- Pre-filled vape cartridges are a handy, discreet way to enjoy the terpenes and cannabinoids contained in cannabis oils.
- Getting all the benefits of the cannabis plant is now easier than ever. And thanks to natural terpene profiles, you can add flavour and aroma to the experience.
- Here’s the lowdown on this exciting way of consuming marijuana.
Vaping is one of the safest ways to enjoy cannabis. With this method, the vapour reaches the lungs free from the harmful components of combustion, which would otherwise pass into the bloodstream through a process where the effects are first felt in the brain. This is why vaporizers, which heat up a small amount of bud in order to trigger the release of cannabinoids and terpenes, are a great alternative to smoking. But if you're up for something faster and simpler, cartridges may just be your thing.
Cannabis vape cartridges are pre-filled capsules that work with a vaporizer or an e-cigarette. They contain concentrates with varying amounts of cannabinoids and use terpenes to give the oils strain-specific flavours and aromas.
The heating process of these concentrates or oils is very similar to the one used for crumbled bud in other types of vaporisers - i.e. when a certain temperature is reached, the compounds are released and travel to the lungs. For those of you looking for discretion, cartridges - as well as vaporizers and e-cigarettes - will fit in your pocket, and as there's no need for you to handle your buds while on the go, they're also the easiest thing to use. Plus, they're virtually odour free and are heated up in under one minute.
This method is also particularly suitable for medical users. In order to choose the cartridge that best suits you, whether for recreational or therapeutic use, it's important to read labels carefully, as they usually include words like 'relaxing', 'uplifting' and 'creative'. Cartridges are all the rage right now. According to Eaze, an American app that allows users to purchase cannabis using their phones, cartridge sales in California grew from 6% in 2015 to 24% in 2016, while flower sales decreased from 75% to 54% over the same period.
Precautions with cannabis cartridges
As already mentioned, oils release the cannabinoids and terpenes when they are heated up. Depending on the vaporiser, this can be achieved through two methods: conduction and convection. While conduction heats up the cartridge quickly via contact, with the risk of spoiling the concentrate if overheated, with convection the heat is transferred through air particles that pass through the liquid, allowing for better temperature control and thus reducing the risk of overheating. This is why, despite their higher price, conduction vaporisers are the preferred choice of most cannabis enthusiasts.
But let's move on to the precautions you should take when using cannabis vape cartridges. The first thing to consider is the ingredients. Polyethylene glycol (PEG), which is used to lower the viscosity of the oil, may contain ethylene oxide, a carcinogenic substance, and propylene glycol (PG), used also for viscosity reduction, can damage the kidneys and cause a sore throat or a dry mouth.
Also, you should check the package or label for the origin of the terpenes. Normally they are sourced form cannabis, but it's not unusual to find terpenes sourced from fruit peel, such as limonene, which can be derived from citrus fruits. So, when possible, choose cartridges that clearly state the origin of the terpenes, which need to be food grade. Also, make sure the production process does not involve the use of butane, propane or hexane.
Last but not least, check that the cartridge is compatible with your vaporiser or e-cigarette. This shouldn't be a major problem, though, as most cartridges support even the models that have been on the market for years. So if you already have a vaporiser, chances are that you won't have to buy a new one.
Where to find them
There's no secret to purchasing a cannabis cartridge or e-liquid: you just have to head to your local grow shop or trusted online shop and browse the catalogue, where you will find everything from hemp extracts to oils that are labelled as nicotine free and CBD rich, particularly in those countries and regions where cannabis is not legal yet. Generally, they come in various sizes and prices to suit all pockets. Classics such as Amnesia Kush and Mango Haze are available with high CBD contents.
Other products available include terpene profiles, which are naturally extracted from cannabis and contain no cannabinoids. These can be used with everything from e-liquids to extracts and even candles, and include flavours based on strains such as Cheese (pungent with earthy notes), Bubba Kush (exotic fruits, Diesel and chewing gum) and Blue Dream (sweet with hints of Haze and incense).
The extraction technique dates back to ancient Persia and involves the use of steam, which is pumped through the plant matter until the terpenes are gathered into an oil. When the vapour is cooled down and turns to liquid, the oil can be separated from the water. Generally, terpenes are sold in dropping and pipette bottles, a couple of drops being enough to flavour a gram or millilitre of e-liquid. The mix is then left to sit for 24 hours in order to aid terpene fixation, after which it is ready for use.
If you stick to the tips above, you're bound to find cannabis vape cartridges safe, and easy to use. And if you want to take the experience to the next level, just give terpene profiles a try and join the many cannabis vaporiser users who have already done so.