CBD Vape Cartridge Buyer’s Guide

Written by 
Gleb Oleinik, CBD Journalist.
|Last Updated:
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CBD is making headlines as a substantial trend in health and wellness. While most people use this non-psychoactive cannabis compound in the form of CBD oil, the reality is that CBD can be used in a myriad of ways.

For example, many people prefer to vape CBD. One of the easiest ways to get into vaping CBD is to purchase a cartridge pre-filled with CBD e-liquid.

In this guide, we’ll go over everything you need to know about vaping CBD with a cartridge.

What is CBD?

Cannabidiol (CBD) is a natural chemical found in cannabis. It belongs to a class of compounds called cannabinoids, of which there are more than 100 different types.

Cannabinoids are the main active ingredients in cannabis and are largely responsible for its therapeutic benefits. Cannabinoids such as CBD work by interacting with the endocannabinoid system: a network of cannabinoid receptors located throughout the body’s central and peripheral nervous systems.

This system helps our bodies maintain homeostasis: a healthy state of balance. It regulates many key processes such as our immune responses, sleep, stress, and metabolism.

Unlike tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the cannabinoid most of us are familiar with, CBD is non-psychoactive. This means it doesn’t make you “high.” This allows people to benefit from cannabis without experiencing its intoxicating effects.

CBD Products

There are many ways to enjoy the benefits of CBD, with CBD oil being the most popular. However, CBD can also be used in many other forms such as in gummies and edibles, capsules, creams, as an isolate, and in vape e-liquids.

CBD Vape Cartridges

If you choose to vape CBD, cartridges are one of the possible options. A CBD cartridge is a small cylindrical tank filled with CBD vape juice. They can be flavored with terpenes, using fruit extracts, or maintain the strong earthy flavor of hemp extract.

These cartridges typically have a volume of 0.5 or 1 mL and can be attached to any vape device such as a slim pen or a larger vaporizer with a 510-thread battery. Vape cartridges can also come in specialized forms such as the JUUL vape pods, which only work with a corresponding JUUL vaporizer.

Benefits of Vaping CBD

Vaping produces the same health benefits when compared to other ways of using CBD. The only difference is that the CBD enters your blood through the lungs rather than sublingually (absorbed under the tongue) as it does with CBD oil.

As such, vaping CBD has the potential to improve anxiety, stress, depression, insomnia, inflammatory conditions such as arthritis, pain, migraines, and even cardiovascular disorders. Moreover, there is some evidence that CBD may help with multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer’s, and other serious, difficult to treat conditions.

However, the quality of medical research evidence backing these benefits varies wildly. Right now, only the use of CBD for specific types of seizures has evidence to suggest it safe for clinical use.

Meanwhile, the evidence for other uses and the potential benefits which may be experienced by users suffering from a variety of conditions is largely based on research done on isolated cells and animals, which means the findings might not translate to human studies.

Advantages of Vaping CBD Over Oil and Other Products

Vaping CBD has one key advantage over CBD oil and all other forms of CBD: quick onset of effects. Simply put, when you vape CBD, you feel it right away. By comparison, CBD oils take about 10 to 30 minutes to be perceived, and other means of using CBD take even longer.

The second major advantage of vaping CBD is high absorption. Research suggests that vaping CBD leads to absorption levels around 10% and as high as 60%, which is significantly more than most other methods.

For example, CBD capsules and edibles have an absorption rate of only about 13-19%, which means only a small portion of the CBD you take reaches the blood where it can provide its benefits.

Vaping CBD is also practical. You can easily take your vape with you wherever you go and use it as needed. Finally, vaping CBD is enjoyable. Whereas taking CBD oil can feel like a chore, vaping is a fun experience that includes tasting pleasant flavors and creating clouds of vapor.

However, vaping CBD does have two key downsides. For starters, its effects are short-lasting: typically about one or two hours. By comparison, CBD oil tinctures usually last for three hours or more. In addition, there are some concerns about the long-term safety of vaping.

CBD is legal in many places around the world, including the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom.

However, it’s exact legal status depends on which kind of cannabis plant it’s isolated from: marijuana or hemp.

Hemp plants contain extremely low levels of THC (0.3% or less). Since this amount isn’t enough to cause psychoactive effects, many countries allow companies to produce CBD rich products from hemp. For example, the 2018 Farm Bill made hemp and hemp derived products legal in the United States at the federal level.

By contrast, marijuana plants usually contain significant levels of THC, which means they can make you high. This explains why marijuana, and by extension, marijuana derived CBD products are illegal in most countries.

