Fake Cartridges Are A Big Issue In The USA – We Tell You How You Can Avoid It - International Highlife
fake vape carts contain pesticides

Fake Cartridges Are A Big Issue In The USA  – We Tell You How You Can Avoid It

There is a new wave of fake cartridges flooding the US market. Many of the most popular THC oil cartridge brands had their packaging replicated by Chinese manufacturers. They have created nearly perfect packaging and vape cartridge duplicates of popular brands. Many of these counterfeit weed cartridges are putting peoples health at risk because they are not using clean oils.

The oil inside of well-known cartridge brands may not be the high-quality cannabis extract your expecting. Thanks to Chinese marketplaces like Alibaba or DHGate, people can buy cheap packaging on these platforms and fill them with their THC oil and try and market them as the original brand.

Vaping laced oils can cause severe health problems. There have been lab tests done on these fake cartridges, and many of them contained multiple types of pesticides or other impurities.

The fakes always claim a high percentage of THC. If the oil gets tested at an independent lab, almost all of them have a lower cannabinoid % than claimed on the packaging.

Do not fall for the conveniences of these vape cartridges, they may get you stoned, but at the same time, they are potentially damaging your health.

The Rise Of Fake Vape Cartridge Brands

fake vape cartridge brands

Dank Vapes is owned and created by Dank Woods (LA). They are experiencing counterfeit problems too.

counterfeit cereal vape cartridges

As said before, fake brands and companies are also emerging through the help of people on Alibaba and Dhgate.com. These people are creating nice packaging with claims such as 90% THC and solventless.

Brands such as Exotic Carts and  Mario Carts have appeared without any reliable information about them being a reputable company. Upgrades have been made to these packaging to make them more appealing such as using holographs.

There are only Instagram pages available for these Chinese made brands without any websites or presence on Weedmaps. Mostly, there are not many images on these Instagram pages. The photos taken are quite lovely and have a marketing touch to them. The pictures on Instagram show these carts filled with a solid looking, yellow color THC oil. We have tried Dank Vapes and Mario Carts- both brands had similar looking oil.

There are now many accounts on Instagram showing hundreds of fake Brass Knuckles vape cartridges for sale. It may be tempting to try and buy one if you’re living in a state which is not cannabis friendly yet, but we strongly advise against it.

The Brass Knuckles vape cartridge brand is trying t combat the counterfeit issues with new serial numbers and holographs. However, without a database to check the serial numbers on their website, it’s not as effective as it should be.

Counterfeit Vape Cartridges Have Pesticides

dank vape pesticides lab results

Proof that the Dank vapes cartridges contain pesticides.

The reason behind the popularity of these fake cartridge brands is because you can buy them in states where cannabis oil is not legal yet.

Unfortunately, the black market doesn’t have any mandatory lab testing for their products such as States like Nevada. People concerned about if these carts were safe to have taken it upon themselves to find out. Multiple lab test results have surfaced revealing these black market cartridges contain various pesticides.

I live in California, where cannabis is legal for recreational and medical use. You can find these carts in the Bay Area, and they are undercutting the competition with lower prices per gram.

A Premium vape cartridge brand retails for $60 a gram on average in California. I found Mario Carts and Dank Vape Carts in the bay area selling for $25-$45 a gram. The reason for this low price is because it’s not as high in THC content as advertised and they have been proven to contain dirty oil.

Do not vape any of these made up vape cartridge brands from China, or else there could be some health issues later down the road. People have reported chest pains from vaping these carts and shortness in their breath. The long-term consequences can be fatal.

Fake Brass Knuckles Cartridges For Sale

counterfeit brass knuckles vape carts

Brass knuckles vape cartridge serial number stickers

Brass knuckles vape cartridge serial number stickers you can buy online

fake brass knuckles

Well-known vape cartridge brands such as Brass Knuckles are experiencing counterfeit problems. Brass Knuckles and King Pen have started educating their customers about fakes with the help of their social media pages (mostly on Instagram).

Brass Knuckles had its fair share of problems with pesticides, and they are blaming it on the counterfeit issue, although the person who lab tested the Brass Knuckles carts bought them from a licensed dispensary.

