How To Spot Fake Vape Cartridges

by Doug

How do you tell if a vape cartridge is fake or dangerous?

Vaping has continued to grow and take over not just the smoking market, but also the THC and CBD market as a great way to take a pull nearly anywhere, without the worry of inhaling smoke or leaving behind an unpleasant smell . This has become a great option for a night on the town, in the car, or in general as a healthier alternative to smoking. 

Like all tobacco and cannabis products, the government has set regulations and required safety precautions in place in order to protect people. This keeps actions such as non-sanitized production at bay, which could become extremely hazardous to your health. 

While nicotine and flavored vape cartridges and juices have become widespread products, and prices have begun to drop, the same cannot be said for cannabis vape cartridges. THC especially has remained a costly, fairly hard to get product with limited production as companies are restricted in manufacturing and distribution. 

Vaping has helped push the cannabis concentrate industry as a 3 billion dollar industry as of 2018, showing a large market potential for businesses who have obtained the proper permits. 

It has also unfortunately encouraged illegal products to make their way onto the market. These illegal vape juices and cartridges are responsible for hundreds of lung-related illnesses and hospitalizations every year. 

If buying a cartridge that didn’t have as much THC wasn’t bad enough, some companies are using dangerous additives to reduce illegal vape juices found being sold outside of the industry. 

Things to watch for with suspicious vapes

 Good counterfeits can be hard to identify  Doing a variety of checks and knowing what to look out for, however, should help you tell a real vape cartridge from a fake one pretty quickly:

This becomes a large risk for individuals or companies trying to cut costs, as well as individuals outside of states with legal recreational use. The simple reality is, people are breaking the law within these states, and in an attempt to purchase products to use, they are often trying to find a way around using quality distributors.

If it’s too good to be true, it is 

One simple way to check if something is real or not is pricing. If a price simply seems too good to be true, and you feel like you’re getting some massive sale, always consider the idea that it may not be real. 

Comparing the price with a known reputable brand is a great option. If a known brand has a 1 gram cartridge of 84% THC for $34.00, and you come across another brand with the same 84% but it’s only $10.00, you need to pump the brakes. No competitive company would undercut their profit by such a massive loss. 

With government taxation and overall cost in mind, a company physically can’t sell you a product at such low costs legally.

The safest place to buy vapes is through a licensed storefront 

Who and where you can buy THC products have remained strict over the years. This isn’t a product you’re currently able to find at your local grocery store or gas station. 

Licensed dispensaries are the only source able to sell THC products. These locations will not allow you into the store unless you’re 21 years of age.  So, if you see children running around the store, that may not be the best place to buy from. 

These locations also must scan your ID before allowing you to make a purchase, meaning if a location doesn’t ask you to show ID, you may want to question the source. 

Each reputable location must, by law, display its license in a clear location. It’s good while looking around at different products to peek around at the walls to try and catch a glimpse of their license. In most cases, it will be framed around or behind the register. 

Vape packaging is a big indicator

Packaging vape products is highly regulated,  so it should be your first real look into a product. If at any time you feel unconfident about a package, you should do more research into the company before buying their product. 

All vape packages should show the manufacturing date, a packaging date, a batch number, and a lot number. 

Packaging cannot in any way seem appealing to children — this means if there’s cartoon-like characters or children-focused designs, it’s most likely a fake. This is one of the reasons you see more simplistic designs in the last few years. 

Packaging is unable to make statements that have not been proven by the FDA to be 100% true. This means while outcomes of using THC may have assisted patients with cancer, if you see a package that states “Cures Cancer” you should take a closer look into the company to check for legitimacy. 

Companies are also unable to place images of bud or other cannabis products on the packaging of any product. Of course we all see the little marijuana leaf on packages, which is required to show the content of the product. The red flag should be if you see a picture of a dank bud on a box.

Government warnings are required on all legal packaging. While this varies from state to state, each state has some sort of these government warnings. 

The THC levels in vape cartridges is another crucial aspect

When looking at vape cartridges, in many cases you have to ask how they are made. A true THC vape juice is made from bud extracts or waxes. Numbers being excessively high, such as 99.9% THC should be avoided, as it’s just plain unrealistic.

Low THC levels should also be looked at with a bit of caution, as levels below 60% are said to be diluted, and you should be curious how and why they are diluted. On the other hand, THC-infused oils will use a pre-existing vape oil with amounts of distillate added to get a desired percentage, and could fall below that 60%.

THC cannot be mailed across the U.S. 

One misconception with the growth in online cannabis stores is the idea that you can order weed, and it can just show up in your mailbox. All dispensaries, even those online, must physically check your ID in some way to confirm you are who you say you are, and you’re of age. 

Many online stores have found success in using cannabis-specific delivery services to get your orders to your doors, with the downfall of large shipping expenses. These costs are pretty reasonable as they use a 3rd party, since the delivery company has to make an income as well. 

Your high end distributors on the other hand such as Emjay utilize our own in-house drivers to get your products to your door, free of cost. These kinds of reputable companies are closely monitored to ensure you receive high end products the right way.

If a company offers to just mail you a product, you should know right away you’re in a bad situation. Not only are these bad business practices, but you just can’t be certain the products are safe at that point. 

Watch out for illicit vape copycats

Copycat products can often be hard to point out. We all know the stories of fake handbags, and fake sneakers, and fakes of nearly every high-end product out there. Vape juice and cartridges are no different — there are people out there that will take a company’s logo and name, and then put some cheap products in the box and hope you buy it, regardless of its actual quality or safety. 

This is why going back to that reputable seller idea is so important. 

Be aware of vape sizes

While there are a large variety of different cartridge sizes on the market, it’s important to make sure you’re not buying a cartridge that fits nothing. Some counterfeit companies are selling cartridges that simply don’t fit any vape, meaning you can’t use or test the vape oil to find out its low quality. 

Check lab tests and labels

Every product on the market will have a variety of lab testing completed. These test results will be posted publicly online, and can be accessed at any point in time. If a product is on the shelf, don’t be afraid to do a bit of internet searching for answers prior to buying. 

A reputable shop will encourage you to get a deeper understanding of what you’re buying. Ultimately they benefit from you being knowledgeable and understanding what products you could use. Many distribution centers will have a wide range of educational material on hand as well. 


When smoking a vape, you often take a deep hit, allowing the oil vapors to coat your throat and lungs. The last thing you want is to suck unknown substances into your body. Regulations have been put in place to protect us against using terrible products. 

Imagine the danger of using a vape juice prepared in a non-sterile environment, with potential germs and bacteria. 

Understanding how to identify safe products puts you in control. With injuries rising each year from fake products, it’s important to know how to spot fakes to keep yourself safe. 

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1 comment

Outbox March 29, 2021 - 7:53 am

“Usually, I never comment on blogs but your article is so convincing that I never stop myself to say something about it. You’re doing a great job Man, Keep it up.


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