Cannabis oil cartridge sales are growing drastically. With statistics showing a 400% increase in sales between 2015 and 2016, retailers are hustling to keep up with the ever changing demand. This new trend has had a resounding affect on the industry. All over there’s reports of growers unable to sell their unadulterated flower because people want edibles, wax, and mainly oil instead. If you sell vapes you’ve probably noticed an increase in devices that enable the consumption of oil cartridges. This most likely looks like people buying and asking for empty cartridges, vaporizers, mix it yourself solutions, and even cartridges containing CBD or kratom. To maximize your profits on anything oil related there’s a few things you should know to satisfy your customers questions.
The first thing you’ll need to know is what defines cannabis oil. Cannabis oil is derived from the female cannabis plant using one of multiple different extraction methods. The purpose of these extraction methods is to separate and refine THC from the rest of the material, turning it into a thick golden liquid. When done correctly the end result can be a viscous substance that boasts over 99% THC. When using less than ideal extraction methods your oil may be cut using PG, VG, terpenes, or a combination of compounds to meet the viscosity for vaporization. These are called additives which lower the overall THC content but can also give the oil a specific taste or terpene structure. Additives are especially present when using “make your own” oil kits that are becoming more and more popular.
Now that you’re hopefully a bit more familiar about how oil cartridges are made, let’s look into WHY they were made. The demand for oil cartridges seems to be contained to Northern America, specifically the USA and Canada. Even in countries such as Amsterdam, where cannabis has historically been accepted and even revered, cannabis oil is rarely sold and typically comes in the form of a tincture. There’s a few reasons America has pioneered the oil cartridge industry, the main reason being the stigma that’s been associated with smoking weed. Because there’s no combustion, or even handling of the plant material, cartridges offer a medicinal feel that’s lost in translation when someone sparks up a fat blunt instead. It’s easier to get your dosing throughout the day as there’s no prep time needed and all of your medicine is completely confined to the cartridge. In comparison there’s a lot more moving, loading, and prepping your wax or dry herb for consumption.
Knowing what cannabis oil is, and why people are using it, is half the battle. Now you need to guide your customers towards the products that best suite them. The first thing to touch on is mix it yourself kits that turn waxy extracts into an vape-able oil. You put the wax into an apparatus that’s heated, while mixing additives, to create a less dense oil. While these might not sell as well if you’re in an area with a lot of pre-filled cartridges, they always attract attention where cartridges are hard to find. You’ll want to offer a few different varieties as some mix it yourself kits use additives such as PG and/or VG while others use terpenes or other additives to thin the wax. Some mix it yourself kits offer the ability to add flavor profiles while others try to alter the concentrates as little as possible. Another option you can sell to make oil out of flower are butter makers. Although there’s no specific device needed to create your own oil from flower, butter makers add some settings and other utensils to make everything a bit easier. The strainer, blender, and everything else you’d normally need is typically included when purchasing a butter maker.
While most mix it yourself kits come with a syringe and an empty oil cartridge or two, people that make their own oil from scratch will need these supplies. While the syringe is self explanatory and doesn’t require much knowledge, there’s a few types of cartridges you’ll want  to get to please your customers. First, for the most part, there’s two different capacities that oil cartridges allow for and that’s either a .5ml tank or a 1ml tank. For concealed cartridge batteries a 1ml tank is almost always needed. Most cartridges have a circumference just a bit wider than the 510 threading it’s attached to, but a newer version of thicker cartridges emerged onto the market a few years ago. These cartridges are about twice as wide and may not fit some vaporizers.
Cannabis oil vaporizers themselves are pretty straight forward. For heat settings, there’s either variable voltage vaporizers or fixed temp. Fixed temperature vapes are typically much cheaper and almost always come in the from of a pen-style vaporizer. Variable voltage are generally more expensive as you can more freely customize the temperature to hone in on your ideal temp. Variable voltage batteries can come in the form of a pen-style vape or concealed vape where the cartridge sits inside the body of the vaporizer. A newer style of cartridge vaporizer is the “switch blade” style where the cartridge sits inside the body and swings outward (like a switch blade) when ready for use. It’s always best to keep a good number of cheaper, pen style vaporizers around and cycle through other cartridge vaporizers until you find a selection that fits your customers needs.
Because of ease of use, portability, efficiency and multiple other reasons cartridge use is only going to increase over time. You should be prepared for the shift in order to maximize profits. Whether you’re a smoke shop, dispensary, or vape store you’re going to have customers that need these items to make and consume their cannabis oil. The most important part in guiding your customers through the process is being well informed. If customers are buying butter makers to make their own oil, they’re most likely going to need oil cartridges, syringes to fill the carts, vaporizers to power the cartridges and everything else used during the process. Knowing exactly why customers are purchasing these items can help you connect the dots and offer up-sales that make sense. Even though cartridges seem to be the new wave we should all be aware of newer trends. Pod style cartridges are becoming more prevalent and although most pods fit “thumb drive” style vaporizers this might be the newest form oil cartridges take. The technology in vaporizers is advancing so quickly that staying knowledgeable sets you aside from your competition and helps to generate better income.   SVBS
Joshua Warihay started with Vapor Outlet in 2015 before the company merged with Windship Trading. In his first year he sold half a million dollars in product working part time as a sales representative. He now heads up the marketing department at Windship Trading and looks forward to using his position to set a new standard in the industry. For inquiries please email [email protected] or call 512-216-6281 x306.