When you hear the words medical marijuana, is smoking the first thought that pops into your mind? You’re not alone. The fact that there are more ways to consume medical marijuana than just smoking is one of the biggest miscommunications people have about our products and services. As Patient Advocate Sarah-Jaanna explains: “Cannabis today versus the marijuana most of our patients grew up hearing about or even fearing is a whole new language. Part of our role is to be the translators.”

One of the things many new patients are fascinated to hear about is that in addition to the traditional flower and pre-rolled joints they expect, there’s an entirely different way to consume medical marijuana that’s easier on your lungs and significantly stronger. We’re talking about vaping.

Why is vaping medical marijuana so popular?

Unlike smoking medical marijuana in a joint or through a pipe or bong which fills our lungs with hot smoke that can cause inexperienced users to cough and have a bad experience, vaporized medical marijuana is so smooth, most patients don’t realize they’ve inhaled it until they exhale. When they do, they’re even more surprised that the plume of vapor exiting their nose and mouth is virtually odorless and evaporates into the air in seconds.

This makes vaping a popular choice for patients who live in apartments where smoking is prohibited or have other circumstances in their lives where they want to be as discreet as possible with their medical marijuana use.

While there are many different vaping methods and technologies that we’ll be happy to talk to you about at our dispensaries, for this post we’re going to focus on vape cartridges.

What are vape cartridges?

Vape cartridges or “carts” are devices filled with concentrated medical marijuana in liquid form. Vape carts come in several different varieties that contain different terpenes for different therapeutic effects.

For example:

GSC (AKA Girl Scout Cookies)
Named for its slightly minty flavor, this vape cart contains a hybrid of indica and sativa strains of cannabis that delivers exceptional pain relief while stimulating creativity and alleviating anxiety

GG#4
Developed by GG strains, GG#4 is an indica-dominated hybrid that is great for relaxation and sleep. “This is the vape cart we recommend for our insomniac friends and patients who are dealing with night pain,” Sarah-Jaana explains.

Sour Diesel
This sativa-dominant strain is energizing, invigorating and not at all recommended for concentration or focus.

VYB Float 1:1

The 1:1 refers to the equal amounts of CBD and THC in a vape cart that is formulated for relaxation (providing you with a dreamy, almost floating sensation) more than sleep. Due to the higher concentration of CBD, Sarah-Jaana recommends having a VYB Float 1:1 on hand for situations where you’re feeling a particularly strong (more on that later) or long reaction to THC. “When that happens, the CBD in VYB Float 1:1 can bring you down faster, it’s a really good safety net.”

These are just four of our most popular and most regularly stocked vape carts. The inventory in our dispensaries is constantly changing and updating as different strains become available with different terpenes for different therapeutic effects.

The two different types of vape cartridges

CO2 vape cartridges

CO2 vape cartridges are named for the CO2 supercritical extraction process used to convert cannabis extracts into liquid form. Roughly translated, these vape carts are made by manipulating carbon dioxide through a process of compressing, heating, extracting, separating condensing and extraction to pull all the chemical compounds out of cannabis plant material to yield a highly concentrated liquid.

This liquid can then be heated and turned to vapor and inhaled for a much smoother experience than applying a flame to plant material via a pre-rolled joint or a bong. At Revolutionary Clinics, our CO2 vape carts typically sell for $50 before any discounts are applied.

Distillate cartridges

Distillate cartridges take the liquid product derived from the CO2 supercritical extraction process and put it through an extra step – distillation. This extra step removes any residual plant matter and leaves you with the cleanest possible product and purer oil with better flavor and clearer consistency. As you’d expect, this extra step increases the price. Distillate cartridges typically retail for $65 before discounts.

How do vape cartridges work?

By itself, a vape cartridge is like a juicebox without a straw. In order to convert the liquid inside the vape cart to vapor, you need a battery that provides the heat. To make this happen, we offer three different battery options:

The CCELL Palm

This aptly named device is compact, discreet and easy to use. It literally fits in the palm of your hand so it can be easily tucked into a purse, backpack or briefcase. It’s rechargeable via a Micro-USB port and is activated by simply inhaling – no buttons to push.

The CCELL Palm Silo

This device functions the same way as the CCELL Palm but in a taller, slimmer device.

Variable Temperature Stick Battery

This option is for the more sophisticated vape user who wants to be able to adjust the heating element to different temperatures in order to maximize the effect of different terpenes. This is a topic unto itself that we’ll discuss in a later post.

Is vaping medical marijuana right for you?

Due to its high concentrations of THC and/or CBD (depending on which product you choose), we generally recommend vaping for medical marijuana users who are seeking longer effects. It’s incredibly important that all new vape users, regardless of their experience level, heed Sarah-Jaana’s advice and “start low, go slow”. For the first-time user, Sarah-Janna recommends no more than a 3-second inhale before putting the device away.

“People tend to have physical preferences, everyone’s body responds differently,” she says. “For that reason, it’s not my role to tell you whether CO2 vape carts or distillate vape carts are best for you. Your body will let you know.”

We hope this posts shines some light on what vape cartridges are and how they work so you can have a productive conversation with the Patient Advocates at one of our dispensaries.  Thanks for reading and we hope to see you soon!