The Top 5 Distillate Carts for Refined Highs

Curious about distillates? We have the answers, including where to buy them.

By Phil Dubley Last Updated: April 04, 2024
Last Updated: April 04, 2024

Distillate carts are a novel product that emerged during the vape craze, offering vapers a cannabis alternative to their beloved e-cigs. These cartridges contain pure, distilled cannabinoid oil — be it delta 9 THC, delta 8 THC, or even CBD.

Although some consumers bash them online because they prefer more refined products, such as liquid live resin, there’s a place for this cheaper, potent alternative. Some even doubt the quality of the weed that carts are made with, but we’ve dug deep to dispel this myth.

We’ll also gloss over how these products are made, clear up some confusion, and guide you on spotting sketchy vendors.

For now, let’s disregard the noise and dive into the top five distillate carts you can buy in the US.

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List of Our Top 5 Favorite Distillate Carts

After wading through numerous brands, we’ve compiled a list of the best distillate carts and their respective vendors so you can spend your money on products that are worth it.

1. Area 52 Delta 8 Vape Cart

Area 52 Delta 8 Distillate Cart

We had the privilege of touring the Area 52 facility on a trip to Las Vegas a few years ago and were honestly blown away at the meticulousness of this team. This is a professional team making some of the best cannabinoid products in the world.

While these carts are certainly more expensive than average, we feel the cost is justified if you want something truly special and value quality over everything else.

Just one example of this is the brand’s decision to use branded (and costly) CCELL all-glass and ceramic carts. These things never leak and are virtually indestructible.

Area 52 offers two main types of distillate carts — delta 8 THC and HHC — both available in a variety of cannabis-inspired flavors. They use real cannabis-derived terpenes for all their products, which we feel adds to their premium vibe. More specifically, these delta 8 carts come in 3 flavors — Pineapple Express, Granddaddy Purple, and Berry Gelato.

If you’re skeptical about the product’s purity, Area 52 provides lab test data on request. Its customer service is top-notch, so you’ll be able to solve any issues without much fuss.

Likes & Dislikes: Area 52 Distillate Carts:

  • ✅ Very high-quality CCELL glass cartridge construction
  • ✅ World-class customer service & 30 day money-back guarantee
  • ✅ Great terpene blends that taste like the real thing
  • ✅ Very high purity compared to most distillate carts
  • ❌ A bit on the expensive side

Product Specs:

Total Weight1000 mg
Distillate TypePure Delta 8 + Terpenes
Total Cost$60
Third-Party Tested?Yes ✅

2. Curio Wellness THC Distillate Cart

Curio Wellness Distillate Cart

Curio Wellness is one of the top cannabis brands on the East Coast for a reason. Its product line is consistently amazing, and you can have a blast with anything from its pre-rolls to its edibles.

Our focus is on its CO2 distillate carts, which contain 80% delta 9 THC and terpenes from many of the most sought-after strains. Its Blue Cheese carts combine terpenes from Blueberry and UK Cheese to create a flavorful and relaxing smoke.

This product’s downsides are its price and potency. While it’s nice to have a high amount of terpenes, 80% D9 THC is a bit low for its high price tag.

Likes & Dislikes: Curio Wellness Distillate Carts:

  • ✅ Impressive variety of flavors and cannabinoid offerings
  • ✅ Delicious flavor using all-natural ingredients
  • ❌ Relatively high price for a vape cartridge
  • ❌ Not as potent as other options (you might have to take a few puffs for the desired effects)

Product Specs:

Total Weight500 mg
Distillate TypeDelta 9 THC + Terpenes
Total Cost$33
Third-Party Tested?Yes ✅

3. The Botanist Distillate Vape Cart

The Botanist THC Distillate Cart

East Coast vapers have another great option to choose from with The Botanist. As you’ll quickly see, this brand puts in as much effort to produce potent products as it does to develop a sleek, unmistakable aesthetic.