My experience with vaping Brass Knuckles cartridges can provide some insight. I started vaping this cart brand about a few years ago, and I consumed their products frequently. I was buying from a delivery service on Weedmaps for almost a year before I started to notice a change with their Blue Dream strain; the taste and strength were not what it used to be. Then after about half a year only vaping Brass Knuckles vape cartridges, I started to experience heavy chest pain.

So how did I get Brass Knuckles vape cartridges that were contaminated with pesticides from a delivery driver from Weedmaps? There could have been a couple of possible scenarios I want to discuss. There is always the chance that the delivery driver who was working for the licensed cannabis seller made the switch. The other possibility is that Brass Knuckles vape cartridges had issues with their quality control. Tracking down who’s responsible for the bad THC oil is one of the most significant problems. Everyone involved in the supply chain blames someone else. We will certainly keep digging and update you along the way.

Brass Knuckles vape cartridge response to counterfeit

They dedicated a section on their Instagram page which is addressing the issue and providing links to guides. I recommend visiting their website for the full how to spot a fake brass knuckles cartridge guide.

Sadly, they do not update their guide as much as they should, but you’ll be able to find some useful information. So far Brass Knuckles failed to inform people that the counterfeiters have already replicated their new barcode holographic stickers.

If you would like to get more information about this brand you should check out the article we wrote about fake Brass Knuckles cartridges.

fake brass knuckles cartridges

Fake Stiiizy Pods Appear Online For Sale

fake stiiizy vape pods

Stiiizy pods and packaging have been replicated and sold on several Asian marketplaces.

After I was done with Brass Knuckles, my new favorite was Stiiizy. At first, this switch was the best until Stiiizy’s potency started to feel weak too.

These pods usually sell for $30 each for a half gram and $60 for a gram (before taxes). All of a sudden I started seeing this Stiiizy pods flood Weedmaps for lower prices.

I bought these on Weedmaps at 4 for $100 including tax. They were diluted with too many terpenes compared to the Stiiizy pods I first tried.

fake stiiizy pods

Stiiizy posted about their counterfeit problem on 1/4/2019

The Stiiizy brand is notorious for its super strong cannabis oil. So I knew right away once I was hitting a fake Stiiizy pod and stopped buying them. The crazy thing is I got it from a delivery service on Weedmaps.

I can only blame myself though. The price of four Stiiizy pods should have been a red flag.

Fake King Pen Cartridges

The King Pen vape cartridge is another Los Angels company that became famous for its high-quality cannabis oil. They have been tested for pesticides too. This could be because of lab test not testing their THC oil. King pen is also trying to inform their followers on social media about their counterfeit vape cartridge problem. They are encouraging their customers to only buy from licensed dispensaries in California and Las Vegas. Still, you can buy these King pen cartridges in many States where cannabis is not legal yet.

We wrote a separate article about fake King Pen cartridges. You can read it here.

fake king pen cartridges

Fake Heavy Hitters Cartridges

fake heavy hitters cartridges

avoid fake vape cartridges

Heavy Hitters Packaging and empty vape cartridges for sale. The same is happening with all the other popular vape cartridge brands.

Heavy Hitters vape cartridges is another popular vape cartridge option that is battling with fakes. As you can see from the photo above, people are selling their packaging online. They have responded on their Instagram account trying to educate their followers on how to buy a real cart from them. The Heavy Hitters brand has been found dirty for pesticides from a third-party lab test.

Fake Dank Vapes Cartridges

The fake Dank vapes cartridges have the wrong Instagram account labeled on it. The correct Instagram account is @dankvapesofficialaccount. The counterfeits already replicated their packaging and now have an accurate Instagram account on it instead of the previous @dankvapesofficial

If you want to find out more about the Dank Vapes brand, check out our review and our article about the fake Dank Vapes.

wrong instagram account fake dank vapes

Fake Dank Vapes have the wrong Instagram account printed on their packaging

dank vapes original Instagram on cart

The correct Dank Vapes Instagram account.

How To Spot A Counterfeit Vape Cartridge Guide

Most of the brands that have been affected by these counterfeiters are taking action. Most of them are currently providing information via their social media channels to help teach their customers about what’s going. Make sure to follow the brand(s) of the product(s) you’re vaping.

Below, we created a list of all of the vape cartridge brands that are affected by the fakes. If you vape any of these brands, it’s important to understand there’s a chance you can be buying a fake.

