Vaporizer 101

Vape Troubleshooting & Exchange Guide

Proper Vape Care:

  • Store your vape pen and cartridge vertically.

  • Keep out of extreme weather and altitude.

  • Do not heat with open flame or boiled water to change oil viscosity.

  • Remember to fully charge batteries before use.

  • Charge vape batteries like a cellphone for longest battery life. Charge fully, use fully, charge fully, use fully...

Battery Troubleshooting:

  • Make sure all packaging plastic has been removed from cartridge’s threads.

  • Try screwing cartridge more/less hard. (A blinking light can sometimes indicate the cartridge is screwed on too tightly.)

  • Try a different cartridge. The cartridge might be faulty.

  • Is your battery charged? What color is the light when plugged in? A blinking or solid red indicates that the battery needs a recharge.

  • Is it lighting up when you pull? Is air going through the cartridge?

  • Batteries operating at or greater than 4.0V can damage cartridge.

  • Is the threading the same on your pen and cartridge?

Cartridge Troubleshooting:

  • Try cartridge with different battery. The pen might be faulty.

  • Remove mouthpiece and twist blue plug to unblock airflow.

  • Is the threading the same on your pen and cartridge?

  • Batteries operating at more than 4.0V can damage cartridge.

* Please refer to your cartridge/pen product packaging or manufacturer's

  website (available in the product notes or product exchange page in the footer

  below) to find additional information about your specific product.

* Check out all the HERB Policies here.


Troubleshooting video courtesy of Bloom Farms and Youtube.
Troubleshooting video courtesy of Absolute Xtracts and Youtube.

Vape Education & FAQ

What is a vape pen/battery and cartridge/disposable? How do they work?

When cannabis or cannabis oil is heated to temperatures between 315-450 degrees Fahrenheit, cannabinoids volatilize into tiny airborne droplets that form an aerosol we call “vapor.” Smoke is from combustion, which roughly happens at 450-550+ degrees Fahrenheit. Vape pens accomplish this using a battery-powered heating element to vaporize cannabis oil.

Typically, there are four elements to a vaporizer pen: a tank, an atomizer, sensors and the battery.

1. The Tank/Chamber/Mouthpiece - The cannabis oil holder is usually called a tank if refillable, or cartridge if it’s intended for single-use. It’s also typically combined with the atomizer as a single unit.

2. The Atomizer - The little heater in a vape pen is called an atomizer. Brands may give them other names for specific versions called cartomizers, clearomizers or other new jargon, but they are still atomizers at heart — that little heating element converts liquid to tiny airborne droplets, or vapor.

If you dab a bit of oil on the heating element, that product will likely be labeled an atomizer. Surround the atomizer with polyfill material to keep it saturated with oil from a separate tank and it’s a cartomizer. Drip the oil from a separate tank onto the atomizer using a silica wick and it’s a clearomizer. The wick can be swapped for cotton, steel mesh, or other “premium” materials.

3. Sensors & Software - Some vape pens automatically turn on when the user inhales through it, while others use a push button to toggle the heating element. Both of these methods require sensors to determine when the user is inhaling or button-pushing. Embedded software controls the various pen parts.


4. The Battery - Vape pen batteries must provide enough current to power a tiny heater that reaches 400 degrees in mere seconds. So, just like your cell phones and other devices, vape pens use rechargeable lithium ion batteries, which have high energy density.

Is vaporizing for me?

Smoking cannabis does not pose as serious health risks as smoking tobacco, as the smoke itself still contains some of the same chemicals. Vaping cannabis flower or oil is a healthier alternative to smoking the plant because it heats the product up just enough for the cannabinoid compounds to be released but not to the point of combustion. Combustion is what creates smoke and other undesired effects. In other words, a classic joint is nice, but the vapor from a vape pen can be much cleaner!

Vaping can be a great way to stretch your dollar. It has been known to us here at HERB, that one cartridge can provide up to several hundred hits. Every hit is deliberate and on demand and you donʼt lose any product due to residual burning like you do with a pipe or joint. According to a CA NORML study, vaporizers can convert approximately 46 percent of available THC into vapor, versus the average joint that converts less than 25 percent of THC into smoke!

Deciding to use a pre-filled oil vape cartridge takes a lot of work out of getting high. Counter to other methods of using concentrates such as a dab rig or even portable vape pens which require self-loading, a vape cartridge is usually as easy as just screwing on your pen. At most, these products may need you to push a button and inhale. Easy relaxation!

Pre-filled vape pens are the easiest method of enjoying cannabis oil while on the go. Their sleek and minimalist design allows for discreet vaping. Vaping also leaves less smell on one than smoking a pre-roll or from a pipe.

For uninitiated cannabis concentrate users, dosing can be an essential concern. Nobody wants an overwhelming experience when trying to enjoy cannabis oil products responsibly. Unlike dabbing, using a pre-loaded vape pen allows for a controlled dose with each inhalation. You can start low and go slow like you always should.


The only real danger with vaping is associated with vaping products containing pesticides. Unlike edibles where your liver outs the pesticides, when you vape or smoke a product containing pesticides, they are able to penetrate the blood-brain barrier almost immediately. This can lead to many problems including peripheral nerve damage. Be sure to know where your medicine is sourced. At HERB, we ensure only lab tested products that meet state requirements hit the shelves for consumption!

How do I get started?

To begin your journey into vaporization, your first step is to attach your cartridge to your fully charged battery. Make sure that your pen is fully charged before you hit that go button! Most vape pens use built-in batteries so you will have to connect them to a charger until they are fully loaded. Use the charging cord that came with the package--some pens don’t take kindly to other charging cables and will short out if charged incorrectly. Also, remember to re-charge on a cycle, let your pen charge go down, and then put it on the charger until it is fully charged, and then pull it off.


