A Complete Guide to Oil Vape Cartridges

When it comes to portability, functionality, and ease of use, one marijuana product stands out among the rest. You may have heard them called hash oil pens, cannabis oil cartridges, or disposable wax pens. These new and futuristic devices have become a staple in the cannabis oil market over the last few years, becoming the number one go-to product for both veteran cannabis smokers and beginners.

However, when choosing the right pre-filled pen, various factors may block your path when making a decision. Sure, these products may look the same from afar, but there are a few nuances that differentiates them from one another.

Learning the ins and outs of disposable pens, and understanding the differences can help you to make an educated decision on which product is going to be the best for your consumption.

Why Should You Choose Pre-Filled Vape Cartridges?

If you are a newbie to the pre-filled oil cartridges, don’t worry. Below we do our best to outline the awesome benefits you could expect to see from using them. Lets jump right in.

Easy To Use

When you choose to use a pre-filled vape cartridge, you’re taking the guesswork out of the equation. Unlike other methods such as self-loading vape pens, or hash concentrate inhaled with a dab rig, the pre-filled cartridges require very little effort, if any at all.

The most effort you might have to put in, is pushing a small button In order to inhale. In fact, some pens don’t even have buttons—you just inhale. On top of that, many companies are designing their vape pens so that battery charging isn’t necessary.

Simple To Dose

If you are a brand new user of cannabis concentrates, dosing is probably something that’s in the back of your mind. Nobody wants to be overwhelmed when trying to enjoy marijuana concentrate responsibly.

Unlike using a dab rig, pre-filled cartridges are the perfect way to get a controlled dose with every inhalation. This allows the user to have full control over how little or much they consume.

They’re Portable

If you’re on the go, then these pre-filled cartridges are the easiest way to enjoy your cannabis oil. The simplistic and sleek designs allow for the most discreet vaping, free from any of the distracting qualities that come with raw cannabis, or larger vape setups, such as strong odors, or noticeable smoke clouds.

The Different Types of Pre-Filled Vape Cartridges

Get to know the variety of pre-filled vape cartridges available on the market so you can have confidence in choosing the right product for your specific needs.

Disposable Pens vs. Battery/Cartridge Combos

You’ll notice when choosing from the huge selection of pre-filled cartridges, there are several different options for hardware.

Typically you’ll find products offered in tank form, which are normally formatted to screw into a 510-threaded battery insert. These will screw into any 510 threading, which now, is a pretty standard format for all vape batteries.

The only time you may experience an exception is when you purchase company designed cartridges that only fit their specially designed batteries. An example would be Juul. Juul pods can only fit Juul batteries. The same type of designs can be found in the cannabis vape cartridge market.

As an alternative, many of the cannabis companies are rolling out disposable pens, which are designed with a pre-charged battery to work for the duration of the tank.

The cool thing about these pens; you don’t have to charge them, and you can throw them out when they’re empty. Are you trying to take that tank off the disposable pen? It won’t work, most disposables have no threading, so the battery will never separate from the cartridge.

CO2 vs. Distillate

In order for a vape cartridge to work properly, the viscosity of the contents must be perfect. If not, the oils could be too thin, or too thick to be able to vaporize within the rig. Depending on their starting material, oil cartridge manufactures can utilize multiple methods in order to create pristine oil for their vape pens.

C02: CO2 oils that are winterized are uniquely compatible with most vape cartridges, mostly because they require zero additives in order to achieve the perfect viscosity so it can vaporize in the atomizer.

When made properly, these cannabis oils will retain moderate levels of terpenes, which are natural thinning agents as well as giving the vape oil their fragrance and taste.

Distillate: A highly refined cannabis oil that contains pure cannabinoids, and nothing else. The positive about using a distillate in a vape cartridge is that you can produce the oil from a variety of starting materials.

With the right hardware most of the hash oils from BHO to C02 and all other in between can be purified into a distillate.

Additives: If an additive is being used in your vape oil cartridge, chances are it’s being used as a thinning agent.

You may have heard in some cases where companies will infuse or “cut” the hash oil with substances such as propylene glycol, polyethylene glycol, triglycerides, and even vegetable glycerin, in order to maintain a longer lasting and less viscous oil.

