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CBD vape carts
CBD vape carts are becoming increasingly popular with consumers. (HighGradeRoots/iStock)

A pre-filled tank of cannabis concentrate designed to work in a vape system. Cartridges, or “carts,” also incorporate a heating element, which vaporizes the oil. Most cartridges screw onto a battery with 510 thread but some have unique fittings. Cartridges usually come in a half-gram or full gram of cannabis oil. 

“I prefer carts with CO2 oil.”

“I cracked my cartridge when I dropped it on the ground—classic stoner move.”

What is a vape cartridge?

Vape cartridges contain cannabis oil and the heating element to vaporize it. They are designed to be easy to use, and only have to be attached to a battery. Most cartridges have a wick connecting the oil in the tank to the heating element, which is often a coil, and cannabis oil is vaped directly off the coil’s surface. 

This is effective, but direct heat can cause the oil to burn too hot and might ruin the flavor of the cannabis oil, especially if the consumer can’t control the temperature. Heating elements made of ceramic are higher quality, as they heat oil more evenly. 

Pros and cons of vape cartridges

Convenience and discretion are the two biggest benefits of using vape cartridges. Cartridges can be stored in a pocket or small bag, and since cannabis oil does not include plant material, the odor from a vape cartridge is minimal. Vape carts are also easy to use and don’t require much time to heat up. 

Vape cartridges can be fragile, however. They can break, clog, or burn out. Be sure to keep them in a safe place and check the voltage on the battery. Most vape cartridges are designed to be single use, which although convenient, creates more waste and isn’t great for the environment. 

Another concern of cartridges is that thickener or cutting agents can be added to oil to give them a different consistency. More research needs to be done on the effects of various additives in cannabis oil on the lungs.