Cannabis cartridges have introduced a new level of efficiency to the world of weed. Users can purchase these handy devices pre-filled, or even put together their own formulas at home without much hassle.

These devices are akin to the comparison between coffee pods and grinding up beans to make a cup of joe. They offer an instant high without the need to roll a joint, pack a bong, or load a vaporiser. Cartridges are highly portable, discreet, and versatile.

Although cannabis cartridges are still coming into their own in Europe, they are much more popular and easier to access across the pond. Cannabis users in legal states enjoy the luxury of purchasing pre-filled cartridges from licensed dispensaries, with an array of cannabinoid and terpene profiles to choose from.

Although less popular across Europe, cartridges are still accessible. Clubs and coffeeshops provide the experience, in both regulated and illegal regions.

Continue reading to learn everything you need to know about cannabis cartridges. Discover how they work, what they have to offer, and how to make your own in the comfort of your own home.

How To Use Weed Cartridges

Weed cartridges are one of the easiest ways to swiftly inhale cannabis phytochemicals. The method of using these devices varies depending on the type of cartridge and vape that you choose. Check out a few different options below.

  • Disposables

Disposable vape cartridges come fitted within a sleek and thin pen. Disposables are by far the most efficient and hassle-free way to consume cannabis oil and distillate—simply press the button and inhale. However, once their cartridges run dry, you’ll need to throw the pen away. Despite being wasteful in the eyes of some, disposables offer an instant high for those that don’t have the time to spare.

  • Reusable Pens

Reusable pens feature a refillable cartridge and rechargeable battery. These models are typically larger than disposables and often possess controls and LED displays that enable users to alter parameters. However, they are just as easy to use when it comes to taking a hit. Select the correct settings, hold down a single button, and inhale away.

How To Use Weed Cartridges

Tips To Keep In Mind

Although easy to use, there are a few things to keep in mind when using weed cartridges to make sure everything goes as planned. These include:

  1. Know your device: Become familiar with how to turn your device on. In most cases, this involves tapping the single button five times to turn it on, and another five times to turn it off.
  2. Keep things vertical: Keep your pen upright during use and while setting it down to rest. Despite being well made, some vape pens are susceptible to leaking when tilted or laid horizontally. Don’t accidentally waste those cannabinoids!
  3. Secure your cartridges: Attaching a freshly filled cartridge to your pen means many enjoyable sessions await! Just make sure you attach them properly to avoid disaster.

Why use cannabis cartridges? 

Discreet

Some might think that they have mastered the art of ninja smoking. Lighting it up inside your cupped hands or smoking it under the cover of darkness might work for a while, but the flame and the scent of the smoke will eventually get the attention of passersby. That’s not a problem when you’re using cartridges because of their low-profile nature.

Variation

If you’re tired of your usual strains, then what you need is a cannabis cartridge. There are a number of new varieties to try. It’s a wide world out there and you’ve got the freedom to choose, depending on your flavour-of-the-day and the state of legalization in your jurisdiction. Cartridges come in a variety of strains; and don’t worry if you’re new to it, they often come with user-friendly colour codes and markings.

Longevity

You might have been through this situation before where you get a huge whiff of your flower as soon as you open the bag. But that scent eventually degrades over time. For sure, no one wants to inhale a dried-out nug because that's as good as smoking nothing. To make things worse, you're not just losing the scent, but the taste and potency as well.

But then again, that’s not a problem with cartridges because these have concentrated fillings that are able to maintain flavour and potency for a much longer time. You also don’t lose valuable cannabis like when smoking buds that carbonise and crumble as you light up.

Cost-efficient

We all have to spend on something, right? Whether you’re buying a new pipe or a dab rig, it’s a given that you’re going to send some cash flying. However, you don’t need to spend much with cannabis cartridges and they contain a potent concentrate that lasts users longer than normal flower. Plus, reusable batteries can be purchased from around $10 to $20 dollars at most.

Different types of cannabis cartridge

Regardless of which type of cartridge design you opt for, what’s most critical is that you source products with a high-quality lab-tested concentrate. Even if your cartridge looks cool, it’s not going to feel cool if the oil is bunk.

  • Plastic wick

Plastic wick cartridges are some of the most affordable options on the market. Comprised of a plastic tank and wick system, these devices are best suited for concentrates with a lower viscosity. This is because the wick is not able to handle the thicker oils that some other products contain.
As a result, these cartridges are often not of the highest quality, and the lower-garde materials are known to impact the flavour of the vapour and overall ease of use. If you’re looking to try out a cartridge for the first time, these might be a good way to get your feet wet and experiment.

Pax pods

  • Pax pods

Pax Pods are next-gen cannabis cartridges, if only for rejecting the classic tubular design. However, they are still made of plastic and metal—the same as other standard cartridges. The atomiser, which is usually made from metal, is responsible for preserving more flavour.

These cartridges work with the Pax app to control temperature—something the brand has become known for. Those interested in innovative cartridges with a little swag may get a kick out of Pax Pods.

