Types of Vape Carts: Understanding the Jargon

by Jan 25, 2024Vape Carts0 comments

When you shop for pre-filled vape carts these days, there’s enough variety to make your head spin. There are so many different types of cartridges – all filled with different extracts and blends of extracts – that it can be difficult to decide what’s right for you. To make matters even worse, vape cartridges are always marketed with plenty of hyperbole. Naturally, every manufacturer wants you to believe that you’re getting the most potent cartridge on the market if you buy their product. The truth, though, is that the different types of compounds added to today’s vape cartridges all have slightly different benefits and effects, and the way that you’ll feel when you use a given product will be entirely subjective.

So, what are the different types of vape carts on the market today? In this guide, we’ll shed some light on the subject by explaining some of the technical details that make the various cartridges different from one another.

If you want to know exactly what you’re vaping, your best bet is always to fill your own cartridges. Learn more about why you should buy empty carts or browse our selection of vape cartridges now.

What Are Distillate Carts?

A distillate cart is filled with a direct herbal extract, which is usually made from cannabis. Since a distillate is an extract made from the whole plant without any of the active compounds isolated or removed, using a distillate cart is much the same as smoking the same plant. It’s significantly more potent, though, because a distillate contains only the plant’s active compounds and none of the inactive plant materials like chlorophyll and cellulose.

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What Are CBD Carts?

CBD carts contain distillate made from industrial hemp, which is high in the non-psychoactive cannabinoid CBD but contains little to no THC and doesn’t produce the euphoric effects of traditional cannabis. Although CBD doesn’t produce a “high,” people find it useful to consume for relaxation and other beneficial effects.

What Are Delta-8 and Delta-10 Carts?

Delta-8 THC and Delta-10 THC are isomers of Delta-9 THC, which is the compound that most people are referring to when they discuss the THC in traditional cannabis. Isomers are molecules that have the same formulas as one another but differ in their structure. In this case, the difference is in the location of a double bond in the molecule’s side chain of carbon atoms.

Delta-8 and Delta-10 are created from CBD isolate using a chemical reaction involving the application of acid and heat. Compared to Delta-9 THC, people generally report that Delta-8 and Delta-10 seem to produce less potent effects. Delta-8 and Delta-10 vape carts are popular, though, because they’re federally legal and are therefore available in many places where traditional distillate cartridges aren’t.

What Are HHC Carts?

Through isomerization and other methods, it’s possible to convert CBD – which is readily available thanks to a thriving industrial hemp industry – into a wide variety of other cannabinoids. Companies add those cannabinoids to vape carts, either on their own or blended with other compounds such as terpenes and other cannabinoids. HHC is one of the most popular alternative cannabinoids on the market today. It is the hydrogenated form of THC, which means that it has two hydrogen atoms in the place of what would normally be a double carbon bond.

Hydrogenation has the same effect on THC that it has in cooking oil – it makes the molecule more stable and resistant to oxidation. HHC may, therefore, retain more of its potency than THC would in long-term storage. People anecdotally report that HHC seems less potent than Delta-9 THC but more potent than Delta-8. Because the two molecules have significant structural differences, though, it’s best to experience them yourself and draw your own conclusion.

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What Are THCP Carts?

Like HHC, THCP is another cannabinoid that’s created from CBD in laboratories and has proven popular with fans of vape carts. The Delta-8, Delta-9 and Delta-10 THC molecules all have side chains consisting of five carbon atoms. THCP, however, has a side chain consisting of seven carbon atoms. Research suggests that the longer side chain gives the THCP molecule a greater affinity for the body’s endocannabinoid receptors, thus potentially allowing it to produce more potent effects. As with HHC, this is another situation where your personal experience may differ from those that others have reported. Nevertheless, given the high potential potency of THCP, it’s wise to start very slowly when using a THCP cart for the first time.

What Are Live Resin and Live Rosin Carts?

The terms “live resin” and “live rosin” don’t refer to specific cannabinoids or other compounds. Rather, they refer to the way in which the cannabis extract is produced. To create live resin, a hemp processor freezes cannabis before extracting it with a solvent such as butane. Solvent-based extractions produce very high yields, so live resin carts tend to be relatively affordable. In addition, people tend to enjoy the flavor of live resin because the cold extraction process preserves many of the plant’s terpenes. It’s important, though, to ensure that the solvent is completely removed before the extract is made into a finished product.

Live rosin differs from live resin in that the cannabis isn’t frozen prior to extraction, and the extraction is performed without the aid of a solvent. Instead, the cannabis is subjected to high heat and pressure to release the active compounds. Because extractions without solvents tend to produce lower yields, live rosin cartridges tend to cost a bit more than live resin carts.

What Are Terpenes?

Terpenes are chemical compounds that occur naturally in cannabis and many other plants. Terpenes often have strong scents, which is why the smell of cannabis is so distinctive. It’s also why terpenes are widely used in perfumery and aromatherapy. High-end cannabis strains are prized for their terpene profiles, which result in unique scents and flavors.

A vape cart that contains a full-spectrum extract may retain many of the terpenes that were present in the original plant material used for the extraction. Cannabinoids created from CBD isolate, however, contain no terpenes. For this reason, many manufacturers of pre-filled vape carts add terpenes to their products to provide a pleasant olfactory experience.

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What Are High-Terpene Extracts (HTE)?

High-terpene extracts are cannabis extracts that are performed at lower temperatures and pressures than traditional extracts. The low-temperature and low-pressure extraction method helps to preserve more of the plant’s naturally occurring cannabinoids, resulting in a flavor that many users enjoy. Because lower temperatures and pressures tend to result in lower yields, high-terpene extracts may cost more than other extracts.

Before You Buy Any Pre-Filled Vape Cart, You Need to Know These Two Things

In this article, we’ve provided a brief overview of the types of products you can expect to see when you shop for pre-filled vape carts. As you can see, it’s a wide world out there. Hemp is a big business, and hemp processors are always developing new methods and techniques. Whatever you end up buying, keep these two pointers in mind in order to ensure that your experience will be as good as it can be.

  • Before you use any pre-filled vape cart, you need to know as much as possible about what’s in it. Good brands always send their products to laboratories for analysis. Don’t buy a vape cart unless it has an associated lab report that you can download and read.
  • Concentrates are much more potent than dry herbs. If you’re new to concentrates – or just new to the specific concentrate that you’re using – always take it very slowly until you become familiar with its effects.


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