Being a recreational vape fan in the 2020s is tough. The epidemic of vaping-related lung illnesses has so far claimed 55 lives and hospitalized 2.5K users, from tainted fake and counterfeit carts. This news has been out there for months, and yet just this last week a string of illegal vape shops in L.A. were busted.

The black market carts at the unregulated L.A. stores tested out as: “75% of the vapes contained undisclosed additives, including the thickening agent vitamin E acetate, which has been blamed by federal regulators for the majority of lung illnesses tied to the outbreak.” Not only that, but THC levels in the bunk carts were as low as 18%, despite being labeled up to 85%.

What’s a vaper to do? We can’t do much (we wish we could), but we can try to help consumers out there make the most informed decisions. So here’s a list of top faked carts on the black market, along with a little inside info on each of these brands’ backstory.

The Top Ten Vape Brands To Watch Out For…

We’re going by DHGate, a Chinese eCommerce website which is one of the chief conduits for black market products entering the US. They have a product category called “Wholesale Atomizers,” which is the category that moves all the fake THC carts. Sort by “best selling” and you know the brands most likely to be currently on the street.

Note that they are sold EMPTY! For as little as five cents, you too can buy an empty cart and fill it with whatever liquid pops into your mind, and then become a distributor of one of these “brands.” We’re not saying these carts are automatically bad. It depends on the filling, or in the case of counterfeited legit brands, whether you got the cart at a legit distributor. But when you see one, and you are not going through official channels, you should see red flags.

UPDATE – We have been notified that the recent reports of the death of Kingpen and West Coast Cure have been greatly exaggerated.

{1} TKO Extracts

TKO fake

TKO was one of the original counterfeits we covered back in May 2019. There is a real TKO brand, follow them to stay up to date on the latest packaging. Here is TKO’s CDPH license number. As we mention, TKO fakes are pretty easy to spot, and it doesn’t look like the black market has bothered to update the old style look at all.

The TKO fakes are even more obvious now! TKO has updated their packaging and cartridge, everything is different from the DHGate picture.

{2} Cookies Carts

Cookies fake

Cookies should come as no surprise. “Cookies” is originally the name of a strain of weed. Then a high-profile rapper named Berner teamed up with G Pen to come out with a line of vaporizers under the Cookies brand name. We have covered a post on telling fake Cookies from (what we believed to be) real, but we’re suspecting now that the massive volume of fakes out there have driven the original oil distributor (High Flyers, last we heard) out of business.

SOS! If you are a real Cookies pre-filled oil cartridge distributor or know definite, concrete proof of a licensed oil distributor, please let us know in the comments and we will correct this post.

{3} West Coast Cure

West Coast Cure fake

The distinctive abstract crown logo hasn’t changed at all. We’ve covered West Coast Cure fakes before, however, even the original company (WCC Managment) was once a street brand that tried and failed to get licensed. The website of, listed under West Coast Cure’s license application, is now just a dead Godaddy domain.

HOWEVER, we have received word that West Coast Cure lives on in a new domain. They have a CDPH production license there and, more importantly, a distribution license, both California. But their products menu is now just Pods, Concentrates, Flower, and Pre-Rolls, so any oilpen products out there might still be bunk if we’re not mistaken. But it’s good to see the regal crown on a legit product at last.

{4} Dabwoods

DabWoords fake

We get tired of looking at DabWoods around here. Known by a million variations including “DankWoods,” “DeepWoods,” “BackWoods,” etc., we’re going with “they’re all fake and always have been.” We tried flushing any legit original company out of the bushes way back in August of 2019. We came up with zip, zero, zilch. The theory is that there was a brand of pre-rolls out there, but even WeedMaps doesn’t think they’re licensed anymore.

DabWoods is a case of a fake brand that is nothing but packaging. All bunk, no skunk.

{5} Dank

Dank fakes

We see Danks in our nightmares! Not only have Danks been one of the most notorious brands reported by lung illness victims, but we have searched to the ends of this Earth and have found no original company. To add to our efforts, many websites have also investigated the Dank brand name trying to find a legit company, such as this excellent write-up by Emma Betuel at Inverse. She, too, met nothing but dead ends.

