How to Spot a Fake Vape Cartridge | Don't Buy a Fake Vape Cartridge

How to Spot a Fake Vape Cartridge

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Cannabis 101
Published On 25-10-2021

How to Spot a Fake Vape Cartridge

Vape cartridges are a fascination among cannabis smokers who prefer smoking from vape pens. Some smokers even have the habit of collecting vape pens. Although being on the expensive side, they are easy to use as they are convenient and portable. They come in different types, from conduction-style to portable radiation vaporizers.

However, every cannabis smoker should be aware that there are fake vape cartridges out there. These fake vape cartridges pose several health-related risks.

Vaping-associated pulmonary injury is an issue that cannabis smokers might face due to fake vapes or e-cigarettes. It can cause different types of pneumonia. This is why it is essential to know how to recognize a fake vape cartridge.

Attention cannabis smokers! Here's how you can spot them.

Always look at the packaging

This is by far the best way to spot whether something is fake. The first thing you'll notice in a fake cartridge is incorrect spelling. Most fake cartridges have grammatical issues either at the front or at the backside.

Another easy way to spot a fake vape pen or cartridge is unprofessional packaging. Look at the folds and the labels. Fake ones will have labels attached in the wrong places.

Cannabis smokers must also check for the bar code and other details behind the vape pen.

Look for the THC warning sign

Authentic and licensed vape pen producers will always put a THC warning sign. THC is the substance present in cannabis responsible for making you high. Just like cigarette packets come with a warning of lung cancer and other lung-related diseases as a mandatory disclosure, so do vape cartridges.

Read the ingredient list

Reading the ingredient list is a great way to determine whether your vape pen is fake. It is hard for laymen and amateur smokers to understand and judge the quality of the oil. Vape pens do not come with 100% pure cannabis oil. Fake ones contain Vitamin E or MCT oil to thicken the mixture. Research has found that this Vitamin E acetate thickener is one of the main reasons for causing vaping-related pulmonary disorders.

As such, avoid buying vape pens and cartridges that contain the following:

Vitamin E acetate.

Propylene glycol.

Diethylene glycol.

Note: Propylene glycol is an FDA-approved preservative, but it can cause headaches and other symptoms when inhaled.

Look for cartridges where the oil is thick and has a gold color. An oil with a dark yellow or orange color is probably fake, and you must immediately throw it away.

Genuine vape cartridges are costly

Have you ever seen an expensive oil being sold at a very low price, like less than $50 per concentration?

If you have bought a vape pen at a lower price, then you are probably about to smoke from a fake one. These things do not come at a discounted price. A vape pen is expensive. A cheaper one is likely fake.

Stick to older, proven brands

When buying vape pens, try sticking to an older brand. Opt for known brands, especially those from which you have already bought products. Newer brands are difficult to judge since they have few reviews available online.

Look for reputable brands that have been selling authentic vape products and cartridges for a long time. Some newer or illicit brands add diluted substances into the oil. They might even be able to replicate the color of authentic oils. When things go wrong, and you dial their contact number, you can be sure that they will be gone.

Verify the lab results

Brands that have a proper license will readily let you see their lab results. A Certificate of Analysis (COA) will be provided with the lab results. Read the full report thoroughly and look up any terms that you do not understand.

Unfortunately, many fake brands will provide you with photoshopped COA. Everything is possible with computers nowadays, so make sure to stick with the known brands.

Calculate the concentration

When you get the report, check the concentration of the ingredients. THC concentration is normally high, so if you find that it's less than 60%, it means the oil is heavily diluted with potentially harmful substances.

At the same time, note that an extremely high concentration — like 99% — is also suspicious and undesirable since it can even be fatal.

Look for the license

Cannabis smokers must make sure that their vape pens are licensed. In states like California, manufacturers are required to print their license number on the packaging as an act of transparency. There are legal websites to check whether these manufacturers are registered.

If you cannot find the license number posted on the dedicated website, it's likely that you were about to smoke from an unlicensed fake vape pen. Try to buy vape pens from a licensed medical shop, as they will provide you with authentic products.


1.What happens if you vape a fake cart?

As most of the fake cartridges are diluted with harmful substances, they tend to burn your lungs. Smoking from a fake vape cartridge can also cause several pulmonary disorders resulting in pneumonia. In 2019, the CDC reported 350 cases of vaping-associated pulmonary disorders.

2.How can you tell if exotic carts are fake?

You can determine this from the packaging, logos, stickers, and license. If you suspect any of them or any information is missing, it's likely a fake vape pen. Exotic carts are costly, so the cheap ones are almost certainly fake.

3.Will I get sick if I smoke from a fake vape pen?

Definitely! Smoking from a fake vape pen can make you sick. If the concentration is heavily diluted, it will start to affect you after the first hit. Smoking from a fake vape pen for a long time is guaranteed to make you sick. Some of the consequences are vaping-related pulmonary disorders, which can result in pneumonia and even death.

4.Is it safer to vape or smoke?

Smoking is more harmful than vaping. However, note that vaping is still unsafe if you are using a fake pen.

5.Can vaping damage teeth?

Yes, vaping can damage teeth and other oral parts like the mouth, tongue, etc. Marijuana and cigarettes can also harm your teeth.

6.How do you test a vape pen?

The best way to test a vape pen is to turn it upside down. If the air bubble moves very quickly upside down, the liquid is safe. If it contains some other oils or high-quality distillate, the air bubble will hardly move. This might be a fake vape pen.

Pro tips when buying vape pens and cartridges.

Research and buy.

Opt for older brands as they are trustworthy.

Try buying from a trusted vendor.

Avoid cheap vape pens because they will likely turn out to be fake.

Cannabis smokers must avoid fake vape pens since they can cause pulmonary diseases and even sudden death. Amateurs might find it difficult to spot fake pens in the wild. The street markets are a hub for illegal trading and provide no transparency.

So, do your research to prevent any unwanted health risks and buy vape pens and cartridges from trusted and reputable sellers.