contaminated thc vape carts
contaminated thc vape carts

How to Spot Contaminated Black Market THC Vape Cartridges - Stay Safe by Keeping Yourself Informed

How can you tell if a THC vape cart is safe or not?

Posted by:
DanaSmith on Tuesday Jan 16, 2024

contaminated thc vape carts

Not all vapes and cartridges are made equal.

That became clear when, a few years ago, there was a serious outbreak of vaping injuries throughout the United States and Canada. Most of these were because of bootleg THC oils from the black market.


No matter where you live in North America, there is still a proliferation of bootleg, black market THC and even CBD products. Vapes are extremely popular especially because they are attractive to teenagers and kids, since they’re colorful, sold in bright packaging, and much cheaper than the authentic products sold in licensed dispensaries. They aren’t just deceiving – these products are downright dangerous and even fatal.

The vapes can cause acute or even chronic respiratory disease because they are made by dodgy manufacturers who only utilize cheap ingredients. They also cause bad cases of coughing, fatigue, weakness, chest pain, shortness of breath, and respiratory damage.


More often than not, they contain vitamin E acetate, which is what causes most of these lung injuries. The vitamin E acetate is used as a filler for prefilled delta 8 THC and THC cartridges just to make a quick buck, and with zero consideration for the health of their customers. Aside from vitamin E acetate, counterfeit vapes also contain a host of other unknown and potentially dangerous ingredients. These can include hydrogen cyanide, heavy metals, and pesticides.


Here's how to spot bad THC cartridges:


Where Are You Buying Them From?

The quickest and simplest way to avoid purchasing counterfeit black market THC cartridges that contain dangerous ingredients is to stay off the black market in the first place.

This means: don’t buy from street dealers, Instagram, and TikTok. There is just no way to know what you’re buying, and the horror stories have proven that you just can’t trust strangers. Getting dangerously sick and hospitalized isn’t worth the bargain that you think you’re getting.


Also, black market goods are especially abundant in states that haven’t legalized cannabis. So if you are seeing famous vape companies including Stiiizy or Pax selling in your neighborhood dealer, these are most likely fake.


Branding And Packaging


Distinguishing fake and counterfeit THC cartridges based off branding can be a bit tricky, since a lot of them copy famous (and legitimate) cannabis brands or produce copycat versions, which almost look similar.

Many counterfeit products target kids by splashing the packaging with vivid colors, and even using video game or cartoon characters to make them more attractive. This is not something that legitimate cannabis brands will do.

You can also look out for specific brands that have already been linked to black-market cases and lung injuries among consumers; these include:

  • Exotic Carts

  • Dank Vapes

  • Cereal Carts

  • Cookies Carts

  • West Coast Cure

  • Dank

  • Dabwoods

  • Brass Knuckles

  • Bulletproof Vapes

  • TKO

  • Rove

  • Space Vape Cartridges

  • Chronopoly

  • Runtz

  • Buddah Bear Carts

  • Springfield Farms

  • Glo Extracts

  • Choices

  • Big Chief Extracts


However, keep in mind that it’s almost impossible to know all the counterfeit THC vape brands out there. When the manufacturers of these dubious products get caught, the people behind them simply change their names and continue selling on the street.




If you’ve gone as far as smoking the vape, there are also a few other things to look out for. Fake or counterfeit THC vapes usually have a burnt, metallic, or bitter taste. On the other hand, some fake carts are also excessively sweet in taste. This is due to the poor-quality materials and ingredients that went into making it. Many also have reported immediately coughing or sneezing, with the respiratory system feeling an overall sense of irritation right after smoking. These are all red flags.

Anyone who’s smoked legitimate THC vapes before can tell you that these are damn good because they are smooth. Their flavor and aroma matches perfectly with the flavor indicated on the branding. In addition, cheaply-made carts also resort to unnatural and synthetic flavoring due to the non-natural terpene sources that are used.


Regulatory Compliance


Cannabis legal states require rigorous testing and have strict requirements when it comes to labels and packaging. That’s why legitimate vape cartridges display detailed information on their packaging, which includes (but not limited to):


  • Manufacturing date

  • Batch or lot number

  • Packaging date

  • Instructions for use

  • Expiration date or best-by date

  • Manufacturer’s name and their contact details


Keep in mind that requirements vary depending on the state. You can, however, do you own due diligence by researching the brands and the local regulations in your state governing website.




Medicating through the use of vapes is an excellent breakthrough in cannabis consumption technology. It allows us to get the cannabinoids we need and even enjoy weed recreationally while staying discreet. It also allows for all of these benefits without sacrificing taste, thanks to the innovation of portable vaporizers. In fact, many consumers find vapes much healthier than smoking flower because it’s cleaner and lacks the tar and carcinogens that we consume when we smoke joints, bongs, blunts, and bowls.


Then again, not all THC vapes are made equally. That’s why it’s so important to keep an eye out for these red flags and keep yourself educated about your choices out there. The most reliable way to stay safe is to buy only from licensed dispensaries and stay away from street dealers as well as dubious online shops.





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