Dank is the fakest fake brand there ever was! Dank is the poster child for lung illness, the reigning king of inhaling vitamin E acetate, the laughingstock of fake brands. If you see this brand anywhere, you should be doubly cautious, because you have to be really stupid to try to pass off a Dank.

{6} 710 Kingpen

Kingpen fake

It’s been so long since we reviewed Kingpens we forgot they were out there. Yet, judging by the high search traffic volume, many people are still encountering these. Kingpens were looking to be closed out, but the company is back now.

We have handy proof that Kingpen is/was produced by a real company named “Clean Cannabis Initiative, LLC” on Wilshire boulevard in Los Angeles, California. We known that because they were named in a lawsuit alleging that their pens tested dirty. It has since become one of the most widely publicized cases of a lawsuit concerned with a faulty product. That company is licensed to Paracorp, Inc., the biggest thing we can find out about them being how to serve them with legal papers.

HOWEVER, we have been notified that there is a Kingpen official site, with vape cartridges now featuring a QR code validation. That is one older and wiser company, for sure. Validate your Kingpen carts there, problem solved.

{7} Brass Knuckles

Brass Knuckles

Another one of the most consistently counterfeited brands we’ve seen. Brass Knuckles knock-offs could practically fill their own category, but we try to keep a post updated for spotting fake BKs with packaging changes.

We feel bad for Brass Knuckles, even if our review of their product wasn’t the most enthusiastic. Then there was a lawsuit out on their brand too, due to allegations of dirty testing oil. But Brass Knuckles OG stays in business still, so we respect them for not turning chicken.

{8} Cali Plug

Cali Plug

Besides “Dank,” the two words that can make a Dab Connection staff member have to suppress a gag reflex are “Cali” and “Plug.” Cali Plug is another completely fake brand we’ve investigated, being nothing but packaging. This is another fake brand which has spawned a dozen mutations, so the same goes for “Cali Cart,” “Cali Confidential,” “Cali Piff,” and so on.

There have been glimpses seen of a “Cali Plug” “company,” but they bill themselves as a “lifestyle brand,” selling hats and Tshirts only. They show up at festivals with a tent, that sort of thing. In any case, there is no registered, regulated distributor of oil in anything called “Cali Plug,” and certainly not in packaging that looks like Robert Crumb puked on it.

{9} Smart Carts

Smart Carts fake

The ironically named “Smart Carts” got a bad review from us for their bunk cart, and even then we ascertained most of the Smart Carts out there to be fakes. We were skeptical about the existence of a company behind the brand at all, even then.

We’re now pretty sure all Smart Carts and Smart Buds are fake. Both brands, the last anyone could find out, were run out of two websites, and Both of those are parked GoDaddy domains, so whatever subterfuge of pretending to be a real company behind this brand there was have since vanished.

{10} GLO Extracts

GLO Extracts fake

And this brand… is one we’ve never covered before! GLO Extracts does have its own website, with its own extensive authenticity verification system, and here they’re getting counterfeited already.

Whelp, we’ll have to check out GLO’s product sometime.

Black market brands like these may contain anything

There is a deadly epidemic of lung illness tied to black market cart usage. Vaping-associated pulmonary injury has so far claimed 55 lives and hospitalized more than 2.5K users. Unregulated vape carts could contain heavy metals like lead, pesticides, cut such as Honey Cut, or simply bunk. Or they could be fire if you’re lucky. But a lot of people in the hospital right now weren’t lucky.

If anybody has more information to share on any subject we touched here, please share it with the community here in the comments or in our forum.


This post was originally just to show the *TOP TEN* most common faked brands. There are infinite brands out there and only so many licenses, so there are many more fake brands. We encounter dozens every week. The top ten even rotates over time.

If you’re asking about a cart, please take it to our forums and post a thread in cartridges. It helps a LOT if you can provide photos of the packaging, where you got it (at least the state), and if you got it from a dispensary, delivery service, swap meet, plug, or whatever. Our rule is, if you didn’t get it from a licensed dispensary, it’s usually fake.



