Fake vaporizer cartridges are everywhere. From gas station cartridges to cartridges that you can purchase at your local (possibly black market) vape shop, the number is far higher than many expect.
This puts a fault on the quality of products in circulation. Like many other products on the market, these are no stranger to bootlegging. Much like knock-off Prada or Gucci purses that you would find at your local flea market, vaporizer cartridges come at not just the cost of being fashionable fake but can also present a number of health issues.
Bootleg vaporizer cartridges present a black mark on a growing industry. With many states still skeptical of the industry as a whole, the rest are fighting the battle between regulated legal products and the black market that still tries to outbid a clean and safe industry at every turn.
Understanding how to tell the difference between a real cartridge and a fake cartridge has gained popularity among users. Knowing how to tell the difference is one of the most important things a consumer can learn.
Over the course of this industry's prominent rise, many have argued that the use of vaporizer technology is "safer" than its traditional counterparts. The lack of tar, carcinogens, and the removal of all combustion smoke and odor has been the focal point for vaporizer products.
Another thing of note is the legal markets' reliance on testing the quality of their products in order to provide all the information necessary for consumers to know that the vaporizer that they are using is safe.
Things were moving smoothly until reports of fake or bootleg vaporizer cartridges started making the rounds in major news outlets. It was an obvious target due to its rising popularity. Nothing can be perfect and when reports of teenagers and adults being hospitalized due to purchasing dab cartridges - threw a large stick in the wheel of many industry leaders. Not to mention put vaping on the dangerous list. With so many people purchasing refillable vape cartridges and pouring them at home, there was a lot of room for error.
So what is in a fake vape cartridge? In many reports, 100% of fake vape cartridges contain hydrogen cyanide. Another chemical found in these products is a fungicide known as myclobutanil. This active chemical transforms into a poisonous gas when applied to heat. This represents the traces of hydrogen cyanide found in these fake devices.
The biggest and most common chemical found in these cartridges is vitamin E acetate. The main reason why many bootleggers will add this to the mix is that it provides the same viscosity as the traditional PG/VG ratios but at a lower cost. Many of the illnesses attributed to fake vape pens and cartridges stem from these ingredients.
Symptoms of fake cartridges:
One of the best ways to spot a fake cartridge is to examine the packaging. Legal packaging is required by law to follow a specific set of rules and testing that can be easily located on the product.
A "legal" vaporizer package will contain the following information:
On top of these certifications, there are also QR codes on many of these packages that you can scan using your smartphone and it will provide a link to all the available testing data for your product.
Check for the serial number on the package and compare it with the serial number in the QR code. If they don't match up, well then you have a fake cartridge. Most legal retail stores will allow you to scan these products and even encourage them for their own business recommendation.
In order for the vaporizer cartridge to be considered part of the legal market, it must have a license number. On top of that, it must provide public access to its lab results online. If the vaporizer cartridge that you are looking at does not have either of these things then it is fake.
One other fact for consideration is to check the CBD percentages of your cartridge. If they showcase a low percentage, then typically they will be laced with other dangerous chemicals. If the percentage is lower than 60% then rest assured it is fake.
When you look at the price tag on the cartridge and notice that it is far lower than what you typically buy then rest assured that either way too old or an absolute fake. Many black market operators will do whatever they can to cut down on the cost of their products. If they can use cheaper materials at the cost of your well-being then they absolutely will. The price point comes down to you - the consumer and it is more than just a hunch that the quality just isn't there.
While the price might not be great, also check to see the thickness of the oil that you are looking to purchase. If it is far too runny, then chances are there isn't enough actual concentrate in the cartridge. This means that it is mixed with far too many other materials than what you want. Ask to check out the product before you purchase it. Turn it upside down then right side up. If it is extremely thin, then there are far too many things in that cartridge that you don't want to be inhaling.
When it comes to the color of the product, it is easy to tell right off the bat. If the content is a golden/clear color, then chances are what you are purchasing is legitimate. If the color is a dark brown or too orange, then there is definitely something wrong with the product, and chances are it is filled with too many additives that work against your experience.