Vape cartridges are rapidly growing popular with new cannabis consumers, also it?s not difficult to fathom why: They’re portable, discreet and usually less pungent than flower. During the first four months of 2018, Californians purchased $165 million worth of vape carts, Coloradans shelled out $62.4 million for them and Oregonians spent $31 million, according to data from BDS Analytics, making cartridges the top-selling product in all three states. Given the hype, let?s examine both cartridges and their contents, as you will find a wide range of quality in the marketplace.

While there might be exceptions, cartridges (the vessels holding the cannabis extracts) can largely be categorized as high or low quality.

Typically, low-quality cartridges:

are constructed with plastic (terpenes can penetrate plastic, and plastic could leach chemicals from the oil),
have poor-quality or ill-fitting O-rings that leak; and
have pre-moistened wicks primed with glycerin or propylene glycol that may cause allergic reactions in a few people.
Low-quality cartridges will have a higher customer return rate (if a return policy exists) and will drive away customers who become frustrated with the lackluster experience.

High-quality cartridges typically:

are constructed of premium materials, such as glass, metal and ceramic;
have properly-sized O-rings; and
have sealed joints that prevent contact between the air and cartridge contents.
Choose your cartridges wisely and always examine the cartridge?s quality. A low-cost cartridge isn’t necessarily better for your business, and it alerts the client that the contents might be poor-quality, too.

As consumers are more educated about their options, it is likely they will begin to test your cartridge?s stated ingredients, the same as they do for food ingredients, ultimately affecting how dispensary purchasing managers approach you. Whether you are vertically integrated or working with a third-party extractor, it?s crucial you know everything about your product. Do you claim to use organic practices or to be chemical free? Are you experiencing certifications proving it? Does your product contain cannabis-derived terpenes, artificial flavors or terpenes produced from other sources? What terpene-isolation method was utilized? If non-cannabis-derived terpenes or artificial flavors were used, what are they, and from where were they sourced? In case a purchasing manager asks a question about your product that you cannot answer, you?re in trouble.

This is a rundown of contents found in typical vape cartridges:

1. Cannabis-derived terpenes: Cannabis terpenes sourced from cannabis.

Full-spectrum in composition, products made with these terpenes contain a raised percentage of monoterpenes which have not been oxidized or degraded by heat application.

2. Steam-distilled terpenes: Softer in taste than extracted terpenes which have been isolated without utilizing heat, many steam-distilled terpenes are lost in the water used to produce steam, aka ?pot water.?

3. Hydrosols: Hydrosols certainly are a byproduct of steam distillation and low-heat distillations. They’re classified as floral waters (i.e., essential oils) and contain only small percentages of actual terpenes. Heat is utilized and degrades the terpenes, too.

4. Non-cannabis-derived terpenes: Terpenes sourced directly from plant leaves, fruits or other organic sources, rather than from cannabis. It is impossible to recreate the aroma or flavor of the initial plant/cultivar utilizing terpenes from non-cannabis plants, but a gross approximation may be accomplished.

5. Artificial flavors: Typically, the artificial flavors within cannabis cartridges are sourced from the e-cigarette industry. You can find a large number of flavors, but their safety is in question (e.g., diacetyl causing ?popcorn lung?).

6. HTFSE (High-Terpene Full-Spectrum Extract): Made from hydrocarbon extraction, there has been a recently available trend of producing these products from pressed rosin. Also known as sauce, HTFSE has high terpene content and is aromatic and flavorful.

7. CO2 Extracted: Some CO2 extractors collect several available terpenes from CO2 extraction, but, more often than not, the cannabis product useful to extract is dried, thus much of the available monoterpenes are lost in the drying process. This will result in a terpene composition that is mostly comprised of basic primary terpenes and low percentages of available monoterpenes. Therefore, both final aroma and flavor are not as strong as HTFSEs, or if you had utilized a no-heat methodology of terpene isolation.


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