Make Your Own Cannabis & CBD Vape Cartridges

Making your own cartridges (“carts”) for vaping has never been easier.  You can make cannabis or hemp CBD based extractions and instead of using straight high potency extractions and becoming heavily medicated, a nicely balanced cart can be the perfect way to medicate lightly throughout the day or for a relaxing experience of sitting on the sofa to unwind without getting locked in.

Crafting carts and tailoring them to exactly what I wanted in terms of taste and potency was unexpectedly easy, rewarding, and so much fun.  I was expecting complicated mixing instructions, danger warnings, and difficult to follow advice.  Instead, the process was as easy as mixing three ingredients together.  My first was composed of cannabis oil, MCT oil, and flavor extract.  Since then many things have changed and there are now many more options.  There’s a wide range of vape ready carrier mediums for cannabis, CBD and other vapable oils including propylene glycol (PG), vegetable glycerin (VG), corn syrup, alcohol, medium chain triglyceride (MCT), wax liquidizer, and pure terpenes (terps).  Most of the mentioned carriers have some kind of health drawback, but if you look deep enough at anything you’ll find something bad for you.  Recently, MCT, wax liquidizer, and terpenes, or a combination of them, are the most popular ingredients for your mix.

MAKING CARTS

Two or three components will be necessary depending on your preferences and intended end product.  Two required components are an extract and a thinning agent.  The extract is the base and main focus of the cart, while the thinning agents are used to add character and manage viscosity of the final product.  You may decide to use a combination of a couple thinning agents to radically heighten the experience of your cart with beautiful sensory satisfying aromas and flavors.  Crafting a mix with great balance, desired potency, and delicious flavor is an art and can become an obsession.

Cannbis Oil (CO) or CBD Oil

The starting place and base of the cartridge is a great CO or CBD Oil.  I prefer to make my own extractions using the Source Turbo and EtOH PRO by Extractcraft (extractcraft.com) for three reasons.  First, I can control exactly what’s going into my extract.  Using food-grade ethanol extraction in a closed loop system is healthy and safe.  Second, it’s WAY better quality in terms of potency, terpenes, and flavor.  Third, trim can work great because using advanced filtering and adding terpene profiles can transform losing trim into a hero cart mix.  Using trim to make quality vape cartridges is a huge value and the ExtractCraft products make it possible.  Last, it is incredibly fun to craft your own carts exactly how you like them and blow peoples minds when you share them.

The cannabis or CBD oil is obviously the base material and primary factor in a cart’s quality.  A key consideration in this component is if the natural acid form of the cannabinoids should be used or is decarboxylation (Decarboxylation (decarb) 101) necessary?  For CBD carts (more accurately CBD-A carts), decarbing is not necessary but for cannabis it is debatable.  Many don’t like to decarb cannabis because it compromises terpene content and flavor.  However, THC-A can cause problems due to its more stable crystalline nature and can solidify or budder once in the cart.  To ensure the cart stays in oil form, avoiding the problems of using THC-A, many opt to use decarbed oil, converting it to THC, then add terpenes later to make up for what is lost in the decarb process.  An additional advantage to using decarbed CO is an increase in cannabinoid conversion and bioavailability, especially when a low power battery is used.  You will have to experiment and see if decarbing for your carts and situation is preferable or not.

Unlike the decarb debate, there is no question that using very clean oil is absolutely required.  The oil must be filtered and winterized (winterizing and polishing) exceptionally well.  Any undesirables in the oil will ruin your cart with absolute certainty.  Just remember, the quality of the oil you use will be determined by the care in your preparation and the key to having great carts.

Carriers, Liquidizers, and Terpenes

With the extract in hand the next step is determining how you’ll deal with thinning the viscosity and adding flavor if desired.  It’s difficult to say exactly how much of each component should be included because each part of the mix influences the need for the others.  For example, if the extraction is already in viscous oil form adding a carrier can be used to lower potency by choice.  On the other hand, starting with shatter will require using something to increase viscosity out of necessity, resulting in a different set of considerations for how much carrier to include.  PG and VG have fallen out of favor and are subject to debate over health concerns of those compounds when heat is applied and vapor inhaled.  While it’s difficult to say anything’s “safe” when introducing foreign compounds into the lungs, even some of the crazy stuff in the air we breathe everyday, right now the best option for a carrier oil is pure caprylic acid triglyceride 8-carbon MCT oil.  Absorption of these shorter chains is much more efficient and hopefully minimizes any long-term risks.  Many people now forgo liquidizers and carriers and opt for using straight terpenes and terpene profiles to manage viscosity, flavor, and affect of a cart.  Terpenes are a great tool and are amazingly fun to work with but they can quickly become overwhelming and harsh if too much is used, a very little amount of pure terpenes goes a very long way.

