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With a growing number of deaths and health conditions linked to fake vape cartridge products here is how you can ensure safety when buying from your local cannabis dispensaries. 

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This year has seen an alarming wave of pulmonary injuries caused believed to be caused by Vaping. This year over 530 people have become ill, with 6 deaths being attributed to to vaping!


So if you do enjoy the occasional puff off a disposable vape pen how can you ensure that the product you are consuming is safe?


Well the bad news is no fool proof way to do this. As a relatively well regulated market there are already safeguards in places. However even well regulated products sometimes have recalls. Particularly when a product is suspected of being contaminated.


The number one piece of advice we have heard when it comes to detecting illicit or contaminated products is to only purchase them from a licensed dispensary. Buying from a unlicensed vendor should be completely avoided at all costs. 









Licensed Products Can Be Considered Much Safer, But Not Risk Free!

Everyone who has been consulted from cannabis industry professionals to scientists in the lab say that a legal and well regulated cannabis market is likely to be a safer prospect. 


Factors like increased accountability and the strict testing procedures required under state law mean that the unaccountable element has been removed from the legal market. 


The California Cannabis Industry Association has also pointed out that it is important to remember none of these illnesses have been linked to products purchased from licensed vendors. 


Indeed the advice is that if you want to stay safe stick with the regulated medical cannabis programs in your area. There is also the option to just access the legal, recreational markets in Alaska, Washington, Nevada, California & Colorado etc. 


Illinois has recently passed a bill allowing cannabis stores to open for adult use, however this will not be enacted until January 2020. 


In Maine and Vermont they have also legalized adult use cannabis stores but as of yet do not have any! 


This means no lab and certified products. 

Please, Do Not Buy This Rubbish!

The below pictures are examples of the inferior products available at LA’s unregulated wholesale market.









Be Sure The License Exists & Is Valid!

It can be difficult to be certain which traders actually have a license – especially in larger cities. Many illegal dispensaries are currently in operation so it is very important to ensure the store has the right credentials. 


Ask to check the store or cannabis dispensaries license. This is not a bid deal and they should be able to show it to you. In California it is a legal requirement that is clearly displayed in store. Refer to the Bureau of Cannabis Control Website to check the store is registered and licensed. If the store is nor registered here, they are not part of the regulated market. Or at the very least not working completely in line with the rules!


Equally important is to check the products unique marking and identifier codes, also check the QR code. 


Look At The Packaging!

On top of ensuring that you are shopping in a regulated market, it is also very important to check the product packaging itself. Poor print, spelling mistakes and lack of numbers/barcodes are giveaways when it comes to spotting a fake. 


Labelling and heat seal quality are also tells for fake products. 


The labels should all be displaying – 


  • A date of manufacture
  • A date of packaging
  • Batch Number
  • Lot Number

Watch Out For Fake Copycats!

The copiers are not just looking to produce their own inferior and potentially toxic products. In addition to these fake brands they are also looking to mimic popular ones. 


It’s very easy for the fraudsters to buy the glass tank cartridges along with counterfeit labels that attempt to copy the legal brand cookies. Just $18.


Keep An Eye On The Ingredients!

Most vape products contain diluents like propylene glycol vegetable glycerin or medium chain triglycerides (MCT) oil.


These can give the cannabis extract a more liquid consistency in order to be heated and vaped more easily. Often they are used to just make the product less expensive. Cheaper ingredients = cheaper end product. 


You could call them cutting agents. One new thickener in particular warrants special attention. Vitamin E acetate A.K.A. tocopheryl-acetate is currently being investigate for it potential links to vaping related health conditions. 


It must be said though the cause of the illnesses and conditions is as of yet not known. Avoiding this substance would probably be a wise decision in the meantime though!

Add Up The Math & Lab Results!

You can be sure you have seen a red flag if the numbers on the packaging look suspicious and don’t add up. 


Does the product contain a particularly low THC percentage?


Anything that comes in below 60% is probably cut with some undesirable ingredients. 


Be suspicious of very high numbers like 99.9%.


On the lab results ask the bud tender to see the Certificate of analysis (COA). 


Its’s not unheard of that some of these can be fake. Photo shopped to look real. If in doubt check with the lab!

Above All Trust Your Instincts!


These suggestions to inform your buying decision and ensure safety are all well and good but above and beyond this if you think there is something ‘off’ with your vape cartridge – stop using it.


Many of the diluents and cutting agents cannot be detected by the naked add being colorless, odorless and tasteless. You need a lab!


Though if something does smell or taste not right, do not take the risk.