Medically Reviewed by
Jason Crawford

Article Last Updated on January 8, 2023

Vaporizers are a relatively novel way of using cannabis. That being said, they’re quickly becoming one of the more popular cannabis products on the market as they pique the interest of weed users who are looking for new and interesting (and effective) ways to enjoy the gifts of the cannabis plant.

Therefore, many users are turning to vaporizers and are quickly learning how they work and how to use them. If you’re still new to the world of vaping, and may be wondering how exactly vaporizers work and how long an average cartridge would last, then keep reading. In this article, we cover the details about the different types of vaporizers, how long carts last, and how to take care of these devices.

What Kind of Devices Are Vaporizers?

Vaporizers are devices that are designed to produce vapor out of cannabis flowers or cannabis concentrates by heating them without combustion. Compared to smoking, which combusts the plant material and destroys many of the active ingredients, vaping is much gentler.

Most vaporizers heat the cannabis to a temperature between 356 to 374 degrees Fahrenheit, which is the optimal temperature range that turns CBD and THC into vapor without breaking them down. They can be used to vaporize dry herb or cannabis concentrates such as hash oil, dabs, shatter, wax, budder, and others.

Pros and Cons of Vaporizers

Vaporizers are universally liked due to their portability and discretion. They are ridiculously easy to use – you don’t need any gadgets or accessories, no lighter, no grinder, no clunkiness, as they fit right into your pocket. Plus, a lot of people like them because they’re much easier on the throat and lungs, and way more flavorful. Many users are turning to vaping as a way to microdose, and medical marijuana users are also showing interest in vaporizers. 

The only downside, so far, could be that it’s pricey to use a vaporizer as your primary method of cannabis consumption if you’re a moderate to heavy user.

Types of Vape Carts

Among the countless models of vape carts you can find on the market, you’ll notice that there are mainly two types of vape cartridges.

Portable Vaporizers

Portable vaporizers are just what the name implies – they are small and portable devices that consist of a battery, a heating element, a chamber to hold the cannabis, and a mouthpiece. Depending on the model, the chamber may be used to vape dry flowers, like your favorite Indica or Sativa, or different types of cannabis concentrates.

Portable vaporizers are easy to use: once you fill the cartridge with the concentrate of your choice, you press the button to turn it on. When it’s on, the battery heats the element to a certain temperature which starts to vaporize the flowers or the concentrate. The vapor then travels to the mouthpiece for you to puff away.

Most models have a temperature control setting that allows you to change the temperature to your liking as different cannabinoids and terpenes get released at different temperatures.

Vape Pens

Vape pens are very similar to handheld vaporizers, but they are a more elegant version, so to speak, because they literally resemble a pen or an e-cigarette. They are specifically made to vaporize cannabis oils and distillates. Vape pens are very compact and are made up of a mouthpiece, a battery, a heating element, and a cartridge that’s pre-filled with a gram or half a gram of cannabis oil.

There are two types of vape pens:

  • Disposable vape pens that you need to throw away once you’ve used up all the oil in the cartridge because the vape pen comes as a sealed one-piece and it can’t be dismantled;
  • With reusable vape pens, you get to keep the battery because it’s rechargeable. Once you’ve used up the oil, you can discard the empty cartridge and replace it with a new one. The batteries are usually with the 510 thread, which makes it compatible with many pre-filled oil cartridges on the market.

How Long Do Vape Cartridges Normally Last?

When it comes to the question as to how long your vape cartridge will last, there isn’t one answer as there are many variables that can influence how long you’re going to use it. Roughly, it could be said that an average person will get between 75 to 150 puffs from a half a gram cartridge. 

However, there are two things that need to be factored in:

  • Frequency of use – the most obvious variable is how often you use your vape. If you use it 2-3 times a week, it should last you for months, but if you use it a couple of times a day, you’ll need to replace it sooner;
  • For how long you inhale – this is an overlooked variable, but it can make a really big difference as it reflects the quantity of vapor you draw. Some people inhale for a couple of seconds, while others will take 4-6 seconds. Longer inhalation means a larger quantity of vapor, which also means that your cartridge won’t last as long.

When it comes to the battery of the vape cartridge, it also depends on your individual use, as well as the initial power and quality of the battery. Yes, batteries are designed to last a certain period of time, but if you tend to vape at high temperatures often and use your device very frequently, the longevity of the battery will rapidly decrease.

How to Extend the Shelf Life of Your Vape Cartridge

Even though it may seem like there’s nothing much you can do about the longevity of your vape cart, you can still learn how to take better care of it to extend its shelf life and improve your experience.

The most important thing is to store your vape cart upright and in a cool, dark, and dry place. Heat and light are known to degrade the cannabinoids, and they may also cause changes in the composition of the other cannabinoids. Also, THC degrades into CBN when exposed to light and heat for a prolonged time, making it less psychoactive and more sedative. 

When you’re not using your cart, unscrew the battery from the cart to prevent accidental leakage. That said, if you notice it’s leaking, go to your nearest dispensary to get it replaced as it could damage the battery.

Finally, if you don’t use the vape very often but have noticed that it’s changed its color and viscosity, then it’s likely that it has started to degrade.

Be Careful When Buying Vape Cartridges

When it comes to vape carts, there are many counterfeit products on the cannabis market. Some manufacturers aren’t transparent about what kind of additives they put into their oil cartridges as there are no certificates of third-party testing labs to vouch for the product’s quality. You may end up vaping a concentrate that’s been diluted with irritants, and this can cause health issues.

Therefore, always seek to buy from reputable dispensaries and trusted manufacturers. If a product seems different from what you know, the viscosity of the oil is strange, the packaging is flamboyant, and the price is too good to not be suspicious, save your buck and go look for the real thing.

A passionate advocate for the benefits of cannabis. Fraser Horton, who has a background in botany and a strong love of nature, has spent years researching how cannabis affects the body and mind. He established Leaf Nation in 2020, where he has devoted himself to educating people about the legalisation of marijuana and its safe and responsible use. Fraser is committed to highlighting cannabis’ potential for improving wellness and working to dispel the stigma associated with its use.


The information presented on this page is provided as a public service to aid in education and is derived from sources believed to be reliable. Readers are responsible for making their own assessment of the topics discussed here. In no event shall Leaf Nation be held reliable for any injury, loss or damage that could happen if using or abusing drugs.