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What Are Carts? Slang, Types & All You Want to Know

Carts, commonly referred to as “Vape cartridges,” have become a popular choice for individuals seeking a convenient and discreet method of consuming cannabis, nicotine, or other substances through vaporization. As the demand for vape cartridges continues to rise, understanding their components, variations, and safety considerations becomes essential. In this article, we delve into the world of vape cartridges, exploring their construction, types, usage, and potential risks associated with counterfeit products.


What is a Cart in Drug Terms?

what is a cart
what is a cart

A cart, short for vape cartridge, is a small container typically made of glass, plastic, or metal that holds a liquid or oil concentrate used for vaping. While they are often associated with cannabis and marijuana extracts, vape carts can also contain nicotine-based liquids or flavored e-liquids. The cartridge typically attaches to a battery-powered vape pen or device, allowing the user to inhale the vapor produced by heating the liquid inside the cartridge. Vape carts come in various sizes, shapes, and designs, and they are popular among individuals looking for a convenient and discreet way to consume their preferred substances.

What Is a Real Cart?

A “real cart” typically refers to a vape cartridge that contains authentic cannabis extracts, specifically those derived from high-quality cannabis plants. These cartridges are crafted using sophisticated extraction methods to isolate and concentrate the cannabinoids, flavonoids, and terpenes found in cannabis.

What Is a Fake Cart?

A “fake cart” refers to a vape cartridge that contains counterfeit or adulterated cannabis extracts. These fake carts are often produced by unauthorized manufacturers who use lower quality or synthetic ingredients to mimic the appearance and effects of authentic cannabis extracts.

Fake carts may contain additives such as vegetable glycerin, propylene glycol, or other substances to dilute the cannabis extract, thereby reducing its potency and quality. Additionally, these counterfeit products may lack proper quality control measures and testing for harmful additives and contaminants, posing potential health risks to consumers.

Read More: What Is a 510 Cartridge


What Are Carts Made Of

The main body of the cartridge is typically made of glass or plastic. This container holds the concentrated cannabis extract.

The mouthpiece is the part of the cartridge where the user inhales the vapor. It’s usually made of plastic, ceramic, or metal and is designed for comfort and ease of use.

Inside the cartridge, there’s a heating element, often a coil or ceramic wick, which heats up to vaporize the cannabis extract.

The heating element is usually surrounded by a wick or coil. The wick absorbs the cannabis oil, allowing it to be heated evenly and vaporized effectively.


What are Carts Supposed to Taste Like

The taste of carts can vary depending on factors such as the strain of cannabis used, any added flavorings or terpenes, and the quality of the extraction process.
Ideally, carts should have a taste that reflects the natural flavors and aromas of the cannabis strain from which the oil was extracted. This can range from earthy and herbal to fruity or citrusy, depending on the specific strain. Some carts may also have added flavorings to enhance the taste, such as fruit flavors or mint.
If a cart tastes significantly different from what you would expect based on the strain or if it has a harsh or chemical taste, it may indicate that the product has been adulterated or contaminated. In such cases, it’s best to discontinue use and seek products from reputable sources to ensure safety and quality.
Furthermore, carts should not have a burnt taste or smell, as this can indicate poor-quality extraction processes or the use of low-grade materials. These signs, along with unusually strong or artificial flavors, can indeed indicate that the cartridge may be counterfeit or adulterated.


What Does a Vape Cartridge Look Like?

What Does a Vape Cartridge Look Like

Vape cartridges come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and designs, but they typically share these common components. The appearance of a cartridge can vary depending on factors such as the manufacturer, the type of oil or extract inside, and any additional features or branding present on the cartridge.

The main body of the cartridge is usually a glass or plastic chamber that contains the cannabis oil or extract. The oil inside is often translucent and can range in color from light pink, straw, or amber to a light golden or honey-like hue. Air bubbles may also be visible within the liquid.

At the top of the cartridge is the mouthpiece, where the user inhales the vapor. Mouthpieces often have a tapered or narrow design for comfort.

