Why are carts so popular?
They are easy. Concentrate cartridges are potent, relatively cheap, and widely available on the black market and legal dispensaries. There is no lighting a bowl, no grinding or packing with carts. Sometimes there isn't even a button to push, and all you need to do is inhale.
The problem with carts.
Cartridges are a one time use device that typically is not meant to be reused or refilled. Depending on how often you puff on a cart, it may last anywhere from a few days to months. But when the cart runs out its trash. Most carts are made from plastic and metal and don't feature reusable materials or parts. This trash contributes to an ever-growing waste problem in the cannabis packaging and device industry.
Along with the enormous amount of waste, the black market has counterfeited reputable brands of dab carts. These lower quality imposter varieties have landed people in the hospital from vaping because of careless ingredients used to make them.
Not all carts are bad.
There are entirely legit dab cartridges out there made from respectable brands that have quality ingredients and sourcing. Make sure you are buying from a licensed dispensary, and you have researched the brand.
Cannabis carts are usually a blend of THC concentrate, flavorings, and an ingredient to make it easily vaporized. Some carts have a combination of THC and CBD.
The highest quality flavoring agent is natural cannabis-derived terpenes, but less reputable carts may use artificial flavors. Terpenes can also be a vehicle for easy vaporization in the place of propylene glycol.
Why Vaping Flower is Best
Vaporizing organically grown flower gives you all of the benefits of cannabis without pesticides, solvents, additives, or harsh combustibles. It's easy to mix ground flower with other varieties that have higher or lower amounts of THC and CBD to produce the desired effect.
A vaporizer high from cannabis tends to be longer-lasting but less intense that a dab pen high. With a pen, you can keep hitting the cart until it runs out or the battery goes dead. If you take a massive hit from a dab pen, there is an initial rush, and then the effects slowly decline. A vaporizer high produces a less extreme but enduring effect from cannabis.
You can still achieve an intense high from a handheld cannabis vaporizer. The bowl will need to be loaded a couple of times since most portable vaporizers hold between .2 and .5 grams of weed at a time. However, with desktop vaporizers, the bowl size is much larger. They have bowls that fit up to a full gram or more of ground bud. Machines like the Volcano Vaporizer, Silver Surfer, and the Extreme-Q all have a large capacity and robust convection-driven heating systems. You can get genuinely blazed on a single potent bag full of vapor with a desktop vaporizer.
The Bottom Line
People like prefilled concentrate cartridges because of convenience despite the drawbacks of added waste, health concerns, and a less balanced effect. Vaporizing cannabis continues to be the best option because of its efficiency and potent effects along with minimization of health risks when compared to using prefilled cartridges.