Cannabis Vape Pod Systems 101

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So, you're processing cannabis oils and you're in the market for vape hardware that can showcase your team's hard work. A few years ago you would have only had two options, a cotton-wicked 510 vape cartridge or a wickless ceramic 510 cart. Fueled by consumer demand, today’s cannabis industry is seeing new vaporizer innovations hit the market every month. Leading the charge in these disruptive innovations are pod system vapes. Let’s see why so many brands are embracing pod systems and break down the pros and cons of including vape pods into your brand's umbrella of products.

zoomed in photo of man and woman holding Dart-X batteries

What’s currently available for cannabis oil vapes?

Today's cannabis oil vapes typically come in three different styles: 510-thread carts, disposables, and pods. Disposables are pretty self explanatory, most come with a small amount of oil inside a self-contained device that is made for disposal after use. Vape pods and 510-threaded carts on the other hand have a rechargeable battery that is reused while the actual pod or cart itself is disposed of and replaced after being emptied.

image of side-by-side 510 cartridge vaporizers vs. disposable vaporizers vs. pod vapes

What is the difference between a pod and a cartridge? Are pods better than vape pens? And, what is the right cannabis consumption product for my customer? This guide aims to define the differences between weed vaporizers so that you can make better informed decisions for your brand and customers.

At Calyx Labs we aim to be your guide to cannabis vapes. Hopefully this article can help clarify some questions you may have regarding marijuana vapes and help lead you towards your next hardware solution for your precious THC, CBD, or CBG oils.

Comparing Pods & Carts

510-Threaded Vape Carts

Cartridges, or Carts, are filled with cannabis oils and screwed on to a battery unit that often looks similar to a pen. Since pen-style vapes are the norm, many consumers simply refer to their 510-threaded vapes as a "pen vape" or a "weed vape pen". They are also referred to them as oil vape pens, THC pens, CBD pens, weed oil pens, and vapor bats. This style of vape gets its "510" name from the threading used on the bottom of the cartridge. This "510 connection" refers to the length of the connector and the amount of threads it uses to make a connection with its battery.

Since the hardware behind 510 threads is pretty much universal, there are many vape cartridge brands on the market using this technology.

Black CCELL Palm battery with clear mouthpiece vape cart inside

While pen-style batteries are most common, at Calyx Labs we offer a variety of batteries in different form factors. Batteries such as our CCELL Palm battery offer the same great portability and discretion as pen-style vapes, with the added bonus of cartridge protection.

Some vape pens may offer variable voltage settings so that you can select the temperature and intensity of your draw. Keep in mind however, most carts have a “sweet spot” somewhere in the 2.8-3.6 voltage range and burning them higher or lower than that can be harmful to your cart. While many batteries offer higher heat settings, be careful to remind your customers that higher hitting batteries can quickly ruin the flavor of their vape cart oil.

Vape Pod Systems

Pod system vapes contain a battery that is rechargeable and a pod that is filled with cannabis oil. Once the pod is emptied it is disposed of and replaced with a new pod. Like most 510-threaded vapes, pod systems are often highly portable and discreet to use and store. Unlike 510-threaded carts however, pod-based vape systems don’t often match some standard shape or form.

Calyx Labs customized vape pod systems: CCELL Uno, CCELL Dart, CCELL Dart-X, CCELL Luster, and CCELL Bellos

Pod-based vaporizers feature advanced airflow technology, a leak-proof design and premium materials for a smooth vaping experience. Pod vaporizers are comprised of: a rechargeable battery and its housing, heating elements, a mouthpiece, and a pod reservoir containing cannabis. Cannabis pods can be filled with cannabis oil, wax, cannabis distillate, depending on the type of pod system.

Pod batteries are proprietary to their pod system. They are typically rechargeable and intended for long-term use. In fact, many premium pod brands offer a manufacturer's warranty to guarantee the longevity of the product. Battery housing is offered in a variety of fun colors and designs.

One advantage between pods vs cartridges is that pods are designed to easily and securely attach to the battery unit in a way that prevents leaking. The pod's superior design prevents sticky messes and wasted cannabis oil.

Like other vape styles, the pod's battery unit heats up coils that vaporize the cannabis product. Once the pod reservoir is empty, the user simply removes and swaps in a new fully-filled pod. Popular pod devices are small, sleek, and discreet.

Pod Systems Popularity

In the USA we are seeing pod systems disrupting the vape market in almost all legalized states. At Calyx Labs we are finding most oil producers don’t need much convincing on the market demand for pod system products. In Canada however pod systems have been slower to catch traction. Whether the Canadian cannabis user would prefer pod systems is still yet to be determined since there has not been a strong push from many Canadian LPs to promote their pod vapes as a better alternative to carts.


