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Tuesday March 29, 2022

By Paul Barach

Person holding a cannabis vape cartridge on a ski lift Education

For those still on the fence about vape pens, the question may arise each time you walk into the dispensary: Flower or vape? The past or the future? The familiar or the new? The answer’s easy, get both!

While nothing will ever completely replace flower for the true cannasseur, a THC vape oil pen is a great addition for anyone looking to add something new to their repertoire. With the abundance of brands and weed cartridges available in nearly all dispensaries there has never been a better time to try them out.

For those flower children still questioning whether or not to switch up their routine, here are the pros and cons of weed cartridge vape pens.

Pros of Weed Cartridges

Did you know that THC vape oil cartridges are one of the fastest growing sectors of the legal cannabis industry?

With sales growth of up to 400% in some markets in recent years, vaporizers have become one of the favorite cannabis products among many consumers. Let’s take a closer look at what makes THC vape oil pens so appealing to consumers.


As adept as we all became at “ninja smoking” in our teens, we never mastered full invisibility. While palming your glass piece and sparking up into your cupped hands may have seemed stealthy at the time, the flame of the lighter and the plume of smoke were easy to see if not smell afterwards.

Though there will always be a time and a place for a nice bowl, the discreteness of a THC vape oil pen means that you can take it anywhere you need.

women in front of a colorful tuscan mural, with a kitted sweater on, smoking a vape pen
Vape pens are so versatile to carry with you on all your adventures with discretion. photo credit

Portable vape pens slide easily into pockets, purses or backpacks and there’s no fumbling around looking for your lighter, your nugs and your glass when you’re wanting to indulge. Just slip out the pen, hit the button and then exhale an odorless vapor that dissipates without clinging to your clothes.

Even better? Whether you’re outdoors or inside, there’s no fear of upsetting a passerby or of stinking up your car, a bathroom or a supply closet while you take a break. When you’re done, just slip your THC vape oil pen back into its resting place and get on with your day.

Longevity of Weed Cartridges

There are few better smells than opening up a fresh jar or package of flower. However, the moment the smell gets out, the air gets in. No one prefers a dried-out nug over a fresh one for good reason; you’re losing both the taste and the potency the older it gets.

With THC vape oil pens, your first hit has the same strength and flavor as your last one (as long as you store your vape correctly.)

image of the top of a metal, grey grinder with ground down green weed along with some brown stems inside in the heap
You wont have to worry about picking out the weed stems when smoking from a vape cartridge. photo credit

Concentrates stay stronger longer than flower and maintain a reliable potency due to their stability. There’s also less product loss to worry about. Smoking flower always means losing some bud to carbonization or crumbling.

Even the most well-ground bowl doesn’t burn evenly and there’s often some stems in the mix if you’re using a grinder. With vape pens, you’re only vaporizing the puff you’re inhaling and the rest stays in the weed cartridge.

Consistency of Weed Cartridges

As mentioned above, the effects and potency of flower diminish with time. There’s also the normal variations within the same strain from harvest to harvest. While total consistency is strived for by each grower, it is nearly impossible to achieve due to the complexities of cannabinoid and terpene production within the plant.

Concentrates are much easier to replicate batch after batch. Sure, there will always be slight variations due to the flower being used, but since concentrates have a higher level of cannabinoids and terpenes, the differences are less noticeable.

Up close image of a cannabis vaporizer cartridge in front of a green cannabis plant with honey, yellow distillate oil inside the chamber
Distillate cannabis cartridges will deliver the most consistent high because of the pure cannabinoids remaining after processing, batch after batch. photo credit

Perhaps the most consistent cannabis product is marijuana distillate, which is becoming a favorite filling for weed cartridges. Because terpenes are removed while processing distillate, leaving only pure cannabinoids, each batch is more likely to resemble the batch before it. There are also the anecdotal benefits of concentrates. Cannabinoids and terpenes in flower can have some negative interactions with each person, such as getting too hungry, paranoid or “fog headed.”

Since these compounds are removed in the concentrate distillation, many find weed cartridges to be a clearer-headed, more easy-going experience without that fog-headed feeling afterwards. Conversely, some people find distillate to be less of a “full spectrum” experience. Ultimately, it’s up to the consumer to define their personal preferences and choose the best products for their taste and needs.