  • Glass and metal

Then there are the glass and metal cartridges that are considered the premium standard for cartridge designs. Unlike wick systems, these feature an atomiser made from varying materials. Unsurprisingly, these products are more expensive, but often more effective and cost-friendly in the long run. Another benefit of these cartridges is that they can handle varying viscosities of oil. You also don't have to worry about heating it up too much because glass and metal cartridges don't melt. The higher quality of materials results in a more developed and untainted flavour, although not all grades of metal are the same.

It’s still important to compare products for value and performance. Again, what’s most important is that the oil contained within is of a high-quality.

Vaporizers from Royal Queen Seeds
  • CBD Cartridges

CBD has taken the cannabis industry by storm. The non-psychoactive cannabinoid offers a relaxing and clear-headed experience without a psychoactive high. Users now have access to CBD-rich flowers and concentrates that saturate the system with the molecule. Now, CBD cartridges offer huge quantities in every hit.

CBD cartridges use either CBD CO2 oil or distillate. Both of these products are created in labs using state of the art equipment to extract CBD and synergistic terpenes from high-quality plant materials. These methods separate and collect these value phytochemicals while leaving behind fibre, waxes, and other impurities.

CBD cartridges offer high doses of CBD alongside customisable cocktails of terpenes that work to enhance its effects. Since cartridges are easy to use and far cleaner than smoking joints, they provide the best options for using CBD in the most holistic way possible.

Know What You’re Inhaling

It goes without saying that not all vape cartridges are made equal. The market offers a broad range of quality, from poorly regulated oils made in somebody’s basement, to high-grade distillate crafted under strict laboratory conditions.

In the interest of lung health, you need to know exactly what you’re introducing into your body. Contaminated batches pose health risks and provide an overall less pleasurable experience. Always purchase your cartridges from reputable outlets, and always read the label to identify the contents.

Here’s what to look out for on a cartridge label:

  • Cannabinoid percentages: Take a look at the exact levels of THC, CBD, and other cannabinoids. If you like blasting your mind into space every time you smoke, opt for a high-THC formula. If you like to stay grounded and functional, go for a blend high in CBD.
  • Terpene profile: Not only do terpenes provide a range of different flavours and smells, but they also interact with cannabinoids and alter the psychoactive experience. Check out the effects of different terpenes to find out which you prefer.
  • Ingredients to avoid: most vape oils feature thinning agents to allow them to vaporise better. However, some of these compounds are proven to degrade into potentially harmful chemicals. Although all thinning agents degrade at a certain temperature, some appear more harmful than others. For example, polyethylene glycol 400 (PG 400) produces much higher levels of acetaldehyde and formaldehyde when vaped.

Know What You’re Inhaling

How To Make Your Own THC/CBD Oil Cartridges

Making your own weed cartridge oil takes more work, but offers a deep level of satisfaction in the long run. Learn this skill to easily make your own blends at home. There are numerous ways to craft your own oils—check out the easy and quick method below.

Vegetable Glycerin Extraction

Vegetable glycerin works well at pulling cannabinoids and other target phytochemicals away from plant matter. This particular method helps to save time and reduces the overall extraction by around two months.

For this method, you’ll need:

  • Cannabis flowers
  • Vegetable glycerin (VG)
  • Vegetable oil
  • Medium Pyrex jar
  • Large pot
  • Mason jar x 2
  • Two thermometers
  • Fine mesh strainer
  • Cheesecloth
  • Mixing stick
  • Rubber Spatula

Now you have all of your equipment at the ready, follow the steps below.

Step 1

Break up your cannabis flowers into small chunks and place them in the Pyrex jar. Then, pour in enough vegetable glycerin to saturate the buds, without overdoing it. Stir the mixture until the buds are covered with VG.

Step 2

Pour some vegetable oil into the large pot to a depth of 1-2 inches. Place a thermometer in the pot and heat the oil up to a consistent 104°C. Once it reaches a stable temperature, place the second thermometer into the Pyrex jar full of saturated buds. Then, place the weed-filled jar into the oil bath.

Step 3

Aim to keep the second thermometer at a stable temperature of 82°C for 45 minutes to allow the THCA and CBDA to diffuse into the VG. Stir the mixture frequently to distribute the trichomes and encourage an optimal extraction.

Step 4

After 45 minutes, remove the second jar from the oil bath and let it cool for five minutes. Next, suspend the strainer over your mason jar and separate the VG into the new jar. Use the spatula to compress the strained buds to force all of the extracted VG into the jar.

How To Make Your Own THC/CBD Oil Cartridges

Step 5

Repeat the entire process two more times using the same buds and fresh VG to capture as much THCA and CBDA as possible. After completing the third round, you’ll need to refine your extracted VG. Attach several layers of cheesecloth over the second mason jar and pour your extract into the jar to remove any lingering pieces of debris.

Step 6

Now, you’ll need to decarb your extract to convert THCA and CBDA into THC and CBD. To do this, place the VG back into an oil bath hot enough to stabilise the VG at 104°C for a further 30 minutes.

Step 7

Allow your mixture to cool and place it back into a clean mason jar. Load up your cartridge and continue to top up from the mason jar as and when needed.

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