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Pre-Filled Cartridges vs Vaping Cannabis

We live in the future where you don’t need to light a fire to smoke weed. But beware, not all vapes are created equal. In this article, we will break down the key differences between smoking vaporized cannabis and smoking pre-filled oil cartridges.

The Wild World of Concentrates 

Battery-operated cannabis pens have been around for about 10 years and have made fast work of completely changing the way that people get high. 

A vape pen is powered by a battery and conduction heating. The cannabis concentrate (wax, dabs, shatter, oil, the stuff in the cartridge, etc.) is heated up until it turns into vapor at 392 degrees Fahrenheit. Then, poof! Or… puff. Your highly concentrated smoke is ready all in the span of a couple of seconds.

Cartridges can have up to 4x the amount of THC as top-shelf flower, between 85-95%. So, be careful! Start with just one hit and then see how you feel before increasing your dose.

The benefit of vaping cannabis as opposed to smoking from a pipe or another type of apparatus is that you don’t have to mess with the negative aspects of smoking: buying/grinding weed, the mess of cleaning a bowl, using a lighter.

Another reason that people are vaping weed like never before is that each inhalation is dosed, and there are fewer steps to arriving at the end result (high). 

Oftentimes a button doesn’t even need to be pushed, all that’s required is an inhalation. This makes vape cartridges approachable for someone who is smoking cannabis for the first time. 

Here is a clear vape-guide with pictures from the CDC if you are still confused.

Vaping Weed

There’s nothing more classic than smoking weed! Glorious, regular weed. If you want to update the device you use to smoke flower, but are attracted to the simplicity of vaping, you are in luck.

You can buy an electronic handheld dry herb vaporizer that will roast your weed using convection heat and allow you to vape straight flower! These cannabis vapes are larger than a pre-filled oil cartridge but are still hand-held, but much smaller than the Volcano vape of yesteryear (which commands its own spot in the home). 

Convection heat works by passing heated air over the dry herb, which then effectively and evenly vaporizes the weed inside. The marijuana never comes into direct contact with the heating component inside of the vape, and is heated by the air that you inhale.

One of the most amazing things about handheld weed vapes is the ability to control the heat setting, which can enhance the flavor of your marijuana and unlock different levels to weed smoking.

With the vape set to the lowest heat setting (~132 degrees fahrenheit), you will be able to pick up on the subtle tasting notes of your flower like never before. The heat of the vape will need to be increased to allow for a more potent dose (350 degrees being the hottest); the hotter the temp, the sooner you will need to repack your vape with new flower. 

Be sure to grind your weed evenly. If unground nuggets of marijuana or stems are blocking the convection’s airflow, your herbs will not burn uniformly. A handheld vape can hold up to .2 to .5g of flower, and once you’ve heated your vape up to the hottest setting to smoke, that bowl is cashed and it’s time to re-load.

Health Concerns

If by now you’re thinking you just want to do the easiest thing possible and go with pre-filled oil cartridges, beware! Take a second to remember that the lungs are very sensitive, and it’s important to be careful with what you expose them to.

The cheaper the cartridge, the more likely that the oil inside is cut with additives which are harmful. Be on the lookout and avoid cartridges that include: formaldehyde, acrolein, diacetyl, and vitamin E.

While Vitamin E is safe for topical use it is NOT safe for inhalation, yet is commonly found in vape cartridges anyway. 

The long-term effects of vapes have not been observed since vapes haven’t been around for much more than a decade, but there is a creepy acronym for lung damage directly related to vaping: EVALI (E-Cigarette or Vaping use-Associated Lung Injury).

Please educate yourself on the not-cute aspects of vaping using pre-filled cartridges before developing a preventable condition like “popcorn lung” or lung disease. 


There is no mystery about the popularity of vaping. Medical marijuana has been legalized in 37 states, and recreational use of marijuana has been legalized in 18 states. 

Vapes have played a big part in removing the stigma associated with smoking weed, while also delivering the effects of marijuana to the consumer in a casual way.

With restrictions being lifted, the market is chock-full of options. It is even possible to vape pure CBD and forgo all of the psychoactive effects of marijuana!

We encourage new users to educate themselves on the health benefits of vaping flower as compared to oil cartridges. While oil cartridges might be an easy way in, vaping old-school marijuana is not hard and can be very rewarding.