Pre-filled vape pen cartridges the most common way vapers are able to enjoy CBD and THC oils. While these cartridges are usually convenient and easy to use, it's not uncommon to suddenly experience a lack of airflow or the inability to get a good pull. Many beginners think this means the cartridge is empty or defective, but this may not be the case.
In this article, we'll talk to you about why a vape pen cartridge may suddenly lose airflow, and some simple steps to determine whether or not this can be fixed. Most of the time, these issues can be relatively easy to fix, saving you from buying a new cartridge or the time required to exchange it.
What Is a CBD Vape Cartridge, and What Does It Consist Of?
A CBD vape cartridge is a pre-filled tank meant to be connected to the vape battery of your choice. Most CBD vape cartridges are 510 threaded, which means they'll connect to the vast majority of vape pens and box mods on the market.
Inside, most pre-filled vape cartridges have similar components. They have a plastic or glass tank filled with CBD oil, a small vape coil that vaporizes that oil, and then a mouthpiece that the vapor. Regardless of the brand of CBD cartridge you're using, most will have the similar, if not the same, cartridge design.
What About THC Vape Cartridges?
THC cartridges are also commonly sold in the same kind of standard cartridge that CBD vape cartridges are. Unless you're using a disposable THC vape or a proprietary pod vape, any troubleshooting steps we discuss will apply to standard THC vape cartridges, too.
How to Identify Common Vape Airflow Problems
The first step to solving a problem with airflow in a vape cartridge is to know the different possible problems that may be causing it.
A Clogged Vape Pen Cartridge
The holes in the cartridge that allow airflow in a vape cartridge are very, very small. It doesn't take much oil for these holes to become clogged. Fortunately, it's usually a simple process to unclog a vape cartridge. You can use a needle or other narrow tool to gently poke through the tiny airflow hotels around the base of the cartridge to allow air to move freely.
It may be possible that the clog is in the mouthpiece instead of the airflow holes. Again, you can use a needle to gently poke through the mouthpiece into the vapor path to see if you can find a clog and dislodge it.
How Can I Avoid Clogging My Vape Cartridge?
Wiping down your vape pen after using it will generally help avoid the airflow holes from becoming clogged. Storing your vape pen upright will help prevent oil from leaking into the vapor path and clogging the mouthpiece.
Incorrect Airflow Settings
If you have a vape cartridge that allows you to change the airflow settings, you need to make sure that they aren't too open for oil. CBD and THC oils are very viscous, and too much airflow can end up pulling oil into the vapor path along with vapor being created. You'll know this is a problem if you repeatedly have to unclog the mouthpiece of the cartridge.
What Airflow Settings Should I Use?
Always follow the manufacturer's recommendations for pre-filled vape cartridges. Try not to pull really hard when taking a hit since that can pull oil into the vapor path, causing clogs. This will become easier to manage as you learn how to vape with a specific device.
Twisted the Vape Cartridge Too Tight
Twisting a vape cartridge onto a battery too tightly can cause connection problems between the atomizer and the battery. This results in the cartridge not firing at all, which may appear as a blockage or a clog.
How Tight Should My Vape Cartridge Be?
You should twist the vape cartridge until it is firmly in place, but not so much that it is difficult to untwist it. Think of it like tightening a nut onto a bolt with your fingers instead of a wrench. It needs to be firmly connected, but it doesn't need to be cranked onto the battery.
If you're used to vaping e-liquids, the viscosity of CBD and THC oils may come as a surprise. Even if using a box mod, it takes time for the oil to warm up enough to produce vapor you can inhale. If you inhale shortly after powering the device on, the oil may not be warm enough to produce vapor.
How Long Should I Let My THC or CBD Oil Heat Up?
Different oils will have different viscosities, so the time you need to wait will vary based on specific products and brands. In general, one to two minutes is enough time for most oils to be warm enough to take hits from.
Battery Isn’t Connected Appropriately to the Cartridge
We already talked about how twisting a cartridge too tightly can cause connection issues. Not connecting a cartridge firmly enough will also cause issues. If you have twisted the cartridge tightly enough, then the circuits won't connect the battery. Your specific vape battery may not physically be compatible with a specific cartridge, even if both are made with 510 threading.
How Do I Know if the Battery Is Properly Connected?
Gently twist the cartridge into the battery until it feels secure. If you can see that the cartridge is catching on the part of the battery body, then your cartridge may not physically fit onto your vape. This problem is rare with vape pens but is more common with box mods with unique designs.
