis oil.

Heating the cannabinoids activates the chemical components within them, as the user inhales the vapour, they’re able to feel the effects of cannabis. As vape pens become more modern, additional features have been added to certain models, allowing temperature control, managing dose levels and turning the device on and off. 

How to Use a Vape Pen?

The beauty of vape pens is that they’re easy to use. Simply attach your battery to a compatible vape cart and you’ll be able to use it immediately. Bear in mind, some batteries come with on and off buttons, so be sure to check. 

There are a few key points you should remember when using a vape pen and THC cartridge:

  • The majority of vape pens with power buttons can be switched on and off by clicking the button 5 times. 
  • Always make sure that the cannabis cart is attached securely to the battery prior to use. This helps to avoid any spillage and leakage of your oil. 
  • Keep an eye on how hot your vape pen gets when inhaling, too hot and it could be detrimental to the oil inside. Batteries usually have a feature where 3 clicks can change the temperature.
  • Try to keep your vape pen as upright as possible; this helps to avoid the vape pen from leaking oil out. 
  • It’s very easy to overconsume cannabis oil, especially with how simple a process vaping is. Start low with your dosage and always leaves breaks in between inhalation. 

The Benefits of a Cannabis Cartridge

Using vape cartridges can provide the user with a lot of benefits and we’re going to explain what they are and how they could help you.

Easy to Use 

Vape cartridges are known for their ease of use, making it simple for users to consume their favourite cannabis oil. Carts require absolutely no effort at all, simply press the button on the vape pen and take a hit.

Highly Portable

You’ve probably seen people use their vaporizers on the streets or at parties; this method of cannabis consumption can easily be enjoyed while on the move. Vape pens have a minimalist design and its discretion allows users to vape cannabis oil without drawing attention to themselves. It’s important to note that vape pens produce very little odour and smoke in the air. 

Serving Size

For beginner cannabis consumers, it can be difficult to find the right serving size of concentrate without consuming too much. Taking too much can take away from the enjoyment and create an overwhelming experience, especially for beginner users. Using a vape pen helps you to monitor and take controlled doses of cannabis oil with every draw. This is especially important for those that are new to consuming oil from THC cartridges because it gives them complete control over their consumption.

Disposable Cartridges

Some types of vaporizers take all of the hard work out and provide a simple solution for vaping your favourite strain. Disposable cartridges are available that can be used until the oil runs out, then you throw the entire device out and use a fresh one. This is great if you’re constantly on the go and don’t have the time to keep swapping carts or refilling them. 

The Cons of Vaping 

Despite there being many benefits of vaping, there are still a few drawbacks and concerns, in comparison to other methods of consumption. 

Physical Effects

The serving size of THC is smaller when vaping, which means the high is shorter lasting, in comparison to other popular methods like smoking joints, edibles and dabs. Even though the effects of vaping deplete in less time, it can mean that users are more susceptible to taking hits more frequently and overconsuming. 


Cannabis cartridges can be costly, ranging between $20 – 60 per cartridge. Purchasing cannabis flower works out a lot cheaper per gram, making cartridges the more expensive choice out of the two. 

Battery Power

Some vape pens on the market drain pretty quickly, which isn’t exactly ideal if you’re on the move and want to take a hit or two. As annoying as it can be, it can be mitigated by charging your vape battery every night or keeping a second fully-charged battery as a backup.

How Long Do Vape Cartridges Last?

The longevity of vape cartridges depends entirely on how often you use your vape pen. There could be certain days that you use your vape carts more often and others where you barely use them at all. 

It’s important to note that some vape carts can be refilled with fresh cannabis oil. To ensure that you don’t make a mess everywhere, use a syringe to accurately fill up the carts. 

The Different Types of Vape Cartridges 

It’s always good to get familiar with the varying types of vape cartridges. The most common type of connection used is a 510 thread. The name 510 corresponds to the thread type used to connect the vape cartridge to the battery. Pre-loaded cartridges by specific cannabis companies may use their own battery and cartridge system, an example of that is the Pax Era Pods.

We’ve put together a list that should help you distinguish the types of vape cartridges available on the market. 

Distillate vs CO2 oil

The cannabis oil inside vape cartridges must have the correct viscosity. Meaning, it has to have the correct consistency to allow the vaporizer to do its job and turn the oil into vapour. Cartridge manufacturers use a few different methods to ensure that cannabis oil is pure and perfectly blended so that it can be consumed safely. 

CO2 Oil

There are certain high-quality CO2 oils that will work in vaporizer cartridges in their original format. When refined and made properly, these oils can be used in cannabis cartridges some of the terpenes still intact. The terpenes work as a natural thinning agent and provide the oil with the unique flavour of the strain. 

Distillate Cartridges 

These carts contain highly purified oil that’s refined until only the cannabinoids remain. Using distillates in vaporizer cartridges does come with its benefits; for example, several cannabis oil varieties can be distilled with the correct equipment. 

The disadvantage of creating distillates for vape carts is that there’s nothing left in oil to create the correct consistency for vaping. An additional thinning agent must be used to create the right viscosity for vaping. 

Terpenes and Flavourings

The use of terpenes in cannabis cartridges has helped to make flavours and aromas more pleasant and also more potent. The biggest benefit of terpenes is that they help to lower the viscosity of the cannabis oil, making them a safer alternative to artificial cutting agents. 

Research into terpenes also suggests that they influence how cannabinoids interact with the body, creating a better experience for the user.

Certain manufacturers favour CO2 extractions that are refined with ethanol to retain the plant-based terpenes within the oil. When refining the oil, manufacturers have to maintain the terpenes to a level that correlates with the correct viscosity for vaping to ensure they’re able to keep the strain’s natural flavour. 

Natural terpenes can also be reintroduced back into vape cartridges to create an array of different flavours and effects. For this process to be successful in cannabis oil cartridges, terpenes must be added in small amounts and be within the threshold of creating the right viscosity.

Always read the cannabis product label first to ensure you know exactly what you’re getting when purchasing cannabis cartridges.

CBD Vape Cartridges

Cannabidiol or CBD as it’s commonly known has taken the world by storm over the last few years. Cannabis vape cartridges usually contain high levels of THC but some manufacturers are now offering CBD cartridges for vaping.

Vape cartridges that are high in CBD can contain a CBD to THC ratio of 2:1 to 20:1 and even higher. This type of cart doesn’t provide the convention high that THC carts provide and are more geared towards boosting general health and wellness. 

Broad Spectrum Vape Cartridges

Broad-spectrum cannabis oil is like the crème de la crème in terms of quality cannabis cartridges. This type of cannabis oil uses the entire broad spectrum in a cannabis strain; that includes all cannabinoids, terpenes and anything else that the strain may contain. There are no alterations in broad-spectrum oil and no active compounds within the oil are removed or added. The benefits of broad-spectrum oil are that it provides the user with richer aroma, better flavour and greater benefits and depth than other cannabis products. It used to be quite difficult to get a hold of broad-spectrum cannabis cartridges, but as vaping becomes more popular, more cannabis stores are selling them. Broad-spectrum vape carts will cost you more than conventional cannabis carts but they’re worth the extra coin as they enhance the experience a considerable amount.