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5 Best Ways to Check and Avoid Fake Vape Carts

Ethan Parker

Written by: Ethan Parker

Updated on March 14, 2024

5 Best Ways to Check and Avoid Fake Vape Carts

The vaping industry has seen tremendous growth in recent years, with an increasing number of people turning to e-cigarettes as an alternative to traditional smoking. However, this growth has also led to the emergence of counterfeit vape cartridges, which can be dangerous to consumers.

It is crucial to know how to tell if a cart is fake in order to avoid the risks associated with using it. Counterfeit vape carts can contain harmful chemicals, including vitamin E acetate, which can cause severe health problems if inhaled.

By being vigilant and informed, you can help ensure that you are using safe and authentic products. Continue reading to understand the best ways to identify and avoid fake vape carts.

Why Are Fake Carts Dangerous?

Vape carts have become a popular choice for cannabis enthusiasts due to their potency and discreet nature. However, the popularity of these products has led to an influx of counterfeit versions flooding the market.

Counterfeit products often contain unknown and untested substances like heavy metals and hydrogen cyanide. Fake vape cartridges can get contaminated during manufacturing or due to improper storage conditions.

When inhaled, harmful contaminants such as mold, bacteria, and residual solvents from the extraction process can cause respiratory and other health problems.

The fake vape cart crisis hit its peak in 2019 when numerous consumers ended up hospitalized with Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS) after vaping.

The majority of the cases of respiratory diseases involved patients who had used fake cartridges containing THC oil, Nicotine, or cannabis extract they sourced from illicit black markets.

A fake THC cartridge may include harmful additives like vegetable glycerin, polyethylene glycol, propylene glycol, and vitamin E acetate to dilute the oil. While these additives may be FDA-approved for certain uses, inhaling vitamin E acetate can cause vaping-associated pulmonary injury or other respiratory illnesses.

Research on fake vape carts offers further proof that they can have detrimental effects on the respiratory and gastrointestinal systems, even leading to death in severe cases.

How to Tell if a Cart Is Fake: 5 Things to Check

Getting real vaping products is important for ensuring your safety and satisfaction. Here are some tips and tricks to help you distinguish the real and fake apart:

1. Fake Vape Cartridge: Packaging Design

Authentic vape cartridges you buy from a licensed dispensary typically have high-quality packaging. Look for clear, crisp printing with vibrant colors and sharp images. Check for any spelling errors or inconsistencies in the branding. Legitimate manufacturers invest in professional packaging, whereas counterfeiters may use low-quality materials or sloppy printing.

A packaging icon, QR codes, serial number, and manufacturing date are all important while you inspect the design.

2. Fake Vape Cartridge: Appearance

Even when buying from licensed dispensaries, inspect the cartridge closely. Authentic cartridges are well-made, with precise construction and attention to detail. Look for signs of poor craftsmanship, such as crooked labels, rough edges, or loose components. The materials used should feel durable and high-grade. Be wary of cartridges that look flimsy or poorly assembled.

Tip: Look for a QR code!

3. Fake Vape Cartridge: Color and Consistency

The color and consistency of the cannabis oil (vape oil) inside the cartridge can also indicate its authenticity. Authentic cartridges contain high-quality oil that is clear or slightly amber. Plus, legit cartridges maintain consistency in color and viscosity throughout the product. Any sudden changes in color or texture could signal a counterfeit.

Be cautious of fake THC carts with oil that appear too dark, cloudy, or thick.

What Are the Normal Colors for Cannabis Oil in a Vape Cart?

The color of cannabis oil in a vape cartridge can vary from clear to slightly amber, with some oils appearing golden yellow or dark amber. While color variations are normal and can be influenced by strain and extraction methods, a clear to slightly amber color is typically preferred as it indicates a well-made and clean product.

4. Fake Vape Cartridge: Pricing

While price alone isn’t always a reliable indicator, unusually low prices should raise red flags. Authentic vape cartridges are made with quality ingredients and undergo rigorous testing, contributing to their higher price point. Compare prices from reputable brands and familiarize yourself with the average cost of legitimate cartridges to avoid falling for counterfeit products.

Tip: If a deal seems too good to be true, it’s probably a fake vape cart!

5. Fake Vape Cartridge: Size

Spotting a fake vape cartridge by size can be a subtle yet important detail. Authentic vape cartridges usually adhere to standard sizes based on industry specifications. When comparing a suspicious cartridge to a known authentic one, carefully examine the dimensions.

Inconsistencies such as a noticeably shorter or wider cartridge may indicate a counterfeit product. Variations in threading or fitment with the vape pen could suggest a fake, as legitimate cartridges are designed to attach to compatible devices without issue securely.

Has the Vape Cart Been Tested and Approved?

People turn to vaping looking for a more reliable alternative to smoking cannabis. So, it’s understandable that they want to ensure their vape carts are tested and approved.

The simplest way of ensuring your cart has been tested and approved is to ask the seller or manufacturer questions about their vape cartridges’ testing and approval process. A reputable company should be transparent and willing to provide information about its testing procedures and quality standards.

Important: Be cautious of fake websites that sell low-priced carts in the name of official THC products. A licensed dispensary won’t shy away from sharing their license number, lab results, or any other information you may require.

What Do Fake Carts Taste Like?

Consuming fake THC vape not only poses potential health risks due to unknown ingredients and contaminants but also supports the black market. Fake cartridges can vary in taste depending on their ingredients and manufacturing quality.