  1. Legit West Coast Cure, Curepens carts and disposables, live resin and rosin carts are now widely available at licensed dispensaries in California. It’s a good budget brand, manufactured under a full annual license rather than a provisional license and it tests clean. At the same time fake WCC carts are still out there but the packaging, at this point in time, looks totally different than the packaging for the legit carts. Cookies carts are also widely available from legit dispensaries but they are being manufactured under a provisional license and have not cleared the final hurdles for obtaining a full annual license yet. Tbh, a lot of the stuff we buy at licensed dispensaries is manufactured by companies with provisional licenses either because the companies couldn’t meet the standards for a full license or because the cannabis beaurocracy doesn’t have enough people to check if they do. My go to dispensary posts COA’s for all the products they sell so, I rely more on them than a company’s license status.

  2. easy street any one heard of it i cant find much also what if they just stick a fake cart ion a legit box how you tell.

  3. Hey, mid looking at this list, wanted to let you know, I’m not sure about cali but Cookie’s carts are still sold and stocked in medical dispensaries in Colorado, and regarding DankVapes, as well as DabWoods, someone bought the trademark and licensing to dankvapes and sells legally in cali, and dabwoods now is an actual brand of disposable pen.

  4. Hey, mid looking at this list, wanted to let you know, I’m not sure about cali but Cookie’s carts are still sold and stocked in medical dispensaries in Colorado.

  5. I am interested in knowing more about “Gold Coast Clear” carts. Have you reviewed this brand? It is everywhere and seems pretty suspicious.

    • They might be, packaging can be deceiving cause a lot of that shit you can buy online and then put what ever you want in it. They are a real brand with real products though. If the oil is light and thick and it smokes with out a weird chemical after taste it’s probably real. If it’s dark or it’s very watery and tastes funny stay clear of it!

  6. Are banger bars real? Had a label with thc amounts cbd amounts and other additives percentage on the box. It’s easy to make a label though.

  7. I was wondering if glo carts are fake they say they ship anywhere in the US . Also wondering if live carts are real.. if they sell them ….

  8. Weed became legal ~1.5 years ago here in NY and since there haven’t been any licenses issued/dispensaries open yet, Washington Square Park has basically been an open market ever since. Literally the police are all standing around while sellers are out with folding tables and marketing signs selling flower and pens in broad daylight. Which is awesome. Except about a year ago I bought a glo cart from some kids under the name Canaremedy, who I usually get flower and pre rolls from. As soon as I hit it, it tasted weird. It never got me high and just tasted like shit. I put it back in its packaging and bought a diff brand but kept it to look it up. And because I’m always high, I waited until now to look it up. And I’m glad I did. So, moral of the story: it’s bunk, not thc, and it’s been going around NYC.

  9. I smoke glo carts and nothing bad has ever happned from when I have smoked them are they still harmful. And are live and verve cartridge brands counterfeit ?

  10. Cake Carts? Bought in Maine. Pretty positive it’s boof. Got it at a “head shop”/boardwalk shop. Came with certificate of authenticity. We all know you can buy the entire packaging as said in the article though. I immediately had that throat burn, the acetate.

  11. I found several of these in my 16 yr old sons room. Are they legit? Gold Coast clear. I have no idea where he got them. It says one gram.

  12. I found several of these in my 16 yr old sons room. Are they legit? Gold Coast clear. I have no idea where he got them. It says one gram.

  13. Anyone ever hear of fyre carts? They come in black box with button on the side you have to push to slide open. Packaging looks legit

  14. Alien hhc cart steviva ,got at a vape store in bossier ,pro smoke #2 its called..I was wondering if anyone has used or wht I should see in a hhc oil cart like should hhc be not as thick as delta 8 ….idk im just looking for information on if there fake carts …

    • Just bought some from Hastings def feel th effects but who knows what bullshit is added..🤷🏽‍♂️I did the same researched and drew a blank.

