How to Identify Fake Vape Carts in DC

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How to Identify Fake Vape Carts in DC

Finding a medical dispensary or recreational vendor that has exactly what you’re looking for in Washington D.C. can be difficult enough, but now with the rising issues of tainted, poorly made, and downright dangerous fake vape cartridges, the concern for obtaining safe and authentic cartridges is higher than ever. In Washington, D.C. you can find carts with many of the delivery services, events, and storefronts as well as the medical dispensaries in the area. Fortunately, by conducting a little bit of research, you can easily differentiate between authentic vapes and counterfeit ones with more ease.


In most legal cannabis markets, there are many ways to determine if a vape cartridge is authentic or a counterfeit version of the same product with hazardous effects. Ideally, the best source to purchase vape cartridges is from licensed dispensaries or vendors. Nearly all established cannabis dispensaries and many local vendors strive to find safe, effective products for their patients, and as a result, it’s common for flower, concentrates, and edibles to be tested before they’re even stocked or offered. Testing and transparent results are the most important way in determining what exactly is in the product and if it is truly safe.


Unfortunately, many black market cartridge makers were using Vitamin E Acetate as a filler for their cartridges. This ingredient was causing a ton of harm in the lungs, including multiple hospitalizations of people in their late teens, early twenties who had consumed the tainted products. Fake or fraudulent packaging can be purchased anywhere from AliBaba to Amazon and can look identical to the real packaging to the human eye. There are only small subtleties that would allow a keen and veteran connoisseur to spot the difference.


Dispensaries and vendors that are legit will often have an assortment of labels on their vape products indicating their manufacture date, batch test date (vape cartridges are typically tested in batches, NOT individually), and sometimes even QR codes available for consumers to learn more about the cartridge before use. If there is a QR code on the package, it is a good idea to scan it to make sure it goes to a real website with updated testing and results. Sometimes the fake packaging can include real QR codes to try and spoof people.


Another great resource for determining the authenticity of cannabis vape cartridges is the internet! If your cartridge has a distinct brand or company name listed on it, a quick online search can lead you to the company’s website or social media accounts, where legitimate information can be found. When going this route, a good rule of thumb is if what you look up looks sketchy, odds are the actual products are sketchy too. It can be a good idea to message the company through their email or Instagram page for actual confirmation. Many of these brands do not want consumers to have a poor experience with a fake product and will gladly help confirm for quality assurance.

If you aren’t able to access a medical dispensary in DC, identifying fake carts can be a bit more of a challenge, but not impossible. Many vendors in DC are known to source their vape cartridges and distillate from third parties, and it isn’t uncommon for them to not have a genuine brand name at all.

Contradictory to dispensary products, this is actually a good thing for vendor-bought cartridges and actually shows that the supplier didn’t just order packaging online to try to pass off a homemade cartridge as a branded one. These rules can be confusing and are constantly evolving, so sometimes just researching the brand and vendor is the best route to determine if a vape is safe or not.

Talk to the vendor or storefront where you got it and ask them about who they sourced from. It is always important to understand what you are putting into your body and the distributer should understand where their products are coming from.

The most straightforward ways to determine if a vape cartridge is counterfeit or not is to taste it, and to be wary of the purchase price. If there are ever any unexpected flavors of metal, chemicals, or even just a bad overall taste or aftertaste, your best option would be to throw the cartridge in the garbage. Another mentionable side effects that you should expect from a counterfeit vape are headaches. Finally, if the price of the cartridge is too good to be true compared to market pricing, the likeliness of it being counterfeit is much higher. You get what you pay for, and some of these cheaper carts are made with distillate cut with other fillers which can be less potent or harmful. With these in mind, stay safe and follow your instincts when buying vape products in DC!


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