Learn | 02.15.2023

What Color Should Vape Cartridges Be?

Here's how to tell if your cartridge is good quality, safe, or worse, counterfeit.

So you just bought a new vape cartridge. These convenient pods contain cannabis distillate and provide an easy, new, and potent way to use the plant. However, not all cartridges are created equal. 

Using a cannabis vape cartridge can go one of three ways:

  • The cartridge hardware is faulty and doesn’t work
  • The distillate is low-quality or, worse, counterfeit
  • The cartridge hardware and distillate are effective and of good quality

Although you can’t tell if a cartridge’s hardware is faulty until you try it, we’ll help you figure out if the distillate inside the cartridge is safe and good quality. See below for indicators of a good-quality vape cartridge based on the color of your distillate.

The Color And Taste Of The Distillate

Inside cartridges are distillate, which is a concentrated form of cannabis that can contain different cannabinoids like Delta-9 THCCBDDelta-8 THCTHCP, etc. 

The first thing you’ll notice about your vape cartridge is the color of the distillate. This can be a clear indicator of whether your distillate is good quality or unsafe. The following are normal colors of distillate within vape cartridges:

  • Light Yellow
  • Yellow
  • Light Amber
  • Amber
  • Gold
  • Orange

These are all indicators of good quality distillate. If it looks brown or very dark, it’s not good quality. It could be counterfeit, but if you’ve purchased it from a legal brand, chances are it’s simply bad quality.

Another way to tell if your cartridge is good quality is by watching how quickly/slowly the distillate moves. Do so by placing your cartridge on its side for 5 minutes. During the first minute, your distillate should move slowly but not too fast. 

If it moves too fast, it’s likely poor-quality distillate. If it doesn’t move at all, it might be counterfeit and/or contain harmful additives that should never be inhaled.

Finally, the last way to tell if your cartridge is good quality is the taste test. There should be flavor, which should taste like earthy cannabis or the flavor of what’s marketed, like Blue Raspberry or Strawberry Banana, for example. If the cartridge is bitter, unpleasant, sour, or tasteless, it’s gone bad, or it’s poor quality.

What If My Distillate Changes Color After Using It?

After using a vape cartridge for a while, some users report a change in color in their distillate. This is where things get a bit tricky.

If your cartridge was already dark brown, to begin with, it shouldn’t be consumed. However, if it turns darker with time and after many uses, it doesn’t mean your distillate has gone and needs to be thrown away.

Instead, good quality oil that uses natural ingredients without additives or preservatives will change over time due to oxidization. With each draw, your oil interacts with heat and oxygen, which can change the color of the distillate and make it darker over time.

As long as your oil wasn’t too dark when you purchased it, using a distillate that has changed color over time is A-OK.

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