    • I just got one and can’t find anything on it anywhere…are they fake? GANGGANG says 90 thc but no info on packaging about where they are made or maker

    • They are what we call a “street brand” but technically unlicensed:

      “street brands” = independent producers, but still unlicensed and unregulated. So at best that’s a gamble. They may also be counterfeited on DHGate, etc., since there’s no protection for a street brand. FWIW, there is an official website which said “coming soon” in December 2019 when we first reviewed it and still says “coming soon” in 2022. Take that how you will.

  15. Hi,I was wondering are these carts real or are they fake they have the real logo on them as the cereals logo and candy logo.

  16. What about fortune carts? I really like my white rhino indica. Helps so much with pain. Can’t find out where to get more? I got it from a friend visiting California. Can I find Fortune in Az? I wish there was an official website of safe companies to buy from.

  17. Am a big smoker who smokes to get stoned. Recently tried vaping. The thc oil was fabulous! But dealer has disappeared so I’m on the hunt. What oil is the most potent and does the job properly? Is it delta 8 that I’ve been reading about? What is a reliable site I can look at. Any advice would be great.

    • NO! they are fake out the ass!!!! Especially if they import it from Cali to a different state! My plug did the same thing and bought 200 karts and said they were amazing so I bought 1 and I work for a THC dispensary in UT we had the cart lab tested and they used e acetate and the THC level was barley even 15%! It was more delta 8 than anything and the cart it’s self is plastic

    • Are the bakery edition carts from L.A real? My plug got a bunch in the ‘mail’ and he’s been prone to getting fake carts and before I spend my money again on a fake cart are they fake or real? Cause I bought cali gold exotics from him and when I looked really close at the printing on the side of the box a lot of words were spelled incorrectly and something about those carts felt off

  18. I’m Canadian and I live within an hour of 2 native reservations..Weed is legal in Canada I can buy licenced carts all day long, but I prefer the occasional cart from the “Rez” because they are cheaper (sometimes..a so called legit one runs between 40 and 65 bucks a gram and the “fake” ones are between 35 (drizzle factory on sale from 50 a piece)..unlike what I see in the US I have never had a cart that was tainted or counterfeited..just awesome quality concentrates…

  19. Well fuck thanks for telling me I’ve been smoking the worst fake vapes out there for like 2 years…now can you tell us we’re to get legit ones

    • We all feel you, Jeff! We’re not out to say that all “fake” carts are bad, just that you’re not guaranteed of what you’re getting.

      But we’d all like the luxury of a rec-legal state.

      The ballot box is the best way to do this; every year more states legalize, bills are passing at the top Senate level, things are changing.

      In the meantime, out of state sources are advised if you have a reliable one. Or there is something to be said for the underground sesh scene; even a plug you see every week in company with other plugs is more likely to be a reliable source than Joe random off the street.

      Hemp products are also far more openly available, even in illegal states. Delta 8 and other hemp derivatives are easily found from reputable sources, where you can pay with a bankcard and ship it to nearly every state.

      You can solve every problem you will ever have with cartridges by sticking with smokeable herb, of course. We all did this for decades before vapes came along…

  20. Anyone ever buy from krt vape VERIFIED site? There’s a fake site I almost bought from but thankfully I listened to my intuition and didn’t, but then I found their VERIFIED site and it seems legit but definitely curious if anyone has went through their site and if it’s %100

    • KRT carts won’t be legit even if they do send it to you. They are not a registered brand following all the safety protocols even if there is some centralized KRT carts.

  21. If you’re ever in doubt, call a dispensary. If they don’t carry the brand, highly likely it’s not a good one. That’s why they have dispensaries. To make sure you’re getting safe product. It’s not worth it to take a hit of something to get high if it’s going to coat your lungs especially if you’re under 18 and they are not fully developed. Sorry to be the buzz kill. A Concerned medicinal user

  22. Glo extracts is the cleanest black market cart out there they switch up the boxes look not too drastically just enough so you can always tell when they are fake(because the box will be outdated) they also have a scratch and verify tab on the side also every 10 pack is sealed and tamper proof they put out a lot more than just dab cartridges too glo is easily the best black market brand

  23. What do y’all know about burst disposable pods? I was given one by a friend and must say…. it works but still curious if they are legit.

