Oil Cartridge 101: Tips, Tricks & Maintenance
Cartridge Crash Course!
Welcome to a the Cartridge Crash Course! Vaping from an oil cartridge is one of the easiest and most convenient ways to consume cannabis.
Since dispensaries are now more accessible throughout the U.S. (and parts of the world), many people have access to oils, concentrates, and even pre-filled cartridges. With the high cost of concentrates, knowing how to care for and maintain your cartridge will save you time, money, and frustration.
At VPM, we want to help you make the most of your cartridges. This article provides info about the cartridges we carry. We’ll go over the parts of the cartridge, and we’ll also share some care and maintenance tips to help them last as long as possible.
It’s natural to face a learning curve at some point with oil cartridges. When you really think about it, they are actually some pretty complex devices. We hope you’ll enjoy learning about cartridges, and that you have some insight to help prevent and resolve any issues.
Intro to Cartridges!
The cannabis oil cartridge is a fascinating device. It vaporizes liquids when the intake holes on the atomizer naturally pulls in the oil to be heated to a temperature that changes the state of the oil from liquid to gas (vapor). Here are the different parts of the cartridge that we’ll discuss:
- Threading or base – At the bottom of the cartridge, connects to the battery or power source
- Atomizer – The part of the cartridge that heats up and vaporizes your oil
- Intake holes – Holes in the cartridge that draw in your oil to be vaporized, also known as flowports
- Mouthpiece – Top of the cartridge, where vapor exits the cartridge
- Headspace – Space in between a filled cartridge to allow proper airflow
The intake holes are usually found in two or more places near the bottom of the cartridge. They are also known as flowports, and they work to pull the oil into atomizer. Once oil is in the atomizer, it’s ready to be heated for vaporization. If the intake holes aren’t covered by the liquid, there is no oil to pull in.
Activating the cartridge without the intake holes covered may give you a burnt taste, and could damage the atomizer. You’ll experience this taste if your cartridge is empty.
The headspace is another part of the cartridge that is sometimes overlooked. Headspace is known as the air between the top of the oil and the top of a fully filled cartridge. It’s created when the intake holes pull oil inside the atomizer.
Headspace is sometimes mistaken as a not fully filled cartridge, but it’s important to have some headspace for the vacuum seal of the cartridge.
You can use a Luer Lock Oil Syringe to be sure you’re using exactly 1ml (1000mg) or 0.5ml (500mg) of oil. Measuring out your oil before filling will give you the right amount of headspace. Just be sure to put the cap on securely, once you’re finished loading.
Types of Cartridges
The most common cannabis oil cartridge you’ll find in the industry is the 510-threaded oil cartridge. Different oil cartridges have unique features that cater to the user. Check out our product descriptions to learn more about a specific cartridge
Some examples we carry include a variety of oil cartridges such as our most popular CCell TH2..
There are other cartridges with magnetic bottoms such as the Jupiter L9 and the Magnetic SPRK cartridge. Some oil cartridge vape pen batteries include magnetic adapters for a 510-threaded cartridge (see CCell Palm).
Maintaining your Cartridge
Treat your cartridge kindly, and you’ll get the best use out of it. We know vape enthusiasts love the portable aspect of their vaporizers, but we recommend using caution when transporting your cartridge.
Taking your vape pen in your purse or pocket puts your cartridge at risk of clogs and other damage to the cartridge and the battery. Many cartridges come with silicon caps over the mouthpiece when you first get them. This helps keep lint, dirt, and any other unwanted debris from entering your cartridge. We recommend leaving the cap over the mouthpiece when not in use.
Store your cartridge in mild conditions, and avoid extreme heat and cold temperature changes, when possible. Air pressure and elevation changes can also cause leaking, so be careful when driving up in the mountains or flying in an airplane. If you know you’ll be experiencing large elevation changes, store your cartridge upside down (in this case only). Doing so will allow the atomizer to breathe and adjust to changes in pressure.
When using your cartridge, remember to hold it vertically, keeping the cartridge right-side-up. Vaping with your cartridge horizontally could result in a bad hit, especially if the oil is not covering the intake holes.
These tips for caring for your cartridge may seem simple, but they can make the world of a difference. In general, use common sense – love your cartridge, and it will love you!
Avoiding Leaky Cartridges
A leaky cartridge happens when fluid gets sent into the airway at any part of your cartridge, and it’s never fun to have a leaky cartridge! Leaks can happen for a few reasons, but most commonly has to do with the filling process. To avoid any leaks or frustration, check out these common issues:
Cartridge Not Fully Capped
The mouthpiece cap acts as a vacuum seal for the cartridges to work properly. If the caps are not completely closed, the intake holes will continue to pull your oil through and out of the cartridge. It’s a bummer to see all that oil go to waste, so get in the habit of really making sure they are closed.
Most cartridges have screw-on caps, but if you’re filling a cartridge such as the M6T cartridge, you’ll want a bit more pressure to fully cap them. Some people use a rubber mallet to tap them shut, and others might use an arbor press to make sure they are shut.
Cartridge Not Capped Fast Enough
Since the intake holes pull oil through the cartridge, it is important to make sure you cap the cartridges as soon as you can. Most manufacturers recommend capping the cartridge within 2-10 minutes after you fill your cartridge.
Changes in Pressure & Temperature
Aside from improper filling issues, the next common cause for leakage is change in temperature and pressure. If your cartridge is exposed to a large temperature increases, air inside the cartridge will expand, pushing liquid through the atomizer. A cartridge in extreme cold could freeze or thicken your oil to where it appears clogged. A large decrease in pressure will also cause oil to be pulled through the atomizer.
Whenever possible, keep your cartridge protected and insulated from the elements. If you’ll be going to high elevations, store your cartridge with the mouthpiece pointing down to help relieve some of that pressure.
Removing Clogs from your Cartridge
Some cartridges can become clogged if the oil is too thick. You can increase heat to the atomizer to help remove a clog. If you’re using an inhale activated battery, try using a hairdryer to loosen up any clogged oil. You might have to take a long, hard draw to really get some airflow and heat through your atomizer.
Give it a try- if you can’t inhale hard enough, check for clogs in the mouthpiece. If you see anything in there, use a twist tie or safety pin to carefully remove any debris from the mouthpiece, and try again.
If you are using a variable voltage battery, try increasing the voltage to the highest setting. This will bring a lot of heat to the atomizer, so it’s one of the best methods for removing a clog.
Do you have a button-activated battery? Another option to remove a clog is to push the button down for a few seconds to ‘prime’ the atomizer, which often provides enough heat to remove any clogged oil.
Still having trouble with clogging from your extremely thick oil? Check out our newest Oil cartridge by New Era, our most clog resistant oil cartridge.
Time to Vape
Now that you’ve got a full understanding of these awesome devices, put your knowledge to use! Whether you’re brand new or an experienced user, we hope you’ll use this information to make the most of your session.
Let us know if you have any other tips and tricks to share, and feel free to reach out if you have any questions or want to learn more about other topics. We love to hear your thoughts. Happy Vaping!