Introduction to Cannabis Cartridges and Disposables

Disposable or Reusable: Which Cannabis Oil Cartridge Should You Buy?

Disposable vape pens are popular because they're cheap, and the cartridges come pre-filled. They're also lightweight, so you can easily carry them in your pocket. However, they're the least environmentally-conscious choice for vaping, because once the cartridge runs out, you throw the pen away. Plus, although they may be cheap in the short term, you'll pay a lot more over time than you would if you bought your own refillable, rechargeable pen.

Refillable Vape Pens

A refillable pen or portable vaporizer not only saves you money, it allows you to use different strains in the same device. Most rechargeable pens use pre-filled, disposable cartridges, but you can switch out cartridges anytime. You can also purchase a refillable cartridge and buy the oils in larger quantities, or make your own. Portable vaporizers that aren't pen-shaped often come with an empty cartridge, but also fit pre-filled ones. Not all cartridges work with all pens and batteries, so ask questions if you're unsure which cartridge your device requires.

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Recharge your vape pen regularly

Like e-cigarettes, rechargeable pens often have a cable that plugs into a USB port, allowing you to charge your pen from your laptop or plug it into a phone adapter. Many use the same cable you already use for your phone. It's quick and easy to discreetly charge a pen almost anywhere.

What's in the oil in vape pens?

The oil in a pre-filled cartridge is a concentrate, like the cannabis you use for dabbing, but in a different consistency. Don't just look at the strain or cannabinoid content when shopping for cartridges; check out the extraction method too. A CO2-extracted oil will contain terpenes; a cannabis distillate is a refined oil containing pure cannabinoids. Any kind of hash oil can be distilled, but the addition of a thinning agent is sometimes necessary to achieve the correct viscosity for vaping. These thinning agents can include propylene glycol and polyethylene glycol, which contain potentially carcinogenic compounds, so look for CO2-extracted cannabis-oil cartridges instead. Terpenes, the essential oils in the cannabis plant that give a strain its distinctive taste and smell, are another popular, non-toxic thinning agent, and allow manufacturers to modify the flavor, scent, and psychoactive effects of distillates. Be aware that manufacturers often add industrial terpenes rather than cannabis-extracted ones; look for the latter. Knowledge of thinning agents and their risks can help protect you from damaging your lungs.

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In short, re-charged disposables are a convenient choice for visitors to recreational states, and there's no learning curve; you just inhale from the pen. You also know the exact amount of THC in the cartridge you're using, which gives the user greater control over the dose. There's a small learning curve to rechargeable, refillable vaporizers, but once you know how to switch cartridges (and clean refillable ones), the rest is just pushing a button and inhaling. If you vape regularly, a rechargeable vaporizer is the best choice for both your wallet and the Earth.