A vape cartridge, also known as a “THC Cart” as a fun nickname, is the disposable cartridge that stores the THC extract in your vape pen. The vape usually contains a heating element and a battery, and the THC itself is usually suspended in oil. When the heating element, sometimes called a cartomizer (try saying that three times fast) or a cartomizer, heats the THC in the oil — it becomes vapor. You then inhale that vapor!
If you’ve smoked using a vape pen before, you’ve likely had the question, “how long does a cartridge last?” (Like, really, actually last.) In this post, we’ll explore precisely how long carts last and the different factors that can impact the length of their lives, so you won’t need to Google “How long to weed cartridges last” every time you buy a new vape.
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So, how long do carts last?
How long carts last depends on a few aspects. One of these is the actual size of the cartridge. There are two standard sizes of cartridges, 500 mg and1000 mg for vape cartridges. A 1000 mg cartridge will last for about 300 seconds, also known as five minutes while inhaling. That’s a lot of inhalation time!
How many times you use your vape daily too will of course, have an impact on its life. To figure out how long it will last according to the size of the cartridge involves a little math. For example, three seconds might be an average inhalation time, and according to that, you would get around 100 inhalations total from the cartridge. If you are like us and use your vape around three times a day, that means it would last for just over 30 days. This also means that if you are a lighter user than that, it will last longer than 30 days.
And as a lighter user, if perhaps you used it every night before bed, once, and not multiple times a day, to help aid in sleep, then it would likely last for much, much longer, for a hundred days at least.
Other factors to consider in addition to what size cartridge you have are the potency of the THC you have in the actual cartridge. Carts with less potent THC will not last as long as carts that contain more potent THC. How long you inhale each time you use your vape will also influence how long your cart lasts.
If you are a heavier user, perhaps vaping 10 times a day to manage a chronic condition, then your carts would last much less. One thing is for certain — how long a THC cart lasts mostly depends on its usage level and the potency of the THC in the cartridge itself.
How long does a 500mg vape cartridge last?
While we’ve already covered how long a 1000 mg vape cartridge lasts, a 500 mg vape cartridge will last even less. An average-sized person would likely take around 75 – 150 puffs in the lifetime of their vape cartridge. This is based on a 3 to 5 mg sized puff. If you’re a light but frequent inhaler, for example, taking as much as 30 hits a day, your cart would last from around a few days to a week. If you’re a less frequent vaper — taking around 3 puffs a day, you could make your cart last for almost two months.
How long does a vape last? And Do Carts Expire?
From the moment you open your vape and begin using it, it loses freshness and potency. Over time the oil will (sadly!) begin to break down and degrade because of its makeup — complex chains of lipids and molecules that don’t have terribly strong bands. Eventually, these bonds can break, resulting in vape oil going bad. Now that you know they can go bad, you might wonder, how long do vape cartridges last? Or How long do weed cartridges last?
If you’re a cannabis veteran like us, you might go through your cart in a matter of days, or at least a couple of weeks, and might not necessarily need to consider the cart going bad before you finish it. If you’re a less frequent vaper, your cart should keep the same potency after 6 months to a year so long as you take care of your cart. Stay tuned and we’ll tell you exactly how to do that.
Everyone wants to know: do cartridges expire? The truth is that if you take good care of them, haven’t used them up, and store them properly, then carts can effectively reach their expiration date of 1.5 years.
Do THC carts go bad — and how do I know if it has gone bad?
If you’re not vaping every day, here’s how you can do a pulse check on your cart and determine if it has gone bad.
If while using your vape, you notice the potency is weaker than before, or the vapor is bitter or sour, that is not a sign that it’s still good. If you notice the coloring of the cart if murky or cloudy, or the texture is sludgy or thicker, it is past its prime as well. One other sure sign that your vape cartridge has expired (RIP) is that you are coughing more when you’re using it, and no, this doesn’t count as a factor if it’s your first time smoking ever. Although you technically can smoke an expired cart, we don’t endorse it — it will have lost its best qualities!
How do I take care of my cartridge and make it last?
To properly care for your cartridge, it’s important to understand the factors that negatively impact their lifespan. We have a few tips to ensure it lives a long and healthy life!
You should always keep store your carts in a cool, dry location. Exposing your cart to heat may result in the cannabinoid compounds to break down (oh no!). Exposure to heat doesn’t just include the inside of a car on a hot day, but also your pocket. Ideally it will be stored at 70 degrees.
Store your cart vertically! Vape cartridges should be unscrewed from the battery and then stored upright. You should never leave a cart on its side because it could cause it to leak! And speaking of vertically — when vaping, try holding your vape pen vertically.
Use a cotton swab dipped in alcohol to clean your pen. And when not in use, unscrew the cart from the pen on reusable vapes.
Turn your cartridge upside down if you’re not seeing any vapor come out when smoking. This will allow the oil to coat the wick.
Have a leaky cart? Separate it from the battery to avoid oil damage to the battery. It’s very common that dispensaries will replace a leaky cartridge — it never hurts to try!
Just to review — how long carts last will depend on: how many times you use your vape daily, how long you inhale each time you vape, the actual potency of the THC inside your cart, and what size cartridge you have. Now that you know how to properly take care of your vape carts too, you’ll have the best taken care of cartridges while they last as long as they possibly can!