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Real vs. Fake Vape Cart (8 Ways to Tell)

Real vs. Fake Vape Cart

Vape cartridges with THC are a trendy and discreet method of cannabis consumption nowadays. They are easy to use, provide a prolonged high, and are cost-effective. Unfortunately, numerous fake vape cartridges have appeared on the market, so one of the critical things to know is – Real or fake vape cart: how to tell.

Be aware of how dangerous these untested products can be and the health consequences they can cause, including severe lung illness and even fatal outcomes. Luckily, checking whether your cartridge is authentic is possible in a few simple ways.

Real vs. Fake cartridge

Feature Real cart Fake cart
Label Contain manufacturer stamps There is no manufacturer information
License Label matches licensing requirements There is no official state-licensing logo
Ingredients (diluents) Allowed propylene glycol, vegetable glycerin, and medium-chain triglycerides Dangerous Vitamin E acetate
Oil quality Oil is thick and slow-moving when you turn the cart upside down Fake oil is thin and moves fast when you turn the cart upside down
Vape size A few standardized sizes Atypical size
Vape cart appearance Simple design, fonts, color, and universal cannabis symbol Children-focused design with cartoon- or video game-like characters or bud image
Package Must contain manufacturing date, package date, lot number, and batch number Without required data and often include statements unproven by the FDA
Seller Licensed retailers and legitimate sites Amazon, eBay, and fake websites
Price The price is in line with the high-quality content The price is too good to be realistic
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How to Tell a Real vs. Fake Vape Cart?

Fake vape carts can jeopardize your health, distinguishing them from proven and officially tested models. Be careful when purchasing since the fake designs look almost legitimate but are never the same as the real deal. Understanding the difference may save your health and sometimes even life.

1. License

Cartridges purchased outside a licensed dispensary can be fake, meaning they are potentially contaminated, dangerous, and faulty. They often contain harmful additives that may result in health issues when combined with regular ingredients or heated.

Therefore, you should buy only proven products with a license number required by law. It is a way to know that the product is appropriately tested, legal, and safe.

Vape manufacturers are obliged to print the lab results of their THC products publicly. You can find the certificate of analysis and the lab that issued it online, presenting proof of each packaging’s authenticity.

Sticking to legal procedure and regulated cannabis market make their products more expensive. On the other hand, that makes them safe.

Moreover, you can inform yourself through the program Get #Weedwise, which was recently started by the Bureau of Cannabis Control in California. It shows information about untested cannabis’ potential health impacts.

2. Packaging

Every THC cart comes in adequate and highly regulated packaging, and deviation from the standard appearance indicates something is wrong. Besides the typical look and coloration, every packing includes a few crucial information:

  • Manufacturing date
  • Package date
  • Lot number
  • Batch number

A mismatch of the serial number visible on the package with the number shown on the website proves the particular cartridge is fake.

Besides, legal packaging never includes statements unproven by the FDA. For instance, inscriptions like Cures Cancer show that the product is fake, although there are indications that such claims are valid.

Finally, TCH carts’ packaging never includes bud and other cannabis product images. The only exception is a tiny marijuana leaf that defines the content.

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3. Ingredients

Always check the ingredients before buying a vape cart. Standard vapes contain three, including PG, VG, and flavorings (flavors). Besides, they may include nicotine or cannabis.

Some cannabis vape manufacturers also add diluents, like MCT oil, to dilute extract and provide easier vaping. However, the presence of Vitamin E acetate is forbidden, so its use means the product is illegal.

On the other hand, even some legal diluents are not 100% safe, so you should be careful. Even though the label must include all ingredients, including diluents, state laws don’t require testing on their presence.

If you are interested in THC vape carts, you should check the THC levels. Genuine THC vape juice comes from bud extracts or waxes. Any unrealistic percentage of this substance, such as 99.9%, is a warning that the product is probably fake.

On the other hand, THC levels below 60% often mean that the product is overdiluted or packed with additives. Since some manufacturers falsify additives and harmful contaminants levels, your best option is to stick to proven brands.

4. Vape size

Even though you can find numerous cartridge sizes on the market, each brand has products of standard dimensions. Therefore, you should be suspicious when finding a vape cart that fits none of them. That way, counterfeit companies disable you to check and test the oil quality.

5. Vape cartridge appearance

Details often warn you that the product can be fake. Always look for slight differences in fonts, lettering, and universal symbols. You should also check the vape cart design, its weight, and content color.

Besides, showing children-focused designs with cartoon- or video game-like characters is strictly forbidden. If you see something like this, you can be sure your cartridge is fake. In fact, most vape manufacturers pack their products in simply designed packings.

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6. Oil quality

Pure oil is thick and moves slowly inside the vape cart. If you spot bubbles or the oil is so diluted that it moves when turning a cartridge, it possibly contains additives.

7. Seller

You should find a licensed store to buy a new cartridge. Reputable locations always have authentic licenses visible in the store as prescribed by law.

Things are even more complicated with THC products, and there are strict rules on where to purchase such vapes. Only licensed dispensaries can sell THC products to adults over 21 years of age.

They must have a state-licensed logo, ensuring that the THC carts they offer are approved as legal retail products. Besides, sellers must scan your ID before purchasing. So, think twice about their legitimacy when they fail to do that.

The same thing is true with online stores. Since it is forbidden to mail THC products across the US and checking ID is required by law, it can be a problem when you get such an offer.

Nowadays, serious brands’ online stores use services specialized in cannabis delivery. Some high-end distributors often hire in-house drivers who bring desired products to your home free of cost.

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8. Price

Since it is impossible to estimate the oil quality based on Instagram images, price is one of the most practical ways to check the product. If the cart prices sound too good, something is wrong there. If you want to get a quality product, it is always expensive.

You should become suspicious if the seller asks for only a few bucks per piece. In most cases, a cheap vape cartridge indicates a fake cart or low-quality oil. In this case, you can’t count on a complaint or refund.

Remember that anyone can buy empty cartridges for approximately $0.60 per piece and fill them with untested content. Sadly, tests often show that most inexpensive fake cartridges contain pesticides in worrying quantities.

For instance, you need to pay $80 per gram of THC or CBD concentrate for an original vape cartridge. If the price is below $50, you can be sure something is wrong. Some fake carts are available for $25, meaning their content is surely illegal, untested, and questionable.

Be Careful When Purchasing

You can find numerous fake vape carts on the current market because it is still inappropriately regulated. Therefore, you should be careful when buying the desirable product.

1. Stick to trustful brands

If you are an experienced vaper and have used products of one brand for a long, there is no need to change that. Since the vape pen market is still unregulated, experimenting with random products can be risky.

If you are new in the vape world, you should ask for advice and stick to reputable brands that have existed for at least a few years. You can ask regular users, look for information on online forums, or watch one of numerous YouTube channels.

2. Trust your instincts

Sometimes, everything can look right, but your guts say the opposite. Despite all the evidence, you should give up a particular product if you feel something is wrong.

3. Check lab analyses

You can check the lab that supposedly tested the cannabis product you want to buy. Ask the retailer for the product Certificate of Analysis (COA) to check the vape chemical composition and THC and/or CBD concentration.

Besides, screening the vape for pesticides, harmful contaminants, and heavy metals is required. Lack of this information means you should avoid a particular product. Finally, vape carts never include harmful additives and artificial flavors and colors.


The best way to avoid fake carts is to buy a device from a reputable seller. Don’t be fooled by a low price since counterfeit products can cost you your health or even your life. Even though illegal vapes are unbelievably similar to legitimate brands, there are a few ways to differentiate a real thing from a fake one if you are careful enough.

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