Okay, scenario time, folks:
You’ve decided after smoking a particularly strong sativa that you are going to clean and organize your room. As you dig through various piles of stored away nostalgia, you come across many different marijuana vape cartridges you didn’t fully finish. Some of them are even about full. You feel like a pirate. You have, like Jack Sparrow, found lost treasure.
As you look at your current cartridge, you only have maybe one or two hits left before you’ll need to go to the dispensary. As beautiful as that sounds, the cleaning was about all you were wanting to do before chowing down on some snacks and maybe taking a nap.
You vote to might as well finish off the cartridges you have with the newly-rediscovered cannabis. After all, some of them are almost full! Nothing beats the glorious taste of a puff on some golden nectar found within vape cartridges. Absolute treasures.
But then you begin thinking, "I don’t remember the last time I bought that brand. How old are these cartridges? Can marijuana go bad? Do vape cartridges expire?"
As they say, “Nothing good lasts forever” and unfortunately, marijuana vape cartridges are no exception.
To give you a simple definition of a vape cartridge itself; it’s the device (plastic or glass tank with a mouthpiece) that carries cannabis oils and their properties (the fun part) into your body.
You should be aware that any little piece of this marijuana contraption, from the cannabis concentrate to the battery, is very much at risk of wearing out, failing, or “being bad”. Vape cartridges should not be looked at as a device built for longevity like pipes or bongs. Though this doesn’t mean you have to throw a cartridge away after a few uses.
Vape cartridges contain THC concentrate rather than actual marijuana buds/plant material. This means the vape cartridge will keep terpenes from evaporating and will not lose potency because of drying like with buds.
The best answer I can give you is that it depends on a few different factors: the size of the cartridge (half or full gram of oil), how often you are puffing on it, how well the cartridge stays together, etc.
How many puffs does a cartridge last?
A full gram vape cartridge is supposed to last around 300 seconds of total inhale time.
So, if you are on the lighter side of smoking, for example, you take 3-second puffs. This would grant you about 100 puffs from the cartridge.
If you proceed to use the cartridge but only once per day, the potential for you holding onto a cartridge for a much longer amount of time is very possible.
As opposed to those who use marijuana products more often, let’s say these individuals hit the device for 6 seconds, five times a day. Suddenly, that gram cartridge only lasts roughly ten days.
If you haven’t guessed it by now, the simple and short answer is yes.
Much like many prescription medications/foods/drinks, vape cartridges (and wax concentrates) do expire.
However, unlike the meds/foods/drinks, vape cartridges don’t necessarily have an expiration tag or sell-by date, per se.
Expired vape cartridges will give indications of age and overall product degradation.
When cannabis oils found in the cartridge degrade, the potency of the oil lessens. The longer you take to finish a cartridge; the weaker the effects become when using an old vape cartridge. No “high” feeling being produced when you are wanting to get high is a bit of a bummer to say the least.
Signs that your vape pen may have expired are:
The only real consequence of smoking an expired cartridge is a lack of taste, smell, and potency of the THC.
But, depending on how your cartridge was stored, the most disgusting thing that can happen to your vape cartridge is potentially growing mold.
Moldy weed doesn’t exactly taste great and furthermore, inhaling mold can lead to various lung-related diseases.
The silver lining is that vape cartridges do not go bad very quickly.
Most vape cartridges have a shelf life of about 1-2 years.
If the cartridge’s oil is still close to the same color and there are no signs of the oil becoming a sludgy substance, you are good to go. Proper storage of the cartridge will ensure it stays better for longer.
Here are some tips to keep those vape cartridges fresh:
The absolute, most important way to store a vape cartridge is to keep the device completely away from direct sunlight. Sunlight destroys cannabinoids at a chemical level.The color changes from gold to brown, leading to reduced potencies and changes the way terpenes taste or smell (not in a good way).
The ideal temperature for storing cannabis vape cartridges is around 70F.
If vape cartridges are left in higher temperatures, much like with flower, it loses what makes them shine to begin with.
You can store your carts either in a drawer or you can store them in the fridge, but do not freeze your carts. It causes a laundry list of problems to the cartridge.
One thing that many miss while attempting to expand the life of their vape cartridges is to keep the mouthpiece part facing up, vertically, when not in use. This keeps your cartridge from leaking and creating clogs in the mouthpiece.
Now, armed with knowledge, you can now decide whether that old cartridge is worth having a puff on or not.
I'd still stay away from that cart you found under the couch cushion, though.