Inside the cartridge, you’ll find the atomizer, which contains the heating coil responsible for vaporizing the oil. The coil may be hidden under a metal or ceramic housing within the cartridge.

At the base of the cartridge is the connector, which allows the cartridge to attach to the battery of the vape pen or device


Weed Cart Sizing

In the cannabis vape cartridges, the two most common sizes are 1 ml and 0.5 ml.

1 ml Cartridge

1ml cartridge
1ml Cartridge

This size is equivalent to 1 gram of cannabis oil or extract. It is often referred to as a “full gram cart.” These cartridges hold a larger volume of oil and are suitable for users who consume larger quantities or prefer fewer refills.

0.5 ml Cartridge

0.5ml Vape Cartridge
0.5ml Vape Cartridge

Also known as a “half gram cart” or “point-five gram cart,” this size contains 500 mg of cannabis oil or extract. It is the most common size offered by manufacturers. Smaller in volume compared to the 1 ml cartridge, the 0.5 ml cartridge is suitable for users who prefer smaller quantities or want to try different strains or flavors without committing to a larger amount.


Types of Carts Vape

There are several types of vape cartridges available, each with its own characteristics and purposes.

CO2 Oil

CO2 oil cartridges are made using a supercritical carbon dioxide extraction method, which preserves the natural compounds found in cannabis plants. This process yields a clean and potent oil with a full spectrum of cannabinoids and terpenes. CO2 oil cartridges are known for their purity and potency, providing a smooth and flavorful vaping experience.


CBD oil cartridges contain cannabidiol (CBD), a non-psychoactive compound found in cannabis plants known for its therapeutic properties. These cartridges are often used for medicinal purposes to alleviate pain, inflammation, anxiety, and other health conditions. CBD oil cartridges typically have little to no THC, making them suitable for users who want the medicinal benefits of cannabis without the psychoactive effects.


Some cartridges contain a balanced ratio of THC and CBD, offering both the psychoactive effects of THC and the therapeutic benefits of CBD. These cartridges are ideal for users who want a more balanced and well-rounded cannabis experience, providing relief from symptoms while still allowing for mild euphoria and relaxation.

Hemp-Derived Oil

Hemp-derived oil cartridges contain CBD extracted from hemp plants, which contain negligible amounts of THC (less than 0.3% by dry weight). These cartridges are legal in many places and are often used for their therapeutic effects without the psychoactive properties of THC. Hemp-derived oil cartridges are available in various flavors and formulations to suit different preferences and needs.

Flavored Cartridges

Some cartridges are infused with natural or artificial flavorings to enhance the taste and aroma of the cannabis oil. Flavored cartridges come in a wide range of options, including fruit, dessert, and menthol flavors, catering to different taste preferences. These cartridges can provide a more enjoyable vaping experience for users who prefer flavored cannabis products.

Disposable Cartridges

Disposable cartridges are pre-filled vape cartridges that are meant to be used once and then disposed of. They typically come with a built-in battery and do not require refilling or recharging. 

Refillable Cartridges

Refillable cartridges are designed to be refilled with vape juice, cannabis oil, or other liquids multiple times. They often come with a removable mouthpiece and can be used with various types of vape pens or devices. 

Read More:

Different Types of Carts

Different Types of Vapes


Do Carts Have Nicotine?

Vape cartridges, also known as “carts,” can contain nicotine if they are specifically designed for nicotine vaping. However, not all vape cartridges contain nicotine.

On the other hand, vape cartridges designed for cannabis or CBD vaping do not contain nicotine. These cartridges contain cannabis oil, CBD oil, or other cannabis extracts, but they do not contain nicotine.


How Does a Cart Work

A vape cartridge consists of a glass or plastic cylinder with a mouthpiece at the top and threading at the bottom for attachment to a vape pen. Inside the cartridge, there is a heating element, usually a coil or ceramic wick, surrounded by a wick or coil that absorbs the oil-based herbal concentrate. When activated by the battery of the vape pen, the heating element heats up, vaporizing the concentrate, which is then inhaled through the mouthpiece. Vape cartridges offer a convenient and discreet method for consuming herbal concentrates through vaporization.