  24. Has anyone heard of N3XTGEN Xtracts? I have bought a few now from a coworker and they all have been really good but cant find much about them? Any info would be greatly appreciated

  25. Got some from weed connect called liquid labs in some white packaging and the A is a triangle. Anyone ever heard of it because I googled and cant find it anywhere. I am used to getting sweet tart flavor from dispensary. But sometimes he has dispensary weed. So i need help guys anyone? The name i looked up said CBd but not same package not wax.

  26. I bought a moonwalker, peach revenge cart and to me it don’t taste like it has thc in it and kinda chokes u up. Anyone know if these are faked?

  27. Bought a cali plug cart so theyre not real? it has a barcode and i scanned it but idk .. the packaging look different the one i have is white

  28. i get cali reefer carts for $40 i’ve been doing research and i can’t find them anywhere. i need help i don’t want to use laced carts

  29. Are “Live” carts real? I just bought one for 30$ Expecting it to be a half gram cart with like 75% but I when I opened it, it was a full gram cart with 87% and as I’m hitting it it feels a lot different from the carts I usually buy it’s a lot less intense for 87% and I’m starting to freak out a little bit I think it was cut with something because this isn’t how it’s supposed to feel but maybe it’s just old anyways it’s a live cart inside of a white grey and black little box it has a scannable bar code sticker on the back, is it fake or real? Pls let me know

    • I’ve had em…I like em….I know they come from Maine and are a legit company. You can purchase them in maine dispensaries. They do fuck you up….I would say yes….I’m actually getting a sour diesel one in a little bit

  30. So these Glo carts…my guy had been getting them by the case for a min. I’m 90% sure they are unregulated. Is there anyway to tell definitely.

  31. Anyone knows about Premium vape carts uk. I just spend money on them, now they give me a silent treatment when I ask about my order. It was a 24hr delivery. Now its been 48hrs and they dont answer my chats

  32. i just bought box of choices premium thc cartridge one being .05 and one being .05 sky walker other being mars og 500mgeach with a cart id number 3369560 so my question is are they real or fake .

    • i’m not sure because i have bought choices and i got one with a weird looking tip and it made me feel like shit after ward where the previous ones i tried feel good. i believe they are real but just have many fake versions but redditors are jus assuming everything is fake

      • On a side note:

        I appreciate the frustration with Redditors and their knee-jerk reactions (it ain’t the first time anybody’s complained). But the market really is terrible and something like 90% of all cart brands out there are fake, counterfeited, black market, or gray market. From the average Redditor point of view, it’s easier just to say “buy it from a dispo or it’s fake.” It’s just really disgusting and the enforcement just isn’t there, especially out west. Just trying to track down a brand some days I feel like I’m living in the Matrix inside a dream from Inception after a Total Recall mind implant.

    • If by chance you mean this: – That’s a Canadian company. Canada has completely different laws and policies about regulation. We’re in the US and just don’t have the expertise to comment on the matter currently.

      If you mean something else, have no idea since we don’t seem to have encountered it yet. In any case, you’re purchasing from a friend who’s apparently purchasing from another friend. It’s up to how much you trust your network.

  33. So the item I have shows to be real by y’all’s information up until I get to the part of now West Coast Cure Curepen now being pods?! Could it be possible I just have one of the cartridges they use to sell? Cause everything seems legit.

