For those hesitant about buying a vape pen, there’s this essential question: flower or cartridge? Tradition or progress? The one that you know or the one everybody’s raving about?
The answer is easy — don’t choose, get both instead. Both cannabis flowers and vape cartridges have their pros and cons, as well as unique benefits that you can’t replace with one another. A vape pen is a great addition for people who want to try something new, something that offers a relatively cleaner type of high and more noticeable health benefits but at the cost of some learning curve. With so many brands and cartridges on the market, you may consider yourself lucky to have such a wide range of options.
This article will help you understand the pros and cons of cannabis cartridges so that you can decide whether to cross the bridge or stay on the familiar side. Let’s get started!
First Things First: What Are Vape Pens?
In simplest terms, a vape pen is the smallest form of a portable vaporizer. Vape pens are usually made specifically for the consumption of concentrates like vape liquids, which are cannabis extracts suspended in a carrier oil and thinned down with vegetable glycerin (VG) and/or propylene glycol (PG). What does a vape pen look like? The anatomy of a vape pen isn’t complicated. The device is made of a battery, atomizer, and tank. The battery is the source of energy for the vape pen. Batteries have power buttons that, in some models, lets the user operate on different temperature settings and heating options. The atomizer is where your liquid concentrates get heated. The vaporization process happens in the atomizer. Last but not least, there’s a mouthpiece through which you inhale the vapor — it sits at the opposite end of the battery.
What Are Cannabis Oil Cartridges?
Also known as cannabis oil vape pens or disposable wax pens, cannabis cartridges are tiny containers filled with marijuana liquid and can be attached to the battery of your vape pen. Cannabis oil cartridges are available in two different types: refillable and pre-filled (disposable). What’s the difference between these two? It’s quite simple; refillable cartridges can be reloaded with your cannabis E-liquid, whereas pre-filled cartridges can be dumped once they go empty. Cannabis oil cartridges are all the rage nowadays, mainly thanks to the convenience, discretion, and ease of use they provide. They’re currently the go-to concentrate product both among novice and seasoned consumers alike.
Different Types of Cannabis Oil Cartridges
While choosing a vape pen is a relatively simple task, cartridges may require a more in-depth insight. Here we cover the most common types of cannabis oil cartridges.
Cartridges vs Disposable Vape Pens
We’ve only mentioned these products at the beginning of the article, so let’s shed more light on them now, shall we? These two are your only hardware options. Refillable cartridges are regular tanks that work with any 510-threaded vape pen battery. If your device has the 510 threading, it’s compatible with this type of oil cartridge. Preloaded disposable vape pens are a good choice for people who want to try what it’s like to vape cannabis oil but aren’t sure if they will like it. Batteries from such vape pens are meant to be thrown into trash once used up. You don’t need to charge it for the second time. Disposable cartridges are also threadless, meaning you can’t detach them from the battery.
Distillates are thoroughly filtered oils containing high concentrations of cannabinoids — without terpenes and other cannabis molecules.
The benefit of consuming distillates in oil cartridges is that the vaping material can be made from a variety of sources. Any hash oil extracted with CO2 or BHO — and everything in between — can be used for making distillates using the right equipment. The obvious downside of distillates is the lack of aforementioned terpenes, which are natural thinning agents and provide consumers with additional health benefits.
The term “CO2 oil” refers to a high-grade winterized extract that you can fill your vaporizer cartridge with. This type of cannabis oil requires no additional ingredients to achieve the optimal consistency needed to melt in an atomizer. If extracted correctly, these oils can still have some cannabis terpenes inside them.
Terpene Infusions (aka Terp Sauce or Terp Juice)
Many extracts used for cannabis oil cartridges are infused with additional terpenes to help “water down” cannabis oil and improve its aroma and flavors. Some concentrates are made through ice-freezing, and the extraction process involves using freshly harvested plants. This product is known as live resin and is sure to become a premium product thanks to its superior cannabinoid and terpene content. Cannabis concentrates made with the entire array of cannabinoids and terpenes are called full-spectrum extracts.
Exploring the Pros and Cons of Cannabis Oil Cartridges
Did you know that vape cartridges are the most promising sector of the legal cannabis industry? Some markets have scored sales growth of up to 400% recently, so it’s no wonder why people are so eager to develop this sector by going above and beyond in making different types of cannabis vapes and accessories. Here’s an unbiased overview of the pros and cons of cannabis oil cartridges:
Cannabis Oil Cartridges Are Discreet
If you’re a ninja smoker, then invisibility in the crowd is your top priority. While taking out a glass piece in public and lighting up the herb is a surefire method to turn many heads around, you can’t say the same thing about vaping cannabis oil cartridges. Portable vape pens are easily concealable; they can fit into a pocket, purse, or backpack, and nobody will probably judge you for vaping some oil — after all, cartridges can also be filled with nicotine, can’t they? Want to enjoy your weed on the go? Just slip out the pen, press the power button and enjoy an odorless vapor full of flavors that dissipates into the air without lingering around. There’s no way you’ll upset a passerby or make a hotbox in a car.