With that being said, you could imagine the health concerns. Fortunately, less of the oil companies using these thinning agents are starting to disappear from the market. The best way for manufactures to eliminate their artificial cutting methods is to use terpenes.

Terpenes: Flavors and Infusions

Terpenes have recently played an important part in lowering the viscosity of cannabis oil without using harmful cutting agents, all while adding sweet aromas and flavors.

Not only do these terpenes add aromas and flavors, but they can also change the effects due to an ability to influence how the cannabinoid will interact with our body.

There are a variety of ways to use terpenes with pre-loaded cartridges. First, many manufacturers will rely on CO2-based extraction methods.

This method can be refined using ethanol, which has the ability to retain plant-based terpenes at the perfect percentage in order to achieve the optimal viscosity. This is what allows manufactures to sell flavors based on the different strain profiles.

Beyond that, natural marijuana-derived terpenes that have been through refinement can then be added to cannabis oils in small amounts, creating a spectrum of effects and flavors that give the oil the perfect consistency in order to work properly in a cartridge.

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On the other side of things, food-grade terpenes are, for the most part, the most widely used, and lowest quality additives found in vape cartridges. Sure, you can find terpenes all over nature, but it can also be produced in a lab.

For example, d-limonene is one of the more popular terpenes added to a variety of cannabis oils. You’ll notice that quite a few manufacturers will use food-grade terpenes, such as d-limonene, as the main flavoring for their pre-filled cartridges.

Of course this will help cut down the viscosity of the oil, and add mild flavor, but beyond that the blends tend to be one-dimensional, and enhance the user experience very little.

When buying pre-filled cartridges, you’ll often see labels with “berry/lime” or “lemon/lime”-flavored in order to represent the additive that they use.

This is why it is very important to ask your local bud tender questions, and read labels carefully when buying cartridges infused with terpenes.

Effects On Product Labels

The more you search for products, the more you’ll notice products being manufactured and labeled by the effects that they have on the customer.

You’ll see products of this variety claim that they provide “energetic” or “relaxing” effects, with some being labeled as sativa, indica or hybrid.

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When these terpenes are infused into products, the combinations are designed to give the user similar effects you might find in other marijuana strains.

Whether the manufacturer uses terpenes that are naturally-derived from marijuana strains or food-grade, many of these oils are built around carefully mixed combinations, which can be traced back to a specific strain.

It’s still debatable how well these terpenes mimic the different strains, however, products containing terpene blends tend to enhance the experience compared to products with one or no terpenes.

Cannabinoid-Specific Oil Cartridges

Even though many cannabis oil pens are labeled by effect or flavor, some companies have focused on cannabinoid concentration. Besides your typical high levels of THC, found in most vape pens, some manufacturers are offering products containing high levels of CBD or cannabidiol.

CBD pens can be found with or without flavors, and guarantee a ratio of CBD to THC that range from 1:2 all the way to 1:20 and more. These pens are great for someone looking to reap the medical benefits CBD has to offer, in an easy to use product.

Full-Spectrum Oil Cartridges

If you want to talk about overall quality, and the pinnacle of pre-filled oil cartridges, then we have to touch on full-spectrum concentrates. These products are created using every bit of any marijuana strain, right down to the bioavailable molecules.

Full-spectrum oil does not add, remove, or reintroduce any compound from the cannabis strain and offers an effect and flavor that is far superior compared to other one-dimensional competitors.

It may be hard to find full-spectrum vape cartridges, mostly because you can only find them in certain markets. Not only are they hard to find, but they tend to be expensive as well. If you are lucky enough to live in a market that sells full-spectrum cartridges, we recommend you shell out the cash to try it out. If you want flavors similar to a strain, then there is no comparing to full-spectrum vape cartridges.

Final Thoughts

To wrap things up, there are a variety of pre-loaded oil cartridges to choose from, each with its pros and cons. If you want to learn more about these products, we always advise talking with your local bud tender before you make a purchase.

Sometimes labels have little to no information, so talking with a professional, such as a bud tender, can shed some light on those frequently asked questions.

Regardless of your taste, there is bound to be the perfect cannabis oil cartridge available to suit your specific needs!

If you have anything to add, or have a question about any of the topics we covered in this guide, please leave us a comment below. Thanks for reading!

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