Balance of the Cart

Once you have an idea about the desired balance of extract, carrier, liquidizer, and/or terpenes you are ready to put it together.  Each component will effect the cart viscosity differently so choosing a good  combination and balance is important.  Here are some great words of wisdom from some guys I know that work very hard at perfecting this and know what they are talking about:

“3 parts extraction to 1 part MCT then no more than 5% total weight terpene blend.. depending on strength of terpene some only 2% per total weight…”

“If 1 gram extraction use 1/3 MCT the 3% total weight.. if you use pipette total weight or really volume is in ul.. so that 1300ul is 39ul is less than 1 drop… 50ul = 1 drop”

“I do 1 gram oil .5 mct with 1 or 2 drops of terps from true terpenes and works out great…”

“You can fine tune with terpenes..best advice I can give you is never use more than 1 drop per gram until you know it’s strength”

Mixing It All Together

Some carriers, like MCT oil, require heating to ensure the CO binds well and won’t separate.  To protect the integrity of the extract using only low heat is important, gentle heating under 150F and mixing well for 2-minutes works perfectly.  If adding flavors or terps, after removing from heat, combine as the mixture cools.  If everything is incorporated properly you should observe an even and uniform color throughout your cart.  When the mix is just as you’d like, suck some up in a syringe and load into a clean cartridge, it’s that easy.  Maturing of the cart is important if using terpenes.  It will take at least a couple of days for the terpenes to settle and become most pleasant and flavorful.

BAAMM, you should have a beautiful, potent, and amazing cart for your enjoyment.

Thanks for checking out my blog and please remember, I’m a novice and experimenting myself so don’t take my word as gospel, make your own good decisions, and craft something spectacular!!!  If you can, share some with someone in need……..

Stay Lifted

49 thoughts on “Make Your Own Cannabis & CBD Vape Cartridges

  1. So how are you able tell what state the concentration is during processing. How would you tell it’s at the oil stage, vs wax or shatter? With my condition, vaping is the best alternative. Small vape pens with oil are the most discreet. Especially when traveling. Wax and shatter are fine for at home use. I can use my subox mini or Haze.

    I’ve tried making e-juice with one of the products for liquifing shatter, pretty gross. My favorite out of the different cartridges available here in Arizona is The Clear. Super clean, mild flavors, none of the taste from regular coconut oil, PG//VG. They use MCT oil which I can’t really taste or feel. Nothing is worse than the slimy feeling from PG/VG.

    So I’d like try to make oil if I can. It’s just a matter at figuring out when to stop.

  2. Hey Thotfulspot,
    I know what you mean, and I think MCT is the way forward at the moment. Breaking down shatter or wax that is already made just doesn’t come out as well as just making the oil and using it from the base state. When you remove the oil from the Source you have the base oil and can use it to make your cJuice.

    Having said that the only consideration is what your tolerance is for small amounts of residual alcohol. You want to make sure to purge as much alcohol as possible with the Source and get it to a workable thick oil texture. If you don’t do the full post process vac purging there will still be very small amounts of alcohol in your canna oil but if you look most vape flavors do as well. Its non-toxic and food grade.

    1. The difficult part is figuring out when it is the right consistency. Short of stopping the process, letting it cool, then see what the consistency is by letting it cool. If it’s not, then you have to put it back in the Source and let it run a little longer and repeat the process until it is right. So far I’ve either ended up with it ending up too thin and it runs off the mat, or too far so I end up with the waxy result. I know there is a sweet spot, I just haven’t found it yet. It can be pretty expensive even with reusing the source material.

      1. Patience is the main player. If you take it out out early, then let it set for a while. Quality extraction isn’t a speed sport

  3. I appreciate your experiments and sharing them with us, I’ve not ventured down the cJuice aisle just yet, I’m still at the gathering info stage. However, your article was the most helpful I’ve read in weeks!!! Can’t thank you enough, truly.

  4. Hi friend. Was wondering if you make a step by step video using another healing but vapeable plant? Can’t afford my medicine bills and need cbds I have the turbo here and I need help. That video would help me ty so much. Have a blessed evening.

