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S10 Blog

Vape Pods vs Vape Cartridges

Published Date:
July 25, 2022

Marijuana extract is becoming increasingly popular as cannabis legalization increases nationwide and the industry grows more robust. Extract is also referred to as vape oil or vape juice, and it’s most commonly a translucent goldenrod or amber color. It comes from the chemical process of extraction, cold filtration, and distillation of the resin in the marijuana plant’s trichomes (sometimes called hairs).

Methods exist for extracting THC, CBD, or both. Once the process is complete, the resulting oil, called the distillate, can be used in products like vaporizers and tinctures. It can also be used in recipes meant for edible consumption. CBD might even be used as an ingredient in capsules sold in pet stores. 

Perhaps the most common use for marijuana distillate is in vaporizer products. Over the last decade, vaporizer products for THC and CBD extract have become one of the most common methods of consumption. THC extracts used with vapes are usually higher in concentration than marijuana flower, although less highly concentrated than extracts used in dabbing. 

Vaping products often involve just two pieces: a cartridge or pod, and some kind of rechargeable battery. A starter kit might include both the extract and a rechargeable battery.

The vape cart – or vape pod – contains the extract. It’s the oil’s final destination after the distillation process. Ten years ago, carts were sold by flavor and not much else. The process has advanced quite a bit, to the point that we have vape products available by strain and flavor and effect. 

There are also one-piece disposable vapes with a pre-charged battery, as well as portable batteries that allow smokers to heat the same extracts used in dabs. 

Even for someone unfamiliar, it’s easy to visualize what a vape cartridge looks like. It’s a small cylinder containing amber oil and capped with a mouthpiece, usually plastic. A rechargeable battery accompanied by a vape cart is often called a vape pen, because it is the size and shape of a pen. 

Batteries are often branded but they’re usually interchangeable, at least with carts. Most carts attach to a pen/battery with a 510-thread. As long as they do, vape pens fit all cartridges. 

It may also be called a dab pen, but this is a misnomer. The concentrates used in dabs are different from those used in vaporizers, and the temperatures required to heat dabs are usually much higher than those used in vaping. 

As mentioned earlier, vape carts are sold in a wide range of potentcies, strains, and effects. The cartridge is screwed into the rechargeable battery, the extract is heated on a coil, and the resulting vapor is inhaled through the mouthpiece. If the battery is charged consistently, the cart delivers a consistent hit and high. 

A vape pod is similar to, but not at all identical to, a vape cartridge – although anyone familiar with cartridges may know how to use a vape pod. A pod is square or triangular compared to the cylindrical shape of a cart, and it snaps in – sometimes with a magnet – instead of screwing on with a thread. A pod’s battery is usually more palm-sized than the slender battery for a cart. Like a cart, how long a vape pod lasts depends on how frequently it’s used.

Pods often boast less leakage compared to carts, but there’s not too much difference when it comes to “how does vape pod work vs. how does vape cartridge work.”  Whatever component is used to contain the extract, and whatever shape the battery comes in, the exact gets heated on a coil and the vapor is inhaled through a mouthpiece.

Since vape products are getting more popular, it’s important to learn how to tell when cartridge is empty, and even more importantly how to dispose of vape cartridges properly. On many carts and pods, it’s easy to tell just by sight when it’s running low. The oil level is in plain view. When a cart or pod is getting low, it will start to lose its flavor, even if the battery is fully charged. 

Vape carts (and pods) are a combination of plastic, metal, oil, and ceramic – all of which has been heated frequently. They should not be recycled at home. 

For those buying vape products in person, there may be options for recycling. Dispensaries ad storefronts often have bins specifically for disposing of used vape carts. As for the batteries, those have to be recycled at specific stations – just like other batteries. Dispensaries may provide customers with the ability to recycle batteries in addition to used carts and pods.

Consumers have embraced vaporizers for a myriad of reasons. They’re unfussy, compact, and subtle. They make it more convenient than ever to switch between strains and highs, even when traveling. 

Dosage is very easy to control in vaping – maybe easier than in any other form of consumption. Edibles are notoriously easy to over-consume, even when dosage is properly labeled. The high they provide can be impacted by diet, hydration, exhaustion, and other factors. More so than other marijuana products, their effects are enhanced when combined with alcohol. 

Smoking flower is a less slippery slope, but the intensity of the high can vary depending on how the method used to actually smoke the flower. The same strain of flower may increase greatly in intensity if smoked from a bong instead of a pipe, but the high from a vape cart or pod is consistent.

For habitual users, the ability to travel with marijuana can be a lifesaver, especially when it comes to managing stress, anxiety, diet, and sleep. Vaporizers allow them to dose as they normally would, but without the disruption of work, relaxation, or both. Because they produce little to no odor, and no lingering smoke, vaporizers are less invasive to non-users than the burning of flower.

Because of their discretion, zero-assembly, zero-cleanup system of delivery, and even the fact that they work with USB chargers, vaporizers have revolutionized the marijuana industry. They provide the fastest, most efficient and consistent highs for veteran consumers and they’re user-friendly for first time users. 

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