The following Brands Have Been Affected By Fakes

Click on any of the vape cartridge brands above to find their Instagram and additional information about the fake cartridge problem.

Mailing Vape Cartridges

People are using social media platforms such as Instagram to sell their counterfeit vape carts. There are a tremendous amount of different social media accounts trying to ship their vape cartridges in the mail. These people are frequently taking pictures of well-known vape cartridges that have pesticides such as Exotic Carts, Mario Carts, Dank vape carts, and others. If you live in a State where cannabis is illegal you may be tempted to try one of these vape cartridges, don’t be fooled by how good they look because they are not good quality. Remember, it’s still a federal crime to mail THC oil to states where cannabis is not legal.

Do not be fooled by these many Instagram accounts selling these prefilled vape cartridges with poison. They are only after tricking people for their money without caring about the consequences of their customer’s health. It’s also a problem on Facebook. You might’ve seen people trying to sell cannabis products in the comments of popular Facebook pages like World of Cannabis, High Times, Herb and so on. Until a couple of months ago, they only advertised selling cannabis flowers and seeds, but now some of them switched to cartridges. Never buy something from these people because they will just take your money and never ship you the products.

Cannabis oil that is selling for below the average cost is a clear indicator that it’s dirty and the reason why it’s selling for such a low price. The worst part about the pesticide problem is that there is no way to tell from the naked eye or taste if the hash oil is contaminated. The smell of pesticides is odorless, and you can only detect it with an independent lab test.

People are becoming bold enough to sell these prefilled hash oil cartridges with pesticides on the apps offer up and letgo. Beware of cheap premium carts because they can have different kinds of impurities. Trying to save money on vaping THC oil can have some severe consequences.

Fake Vape Cartridges For Sale Online

This counterfeit and pesticide problem with weed cartridges happens throughout the entire United States. There are thousands of vendors selling these empty vape cartridges replicas and some of them already shipped hundreds of orders (you can track that on certain platforms).

I had followed the Instagram accounts of Dank Vape and Exotic carts. Shortly after the following, I got direct messages from different people asking me if I wanted to buy any vape cartridges. I was surprised at how many people requested to follow me on Instagram. This was right after I decided to follow the Exotic carts Instagram page.

Additional people would message me about if I was interested in buying prefilled cartridges from various brands that include Brass Knuckles Vape and Kingpen.

We posted an Exotic carts review and that article received comments from people trying to acquire customers. I strongly urge you not to send money to people for hash oil cartridges that can be toxic to your health.

China has always been notorious for replicating some of Americas most popular brands, and now they are continuing to do so with vape cartridges. This is why we need additional regulations for the cannabis industry, so the people who are buying these products are protected.

A lot of cannabis companies get their packaging made from China. It’s unfortunate, vape cartridge packaging designs are being stolen and sold on popular online Chinese markets. The cannabis oil cartridge market is exploding as more people are switching from smoking weed to vaping hash oil. I recommend reading our top 10 best THC oil cartridges list in 2018 to help understand. We are frequently reviewing all of the vape cartridges that are available to us in the Bay area.

What If Scenario?

What if these vape cartridge brands are trying to use counterfeits as a scapegoat? I find it odd that the brands who are having counterfeit problems have all tested for pesticides in the past. I say this because the third parties who tested these brands claimed to buy the carts they tested from a licensed dispensary.

However, there are sure a large number of sellers from China selling these empty vape cartridges; perhaps there is a big enough market for them in the black market. China is known for stealing the designs of popular products from the USA. The cannabis industry is still new and adjusting to the counterfeits. I am sure new laws will be implemented to protect the people. Let us know if you think you ever purchased any counterfeit vape cartridges in the comments below.

Conclusion: Bootleg vape cartridges are nothing but a bunch of distillate oil with pesticides.

One reason why clean distillate oil cost $60 a gram is that it’s lab tested. These tests done in labs are not cheap and can average a couple of hundred dollars to check a batch of cannabis oil. If you want to check the THC content (cannabinoid profile) it will cost you at least an additional $100-$200 and you’ll need a minimum of a gram of distillate oil. 