How to Troubleshoot When Your Cartridge Has No Airflow
Even if you know the possible problems that may be causing your cartridge to have no airflow, you still need to be able to narrow down to what the problem specifically is. Following these troubleshooting steps will help you determine the specific problem preventing your pen from producing vapor.
- Make sure your vape turns on, and your battery is charged.
- Visually inspect the cartridge to determine if the airflow holes are clogged or if the mouthpiece is clogged. If unsure, use a needle to check.
- Make sure the cartridge is appropriately connected to the battery (not too tight and not too loose).
- Give your vape extra time to heat the oil up to produce vapor.
- If using a variable voltage vape, gradually turn up the voltage. The specific cartridge may require more power to produce vapor.
If you perform these troubleshooting steps and you still can't get a pull of vapor, then you likely have a problem with the cartridge itself, your vape battery, or both.
What to Do When the Oil Cartridge Isn't Hitting?
If you have fully troubleshot the airflow and still can't get a good pull of vapor, you need to determine if the problem is with the specific cartridge or your battery. To determine which, it will be helpful to have a spare vape battery and an additional cartridge that is ready to vape.
If you switch cartridges and you're getting easy pulls of vapor, then your original cartridge is defective. If you switch vape batteries and you're getting easy pulls of vapor, then your vape may be broken or may not be compatible with the wattage or resistance requirements of your specific cartridge. This can be a problem even if the cartridge physically connects to your vape.
What to Do When Your Disposable Vape Isn't Hitting
If your disposable vape isn't hitting, it can be a far more frustrating experience. Many disposable vapes aren't easy to take apart to look for clogs, and many simply can't be taken apart at all. THC disposable vapes also tend to be more expensive, and customers can have problems returning faulty products, depending on when and where they were bought.
Fortunately, you can still troubleshoot disposable vapes. Specific troubleshooting steps will vary depending on the brand, but there are a few general guidelines you can follow:
- Ensure the device is turning on. If it's a draw-fire vape and you can't take a pull, the battery is either already dead or there's a clog.
- Use a needle to check the mouthpiece for possible clogs. The more viscous the oil, the more likely this may be a problem.
- Store the device with the mouthpiece up. If oil is clogging the vapor path, gravity will pull oil back down, which may allow for clear hits to be taken.
You'll also need to think about how long and how much you've used a specific disposable vape. Even if it's before the estimated "pull count," depending on how big your hits were, you could have simply exhausted the device much faster than the average customer would.
If you believe your product to be faulty, return to the retailer you bought it from and ask about a refund or product exchange.
What to Do When Your Dry Herb Vape Isn't Hitting
Problems with clogged dry herb vapes are much easier to resolve. It's almost never because of an electrical or battery issue (unless the device just isn't turning on at all). Fixing a clog in most dry herb vapes is a very simple process.
Check the Mesh Screen
Dry herb vapes have a mesh screen that separates the dry herb from the vapor path. This mesh screen prevents small particles from getting where they shouldn't and causing clogs. Over time, those mesh screens will get clogged and need to be replaced. For most vapes, this is a very simple process, and the majority of dry herb vapes come with spare screens for this reason.
Check the Vapor Path and Mouthpiece
Even if you use mesh screens like you're supposed to, it's possible that small particles will eventually build up in the vapor path. Fortunately, using a needle or a toothpick to manually remove these clogs is usually all that's necessary.
You can even blow into the device to forcefully remove stubborn particles, though you'll want to empty the heating chamber beforehand.
Dry herb vapes, especially convection vapes, need air to flow within the packed dry herb for vapers to get a successful pull. Overpacking the heating chamber can prevent airflow altogether, which will feel like the entire vape is clogged.
The best way to avoid overpacking is to always grind your dry herbs and always follow the manufacturer's recommendation on what kind of grind you should be getting. For example, does your device need a coarse grind, a medium grind, or a super fine grind? Using the appropriate grind and lightly packing will usually avoid overpacking the heating chamber.
Final Thoughts: Avoiding Clogged Vapes
Most of the time, vapers are able to enjoy THC or CBD vape cartridges without significant issues. This is especially true as technology continues to improve to make problems less likely. For example, many vape batteries use magnetic connections, so users don't have to worry about a cartridge being too loose or too tight.
Many vapers don't like the hassle of managing vape cartridges or batteries, which is one reason many turn to dry herb vaping. If you're interested in vaping with less technical hassle, then a dry herb vape like the O.pen vape may be an ideal choice for your vaping needs, especially if you value quick vapor production and superior vapor flavor.