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How to Tell if Your Vape Cartridge is Real or Counterfeit

In the wake of an outbreak of lung illnesses in more than 300 people and at least six deaths associated…

In the wake of an outbreak of lung illnesses in more than 300 people and at least six deaths associated with vaping cartridges used for e-cigs, THC, and CBD, it’s more important than ever to be aware of how and where the products you use are made.

The e-cigarette and cannabis industry have been shaken by reports of serious health and safety concerns associated with vaping cartridges. Recent reports have indicated that there have been as many as 380 cases of serious respiratory problems caused by vaping cannabis or nicotine across 36 states. This number is sure to rise to greater heights if vape users don’t understand how to tell if their cartridge is real or counterfeit.

Vaping Today

For many people, vaping is a convenient way of consuming cannabis due to their discrete appearance and smell. Over the years they have become widely popular, with consumers taking the opportunity to smoke while they’re on the go to their next destination, at an event, or even relaxing outside.

However, it’s important to remember that vaping technology is relatively new, and its long term effects aren’t known yet. In addition to this unknown information, states that have legalized cannabis are still modifying their testing requirements to ensure the products are safe for consumption.

This lack of understanding the long term effects already has some people on the edge when it comes to using vapes, and news about safety concerns has given rise to even greater worries. A great deal of consumers are now asking themselves, “what’s in my vape cartridge?”

Understanding Your Vape Cartridge

Modern vaporizers come in many different styles from various manufacturers. They’re designed to be discreet, with many of them taking on a pen-like or USB stick type of design. The bottom portion of the device is usually the battery, and provides the power used to heat the cannabis oil inside to generate the vapor.

The top portion of the device is the cartridge. Depending on the type of vape you have, these cartridges vary in shape, size, and style. Some are activated by pressing a button and others require you to simply breathe in and enjoy.

The cannabis oils used in the cartridge are created through distillation, a process that breaks down the cannabis molecules to cannabinoids. If not handled properly, the result can be filled with dangerous contaminants that can cause serious health problems

What Contaminants Can be Found in Your Vape Cartridge?


Cartridges that contain exorbitant levels of pesticides are a big problem in the illegal vape market. When the oil is vaporized and inhaled, these pesticides will invade your body and cause health problems. In order to avoid this, it’s important to purchase cannabis products from reputable brands that properly test their products, screen for pesticides, and make their results available to see.

In addition to pesticides, there’s also the concern of the cutting agents used to modify the vapors produced from the pen.

Different cutting agents are used in this process and they include:

  • Polyethylene Glycol
  • Propylene Glycol
  • Vegetable Glycerin
  • Vitamin E Acetate

These cutting agents have been approved by the FDA for human ingestion, but there’s still a lot to be learned about the effects of inhaling them. In fact, studies have shown that many of the cases mentioned above may have been the result of inhaling traces of Vitamin E acetate from products that weren’t properly tested.

Is Your Vape Cartridge Real or Fake?

With the rise of recreational cannabis came the rise of counterfeit THC cartridges that look strikingly similar to recognizable brand names, such as Heavy Hitters and Kingpen. As the battle to fight these counterfeit distributors goes on the consumers who simply want to enjoy their cannabis safely are left to worry about the health concerns they may experience from using vape cartridges.

Fortunately, there are a few things you can do to safely navigate the world of cannabis vaping. First, you can visit your favorite cannabis producer’s website or social media pages to find out where their list of authorized retailers reside. Some even have online forms that you can use to report fakes if you see them in places that haven’t been authorized.

You can also make sure to visit trusted dispensaries and even use weedmaps to find verified products that were properly lab tested to ensure that you’re safely enjoying your cannabis. Taking these steps can help fight the counterfeit vaping epidemic and make it a safer, more enjoyable pastime.

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