Cannabis Oil Cartridges Last Longer Than Dried Flower
Opening a jar of well cured cannabis flower is better than reading a love poem to yourself. However, the moment you leave it open for too long, or even when you do it to take out a few buds for grinding, the air gets in. And when that happens, your nuggets can dry-out over time and become stale. Concentrates have the ability to stay stronger and more flavorful than flower due to their superior stability. There’s also much less product waste. Smoking or vaping flower always means losing some bud as a result of carbonization or crumbling. With vape pens, you’re vaporizing the liquid, so the vapor gets released evenly. The rest stays in the cartridge.
You Can Achieve Better Consistency With Cannabis Oil Cartridges
The quality of cannabis flowers can vary from harvest to harvest. Moreover, drying and curing are rather craft processes and cannot be controlled to such an extent as extracts. Concentrates are much easier to replicate with each batch. Of course, there’s always a risk of slight variations depending on the strain being used, but since concentrates have higher levels of cannabinoids and terpenes, the differences aren’t that apparent. The most consistent type of concentrate you can fill your oil cartridge with is marijuana distillate — arguably the top choice of vapers as of right now. Because terpenes are destroyed during the extraction, leaving pure cannabinoids, each batch is more likely to be the same as its prime model.
Cannabis Oil Cartridges Offer Greater Variety
Not only do vape cartridges come in the same strain-specific options as flower, but they can also be infused additional CBD for those looking to achieve better recovery from injuries or take the edge of anxiety and pain. CBD-infused cartridges are currently more popular than high-CBD flowers.
Cartridges Are Less Reliable Than Smokable Products
Sad but true. As long as you have a lighter and a bowl/some rolling papers, you’re going to be all good. There are no malfunctioning parts unless you break your thumb trying yo light up the doobie — which is very unlikely to happen. And if the lighter goes out of whack, you can buy a new one without hurting your wallet. Can’t say the same about vape pens, can you? If your vape pen goes down, you’re left with cannabis liquid that you can’t consume unless you get yourself a working device. And let’s be honest, you don’t want to substitute a high-quality vape pen with a cheap device only for a short session you’ll remember as one of the worst in your life.
Some Cartridges Produce Poor Vapor
This can be a problem with some units. If you’re not getting the experience you want, many times this issue can be solved by simply placing the cartridge upright on a flat surface (thread side down). Once the liquid has settled at the bottom, the vapor production should improve.
Many Vape Products Contain Dangerous Additives
Although many producers are starting to introduce cannabis oil cartridges that are all-natural and additive-free, there’s a fair share of companies using substances like propylene glycol (PG) and polyethylene glycol (PEG) in their products. While research on the long-term risks of these additives is in early stages, some people believe it may be dangerous to inhale them.
A Buyer’s Guide to Choosing a Vape Pen for Cannabis Oil Cartridges
The cannabis oil cartridge is an essential element of your vape pen. Still, there are also a few other factors you need to pay attention to when choosing the next pen for your concentrates. The anatomy of a vape pen is simple; it consists of the atomizer, battery, and mouthpiece. All these elements are equally important for the quality of your unit. Let’s briefly discuss them.
The Longevity of the Battery
If you use refillable cartridges, you need to make sure that the battery in your unit is durable enough to last through a few sessions. Ideally, the battery should last you consistently for a casual day of inhaling. If your battery has a fast charging time, it’s all the better because it allows you to start your next session earlier.
Vape pens use two main types of heating mechanisms — conduction and convection. Conduction vape pens transfer heat to your cannabis oil through the atomizer that also gets in contact with the extract, so there’s a chance of passing some of the chemicals from the atomizer to the oil. This commonly happens with cheap vape pens. In contrast, convection uses air circulation to heat the extract without direct contact with the material. This method is both safer and produces cleaner vapor.
Atomizers are made with various materials, but the best choices are hands down stainless steel and titanium. If you can’t find any of these, you can buy a quartz atomizer as an alternative. Avoid plastic atomizers at all cost. Plastic is known to release plenty of harmful substances when heated, transferring them into the vapor.
Key Takeaways On Cannabis Oil Cartridges
A vape pen is a great way to deliver the beneficial cannabinoids and terpenes to your system with high efficiency and better flavors than smokable forms of cannabis. If your tolerance to THC is too high to enjoy the flower, or you just want to step up your cannabis game with pure concentrates, buying a high-quality oil cartridge makes a lot of sense. With the increasing variety of cartridges available in a plethora of potency and flavor options, you can easily find your daily driver as well as a few other products for different occasions.
Can you think of any other pros and cons of cannabis oil cartridges we haven’t mentioned in this article? Leave a comment below!