It’s also important to note that some distillate cartridges have cannabis-based or natural terpenes reintroduced into the mix, so always be sure to check the label before purchase to ensure you’ll experience the desired effects you’re looking for.

Weed Cartridge Variety

For those that head straight for their dispensary’s menu in search of new strains, weed cartridges have you covered. THC vape oil cartridges come in the same strain-specific varieties as flower, usually color coded to tell you whether you’re about to enjoy an indica, sativa, or hybrid.

a collection of different cannabis vape cartridges that have different colored oil inside their chambers, different mouth pieces, and one cartridge was attached to a black battery, in front of a white background
There are many different types of vape cartridges and styles to choose to fit your lifestyle best. photo credit

Additionally, many concentrate companies offer CBD cartridges for those looking to speed recovery from an injury, take the edge off some ache or pain, or just to turn down the volume on a stressful day without any psychoactive effects.

Vape pens come in many different flavors and cannabinoid profiles.

The potency of weed cartridges is comparable to flower and sometimes contains double or even triple the THC content. While flower usually tops out below 30% THC, weed cartridges may boast 70%-95% THC potency.


As with all smoking apparatus, from pipes to dab rigs, there’s an initial investment. Luckily, for THC vape oil pens you’re looking at less than $50 to start out. Most reusable batteries that fit a weed cartridge retails for around $10-$20 and a large majority use the same universal cartridge size, known as a 510 thread. The weed cartridges themselves can be purchased for as little as $20 (depending on where you’re buying them) for those looking to try them out before committing to a larger amount.

Cons of a Weed Cartridge

Even though there are many pros to purchasing and consuming a weed cartridge, there are some downsides to them that you may not know about. Let’s take a look.

Faulty Electronics

As long as your lighter makes fire and the bud isn’t wet, there are no malfunctioning parts when you’re smoking a bowl. Unlike a lighter, if your THC vape oil pen isn’t working you can’t just ask a friend or passerby if they have a spare battery in their pocket.

However, the good news is that THC vape oil pens are pretty consistent. Most dispensaries will replace the rare faulty weed cartridge and batteries will generally last about three days on a full charge, even with fairly constant use.

Poor Vapor Production with Weed Cartridges

This can be an issue with some weed cartridges. If you’re not getting the hit you want and deserve though, many times it can be resolved by simply setting the weed cartridge upright (thread side down) on a table or flat surface. Once the concentrate has settled at the bottom, you’re good to go.

a cloud of cannabis smoke coming out a cannabis vaporizer consumer who is wearing a black hat and black shirt, in front of a black background
You should be able to switch out a faulty cartridge at your dispensary if it provides poor vapor. photo credit

Because many dispensaries offer a one to two week period to test out your weed cartridge, you can usually swap a faulty one out for a new one without too much trouble.

Weed Cartridge Additives

Many weed cartridge producers are beginning to create products that are additive-free and all-natural. However, many vape cartridges out there contain propylene glycol (PG), polyethylene glycol (PEG) or other glycerin cutting agents. While there isn’t much research on the dangers of these additives yet, some people believe they are not ideal for inhalation.

The Wrap Up

In conclusion, a THC vape oil pen is a solid buy for any cannasseur, whether as your primary smoking device or as your trusty back-up. The ability to enjoy your THC discreetly, portably and easily is well worth the small initial investment of a weed cartridge and pen. With the increasing variety of weed cartridges available in both potency and strain, you can easily find your favorite for any occasion.

Have you ever used a weed cartridge and vape pen? What was your experience like?


Paul Barach Paul Barach

Paul Barach is a Seattle-based freelance writer, editor, and author with experience creating well-researched, edited web articles covering cannabis news, culture, history and science. Paul is a regular contributor to PotGuide and has also contributed to publications such as, SlabMechanix, Litro, and The Trek. He prefers to spend his free time outdoors and most recently hiked the Pacific Crest Trail. So far he has only fallen into the La Brea Tarpits once. You can follow him on Instagram @BarachOutdoors and stay up to date professionally through his LinkedIn page.

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