Read More: How Does a Vape Cartridge Work


Parts of a Cart

The parts of a vape cartridge, also known as a “cart,” typically include Cartridge Body,  Mouthpiece, Heating Element, Wick or Coil and Connector. These components work together to vaporize the herbal concentrate stored in the cartridge.


Parts of a Cart
Parts of a Cart
Parts of a Cart
Parts of a Cart

Cartridge Body: The main body of the cartridge, usually made of glass or plastic, which houses the components and holds the oil-based herbal concentrate.

Mouthpiece: The top part of the cartridge where the user inhales the vapor produced by the device.

Heating Element: Located inside the cartridge, this element, often a coil or ceramic wick, heats up when activated to vaporize the concentrate.

Wick or Coil: Surrounding the heating element, the wick or coil absorbs the oil-based herbal concentrate for vaporization.

Connector: The bottom part of the cartridge, which contains threading or magnetic connections for attachment to the battery of the vape pen, allowing power to reach the heating element.


How Are Carts Made


Vape cartridges, commonly referred to as “carts,” are manufactured through a process that involves several steps. Throughout the manufacturing process, strict quality control measures are implemented to ensure the safety, performance, and reliability of the vape cartridges. Manufacturers may also adhere to regulatory requirements and industry standards to ensure compliance with applicable laws and regulations governing vape products.

  • Design and Planning

Manufacturers design the specifications for the vape cartridge, including its size, shape, materials, and compatibility with vape pens.

  • Materials Procurement

The necessary materials, such as glass or plastic for the cartridge body, mouthpieces, heating elements (coils or ceramic wicks), and connectors, are sourced from suppliers.

  • Assembly of Components

The various components of the vape cartridge, including the cartridge body, mouthpiece, heating element, wick or coil, and connector, are assembled according to the design specifications.

  • Filling with Oil

Once assembled, the cartridges are filled with the oil-based herbal concentrate. This concentrate is often extracted from cannabis plants using solvents or other extraction methods. The filling process must be precise to ensure consistent dosing and avoid leaks.

  • Quality Control

Each cartridge undergoes quality control checks to ensure that it meets safety, performance, and regulatory standards. This may involve testing for leaks, proper heating function, and accurate dosage of the herbal concentrate.

  • Packaging

Once quality control checks are completed, the cartridges are packaged in suitable containers, often sealed in cartridge packaging to maintain freshness and prevent contamination.


Do Vape Pens Fit All Cartridges

Vape pens and cartridges typically have specific compatibility requirements.

Vape cartridges come in different sizes and shapes, and they may have varying threading or magnetic connections at the base. This means that not all cartridges will fit into all vape pens.

While there are efforts to create universal standards for vape cartridges and pens, such as the 510-thread connection, there is still variability between manufacturers and models. As a result, universal compatibility is not guaranteed, and cartridges may not fit into all vape pens, even if they have the same threading.


How to Use a Cart

Ceramic Carts Vs Metal Carts

Ceramic Carts

Ceramic Carts

Metal Carts

Metal Carts

Metal cartridges and ceramic cartridges are two common types of vape cartridges distinguished by their construction materials. Metal carts utilize a heating apparatus or coil made of metal, while ceramic carts use a ceramic heating element. Although both types can differ in how they heat or the type of wick used, the primary difference lies in the material itself. This distinction not only impacts vaping components like flavor but also safety.

Previously, metal vape carts were widely used due to their cost-effectiveness and reliability in heating cannabis oil and e-juice. However, concerns arose when lower-quality metal materials failed compliance testing, risking leaching of harmful compounds like lead into the product. In contrast, ceramic cartridges offer safety benefits and deliver better taste, improved vapor production, and a clearer view of the oil inside.