Of course, there’s more here than meets the eye. This brand’s Guava Cart is one of the best fruit-flavored carts around, balancing its sweetness with cannabis-derived terpenes that taste a lot like the real fruit.

This premium vape is expertly crafted and has a really nice feel to it. The tank and flow path are all glass and ceramic to avoid imparting any plastic or metallic flavor, and the distillate inside maintains very high purity (95% or above). You shouldn’t have any issues with leakages or clogging with these carts.

Likes & Dislikes: The Botanist Distillate Carts:

  • ✅ Sleek packaging and sturdy construction
  • ✅ Tasty flavors and live resin terpenes as flavoring
  • ✅ The company is diligent about its third-party testing protocol
  • ❌ Feels expensive, even for the quality of the cart

Product Specs:

Total Weight1000 mg
Distillate TypeDelta 9 THC + Terpenes
Total CostVaries By State
Third-Party Tested?Yes ✅

4. Moonwlkr Delta 8 Distillate Cart

Moonwlkr Delta 8 Distillate Cart

If you’ve ever shopped for delta 8 THC products, you’ve probably stumbled upon Moonwlkr. This brand has killer advertising. After we tried them on a trip to Vegas we’ve seen this brand popping up almost everywhere we go.

The first cart we tried used the Chem Dawg terpenes with an artificial orange flavoring which felt a little too rough on the throat. We discounted the brand at first but have since tried several other flavors without this effect.

These carts are a great budget-friendly option, but don’t expect the effects to be anything special — we’ve found these to be a reliable and consistent — albeit typical and slightly underwhelming — experience for delta 8 carts.

Moonwlkr also offers regular discounts, so if their price tag seems too high, roll around at a later date to see if you can snatch a cart at 25% off.

Likes & Dislikes: Moonwalkr Distillate Carts:

  • ✅ Great variety of flavors and strains
  • ✅ Regular discounts help you save money
  • ✅ Excellent price for people on a budget
  • ❌ Effects feel pretty generic (not too strong, but not overly weak either)

Product Specs:

Total Weight1000 mg
Distillate TypeDelta 8 THC
Total Cost$30
Third-Party Tested?Yes ✅

5. Eighty Six Delta 8 Distillate Cart

Eighty Six Brand Delta 8 Distillate Cart

Eighty Six offers its distillates in both cartridge form and syringes to use in refillable vapes. The carts are all designed to fit standard 510 threaded batteries and are available in a range of different cannabinoid options — delta 8, delta 9, HHC, and THCP.

Their distillate syringes come in a luer-lock Pyrex glass syringe and are made with non-GMO hemp.

Eighty Six brands’ delta 8 options are available in two flavors — Grape soda and Jen & Berry’s gelato. We’ve only tried the Grape Soda and can confirm it’s delicious.

Likes & Dislikes: Eighty Six Distillate Carts:

  • ✅ Excellent fruity flavor
  • ✅ Lots of positive reviews for this brand online
  • ❌ No return policy unless the product is damaged or defective
  • ❌ Some lab tests are old and outdated

Product Specs:

Total Weight1000 mg
Distillate TypeDelta 8 THC
Total Cost$25
Third-Party Tested?Yes, but some are outdated

Where Are Distillate Carts Legal?

Some distillate carts are legal; others are strictly illegal — it all depends on which cannabinoids are contained inside and which state (or country) you live in.

In general, hemp-derived cannabinoids, like delta-8, THCA, and HHC, are federally legal — but some states have created independent laws to ban them. The door swung open for these products in 2018 with the updated version of the Farm Bill — which allows up to 0.3% delta 9 THC in hemp and hemp products. 

Marijuana-derived carts are illegal at the federal level but legal in some states. You always have to buy these products at state-registered dispensaries — you cannot buy them online.

Related: Cannabis Laws in the United States

What Are the Benefits of Cannabinoid Distillate Carts?

