Are Vape Pens Created Equal?

Posted on August 20th, 2019 to cannabinoids by

Are All Vape Pens Created Equal?

Consuming cannabis comes with a lot of decisions; you can bake brownies, vape it, smoke a joint, or take a dab—and all of them provide a different experience. For this post we’re going to be focusing on vaping, the different types of vape oils, and what sets them apart from one another.

Before we dive into the stems and seeds about the differences between the various types of vape pens on the market, let’s first define what exactly vaping is. Vapor is the “substance diffused in the air which was originally a liquid or solid in gas form, and vaping is essentially taking the material and turning it into a gas. Even though vapor appears to be thicker than smoke, it’s actually quite a bit thinner—which is why it dissipates quickly and smells nicer. 

Vaping cannabis can have many benefits like being more discreet.

Now that we got that out of the way, we’ll cover the five different types of vape pens, how they’re formulated, and the key differences between them. But first, be aware that there are two ways to buy vape pen cartridges: pre-filled or empty ones that you fill up yourself. It’s important to make sure you’re buying a compatible vape oil if you opt for the empty vape pen cartridge because not all of them are. 


Let’s start with the oldest and original type of vape pen—the carbon dioxide extracted aka CO2 vape oil pen. While we love that this where cannabis vaping began, we are also firm believers in innovation and moving forward.

CO2 extracted vape oils utilize one of the original methods of cannabinoid and terpene extraction. That being said, the quality can differ greatly among different products, so it is best to ask your budtender for recommendations.

We recommend:  Northern Standard 300mg Disposable CO2 Cartridge – $25

A Northern Standard 300mg Disposable CO2 Cartridge and Battery.


While distillate vape pen cartridges contain high levels of THC—everything else including terpenes and other cannabinoids is typically filtered out, which leaves you with a flavorless and bland vape oil. Not only that, but high THC percentages don’t necessarily equate to being the most potent because THC isn’t the only factor when determining the overall potency and quality of a cannabis product.

Other compounds, acids, terpenes, and cannabinoids make THC more bioavailable—thus making it a more potent product compared to distillates. Because of this, pure distillate cartridges tend to be the most affordable cartridges on the market and are still great for the price-conscious consumer.

We recommend:  Mary’s Medicinals 500mg Distillate Pax Pod – $60. Also available in 3:1 CBD:THC – $60

Mary’s Medicinals 500mg Distillate Pax Pod

Distillate With Added Terpenes

Distillates that add terpenes back into their vape oil formulas have a much better flavor and are more effective than regular distillate cartridges. If live resin terpenes are also added—it produces somewhat of a full-spectrum cannabinoid profile and is a more affordable choice than some of the other vape cartridges which we will be discussing below. 

Breckenridge Organic Therapy carries vape cartridge distillates with live resin terpenes, so if you’re looking for something that has the affordability of a distillate but with a hint of a full-spectrum product—these could be a great option for you. 

We recommend:  CSC 500mg Sauce cartridge – $35

The CSC 500mg Sauce Cartridge shown in a CSC ad.

Live Resin

Live resin cartridges are the next step to becoming a true vape oil connoisseur. While they are expensive, they are well worth the money if you’re serious about finding a high-quality, full-spectrum live resin cartridge. Live resin is usually extracted from the plant with butane as a solvent. The “live” designation is given to any cannabis products made from materials that were immediately frozen after being harvested to preserve the terpenes. Because the flower is immediately flash frozen, the product is still considered to be in a “live” state.   

Because of this, live resin has a great flavor and full-spectrum cannabinoid profile, so if you’re looking for a high-quality and potent vape oil—then these cartridges could be just what the doctor ordered.  

We recommend:  Green Dot 500mg live resin cartridge – $60

GreenDot Full Spectrum 500mg Cartridge and Battery.

Live Rosin

A true connoisseurs dream. Rosin is a new type of extraction process that uses heat and pressure —which produces a 100% solvent-free full-spectrum hash oil. This is huge because up until recently, most concentrates needed to use solvents in the extraction process in order to isolate the resin.

There are common misconceptions about how live rosin is created. Since you can’t just throw frozen plant materials into a press because the moisture would essentially be akin to boiling water with the cannabinoids and terpenes of the plant, which would degrade the overall quality of the final product—ice wax (also known as bubble hash) needs to be made. 

After the ice wax is made, it needs to be a full melt extract to create live rosin so it easily melts, even in solid or powder form. After the full melt ice is made—it is placed in a filter bag, then is put under pressure in a rosin press at a low temperature where it squeezes out the concentrate.

Live rosin is the solution for people who don’t like the idea of their vape oils being made with solvents such as CO2 or butane, and for Cannaseurs who want to experience a broad terpene profile and the purest flavor from the finest the market has to offer. 

We recommend:  Dablogic 500mg Live Rosin Cartridge – $69

DabLogic 500mg Live Rosin Cartridge

Final Hit 

There is a clear distinction between the different types of vape oils and pens available on the market, and while each of them serves a purpose for a range of cannabis enthusiasts—we’ve determined all vape pens are not created equal. 

That said, live resin and distillate cartridges with added terpenes are great alternatives to the live rosin cartridges in terms of price and terpene and cannabinoid potency—but with the use of solvents. 

At the end of the day, only you know which vape pen is right for you and your budget. All we ask is that you make sure you source your products from reputable dispensaries like Breck Organic Therapy to ensure you’re purchasing a safe and effective product. 

For an in-depth visual about how different concentrates are extracted—check out the video from our friends at Cannabis Saves Lives below! 

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