Cart vs Dab: Are Dab Pens and Carts the Same

Is a Cart a Vape Pen?

Cartridge (or Cart) is the top part of the vape pen that contains the cannabis oil or concentrate. It typically consists of a chamber filled with oil and a mouthpiece through which the vapor is inhaled. Cartridges come in various sizes, shapes, and materials, and they are compatible with the battery component of the vape pen.

So, while the cartridge is a crucial component of a vape pen, the term “vape pen” typically refers to the entire device, including both the cartridge and the battery.


What Do Fake Carts Contain?

Fake THC cartridges, which are counterfeit or unregulated products often sold on the black market, can contain a range of harmful substances and additives.

Counterfeit THC cartridges have been found to contain hydrogen cyanide, a highly toxic compound that can cause serious health effects when inhaled. Hydrogen cyanide is a byproduct of certain chemical reactions that occur when counterfeit cartridges are heated.

Some fake THC cartridges may contain myclobutanil, a fungicide commonly used in agriculture. When heated, myclobutanil can break down into hydrogen cyanide gas, leading to the presence of hydrogen cyanide in the vapor produced by the cartridge.

In addition to hydrogen cyanide and myclobutanil, fake THC cartridges may contain other harmful contaminants, such as pesticides, heavy metals, and solvents. These contaminants can pose serious health risks when inhaled and may contribute to adverse effects on the respiratory system and overall health.


Do Carts Smell

Cannabis oil carts generally produce less odor compared to traditional methods of smoking cannabis, such as joints or pipes. However, they can still emit a noticeable aroma, especially when the vapor is exhaled. Some terpenes and aromas can still be detectable, especially if the concentrate is heated to higher temperatures. The scent of cannabis vapor from cartridges can vary depending on factors such as the strain of cannabis used and any added flavorings. While the odor may not be as strong or linger as much as smoke from burning cannabis, it can still be detected by those nearby.


What are Carts Laced with

In the context of vaping, “laced” refers to adding additional substances to the vape liquid, often without the consumer’s knowledge or consent. This can include synthetic cannabinoids, which are human-made chemicals that mimic the effects of THC, the active ingredient in cannabis.

Lacing vape liquids with synthetic cannabinoids can be extremely dangerous, as these chemicals can have unpredictable and potent effects on the body and mind. They can lead to adverse reactions such as rapid heart rate, confusion, paranoia, hallucinations, and even seizures. Additionally, the long-term effects of these substances are not well understood.


What are Carts Cut with

Cannabis oil cartridges, or “carts,” can sometimes be cut with various substances to increase volume, alter viscosity, or enhance effects, though this practice is more common in unregulated or illicit markets.

  • Propylene glycol (PG) and vegetable glycerin (VG)
    These are common thinning agents used to dilute the cannabis oil and adjust its viscosity for vaping. While they are generally regarded as safe for consumption, some people prefer cartridges without these additives.
  • Medium-chain triglycerides (MCT) oil
    MCT oil, often derived from coconut oil, can also be used as a thinning agent. It’s generally considered safe for consumption, but inhaling MCT oil can cause respiratory irritation in some individuals.
  • Flavorings
    Manufacturers may add natural or artificial flavorings to enhance the taste of the cannabis oil. However, some flavorings may contain additives or chemicals that can be harmful when inhaled.
  • Cutting agents or diluents
    In unregulated markets, carts may be cut with substances like vitamin E acetate, which was implicated in a spate of vaping-related lung injuries in 2019. Other cutting agents may include polyethylene glycol (PEG), terpenes, or other oils.


Final Words

Vape cartridges play a significant role in the evolving landscape of vaping culture, offering users a portable, customizable, and efficient way to enjoy their preferred substances. From cannabis extracts to nicotine-based liquids, vape cartridges come in various forms to cater to diverse preferences and needs. However, amidst the growing popularity of vape cartridges, concerns arise regarding counterfeit products and potential health risks associated with unregulated substances.


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