How to Use a CBD Vape Cartridge

Vaping with a CBD cartridge is fairly simple. First, you need to choose one of two CBD cartridge types: pre-filled or refillable.

Pre-Filled CBD Cartridges

A pre-filled CBD cartridge already contains CBD e-liquid. Generally speaking, pre-filled CBD cartridges are meant to be disposable, which means you throw them out when they run out of CBD. However, many CBD cartridges are made from durable materials such as glass, allowing them to be refilled and reused.

Refillable CBD Cartridges

A refillable CBD cartridge is empty when you buy it. This means you have to purchase CBD vape juice separately to fill the cartridge. Unlike the pre-filled variety, refillable cartridges are made from high quality materials such as metal, ceramic, or glass. This means they’re meant to last and you can continue refilling them for a long time.

In the long run, using refillable cartridges is cheaper than pre-filled ones since you can purchase CBD juice separately for lower prices and don’t need to buy a new cartridge every time you run out of e-liquid.

Filling an Empty CBD Vape Cartridge

If your cartridge is empty, you’ll have to fill it with CBD juice first. Unscrew the cartridge and fill it with your choice of CBD vape juice, taking care not to overfill.

Next, give the e-liquid 10-15 minutes to absorb into the wicking material inside your coil. This will prevent burning and extend the life of the coil.

Attach the cartridge to any 510-thread-compatible vape device and you’re ready to start vaping. Be sure to start with one small puff if you’re new to CBD.

CBD Vape Cartridge Storage

Like all products containing CBD, cartridges should be stored in a cool, dry, dark place to prevent CBD degradation.

Choosing a CBD Dosage

Whether you’re using CBD oil, a CBD vape cartridge, or any other type of CBD product, choosing the right dosage is a common issue. Unfortunately, there’s no universal CBD dosage that works well for everyone. For example, a 10 mg dose that helps one person fall asleep might not be enough for someone else with the same issue.

Your CBD dosage will depend on many factors, such as the type of CBD extract you’re using, the CBD potency of your product, the severity of your condition, and your individual body chemistry and weight.

We strongly recommend consulting a doctor before you use CBD. A qualified healthcare professional can not only help figure out the best dosage for your specific case but also highlight any potential interactions between CBD and other medications.

If you’re not able to get a doctor’s recommendation, you should start with the lowest possible CBD dose. Start by taking a small puff and pay attention to how you feel. If you don’t notice any effects within a few minutes, gradually increase your dose. Keep doing this until you start experiencing the desired effects and stick to that dose.

As a general point of reference, the average person uses 10-50 mg doses of CBD once or twice daily.

Safety of Vaping CBD

The safety of vaping is an ongoing debate. Although there’s plenty of evidence that vaping is significantly less harmful than smoking, health experts don’t know enough about its long term effects.

Some early studies suggest that vaping may have some risks, such as an increased chance of heart attack. However, the current evidence is extremely limited. More studies are needed before we can say for certain whether vaping is safe or not, especially after a long period of use.

Does Vaping CBD Make You High?

CBD is a non-psychoactive cannabinoid, which means it cannot get you high. Actually, research evidence shows that CBD can reduce the negative intoxicating effects of THC, such as anxiety and paranoia.

Even if you’re using a full spectrum CBD vape oil, the small amount of THC present (0.3% or less) is not enough to make you high.

Does Vaping CBD Cause Side Effects?

Decades of studies have shown CBD to be a remarkably safe substance. The World Health Organization reported in 2018 that “CBD is generally well tolerated with a good safety profile.”

Having said that, vaping CBD can still cause side effects such as tiredness, lightheadedness, diarrhea, and dry mouth. Experiencing these effects is usually associated with taking high doses.

Where Can You Buy CBD Vape Cartridges

CBD vape cartridges and other CBD products are available online and in physical stores. They’re sold by individual companies or retailers that offer products from multiple brands.

Most people buy CBD products from online stores because they offer a wider selection and cheaper prices than physical locations. If you decide to shop for CBD cartridges in a vape shop, cannabis store, or a dispensary, you should compare the price to the same or similar product online.

CBD Vape Cartridge Pricing

CBD products, including cartridges, vary wildly in prices. One effective way to figure out whether your product is expensive is to calculate the price per mg of CBD.

This can be done by dividing the price by the total amount of CBD. For example, a cartridge pre-filled with 500 mg of CBD with a price of $50 costs 50/500 = $0.1 per mg of CBD.

