If you clicked on this post, you are probably interested in vape cartridges or vape pens. Consuming medical cannabis through vaping has become a popular practice, so it’s important to understand how these cartridges function and what you can do to ensure that your cartridge is provides a great experience, even long after you purchased it.
Cannabis vape cartridges are typically sold pre-filled with cannabis extract oil. To experience the effects of the cannabis the oil is heated into a vapor and then inhaled into the lungs. It seems pretty straightforward, but there are a few important details to know about how cartridge vaping works. Here are some simple guidelines and practices you can follow to avoid common pitfalls.
DO charge your battery
Some units in production work with disposable batteries, but most are paired with rechargeable ones. Always make sure your cartridge is fully charged before vaping, especially if you are leaving your home. This will ensure your cartridge will work properly when you need it.
Many batteries turn on automatically when in use, but some require five taps of the button to activate. Batteries have lights that turn on when the button is pressed, so be sure to look for this light when using your product.
DO know your dosage and limits
Knowing your limit is vital when consuming medical cannabis with any method. However, you should consider more than just your individual tolerance. A proper dose is also determined by the severity of your symptoms and the potency of the cannabis. Slowly test where your tolerance is each time you vape; start with one inhalation per usage period. Move on to two if you feel it is necessary and continue this pattern until you feel you are consuming the correct amount. Pacing yourself is key when inhaling medical cannabis.
DO ensure the cartridge is attached properly
Vape cartridges typically come as three pieces — the chamber, the atomizer and the mouthpiece. The chamber contains the cannabis oil, the atomizer is the cartridge’s source of heat and is attached to the battery in order to vaporize the oil, while the mouthpiece is located at the tip of the cartridge and provides a channel through which the patient inhales. Before use, it’s important to ensure that each piece is properly connected to avoid leakage.
DO press the button firmly when inhaling
When inhaling, press the button on the cartridge the entire time. The battery will light up and you should feel vapor entering through your mouth and into your lungs. When a patient reports an issue with their vaping unit, the most common problem is that they did not press the button firmly enough or long enough. As with buttons in any electronic device, the button can potentially stick after numerous uses. If this occurs, take the device to your local dispensary to understand what your options are for repairing or replacing the unit.
DO store in a safe space
As is the case with most electronic devices, avoid exposing your vaping cartridge to extreme temperatures or long periods of direct sunlight. This will extend the life of the device, as well as protect against potential theft or loss. It’s also best to reapply any containers or caps that came with the cartridge at the time of purchase when not in use.
If you haven’t used your cartridge in a while, warm the device in your hands for about 5-10 minutes before use to loosen any dried cannabis oil.
DO keep your unit clean
After multiple uses, your cartridge can become dirty. The best way to clean your device is to gently dip a q-tip in rubbing alcohol and use it to clean all the nooks and crannies. DO NOT use water as it can damage the battery and doesn’t work well to clean cannabis resin.
DON’T let your unit overheat
If you are using your vape cartridge for extended periods, there’s a chance it can overheat. Activating the battery for a long time can cause the unit to stop working altogether and can damage the cannabis oil within the device. Practice patience when vaping to assure overheating will not become an issue.
DON’T share your unit with others
As is the case with all medical cannabis, it’s not safe to share your device with others. There’s a chance they don’t know their limits or dosage, not to mention that in some areas, it is illegal to use medical cannabis without the approval of a medical professional.
DON’T just buy cartridges from anyone
Regulated dispensaries follow manufacturing guidelines set forth by governing bodies to ensure quality and safety for all vape cartridges. If you purchase from an individual seller, you can’t be sure whether there are unsafe ingredients mixed with the oil or if the harvesting process was poor.
Use common sense and buy from a trusted source and you’ll feel secure that you are receiving high quality cannabis oil.
DON’T smoke like an e-cig; DO know how many inhales you need
Vape cartridges are not designed to be used as an e-cig to puff every few minutes. Inhaling too much, too fast can cause the user to experience intense effects that can be overwhelming and last for hours.
DON’T inhale too quickly
Just because you know your dosage and limits does not mean you can quickly take a few puffs and be done. It’s best to inhale your medical cannabis slowly and diligently. Doing otherwise can result in an extreme high effect that may not be desired and can cause alarm.
DON’T try to smoke without the proper amount of oil
If your cartridge is low, attempting to smoke the small amount of dried oil left inside can harm your device. However, if you don’t want to waste the remaining oil, place your device on a heating pad overnight to loosen the thick concentrate into a more localized area of the cartridge. The hardened concentrate should liquify within a few hours, allowing you to get a few additional hits from your device. DO NOT use a blow torch or apply flame directly to the device as this can break the cartridge and harm you or those around you.
If you still have questions, you can learn more useful tips and tricks at your local dispensary. Budtenders are trained in the proper usage of cannabis oil and vape cartridges, so we recommend using them as a resource. Find a dispensary that carries Conte products near you with our store locator.