What’s the real difference between vape carts and vape pods?

Aside from aesthetic appeal, most pod manufacturers designed their systems to eliminate some of the common issues experienced with 510-threaded carts. This isn’t to say 510 carts are bad per se, but pod systems such as CCELL’s Dart series are designed specifically to limit the amount of leaking and clogging that many carts are notorious for. Most pods also advertise better airflow vs. their 510-threaded cousins.

Can you put weed oil into any vape pod?

Nicotine vape systems have been growing in popularity over the last few years and boast the potential to help reduce the harmful effects of tobacco smoke. Notable brands such as JUUL, STLTH, and RELX have taken the market by storm but this seems to have caused some confusion amongst cannabis users.

Typically, nicotine vapes are designed to vaporize viscous e-juice vs. thick cannabis oils. This is why nicotine vape pods do not work well with THC and CBD oils or distillates. These nicotine vapes often use cotton wicks to absorb the e-juice while most high-quality cannabis vapes will use a ceramic atomizer. This isn’t to say nicotine vape pods can’t be used for cannabis, its just that brands looking to satisfy their customers should focus on using pods specifically designed for their products.

How to choose between carts and pods for your THC or CBD vape?

So now that you know to avoid nicotine vape pods you may be asking yourself, “How do I choose between pods and carts for my cannabis oil?”. This isn’t an easy question to answer without first understanding your motivations for choosing one over the other.

From a company’s perspective, the unique form factor of most pods will force customers to stay within that vape's ecosystem. For example, consumers that use a CCELL Dart pod system can only buy other pods that work within that system. Unlike 510-threaded carts which have virtually unlimited options at any dispensary, pod users will often be limited in their selection.

This fact presents a double edged sword. The limited selection will cause most consumers to think twice before investing in your pod system, however they will often become more loyal to their pod vapes once they’ve jumped in. The initial investment in the pod system’s battery will incentivize customers to keep coming back for brands that can create an attractive pitch around their pods.

Can weed vape pods be recycled?

Unfortunately, most vapes in general are a challenge when it comes to recycling. Calyx Labs' recommends contacting your local recycling depot regarding specifics related to recycling pods in your jurisdiction. While vape pods and carts have similar issues as it relates to recycling, they both present much less of an environmental impact as one-time-use disposable vapes.

Opting for a high quality system like our Dart series will help reduce your customer’s waste significantly. While many lower-quality vape batteries tend to die quickly, our CCELL powered vape pod batteries will last for over 1,000 charging cycles. Many users experience years of use before being forced to dispose of their power unit.

How long do weed vape pods last?

Like any other vape product the length of time a vape pod will last depends on a how the consumers are using them. Since vape pods are much less prone to leakage, your customer won’t have to worry about losing any oil while their vape is in storage.

Vape pods such as those in our Dart series offer superior airflow compared to their 510 cart relatives. This higher airflow rate means you can also vape more oil with the same amount of draw. Naturally, if you are vaping more oil you will deplete your pod faster than you would in a cart. The Dart X battery boast a 480mAh capacity that will surely last your customer for an entire 0.5ml pod. We will touch more upon the Dart and Dart-X vapes below.

Pod system vapes are taking the legal cannabis market by storm. They seek to solve many of the common issues experienced in 510-threaded vapes. Pods will leak and clog significantly less than users may be accustomed to on pen vapes.Improved airflow can also result in larger draws. This can help users reach their desired level with less vaping, but will also cause users to consume more oil in a shorter period of time.Our Dart series of pods are an excellent choice for any oil producer looking to enter the pod vape game. Other CCELL pods like the Uno, Luster, and Bellos work very well also.

About Calyx Labs

Calyx Labs logo with text - stacked

Where nature meets technology, Calyx Labs is a B2B cannabis vaporization hardware manufacturer and distributor.

The well-being of our consumer base is always top of mind. Calyx products feature medical and food grade, industry-leading CCELL® technology, manufactured under the strictest standards of quality assurance and consumer safety. We believe that safe, responsive, premium vaporization technology should be available to licensed producers, retailers, and other industry players of all shapes and sizes at competitive price points. Whether a brand is just starting out, or is well established and exploring new options, our interactive customization process provides bespoke solutions.

We're your path to the vaporizer market, and we're here to make your brand's journey to the consumer and success as seamless as possible. Find your perfect match today. Contact us!