How to Spot a Fake Vape Cartridge
If something feels like it's too good to be true, it probably is.
At Green Market Report, we like to focus on finances and analytics in the cannabis industry. In this article, however, we’re going to shift our focus a little bit – to fake vape cartridges.
Fake vape cartridges are a serious problem. They’re often made to mimic well-known brands, and they can reduce consumer confidence in the industry. Worse still – they can make you very sick, or even kill you if you don’t know how to spot them.
Unfortunately, the packaging for these vape cartridges can be incredibly professional. In this article, we’ll give you some tips on how you can spot the fakes.
But first, a piece of advice:
Only buy from legal vendors and trusted brands
The easiest way to avoid fake vape cartridges is to only purchase from trusted sources. You can get lab test results from legal vendors, as cannabis producers have to provide them. In those test results, you can see exactly how much THC – and other chemicals – are present in the cartridge you’re purchasing.
Getting your products from trusted producers like PAX Labs, makers of the Era Pro, Era Life, PAX 2 and 3, will significantly reduce your risk of ending up with a fake vape cartridge.
Of course, this advice is only so good when you’re purchasing your cartridges online, or if you’re living in a state where cannabis is still a black market product. In light of that, here are a few tips for spotting fake products.
Know your brands
Websites like Leafly are incredibly good at listing reliable brands and reviews for those brands. Before you purchase or vape a cartridge, look up the brand and name on Leafly or a similar resource site. There are so many different vaporizer cartridges cataloged on these sites that if yours is legitimate, you’re almost sure to find it.
Once you find the product in question, check reviews. You should also visit the website of the brand you’ve purchased. Then, compare the packaging you find with the packaging on your vape cartridge.
This is not a foolproof method – some of the nefarious actors creating these fake cartridges go out of their way to make their packaging match the real thing. Some of them create very high-quality websites. But doing your research can seriously help reduce your risk.
Check for regulatory compliance
This technique isn’t flawless, but it can help when you otherwise can’t tell whether or not the cartridge is legitimate.
Check the regulatory requirements for vape cartridge packaging in your area. In California, for example, you’re required to have:
- Manufacturer name and contact information
- Date of manufacture/packaging
- Government warning statement for cannabis products
- UID number
- Batch or lot number
- Instructions for use and any preparation needed
- List of all ingredients
- Artificial food colorings
- Expiration, use-by or best-by date
Check state laws or federal laws (in Canada) to see what information is required on the package, then check your package to see if it complies with those regulations. A weed store in Winnipeg is going to have different packaging requirements for its products than a weed store in Denver.
Be suspicious of overly good deals
See a cartridge that promises 99.9% THC for $10?
Be very suspicious.
Check online or at your local licensed vendor to see how much cartridges go for, what ingredients they have, and the amount of THC in the cartridge. Compare those values to the values of the cartridge you’ve purchased – if things are drastically different, you probably have a fake cartridge.
Trust your gut
If something feels like it’s too good to be true, it probably is. You might not be able to tell by taste, smell, or sight. You might just feel like something is wrong.
That’s okay. Trust that instinct. It’s better you waste a few bucks throwing out a real vape cartridge than it is to take a gamble on a fake one and lose.
We hope this brief article helps you avoid fake vapes. Stay safe out there!