Likely, if you love to vape, you’ve ended up with a hand full of half-empty or faulty cartridges (or pens) laying around. They just don’t make em’ like the used to, bad cartridges are everywhere. It seems wasteful to simply throw away these cartridges, even if it’s defective or the original vape pen no longer works properly. It’s packed full of highly potent extract, and one day you plan on getting it out.

For many of us, throwing away a partially-full cart seems sacrilegious. So instead, we keep them stored in a stash box, or junk drawer until we figure out what to do with them. Does this sound all too familiar?

Today is the day where we should you how to get the very last drops out of empty or defective cartridges. So dig through the junk drawers and your weed stash – let’s get to work.

Precautions

  1. Some Youtube stoners recommend smashing the cartridges to get at the good stuff. Literally breaking into your THC-concentrate cartridge is not only dangerous but desperate. If you follow the below steps, there should be absolutely no broken glass and no mess. 
  2. Do not use fire to heat the device or the concentrate in the device. Vape pens and other such devices were never designed to encounter the flame from a lighter or blow torch. If you try to heat the cartridge with fire, you have to consider what else you might be heating. Plastics, heavy metals, and glues could quickly transfer from the device into the concentrate. Where does the concentrate go? Straight into your lungs. Therefore, do not use fire (lighters, torches, etc.) to heat the cartridge.
  3. Know when to give up. While the following options should work for most carts on the market today – we haven’t tried them all. There very well may be a cartridge which doesn’t give up the final dregs of THC that easily. In this case, you’ll want to toss it. Your health and safety (and time) are not worth a few dollars (at most) of cannabis extract.


How to Get the Last Drops Out of a Vape Pen

For those with faulty, bubble-filled cartridges, skip ahead to the next section. For those who are just trying to get the dregs of concentrate from the bottom of your cartridge – this section is for you.

Option #1: Heating Pad

Most of the time, all you’ll need is to loosen the thick concentrate into a more localized area of the cartridge is heat. If you have a heating pad for growing weed, throw your leftover cartridges on the heating pad overnight. Within a few hours they should have liquified, and you should score a few more powerful pulls out of it.

Option #2: Air Exchange (Floor Register) in Your House

As one helpful Reddit user pointed out, you can sit all the leftover mouthpiece up in an in-floor heat register. First, remove the battery, and the cartridge should sit nicely between the slats. So long as the heat is on in your house, it won’t take much for the oil to move around closer to the interior heating element.

Option #3: Carefully Pry it Open

This option largely depends on what kind of vape pen you use, but often you can pry them open with a little careful effort. Pull apart the various elements using small tools (needle-nose pliers, screwdrivers, etc.) until you gain access the concentrate.

Use a toothpick to smudge the residual THC out, and dab into a pipe or on to a blunt paper. It makes for a great smoke, even with a tiny dab. If you end up breaking the glass, toss the entire cartridge. It’s not worth it.

Getting Rid of the Bubble in a Faulty Cartridge

Every so often you are bound to encounter a defective vape cartridge where a bubble annoyingly interrupts your vape experience. No matter how hard or how long you haul on the mouthpiece, the bubble prevents any more liquid from hitting the heating element. 

Option #1: Use a Hair Dryer

Remember when we said never heat a vape pen with open flame? A hairdryer is a safe and effective alternative. 

  1. Remove the battery from the cartridge and set aside.
  2. Place the cartridge mouthpiece side up (fastener side down) on a table. You can use masking tape or styrofoam as a means to stabilize the bottom during this process.
  3. Turn the hairdryer on low and point at the cartridge. It should sit 12″ away from the cartridge to start. You can move it closer if needed.
  4. Blow hot air on the cartridge until you see movement inside. The concentrate heats up and begins to liquefy. The bubble should soon move out of the way and pop near the surface. The remaining liquid is back in action and ready to vape.

Option #2: Double Down with a Second Cart

If the first option doesn’t work, another suggestion is to use the power of gravity. This option requires a secondary full (or partially full) cartridge from the same brand or at least the same universal screw tip.

  1. Using a tiny bit of masking tape, link the screw ends of the two cartridges together, so they are perfectly lined up. You want to move liquid from one cartridge into the other so the better the alignment, the less messy the process.
  2. Use a small bit of styrofoam (or your fingers) to hold the two cartridges upright. The defective cartridge should be on the bottom and the full one on top.
  3. Turn the hairdryer to low and blow towards the cartridges. Move closer as the liquid heats up.
  4. You’ll see the bubble in the bottom cartridge begin to move upwards. It should dislodge and travel through the connection. During this movement, some liquid from the full cartridge will go in the opposite direction to fill the bottom one.
  5. Once the bubble has disappeared into the top cartridge turn off the hairdryer.
  6. While still warm, disconnect the cartridges and invert to make sure the product is next to the heating element and ready to vape.

We can all agree that the one downside to vape pens is their disposable nature. Passionate vapers seem to collect empty or worse, half-empty, cartridges like it’s going out of style. These carts are impossible to recycle in most cases and wasteful to throw out. So we all keep them, hoping one day we’ll get the very last drops out.

The good news? It’s generally not that difficult to get a few more good pulls out of an empty cart. For any defective ones, you only need a hairdryer or heating pad to correct the problem. 

Instead of shoving that leftover and faulty THC-laden cartridge into the back of your junk drawer, use these helpful tips to get it out. Get that final drop out, and a final very satisfactory inhale.