General Information

What to Look for When Buying THC Vape

By August 17, 2017 January 4th, 2019 No Comments

THC vape is gaining popularity in medical and recreational cannabis legal states. The only legal option for buying THC vape is in a regulated (state-licensed) medical cannabis dispensary or recreational cannabis store. THC vape cannot be shipped across state lines and may not be purchased online.

Do you know what to look for when you buy a THC vape cartridge or disposable pen? This guide will help you distinguish between high-quality THC vape and low-quality options.

Extraction Method

Does the menu or manufacturer website say how the THC is extracted? Supercritical CO2 and butane-free extraction processes are what you want to look for. Butane and other chemicals can leave behind residue/compounds that may not be good for you to ingest – even in vaporized form.

The extraction method also says a lot for the quality of the product. Those that are not clean and pure often cause the loss of vital cannabinoids and terpenes. So, you may not be reaping all of the benefits of a strain if only certain components are extracted.

THC Percentage

When THC and cannabinoids are extracted from a cannabis plant, it is pure THC, so concentrations are typically higher. Depending on the capacity of the vape cartridge, a concentration of THC should be listed for that specific cartridge to let you know exactly how much THC is in it and how potent that formula is.

It is important for consumers to know how much THC is in a product as everyone has a different tolerance. It is also important to understand that the concentrations in vape concentrates are pure THC, so your effects may be more intense and may last longer.

CBD, Cannabinoid and Terpene Profiles

Has your THC vape manufacturer kept the true integrity of the plant intact? What this means is, are all of the cannabinoids and terpenes of the listed strain present in the vape concentrate liquid? If not, you are not likely to benefit 100% from the strain, you’re missing parts, so this is not creating the entourage effect. If your THC vape is lacking cannabidiol (CBD) and other essential cannabinoids/terpenes, you are missing out. Cannabinoids and terpenes add vital benefits to formulas.

Terpenes not only provide the aroma and flavor of a strain, but they also have known health benefits. Terpenes aren’t just found in cannabis and hemp, they are also found in thousands of flowers, herbs, plants and trees.

Every cannabinoid has a specific purpose and profile. Many cannabinoids have multiple purposes, so it is important that they are not omitted because it makes the end product (the vape liquid) severely lacking in potential benefit.


Does your manufacturer display that their products are tested? If they don’t, you should ask them. If their products are not tested, you really have no idea what’s in your THC vape product. THC vape, as well as all cannabis products, should be tested for both purity and potency. Accurate information is what helps consumers have the best experience possible and helps them understand what to expect in terms of effects and duration of effects.


The color of your THC vape liquid is very important. Clean, pure extraction processes often produce golden to near clear THC concentrate. Those that are dark or black are likely not derived from a butane-free extraction process. CBD vape, on the other hand, should be dark in color.

Strain Information

What information is a manufacturer providing you about the strain used for your vape product? If a full strain profile is not available, you may want to choose a different manufacturer or retailer. Knowing what to expect, what the history (lineage) of your strain is and what the negative effects are is very important. Someone using THC vape for medicinal purposes is trying to combat symptoms, not experience them. So, if you have PTSD, anxiety or other mental health disorders, you should avoid THC vape from strains that clearly list anxiety, paranoia and dizziness as negatives.

Isolate or Full Spectrum

Here’s where you should really pay attention. Isolates are minimally effective. When a THC vape manufacturer isolates just the THC, that’s all you’re getting, the THC. You’re not getting the cannabinoids or terpenes available in the plant. So, the effects or relief you experience may not be what you expect and may not provide you ample relief.

Full spectrum extraction processes use the entire plant. You are not missing any terpenes, natural plant minerals/vitamins or cannabinoids. These are the most beneficial products for your body. Full spectrum THC vape products are ideal.


You should know what’s in your THC vape liquid. Look for natural ingredients, such as added natural terpenes, natural essential oils (flavor enhancement) and natural cutting agents. Look for cutting agents like coconut oil, MCT oil or vegetable glycerin. If any other cutting agent is listed (and it is not a naturally occurring item), avoid it.

Terpenes are often confused as chemical additives because of their names. Look up the terpene or ingredient you don’t recognize before you make a purchase.

Common terpenes include:

  • Alpha-pinene
  • Beta-caryophyllene
  • Mycrene
  • Limonene
  • Nerolidol
  • Terpineol
  • Humulene
  • Linalool

Any time there are ingredients in a THC vape product that are not derived from a natural source, are artificial or chemical based, avoid them. This is not natural medicine or an all-natural product. One of the main reasons people use cannabis is because it is a natural option without chemical additions. Yes, there are carcinogens in dry cannabis flower, but that is the case with just about every plant when it is burned.


Prices vary, and based upon the price of dry cannabis flower in your area, it should help you determine a valid price when you see THC vape. The process of making THC vape concentrates is far more involved and requires very expensive equipment. The processes take a great deal of time, and then you have the cost of filling all of those cartridges and the cost of materials for the cartridges themselves.

Let’s use a very small cartridge as an example, one that holds 150mg THC shouldn’t cost you more than $20, no matter where you are in the U.S. The average cost of those advertising by gram, such as ½ gram of 1 gram, should range from $30 to $60, on average. Cheaper cartridges are not likely a quality product and may not provide the same benefit as a higher-quality product. Shop around before you settle on a THC vape brand. Every brand has different potencies, different formulas and different size cartridges. A little homework on your end will help you make the best and most informed buying decision possible.

What to Avoid

Although the FDA deems them relatively safe, avoid cutting agents like Polyethylene glycol (PEG) and Propylene glycol (PG). While they do make mixing the vape liquid easier to mix, they aren’t all-natural ingredients. There is not much information on the dangers of PG or PEG and being heated, nor increased ingestion from vaping (tobacco or cannabis products).

The FDA has even acknowledged that propylene glycol can cause damage to your kidneys when consumed in large doses, however, what actually constitutes a large dose isn’t exactly explained. Skin irritations can also occur if you have a sensitivity and come in direct contact with it. It’s in the “generally recognized as safe” category, but again, there’s no new information on these cutting agents, it is old data.

Avoid isolates and non-butane free extraction process.

Avoid any formula that contains artificial and/or chemical ingredients.

Storing your THC Vape Cartridge

When storing your THC vape cartridge (when it’s not in use) do so with the mouthpiece facing downward. This keeps the oil/liquid away from the wick and coil to prevent spontaneous combustion, fire and leaking. When you use a vape product that is made with all-natural ingredients, this is the best method to preserve the contents of the cartridge and ensure your safety in using the vape cartridge.

Wait until all of the liquid travels down toward the wick and atomizer before hitting your THC vape pen. This prevents atomizer damage from it “running dry”.

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