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Is Vaping Dangerous?

Reading time: 5 Minutes
The answer to this grotesquely oversimplified question is the ultimate purpose of this article. For those seeking a quick fix, let’s just say that it’s a good idea to know what something is before putting it in your body.

And while yes, this recommendation is offered specifically regarding vapor inhalation, it also applies to any other form of consumption.

The thing is, cannabinoids, terpenes, and other regulated inclusionary substances in vaping products don't result in the horrifying news headlines that are being tossed around recently - it's the additives, fillers, and otherwise unnecessarily garbage that cause these problems.

So, before vaporizing something (or lighting it on fire) and breathing in deep, please check out just what the heck is in whatever you’re about to absorb into those precious lungs. See, many chemicals undergo powerful changes when heated. Think about dynamite - perfectly safe at room temperatures. Likewise, the vapor produced by heating certain chemical compounds can be harmless, beneficial, or potentially even kill. It really depends on what the vapor is composed of.

That's why we have taken a lead in research to protect you, the consumers. We’re leveraging our $3-million laboratory and our collaboration with The University of California Riverside (UCR) to address this void and report our unbiased findings to the public. 

So we're not only aggressively monitoring the available scientific data to assure the safety of our products, we also initiated our own study of the components of vape products and the changes they undergo during vaping studying the safety and efficacy of fractionated coconut oil (MCT oil), propylene glycol (PG), triethyl citrate (TEC), Vitamin E acetate and “natural extracts.

What's in Vape Cartridges?

Now this is the right question to ask. The best way to truly know what is in a cartridge is by simply looking on the label of product produced by certified manufacturers. Abstrax is proud of every product we make, so we’re not afraid of 3rd-party laboratories testing our wares. Issues do, however, arise when people source their products from the black market - a very real alternative to above-ground operations. Any criminal enterprise doesn’t pay taxes, has no regulating body overseeing production and product safety, and can avoid many of the necessary hurdles that licensed providers have to abide by. SO, these savings are passed on to the end customer - but at what cost?

Black Market Vapes

While every legitimate producer has their own intellectual property, blends, specific processes, etc. in a given product - there is significant overlap. Within a given cartridge, there likely are some cannabinoids, terpenes, and other oils. The thing is, certain ingredients cost more. So, a shady individual in the production business might be tempted to put a bunch of junk into a vape cartridge instead of quality material. These modern criminals save money by “cutting” their products with other substances, reducing overall purity, using low-quality, mass-produced cartridges, failing to remove residual solvents, and any other way of skimping they can think of. 

The scumbags do have a point, though. In order for a business to abide by current safety and good manufacturing practices (cGMP), that enterprise has to meet or exceed certain standards - ensured by proper authorities. The process is expensive, time-consuming, and is subject to continually evolving expectations. It’s so much cheaper to buy a few thousand rip-off cartridges from who-knows-where - that may or may not leach heavy metals. It’s so much faster to improperly purge and process than to take the time necessary to ensure quality control (QC) health and safety adherence. It’s for these reasons that increasing amounts of pesticides and other pollutants are appearing throughout the underground cartridge market. 

How to Check a Cartridge’s Quality:

Great question. Simply check the label of a certified, regulated, repeatedly tested product. But, if the vape was purchased illegally, the only way to (sort of) evaluate the cartridge is through the classic bubble test. See, any cartridge won’t be 100% full. This means that some space will be occupied by an air bubble. Tilt the cartridge upside down and see how fast the bubble moves through the oil at room temperature. The slower the bubble moves, the better the quality. This is because quality oil is thick and viscous - unlike the cheap diluting substances used to puff up quantity and profits. 

Vape Cartridge Quality | Abstrax Tech

The problem with this test is that the bad guys know about it, too. So, they’ve begun using thickening agents to make the overall composition of their snake oil. This development brings us to all the nasty things that an unregulated industry can try to pump people full of: compounds like vitamin E acetate (tocopheryl-acetate), heavy metals (lead, mercury, cadmium, etc.), synthetic cannabinoids, and even pesticides like myclobutanil. Myclobutanil is a particularly disastrous inclusion; when heated, it decomposes and releases hydrogen cyanide, an incredibly toxic substance.

Are Vape Cartridges Safe?

Would you ever buy medication from someone who doesn't work in a pharmacy, hospital, or an otherwise associated and regulated distribution center? Well, the same principle applies here. Abstrax terpenes, blends, and all other products are subjected to a rigorous quality control process to make sure that everything our customers get is ISO certified and produced under cGMP. 

Good Manufacturing Practice

In the wake of the medical complications some people have suffered through the use of black market cartridges, the powers that be are playing around with the idea of introducing a ban on vape-related products. Ironically, this overreaction would actually result in more black market carts being produced to fill the hole that legitimate business would occupy. Rather than the government banning vaping as a whole, a universal standard of compliance must be implemented. As we at Abstrax already voluntarily abide by the most stringent of standards, we would welcome this oversight.

Ultimately, while all vape cartridges cannot be said to be safe, Abstrax is proud to present our products as food safe and designed for their intended purposes. Everything - from our sourcing, storage conditions, to the very containers holding our products - is held to the highest of standards. We are currently pursuing a joint-venture effort with the University of California Riverside (UCR) to study inhalable products, the flavors that are used in their formulation, and their effects on human health.


  • People are getting hurt by low-quality, illegal vape cartridges
  • The black market is unregulated: who knows what’s really in there
  • The chemical substances in a vape cartridge change when heated
  • The bubble test identifies viscosity, not quality
  • Criminals use thickening agents to pass the bubble test
  • The safest way to know if a vape cartridge is safe is to go to a certified producer
  • Regulation is a good thing: even though it will raise costs, it will keep people safe
  • Abstrax is taking a lead in research to protect consumers

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