d As we preach and preach here at Dab Connection, vapers should avoid the black market when it comes to carts. Fake carts are everywhere and show no sign of stopping. But that’s not you, dear reader! You’re a smart cookie who only buys from legit, licensed, vetted sources. You don’t touch a cart without a dispensary sticker on it. So now if the cart just didn’t live up to your expectations, what do we blame that on now?

Even legit companies can get cannabis oil extraction wrong. This is, after all, a developing industry scarcely a decade old since the first recreational legalization. The cannabis industry is suffering from several conflicting forces, such as spotty legalization and lack of standards, plus quite a few entrepreneurs who are discovering that this weed business is more complicated than they thought it would be.

If you purchase a vape cartridge from a dispensary and it’s a dud, you have every right to go back with your receipt and at least ask for an exchange. At least that’s how it should work. But in any case, if you notice any of the following quality issues consistently with the same distributor (including online dispensaries), you might think of steering clear. Here are five things that can commonly go wrong with a retail cart you bought off the shelf:


It’s Old

This is the most common cause of a good brand or vendor delivering a subpar cart. As we point out in our guide to discolored vape cartridge oil, time is the ultimate killer of vape cartridges. You want your cartridge oil “fresh squeezed,” so to speak, as much as possible. From the day it’s made, the cart is steadily losing potency as the organic compounds in it begin to degrade. Add to this that not everybody in the supply chain process might have been well-trained in the proper handling of stock. The carts might have been exposed to heat, moisture, or other factors that degraded the quality further. The maximum shelf life of a cart is one year. If you bought your cart on a hot sale, chances are it was nearing its sell-by date, so it might be weaker oil.


It’s Weak

To reiterate our earlier point, the science of cartridge extraction isn’t always an exact science. There are several reasons why your cartridge may have a lower cannabinoid potency than advertised and even lower yet than what’s on the lab sheet. For one thing, lack of interstate federal standards mean that lab tests won’t be standard from state to state. Variables include things like frequency of sampling, batch sampling to control for inconsistencies, thoroughness of cannabinoid breakdown, and so on. But at the bottom line, sloppy quality control can be responsible for a deficit in cart potency.

heavy hitters cartridge breakdown

Cheap Hardware

Few things in life are more frustrating than top-grade oil in a low-quality cartridge that clogs, leaks, and otherwise under-performs. Faulty cartridge hardware may cause the oil to not heat up enough or overheat, or heat unevenly. The cart materials may reek of plastics, metals, or chemicals. The 510 threads may be a hair off standard making for a faulty connection with your battery. Faulty hardware is becoming less common as vendors get a feel for why standards are necessary, but you still run across that extractor who was desperate enough to order a batch of carts off Alibaba.


Poor Ingredients

I’ll let you into a little secret: not every mom-and-pop vape cart brand has their own extraction lab. Instead, companies may outsource this simple detail, they may just buy white-label oil and slap on their own label, or they might buy ready-made bulk isolates and terpenes and brew their own oil. The most common complaint we hear is botanically derived terpenes as opposed to cannabis-derived terpenes. Botanical terpenes – from exactly where you think they come from, citrus fruit rind and the spice rack – have a harsher taste and ruin the natural cannabis flavors. On top of that, we’ve seen cases where delta 8 was sold as THC, or a cart that was shooting for HHC ended up half CBN, etc. Sometimes when you see 5 different cannabinoids listed, that’s because they started with CBD, ran a synthetic conversion process on it, half-way finished, tested the oil, and whatever cannabinoids show up in the most percentage get listed on the box.

fake stiizy cart

It Was Backdoored

Ha ha, got you! You can go to a dispensary and still end up with a fake cart. How can that happen? Maybe the vendor doesn’t know better and bought fakes off a middleman. Maybe one of the employees is making money selling hot vapes on the side. Ana maybe a vendor ran out of a brand with a backorder a long way away, but he could fill these carts right now… Things happen. For that matter, double-check to see if it was a licensed dispensary at all, or a smoke shop with a case full of truck stop vape classics.

A Reputable Vendor Should Care About Their Product

Like I say,m don;t be afraid to go back to a dispensary with a cartridge that is clearly defective. If you usually get good quality from the place and this one time got bunk, they will want to know about the issue anyway. But even without defect, some carts may be weaker simply because oil can be variable within a batch, or because they sat for nine months but are still technically “good.” You want to try to stick to brands that put out consistent quality.


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