For CBD cartridges, prices of $0.1 – $0.2 per mg are considered average. Also, buying larger amounts is more cost effective because it reduces the per mg price.

Use this information to help you make a decision when shopping for CBD cartridges, especially when comparing products of similar quality and CBD strength.

CBD Vape Cartridge Strength

The amount of CBD present in your cartridge matters as well. CBD cartridges tend to be quite potent because they pack a large amount of CBD in one mL of vape liquid, typically anywhere from 100 to 1000 mg.

There are two things to consider in terms of CBD cartridge strength. First off, choose the potency that matches your needs best. If you’re just starting with CBD, it’s best to go with the lowest available potency.

Second, consider how much you will vape. If you’re only using CBD when you really need it, a CBD cartridge with a small amount, like 150 mg, could last you a while.

However, if you vape regularly, you may want to go for a higher strength so that the cartridge lasts longer and saves you money.

Buying a High-Quality CBD Vape Cartridge

The CBD market is largely unregulated, which means there are many different brands with varying levels of quality. As such, we recommend doing some research before buying a CBD vape cartridge.

Specifically, there are four main factors to look into before you choose a CBD vape cartridge: third party lab testing, the type of CBD extract used, the hemp source, and the extraction process.

Third Party Lab Testing

The best way to make sure you’re buying a high-quality CBD product is by examining manufacturer provided third party lab testing. These tests are done by an independent laboratory to verify the safety and potency of the product. Third party tests provide you with proof that the CBD cartridge you’re buying contains safe THC levels and the advertised amount of CBD.

In addition, third party labs can test CBD products for pesticides, heavy metals, and other potentially harmful substances to give you an additional layer of safety.

Look for third party test documents on the product page or a dedicated section of the company’s website. If these tests are not available, you should probably look for a different brand.

Type of CBD Extract: Full Spectrum vs. CBD Isolate

Another key factor when it comes to buying a CBD vape cartridge or any other CBD product is the type of CBD extract is used. Generally speaking, CBD can either come in the form of full spectrum hemp extract or as CBD isolate.

As the name suggests, isolate contains only pure CBD and nothing else. In comparison, full spectrum hemp extract contains CBD in addition to all other naturally occurring cannabinoids, terpenes, and phytochemicals found in hemp plants.

Research has shown that whole plant, full spectrum preparations are more effective than isolated CBD because of the “entourage effect”, a phenomenon where all of the different components of cannabis work together in synergy. Thanks to this effect, full spectrum CBD extracts offer the advantage of requiring smaller doses and producing fewer side effects when compared to CBD isolate.

Most CBD cartridges are made with CBD isolate because it’s easier to formulate. If you want to get the most benefit out of vaping with a CBD cartridge, we recommend using a full spectrum CBD formula.

Hemp Source

CBD is isolated from hemp plants, which means the conditions under which these plants were cultivated matters as well. High quality hemp is non-GMO, organic, and grown without the use of pesticides.

Also, you want to check for the location where the hemp was grown. In the United States, Colorado is undoubtedly the best source of hemp, with Oregon and Kentucky not far behind. European Union countries are excellent sources of hemp as well. Look for this information on the company’s website.

Extraction Method

The way that CBD is extracted from hemp also has an impact on the potency and safety of the final product. Generally speaking, the two leading, most effective methods of isolating CBD and other beneficial compounds from hemp are CO2 and ethanol extraction.

CO2 extraction is widely considered the industry gold standard: it’s an expensive method that isolates CBD and other active ingredients without degrading them. This method leaves behind harmful compounds. Meanwhile, ethanol extraction is not as desirable. It is a cheaper process that, when not performed perfectly, leaves some traces of solvent in your CBD extract.

Again, this information can typically be found on the product page or the company’s website.

Disclaimer: CBD vape products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease or ailment. We recommend consulting with a qualified doctor when taking CBD, especially if you already use other medications. The information on our website is intended to provide educational information about CBD and is not to be construed as medical advice or instruction.


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About The Authors
Gleb Oleinik
Gleb Oleinik
CBD Journalist
Gleb Oleinik is a freelance health writer and Journalist from Vancouver, Canada. He’s read thousands of research studies about various supplement ingredients, enabling him to translate complex health information into simple language. Gleb specializes in CBD and has personally tried and reviewed dozens of CBD products. He’s knowledgeable about the ins and outs of the CBD industry as well as the science and research behind this popular natural remedy.
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