  34. R there west coast co. Fake carts? With a fire symbol next to the strain symbol, ik they always change the containers but this one today looks and tastes wei

    • Yea I’m trying to get some info about Muha Meds got a couple carts here 3-4 different but they all have the same code on the back where the QR code is. Hmm Strange

  35. Well they want to go and pull out the Glo card. I don’t even know why they even reviewed them considering they haven’t even refuse them yet. But I guess the Articles not about the review of the cart it’s the most faked cart review. But yes I’ve been a cannabis user for over 20 years and due to glows seed-to-sale distribution they have won my business. They have a full Lab Test on their page of their carts only problem is they’re not licensed. But they do a good job of keeping away the counterfeiters by using the QVC code and constantly changing the look of their product. But I do have to say these are great carts and I will continue to buy them. Glo Nation

  36. Anyone know anything about muha meds carts I think they are legit my first one smacked and was amazing but I’ve heard they may not be but idk

  37. Anyone know anything about muha meds carts I think they are legit my first one smacked and was amazing but I’ve heard they may not be

    • I dont know if they are but just know that the brands above are legitimate brands that unfortunately became to popular and caught the attention of counterfeiters, there’s counterfeit Colgate toothpaste. 🤣

  38. Has anyone ever heard of honeywax? It’s a popular street brand in the New England area and I’ve been smoking it for a while with pretty much no complaints.

    • Yooo stay away from honey wax the wax starts to separate and gets a dark color at the bottom proving it is mixed with way too much to be clean!!

  39. Anyone ever heard of jeeter juice Carts? Some guy has it for $45 but I don’t wanna buy it before I get some info on this company. Don’t wanna smoke pesticides

  40. Anyone know about Liquid Honey? I think it’s a fake thing the vape cart I bought is awful tasting like kerosene I’m in MI. thanks for help I should have known better it’s a delivery service only 😡

    • Not if the supplier is buying in bulk and selling for $40 they still make there money back after selling so many. I know someone who goes down to Chicago weekly to pick up new stuff and sells it for 40

  41. Anybody out there know about culture carts?? Have been getting that brand recently on the black market, and just wondered?? Thanks for any info:)

  42. Are “coastal cartis” real, from Illinois

    The packaging had a dude with purple hair, eyes, eyebrows, and facial hair and three words “coastal cartis” are underneath him. There are palm trees and birds in the back

  43. Anyone hear or every seen Canna Del Mar carts??? I can’t even find anything online about them.. but a friend got some so I’ve been curious.

  44. im really worried about getting a fake cart especially with everything going on. I used to buy Dank and 710 when I was young and dumb. Ive stopped smoking carts for a while but want to start again, what are some brands of real/nom tainted carts? Thanks!!

  45. im really worried about getting a fake cart especially with everything going on. I used to buy Dank and 710 when I was young and dumb. Ive stopped smoking carts for a while but want to start again, what are some brands of real/nom tainted carts? Thanks!!

  46. Anyone know anything about Ruby carts? I feel like these are a knock off of the Rubi carts. But just asking if anyone knows ?

  47. I also am trying to find out if the reaper extracts brand exists bc I haven’t found anything about it either. The logo isn’t exactly like what was on that link.

  48. Hello. My plug is selling “WiserBud” carts, I was interested in buying the Killer Queen hybrid strain he has but I’ve never seen the brand name anywhere except instagram..

  49. Medi-Cal organics RX
    Black box with gold lettering
    Is this fake? I can’t find anything on it
    It has a bar code and government warning

  50. Just got one supposedly from California in a sealed plastic pack that says Reaper Extracts orange cookies hybrid 1 gram cartridge 95% thc certified organic and literally can find nothing anywhere about this brand or anything. Anyone heard of this?

    • Researched this a bit and all I could find was it sold on what looks like not-legit websites. Not in any legit shops anywhere, so it’s likely an unregistered street brand more than a fake cart.

  51. Muha Meds are no good. got one, worst taste i’ve ever had and doesnt seem safe. it’s rough, we need legalization.

  52. I am from Pennsylvania where marijuana isn’t legalized yet. I am trying to find a trustworthy site on where to look up carts to see if they are safe. I have been buying chronic and dank carts most of the time. I notice the ones I buy have a thick oil and an expiration date on the box. The box is also labeled with @chroniccartsoffical “solvent free.all organic.” There is barcode, ingredient list, THC level, and a government/product warning. But there are misspellings and typos in the government warning. Let me know if you think this is a fake brand of chronic carts. Thank you.


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