Another strategy to combat buying fake vape cartridges is to avoid prices that are way lower than the original retail price. The brands that have been hit by the counterfeit issue are taking action and helping their customers with information campaigns on their social media accounts. 

Visit your favorite THC cartridge brand website and look at their FAQ for more insights. Weedmaps can also help find legitimate and licensed sellers with the blue badge on products as verification of authenticity. Find your favorite THC oil cartridge with a blue badge on Weedmaps and you can ensure it’s the real thing!

Let’s review the steps that can stir you clear from fake vape cartridges and dangerous to vape cannabis oil.

  • Vape cartridge must have a blue badge on Weedmaps

  • Buy only from a licensed cannabis dispensary

  • Avoid Low prices that are half off – read our guide about prices

  • Visit social media of THC cartridge brands and website for additional insight on the counterfeit problem.

  • When in doubt, send a picture to the vape cartridge brand via social media.

Advise from Vape Cartridge Brands Effective

Most of the brands affected by the counterfeits are more than happy to respond to people who think they have purchased a fake product. They are very helpful on their social media accounts and typically respond fast. The counterfeiters are replicating prefilled vape cartridges and their packaging just as quickly as they are updating their packaging.

Stiiizy takes pride in how thick their distillate oil is and encourages people to take the bubble test. Simple turn the Stiiizy pod that is suspected to be fake upside down and see how fast the bubble travels. The bubble inside of the Stiiizy pod should not travel fast. If it does it’s probably not an authentic hash oil from Stiiizy. Do not buy any Stiiizy pod with black flaps attached to the box.

Brass Knuckles vape advises looking for misspellings to identify fakes of theirs. They have created a page on their website with a more in-depth guide on how to spot fake brass knuckles cartridges. Their guide is unfortunately already outdated because of how fast the counterfeits improve their product. It’s quite fascinating how much of a market there is for selling counterfeit empty cartridges and cases of Brass Knuckles. There are a lot of sellers from outside of the United States selling these fakes; they are mainly from China.

The best way to avoid fake brass knuckles is simply buying from a licensed dispensary. Dark THC oil inside of Brass Knuckle vape cartridges is another clear indication of a counterfeit. The real color should have golden clarity. This brand uses distillate which is clear and yellow.

Additional Counterfeit Vape Cartridge Tips

Fake King Pen cartridges look precisely like the real vape cartridge and packaging. How can this be possible? Just because they are getting their packaging made in China, and some ow afterward the packaging of their products ended up in popular Chinese online marketplaces.

King Pen has a list of authorized sellers for their products on Weedmaps. All you have to do is make sure there is a blue badge next to the Kingpen cartridge on Weedmaps to ensure you’re buying their real product and not a fake.

Heavy Hitters vape cartridge brand is striking back with a tool that anyone can use on their website. Enter your zip code to find an authorized seller.

Dank Vapes, Exotic Carts, and Mario Carts are possibly from the same distributor. Dank Vapes just barely changed their vape cartridge packaging and already had it replicated and sold online. I suggest staying completely away from Dank Vapes unless you want to vape pesticides. Dank Vapes may claim they are experiencing a counterfeit problem, but in reality, they are a bootleg company selling low-quality cannabis oil disguised as good with fancy packaging and good terpenes profiles.

Additional Info About Fake Carts

We recently came across this video by  Erick Khan. He raises some good points. These are his most important points:

  1. If you live in an illegal state, chances are very high that you are smoking some fake shit
  2. If you pay less than 50$ a gram, you are DEFINITELY smoking some fake shit
  3. If you can buy the brands packaging online, it’s an immediate red flag

11 responses to “Fake Cartridges Are A Big Issue In The USA  – We Tell You How You Can Avoid It”

  1. Sick Bovb says:

    You cqn buy the dank vape cartridges and packaging on amazon for like 150$ for 100 i think alot of its being made in the us

    • Leslie says:

      I have a dank cart of purple punch, tastes like raw carrots. The box is Def a fake but there are legitimate serial numbers, stamp K and ccell in bottom. Fake or not?

  2. Just inhale says:

    All you faggits are getting fake shit losers

  3. Me says:

    Ok first of all…

    On the note of counterfeiting:
    Do to the real truth about the pesticide issue we’re may never know if these companies are really being counterfeited ir if they are doing it themselves.