  • Fake cartridges often contain synthetic or low-quality ingredients, producing a harsh, chemical taste when vaporized. This taste can be unpleasant and overpowering.
  • Manufacturers of counterfeit cartridges use other additives, such as artificial flavorings, to mask the taste of inferior, harmful ingredients. These flavorings can taste artificial or overly sweet.
  • Due to poor quality control or improper manufacturing processes, fake cartridges may taste burnt or metallic when vaporized. This taste can be indicative of contaminants or impurities present in the cartridge.
  • Authentic cartridges derived from cannabis typically contain natural terpenes, which contribute to the flavor and aroma of the product. Fake cartridges may lack these cannabis terpenes or contain synthetic substitutes, resulting in a less authentic taste.

What Happens if You Hit a Fake Cart?

If you’re witnessing a burnt flavor every time you vape or get a strong metal aftertaste, these are the signs that your vape cart is a fake one.

The effects of hitting a fake vape cartridge can vary depending on the specific ingredients and build quality of the cartridge. However, users may experience a range of sensations, some of which include:

  • Immediate Effects: Users may initially feel a rush or sensation similar to that of vaping with a legitimate cartridge.
  • Respiratory Irritation: Fake vape cartridges may contain harsh chemicals, synthetic cannabinoids, or other irritants that can cause respiratory irritation, such as coughing, throat irritation, or difficulty breathing.
  • Nausea and Dizziness: Ingesting unknown substances from fake vape cartridges can lead to nausea, dizziness, or lightheadedness. These symptoms may occur shortly after vaping and can persist for some time.
  • Headaches and Fatigue: Some users may experience headaches or fatigue after vaping with a counterfeit cartridge. This could be due to exposure to toxic substances or chemicals in the cartridge.
  • Long-term Health Risks: Continued use of fake vape cartridges can pose significant long-term health risks, including respiratory problems, cardiovascular issues, and damage to internal organs. Chronic exposure to contaminants and toxins may also increase the risk of developing serious health conditions.

Note that the specific effects can vary widely depending on the contents of the fake cartridge and individual factors such as tolerance, metabolism, and overall health.

If you or someone you know experience any adverse effects after vaping with a fake cartridge, it’s crucial to seek medical attention promptly or call your local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222.

If you’re facing symptoms of vaping-related respiratory illness, the FDA urges you to share this information, along with details about the product involved, with your local or state health authorities.

Reporting to these departments is vital, as it helps federal and state agencies collaborate effectively to identify cases and maintain updated records accurately. You can find more information regarding local department directories here.

How to Avoid Fake Vape Carts – 5 Proven Ways!

New cannabis users are unsure of what product quality they should expect as they look for a dab pen. If you’re one of those, don’t worry; let’s walk you through some steps to avoid fake carts.

Only Buy Vape Carts From a Licensed Facility

When purchasing vape cartridges, ensure you’re buying from the legal market. Licensed dispensaries or retailers adhere to strict regulations and quality standards set by governing bodies.

These businesses are regularly inspected to ensure compliance with safety and health guidelines. Avoid purchasing from unauthorized sellers, such as street vendors or online platforms, without proper verification processes.

Check for Lab Testing Information

Legit vape cartridge brands prioritize transparency and safety by providing detailed third-party lab testing information. This data typically includes comprehensive analyses conducted by third-party laboratories.

Look for packaging or websites that display cannabinoid profiles, potency levels, and tests for contaminants like pesticides, heavy metals, and residual solvents. Accessible lab reports instill confidence in the product’s quality and purity.

Verify Authenticity

To safeguard against counterfeit products, reputable brands offer mechanisms for verifying authenticity. This may involve unique identifiers like batch numbers, serial numbers, or QR codes.

Use these features by cross-referencing information on the manufacturer’s website or using dedicated smartphone apps. Authenticity verification will enhance your trust and ensure you purchase genuine cartridges from licensed sellers.

Research the Brand

Before buying a CBD or THC cart, conduct thorough research on the vape cartridge brand. Explore online reviews, forums, and social media platforms for insights from other users. Pay attention to recurring product quality, consistency, and customer service themes.

Assess the brand’s reputation within the cannabis community and its commitment to ethical and sustainable practices. Trustworthy brands prioritize consumer safety and satisfaction, ensuring long-term loyalty.

Check for Compliance

Regulatory agencies enforce strict product safety and compliance standards in states where medical and recreational cannabis is legalized. Verify that vape cartridges adhere to these regulations, including testing protocols and labeling requirements.

However, this would work effectively if you familiarize yourself with local laws governing cannabis products to ensure you purchase from credible sources. Compliance with regulatory guidelines indicates a manufacturer’s dedication to producing safe and reliable vape cartridges for consumers.

Last but not least, trust your instincts. If something feels off about the product or the seller, believe in that gut feeling and walk away. Your health and safety are more important than saving a few dollars on a potentially dangerous product!

The Bottomline

As the vaping industry continues to flourish, the presence of counterfeit vape cartridges is a growing concern for consumers. These counterfeit products can pose serious health risks, including acute respiratory distress syndrome and other respiratory illnesses.

For cannabis users, it is essential to know how to identify and avoid fake vape carts to protect their health and well-being. By paying attention to packaging design, appearance, color and consistency, pricing, and size, you can distinguish between authentic and counterfeit products.

Always purchase from licensed dispensaries and reputable brands, and avoid deals that seem too good to be true. Remember, your safety should always come first when it comes to vaping.

If you’re looking for more information regarding a vape cart you recently bought, or need any assistance with the cannabis oil quality in your vape carts, feel free to contact us!

Ethan Parker
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