  5. I’ve really enjoyed reading your articles, very helpful info in my own experiments. I can’t wait to try the blend of oils you describe here.

    I would just be very wary not overheat mct oil.

    Thanks again for your great posts. Happy experimenting 😉

      1. Would you mind elaborating on this? It’s okay to mix a little MCT back in to the CO but not okay to infuse the MCT itself and vape that? (Or do you mean not okay to vape vegetable oils?) Great article by the way. 🙂

      2. It is kind of confusing, but what you are asking basically centers around the volume of carrier. While nothing is really “safe” to vape because introducing foreign content into the lungs is inherently unhealthy, using small amounts of MCT oil for thinning is acceptable to most people these days. That means taking a quality extract and thinning just enough for it to be usable in a cartridge. Where that changes is when the concoction is predominantly carrier oil, like an infusion you would make in a slow cooker, MBM, or whatever. Infusions like that are not ok to vape, and I would defiantly not vape other vegetable oils as well. Thank you for reaching out and your kind words!

  6. I used CO made with the Source Turbo. 2/3 CO with 1/3 MCT. Turned out good except that there are now crystals in what used to be a clear cjuice. Any idea what caused it?

  7. I find decarboxylation helps when preparing the CO base for two important reasons: First, the crystalline structure of THC-A will convert to the non-crystaline molecule structure of THC forming a very thick or sap-like CO. The CO will then be in a better state for vape pens and may require less liquefier. Secondly, you’ll ensure the psychoactive THC will be completely converted from the non-psychoactive THC-A precursor without relying on the low powered vape pen battery to sufficiently perform that function.

    I typically put my cured and dried cannibis on a PFTE sheet on top of a pizza stone. Then on the middle rack in an electric oven at 200F for 60 mins.

    1. Hi I know about contraversy surrounding PG but just wondering if PG would mix with mct oil for flavor purposes only. I vape nicotine juice and most the flavoring are PG. Just wondering if these would seperate. Thanks

      1. Good question, I would guess it would bind but sounds like a great experiment

      2. I’ve never tasted anything good with PG or VG. MCT oil works well for thinning the oil and doesn’t have the bad parts of PG or VG. Some terps added back in helps with flavor. Pretty much what has been said earlier in this thread.

        I did add some orange peel oil I had made with the Source which was interesting. I’ll have to look at some of the fruits coming into season. It’s up to you what flavor profile to be. You can do the strain terps in you want, or add some essential oil in for a different flavor.

    2. Do you feel if not mixing for cjuice just like a waxy or smokable product, do you still decarb or only for vaping and mixing cjuice? Thanks man, I definitely vape and am looking to make oil for pens so the decarb post makes total sense.

      1. They are two distinctly different considerations. For sublingual, cooking, eating and such any decent brand is fine. For vaping you should aim for something that is on the shorter chain scale like C-8 and 100% caprylic acid. There are a few versions on the market, one that my friends like is Mickey T. You can use the Mickey T for orally ingesting as well, but its quite a bit more expensive than simple MCT

  8. Careful folks w/ MCT inhalation–humans were not evolved to repeatedly inhale lipid substances, how much is too much could be hard to say, but it’s worth attention:

    What is lipoid pneumonia?
    Lipoid pneumonia is a rare condition that occurs when fat particles enter the lungs. Lipoids, also known as lipids, are fat molecules. Pneumonia refers to inflammation of the lungs. Lipoid pneumonia is also called lipid pneumonia.

    There are two types of lipoid pneumonia. Exogenous lipoid pneumonia occurs when the fat particles enter from outside the body and reach the lungs via the nose or mouth.

    With endogenous lipoid pneumonia, fat particles within the body accumulate in the lungs, causing inflammation. Endogenous lipoid pneumonia is also known as cholesterol pneumonia, golden pneumonia, or, in some cases, idiopathic lipoid pneumonia.

    As well: google ‘Popcorn Lung’. The chemicals found in e-cigarette liquid, known as “e-juice,” may be a potential cause of popcorn lung. According to the American Lung Association, using electronic cigarettes or vaping, particularly the flavored varieties, can cause popcorn lung.