If your battery is breath activated, simply inhale. If not, locate the button on your battery. Generally these batteries are turned on and off by pressing the button five times. You will see a light go on or start to blink to let you know that it is on and working. Start by holding the button down for 1-3 seconds to get the oil warmed up. Then, while continuing to hold the button down, inhale and enjoy.

Some batteries have a variable voltage option. If you happen to have one, the first thing that youʼll need to do is find the correct heat/voltage setting for the cartridge that you are using. This will most often be determined by the quality of the oil that you are vaping combined with the quality of the cartridge hardware that you are using. Many manufacturers have information available on the product packaging or their website.

Variable voltage batteries generally cycle through heat settings in one of two different ways. Some just have a button and 3-4 heat settings whereas others have a dial with more options. In most cases, the push button batteries will require you to press the button 2-3 times to cycle from one heat setting to another. If your battery has a dial on the bottom, you will have even more control over your heat settings by simply rotating the dial to your desired heat setting. It should be mentioned that Pax Era’s have a smartphone app to help regulate your device’s output temperature.

Once you have found the heat setting that works best for you, simply hold the button down, inhale and enjoy!


General vaporizing information:


Find the Right Temp!
Your vape temperature is another critical part of the mix, dependent on what effect you prefer. Different cannabinoids evaporate at various temperatures. Lower atomizing temperatures can increase taste from terpene and flavonoid profiles. Experiment a bit until you find a sweet spot that works for you.

Titrate Your Dosage
Don't take long hard hits from your vape pen; it's not a joint. (We also don’t recommend hard hits on joints either--that can lead to ‘canoeing’ your joint!) If you hit it too hard, then it cannot heat the air as it passes through the oven, or you may suck up more concentrate fluid than can be vaporized and waste some valuable dabs. The trick here is to take even, short puffs the way you would a cigarette or cigar. These short quick puffs will build up to the big draw you want without overheating the vape or the mouthpiece.

Cartridges vs. Disposables
When choosing a pre-filled vape pen, there are several hardware options. Some products are offered in tanks that typically come formatted with a 510 threaded standard vaporizer battery insert. These tanks can fit on any battery that receives the 510 threading. Nowadays, almost all battery tanks come in this form. Check out all our cartridges here.

The exception to this is when you purchase pre-loaded tanks designed by companies to fit their personalized batteries. An example would be the PAX Era Pods, which are intended to be used with their vaporizer/battery systems.

Alternatively, many pre-loaded vape pens are available as “disposables,” containing a pre-charged battery designed to support the vape until the tank empties. These pen varieties require no charging and are meant to be disposed of after use. They contain no threading and are not intended to be removed from the battery. Check out the all-in-one disposable vape pens here.

Pairing for Viscosity

For a vaporizer cartridge to function correctly, its contents must have the correct viscosity. Otherwise, the oils are either too thick or too thin to be able to vaporize within the device. Cartridge manufacturers utilize several methods to create the ideal oil for their pens. Please note that we recommend pairing the cartridge you purchase with the same brand’s vape battery. This ensures optimal air flow, connectivity and temperature regulation for oil viscosity. Below are some variations of cannabis oil extract methods that manufacturers use.

CO2 Oil - Certain high grade winterized CO2 oils are uniquely compatible with vaporizer cartridges because they do not require additives of any kind to meet the viscosity levels needed to vaporize in an atomizer. If made correctly, these oils are able to retain modest levels of plant-based terpenes, which act as natural thinning agents as well as give the oils their signature strain-specific flavors.

Distillates - A cannabis distillate is a highly refined oil containing pure cannabinoids and almost nothing else. The benefit to using distillates in vaporizer cartridges is the oil can be produced from a variety of starting materials.


Additives - Additives are sometimes used in vape cartridge oils as a supplemental thinning agent. In some cases, methods have been taken to “cut” or infuse various hash oils with certain substances such as polyethylene glycol (PEG), propylene glycol (PG), vegetable glycerin (VG), or even medium chain triglycerides (MCT) such as coconut oil in order to maintain a less viscous and lasting oil consistency favorable to conventional atomizer functionality. This process has become controversial due to raised health concerns and products containing these thinning agents are showing up less on the market as of late. Here at HERB, we've never been big fans of additives, and limit our provisions accordingly.

Terpene Infusions and Strain-Specific Flavorings - The use of terpenes has been found to help lower the viscosity of hash oil as well as increase flavor and aromatics, making them a potentially safer alternative to other additives. Terpenes not only add flavor and aromatics to your session, but they can also help alter the effects of a product due to their ability to influence how cannabinoids interact with our system. This is known as the "entourage effect” mentioned in our page: Cannabis 101.

Effects Based
Many times, pre-filled oil vape cartridges are labeled and marketed by their supposed effect on the user. Products of this variety tend to claim they provide “relaxing” or “energetic” results, with some often being labeled as indica, sativa, or even hybrid. When infused into a product, these terpene combinations are designed to give the impact similar to what you would find in particular cannabis strains.

Whether they’re infused with food-grade fruit extracted terpenes or naturally-derived terpenes extracted from cannabis strains, many of these products incorporate carefully mixed combinations similar to what would be traced in a strain or strain type. How well these infusions imitate the strain varieties they copy is questionable; however, products with terpene mixtures tend to give a more enhanced experience than a similar product containing one or no terpenes.

Cannabinoid-Specific Cartridges
Although many hash oil pen varieties are labeled by flavor or effect, some focus on cannabinoid concentration. Aside from the typical high-THC product that most pens offer, some manufacturers offer products containing elevated levels of cannabidiol (CBD). Click here to take a look at all our High CBD concentrates.

Click here to browse all vaporizer cartridges, batteries and disposables.

*Information referenced from 420 Science, The Cannabist and the cannabis community.