Vaporizers & Vaping

THC Vape Cartridge: 2019 Top Vape Devices

Gabi Antunes

Sep 7, 2019

As concentrates become more popular in virtually every legal cannabis market, one product has risen to the fore: cartridges. Pre-filled cartridges containing cannabis oils have become immensely popular among casual and regular vapers alike for their ease of use and potency, allowing for quick, no-mess sessions with cannabis concentrates. How exactly do these cartridges work and what kind of devices can they be used with? Here’s a rundown of all the basics you need to know about cannabis oil cartridges.

What is a THC Vape Cartridge?

Cartridges are slender containers made of glass, metal, plastic, or a combination of these materials. They are designed to hold cannabis oil. This concentrated extract of cannabis plants contains elevated levels of naturally-occurring compounds, especially tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Many of these cartridges have standard 510 threading, which makes them compatible with many different vaporizer batteries commonly referred to as vape pens.

In addition to 510 thread cartridges, there are device-specific pre-filled pods. These pods are similar to cartridges in that they are pre-filled with cannabis oil; however, they are only available for use with a specific device. For example, the PAX Era makes use of pre-filled pods that can be swapped in and out at will.

Types of Cartridge Vape Pens Available

Generally, when people refer to “cartridges” they are referencing the pre-filled cartridges with 510 threads. These are among the most common types of pre-filled cartridges on the market. However, pre-filled pods are also available and work in much the same way as 510 thread cartridges. Pods are usually designed for a specific device but contain similar components as those housed within a 510 cartridge.

If you’re interested in using a cartridge vape pen for cannabis oil, you should first choose between 510 cartridges or brand-specific pods. Neither is better than the other; each has its merits depending on what you need out of your vape:

  • Cartridge vape pen: Vape pens are composed of a rechargeable battery with a single-button or dial control. Most of these vape pens employ 510 threading, making them universally compatible with many cartridge brands. The button is used to power the device on and off and cycle through any available temperature settings. These pens often have LED indicators to show current status, including when you’re drawing on the pen and which temperature setting the battery is tuned to.
  • Pod vape: Not technically a “vape pen,” these devices are equally compact and portable, but they are designed to function within the family of branded devices. They often include additional features more common to portable vaporizers than vape pens, such as app control via Bluetooth® connectivity, safety locks, and advanced temperature controls.

Which type of device you choose depends on your needs. A casual vaper might benefit from a reusable vaporizer, which offers a straightforward process and a discreet session. If you want a more advanced device that still retains the simplicity of cartridges, though, you might opt for a pod system with some additional features.

Popular Cartridges and Pods on the Market

The vape pen market is crowded and only becoming busier as cartridges grow in popularity in legal markets. For this reason, it can be difficult to know where to start when choosing a vape pen or pod vape. Here are some popular options that can help get you started:

  • PAX Era: The PAX Era works with SimpleClick™ pods, which are available from more than 50 extract partners and include more than 250 varieties of THC cannabis oil. The pods are pre-filled with cannabis oil and easily inserted into the Era device. Each pod contains a dual-wick design intended to capture every drop of oil. It features Bluetooth® connectivity for total control through the PAX Mobile application, which allows for precise temperature setting and Session Control customization of your preferences. The app also includes a device lock feature to prevent others from using the device. Currently, the PAX Era retails at $29.99.
  • Rove: Rove is a manufacturer of standard 510 thread pre-filled cartridges made from Pyrex glass and stainless steel, featuring a ceramic heating element and unique air channel system that supports enhanced airflow. They feature a dual-coil heating element and a mouthpiece design intended to increase air flow. Rove uses liquid carbon dioxide in the extraction process to preserve terpenes and protect the flavor of the oil.
  • The Clear: The Clear is one of the first manufacturers to produce cannabis oil distillate cartridges. Distillate is further refined after the extraction process to focus on a single compound. The company makes pre-filled cartridges that are compatible with a standard 510 thread vape pen battery.
  • Select: Select is a California-based top-selling pre-filled cartridge manufacturer that creates highly-potent full-spectrum cannabis oil. Its process is unique in that it distills extracts and then reintroduces the natural terpenes to create a potent oil that retains the flavors and aromas of the source cultivar even after distillation. In addition to marijuana-derived products, Select manufactures a hemp CBD line called Select CBD.
  • Humboldt Farms: Humboldt Farms is a prominent California-based brand well-known for using a solvent-less process to extract the cannabis oils for its cartridges. The company focuses on preserving a large amount of the terpenes naturally found inside the source plant, emphasizing flavor and potency. Humboldt Farms makes both 510 thread cartridges and pre-filled pods.

How to Use a Cartridge

Before using your cartridge, you should understand how it works. Cartridges usually include the mouthpiece, cannabis oil, and heating element required for a vaporizer to work. They only need a battery to deliver electricity to these components.

Most vape pen batteries designed for use with cartridges feature a standard 510 thread. Screw your chosen cartridge into the battery, ensuring it is snug. Now that the cartridges and battery’s contacts are touching, electricity can flow through to the heating element inside the cartridge.

As electricity reaches the heating element, it begins to warm. Eventually, it will heat the cannabis oil in the cartridge to its boiling point, turning it into a vapor that can be inhaled through the attached mouthpiece.

When using your cartridges with a vape pen for the first time, you should first give the battery some time to charge. Locate the charger included with your battery; these are often standard USB chargers, though some vape pens utilize different types of chargers. Attach your battery and allow it to fully charge.

Once the battery is charged, remove it from the charger and screw in the cannabis oil cartridge of your choice. Turn on your device and select your desired temperature. Press the button down to allow your vape pen to heat and begin your vape session.

Cartridges and Vape Pens Make Vaping Cannabis Oil Easy

Cartridges and vape pens are excellent ways for infrequent or casual vapers to enjoy a session without purchasing an expensive or complicated device. Whether you use a reusable cartridge vape pen or a more advanced pod vape, there is relatively little learning curve associated with these devices. Best of all, they require little to no maintenance, meaning that when you’re finished with your session you can just power off your device, remove your cartridge, and carry on with your day. If you want a no-fuss way to vaporize cannabis oil in a pinch, pre-filled cartridges and pods are the way to go.