    1. All very valid points and should be considered with all vaping and smoking, including the natural fats and lipids contained in un-winterized extractions with concentrated fats and lipids. Rosin is typically not winterized and is direct wax and lipid hit to the lungs. As noted in the article, 8-chain triglycerides metabolize differently and are absorbed by the body much like carbohydrates, so build up in the lungs looks unlikely. Longer and heavier chains might be a different story but there is nothing out there to positively show that there is a danger with reasonable use. Lastly, NOTHING should be assumed to be healthy or ok to introduce into your lungs, and anything you choose to can have adverse health effects including cannabis itself and everything that rides along with it. So, yeah lipoid pneumonia, popcorn lung, cancer, asthma, and a ton of other adverse health effects could result from smoking and vaping, they are simply not “safe” things to do.

      1. I haven’t seen it’s been resolved. Would you please share any credible information on that please? There is also lipid pneumonia to consider.

      2. Indeed. People in the DIY ejuice world put this to bed years ago. The formaldehyde study was BS. Certain research partners even admitted it was highly flawed.

        In addition: NOT ONE SINGLE CASE of popcorn lung caused by vaping has EVER been reported, but there is at least one case known to have been caused by actual microwave popcorn.

  9. Hi,
    I’m sorry if this is a stupid question but if THC is sensitive to light why the glass of the vape carts is always clear? wouldn’t that cause degradation? Just a thought.

  10. So it can be expose to light but for short periods of time? I’m always stress out when making the oil in the Source for fear of losing THC. I work almost in the dark 😀 maybe I’m a little too obsessive.

    Thank you for all the amazing info in your blog, I’m learning a lot!

  11. I found your article very helpful after weeks of research and trying to figure out how to make co from flower. I followed your instructions as best I could and thinned with mct oil (using the brand you suggested.) However, I loaded into a ccell cartridge and tried to vape. There were no clouds, and the cartridge got very hot. Obviously, there’s a problem but I cannot determine what that is. Any thoughts or suggestions? Today I purchased CO concentrate, 1 ml, but am unsure if I should thin it with the mct as you outlined since the cartridge seems to be heating and no clouds.

    Any help would be appreciated.

    1. Are you getting a draw? Cartridge clogged? Sounds like something wrong with the cartridge….. Hard to say from here.

      1. Thanks for your reply.

        No draw with the mixture I created. However, I syringed it out, even tho I wasn’t sure if that was a good idea, added some cbd vape juice. It took awhile but it is now beginning to draw and it’s not heating up. So I am thinking it has more to do with the cjuice I created. But typically if I use the co I purchased and mix with the mct, should that work in a ccell cart?

      2. Maybe hop in the Extractcraft User Group on Facebook and post the question. There are lots of people working with carts there

  12. An “accepted” standard as detailed within another fantastic post, is to use a 3:1 ratio of Concentrate to MCT oil. How does this actually translate between using a gram of Concentrate and the amount of MCT oil I should use, when one is weighed in grams and the other in fluid ounces?

      1. .92g = 1ml
        1g = 1.087g

        water is 1g = 1ml

        Not a big difference but when your dealing in mass amounts it does

        hence why oil floats in water

  13. ok, so got some mickey-t mct oil works perfect to thin my hash oil extract then I got some flavoring from oneononeflavoring these are mct oil based flavoring and oh my god this is the way to go, first I got citrus flavor which has great flavor then I had to order more so I got 5 more coconut, pineapple, strawberry lemonade, blue raspberry and pink lemonade, cant wait to try them all out. thank you so much for this website. ps I tried to mix my mct oil with my pg flavorings since I make my own ejuice and it is a no go they will not blend at all. thanks again

  14. something else I learned with these little cartridges we use to vape with, is you must filter your alcohol extract with more than coffee filters, after I strain thru the coffee filters then I use a 10ml syringe with a .45 micron filter and filter it one more time to get that last little bet of nasty stuff out, then it comes out sweet and clean and your cartridge last longer. thanks again

  15. Fantastic article except I have never herd of MCI oil I am pretty sure you meant medium-chain triglycerides oil MCT oil. At first I was like cool new development but researched it and olny thing p was that came up with was Impaired brain glucose metabolism appears to be a potential pathogenic feature of mild cognitive impairment (MCI). This study examined the potential for increasing circulating ketone bodies through medium chain triglyceride (MCT) supplementation, as a means to beneficially modulate brain homeostasis in subjects with MCI.

    1. I just went though this post several times and can’t find a single place where MCI is mentioned, I only see MCT over and over again. Can you point out where you see MCI please?

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