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How to Spot Fake Vaporizer Cartridges

There have been some bad actors that capitalize on the popularity of vaporizer cartridges. These unscrupulous scammers rip people off and put cannabis consumers in danger.

Jason SanderJason Sander · Oct. 19, 2020 · 6 min read
How to Spot Fake Vaporizer Cartridges

There have been some bad actors that capitalize on the popularity of vaporizer cartridges. These unscrupulous scammers rip people off and put cannabis consumers in danger. In this article, we do our part to help cannabis consumers spot fake vape carts.

Vaporizers Are Super Popular

Vaporizer cartridges are one of the most popular products being sold in the legal cannabis market. According to a report released by ArcView Market Research, the vaporizer cartridge market will be worth over $8 billion by 2022. Pre-filled cartridges make up more than half of the sales of concentrates.

Pre-filled vaporizer cartridges are popular for obvious reasons: there’s nothing to roll, pack, or clean, they’re discreet, and consuming them doesn’t produce any offensive odors. Of course, when products are popular, you’ll always see scammers trying to cash in and make a quick buck by selling fake merchandise. Not only is this ripping off honest consumers, but it also puts people in serious danger.

This is the main reason that led to last year’s vape crisis. As we’ve discussed in previous articles, consumer responsibility is important. If we call out these scammers, we can do our part to help stop them. Almost all black market vape cartridges contain some kind of heavy metals, poisonous fumes, or harmful chemicals. This is a dangerous part of the cannabis industry. Some of the vape pens sold illegally are counterfeit as well.

"According to a report released by ArcView Market Research, the vaporizer cartridge market will be worth over $8 billion by 2022."

Some of the batteries don’t heat oil enough, or some even explode and cause serious injury. Thankfully, knowledge is power, and we can all do our part to reduce the number of counterfeit vaporizer products being sold. One of the ways we can do that is by learning how to spot fake vape cartridges.

Start With Looking at Packaging

As with most fake products, counterfeiters have gotten really good at packaging that looks authentic and fools consumers into buying dangerous products. Some of these fake packages are sold on Amazon very cheaply, some for even a few cents a box. Cartridges that are sold cheaply is a dead giveaway that you’re inhaling some nasty stuff. In most legal states, high-quality concentrates can sell for up to $80 a gram. Anything being sold cheaply is a red flag immediately. If the packaging itself displays THC content, this is often a sign of a fake product. Most cartridge producers tend to display the THC content of their carts on separate stickers, not on the packaging itself - although this isn’t always the case.

If you see cartoon characters on vape cart packaging, this is often a dead giveaway. Sometimes packages even spell words incorrectly - such as “hybrid” being sold as “hybird”. This is blatant and lazy counterfeiting. Safety is the best policy. If you are suspicious about any vape cartridges, avoid at all costs. It is better to be safe than sorry.

The Cartridges

Cheaply made counterfeit packaging isn’t the only thing being sold for pennies on the dollar on the illicit market to scammers looking to make a quick buck. Relatively legitimate-looking packaging and cartridges can basically be filled with whatever the scammer thinks will look like real vape liquid. These fraudsters will use attractive graphics and post them to social media. They often post lab data that is fake, or they don’t post any at all. If you see these fraudsters selling carts for $25 or so, be sure to out them and steer clear.


Spotting counterfeit cannabis oil in photos alone is difficult and almost downright impossible. It’s much easier to spot fake vape cartridges when you have them in your hands, as real oil moves more slowly than fake oil does. Real oil tends to have a thick consistency and a clear gold color. A lot of fake vape carts contain oil that is orange or dark in color. If you already bought one of these, it’s highly unlikely you’ll get a refund. Chalk it up to bad luck and definitely don’t consume it, and be sure to put the fraudster on blast for selling harmful stuff.


Always Look for Lab Test Results

If you bought a fake vaporizer cartridge and are still healthy enough to read this, consider yourself lucky. Scammers on the illicit nicotine market sell products that contain harmful chemicals and heavy metals like arsenic! If you can’t find a supposed brand online, it’s probably too good to be true. Before you buy a vaporizer cartridge, always look for the lab results. Additionally, if you turn the cart upside down and the liquid moves quickly, there’s a good chance you are looking at fake vape liquid.

Licensed and legal dispensaries have a reputation to live up to, and anyone selling counterfeit cartridges is usually outed quickly. One of the main ways to avoid putting harmful chemicals in your body is to always purchase legally from reputable dispensaries and legal retailers.

HashDash - Doing Our Part for The Cannabis Community

Did you find value in our article about how to spot fake vape carts? If so, please share this article with your friends so we can all do our part to avoid another vape crisis and help put a stop to scammers selling harmful products. Be sure to check back to our blog often, because we post fresh content every week! Connect with us on social media: @hashdash on all platforms.

HashDash is compiling an entire information database that will continue to answer your questions regarding all things cannabis as well as where to find the best dispensaries in your area. Be sure to sign up for HashDash to discover your cannabis matches if you haven’t already. As always, thanks for reading, and happy consuming!

Jason Sander
Jason SanderJason is a versatile writer and marketer with over ten combined years of experience working with clients in various industries. He couples this expertise with six years of writing for the cannabis sector as well as a passion for the business side, and the science behind the plant medicine.




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