    Here’s why:
    Up until basically right now, there had not been a law about non remediated distillate (distillate that read ran through the closed loop one final time to remove residual pesticides. Meaning that MANY legit companies have been selling non remediated for years because of 3 factors:
    1. No law making them sell remediated.
    2. Non remediated is cheaper and quicker to make.
    3. Ther final run through the closed loop system (to create the final remediated, or no pesticide, distillate) creates up to 25% loss.

    We all know that without a law in place people will do/ use/ produce whatever they are allowed to.

    Well, this law is super recent. Meaning that more what you have is big legit companies that are stocked up on non remediated distillate that now have to somehow get rid of it without going to jail or losing their investment. Some may choose to run the distillate again to remove pesticides. However most will not because of the loss they would incur.

    So, they are all in this mad dash right now to find creative ways of unloading leftover supply.

    The average black market seller doesn’t want to order legit looking packaging because their business is illegal and that would be a direct credit card link to precisely what they are selling illegally. Super sketchy.

    So the counterfeit thing could go either way. It could be other people seeking fakes or it could be the legit company offloading non remediated distillate.

    You do have a point about illegal states. Most companies will not sell out the back door anymore even to good friends so if someone local in an illegal state has quantity of well known brands it’s likely that they will be fake.

    Your tip about the bubble test needs direction however…

    If it runs it’s definitely not high concentration distillate cart. This will definitely mean that the cart is cut with something like mct (safe, many SUPER LARGE labs sell prefilled carts with up to 15% mct to others that add their own brand to it. Once re branded they almost never say in packaging or advertising that there is 15% mct in it. These carts will not run, will not test positive for pesticides and will still test out about 65%-70% thc when finished which is strong enough most people don’t notice. ) or pg (dangerous) and cut quite thin. Distillate itself will run so slow it takes time to see it move.

    However, if it does not run that does not guarantee that it’s safe or good. There are plenty of things people can use to thicken things up. Many would be very dangerous.

    Once these companies are done off loading leftover non remedied distillate you may see less influx of the “fakes “. If so, I would consider that a GREAT indication that they were in fact falling their own product as a way to unload leftover non remediated.

    Hope this helps.

    • Heather Speed says:

      YOU are one of the best educated on here I have found yet…THANK YOU….ALL THE INFO IN THE WORLD DOESN’T HELP WHEN YOU AREN’T SURE WHAT YOU ARE LOOKING AT….so you breaking it down like that, and explaining in common sense, helped me A TON with that. I am in a legal state, have JUST FOUND the distillate, and LOVE IT…but it is difficult to get even at the dispensary…I noticed they don’t have a large selection out here, and they aren’t as large…we only have half grams here…and it is STILL $60 for a half gram cart….ridiculous! I don’t know HOW they do it, but they do. I am thrilled to have found someone who knows what they are talking about, and would like to be able to discuss other things with you another time if possible. THIS IS ALL NEW TO ME…and I am not sure what I am doing yet. They are all very helpful, but I am an older lady who has NO CLUE what I am doing….lol just doing what the DR told me to. Would appreciate some advice here and there. Thanks for this info…very well written, and INFORMATIVE!! 🙂

    • Obadiah Spittle says:

      Wowsers! I obtained a box of 30 DANKS in apparent bootleg packaging before I moved to a medical state . The carts have the symbol, the ccell, and the serial numbers stamped on the face. It is a legit cart. The product labeled Lemon Slushie on the box looks like the ones marked, “counterfeit” in the article. However, it makes me very high, and has a lemon turpene after taste. I will get my medical card any day now, they took my $. I will go to a state dispensary stat.

  4. connie blaesing says:

    I believe a purchased a fake Dank King Louie. It had the #CA438 CCELL K

  5. Ross boss says:

    So what if there fake y u mad cuz these mofo aint making money fuk dat bro let ppl eat these mofo pit shitty oil anyways in there shit and charge 60$ Lol fuk the system the marijuana industry was black market from the beginning and now these company crying cuz they cany charge 70$ for a cart that cost less than 10

    • Jesus Sanchez says:

      It’s not right that people are selling fake cartridges with pesticides. We need laws to protect people from buying products that can get them sick. I hope this article spreads so more people can become aware and stop buying fake vape cartridges.

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