Some enjoy the “flat” or “cleaner” effects of distillates over the raw flower (joints or bongs); others like the rapid onset of effects and relatively short duration of vapes over edibles.

Distillates are cheaper than liquid live resin carts, and if they contain marijuana-derived terpenes and flavonoids, they won’t feel too far off from the real thing.

Distillates made without terpenes allow users to take sneaky drags from their vapes without filling their surroundings with weed’s divisive aroma.

Manufacturers also produce CBD distillate carts that aren’t intoxicating and instead offer yet another way to consume this wildly popular cannabinoid.

Whichever is your preference, you should know there’s not a one-size-fits-all solution. Vapes are quick, efficient, and discrete — but lack the intensity of edibles or the natural feel of using raw cannabis bud. To each their own!

How Are Cannabis Distillates Made?

Every distillate oil starts with dry, cured marijuana or hemp flowers. By the time the process ends, producers are left with a refined oil composed of almost 100% of the targeted cannabinoid.

We’ll split the process into three steps, explaining briefly what each of them does [1].

1. Extraction

A solvent, whether CO2 or ethanol, is used to isolate the targeted cannabinoid — stripping it away from the plant while leaving behind the unwanted fibers, cell bodies, proteins, sugars, and other unnecessary components. The solvent dissolves the buds’ trichomes to create a raw oil that needs additional processing to reach optimal potency and purity.

2. Winterization & Filtration

The first step to purify the raw extracted oil consists of cooling it to very low temperatures. After some time inside a freezer, some of the oil’s lipids solidify and can be separated from the fats and other heavier molecules that were pulled out during the extraction phase.

3. Decarboxylation & Distillation

The resulting filtered oil contains inactive THCA, which is why it must be gently heated to convert it into psychoactive THC. This will ensure the final product is as potent as possible.

Much like alcohol, the decarboxylated oil can go through further levels of distillation to separate the different cannabinoids based on their molecular weight.

For products like delta 8 or HHC, additional isomerization stages may be required to increase yield.

Buying Distillate Carts Safely: A Checklist

Distillate carts, especially those made with delta 8 THC, reside in an unregulated market that allows scammers and sketchy companies to thrive. Continue reading to understand the dangers of low-quality carts and become an expert at avoiding them.

1. Research the Vendor Before You Buy

A quick Google search can reassure you if you think a vendor is sketchy or help you steer in the opposite direction. Try searching for its name + or switching to the news tab to see if it’s been involved in any high-profile controversies.

Redditors never hold their tongues if they have something to bash about a product they tried. There are also entire subreddits dedicated to exposing illegitimate cannabis brands. You can find some pretty sound advice on forums like this.

You can also read user reviews if the product’s page has a review section, although these are sometimes manipulated with bots. Try filtering the reviews from low to high, as you may find real issues other users have had with the product.

2. Check the Product’s Ingredients List

Some companies employ euphemisms instead of being clear with the contents of their extracts. Terms like ‘live terps’ may suggest that the cart contains distillate oil that has been flavored with terpenes.

While this is a common practice for distillates as it makes them more appealing, sketchier vendors may try to pass off flavored distillates as liquid live resin.

Also, check the stated ingredients and their quantities and compare them to the lab testing data, if provided by the vendor. As explained below, you must keep a keen eye on lab tests.

3. Scrutinize Lab Test Data

Never give a vendor carte blanche just because it provides third-party lab testing information. You must check the batch number of the product you purchased and find the lab test.

If you can’t find the lab test information, hit up the company to clear the issue. Otherwise, discard the product or use it in moderation in case it’s contaminated with harmful substances.

Are Distillates Made With Moldy Weed?

There’s a baseless rumor circulating in online communities about distillate carts being made with moldy or low-quality weed. 

Because of their lower price compared to live resin, users speculate about the possible cause and come up with far-fetched theories.

Cannabis extracts go through several ‘kill steps’ that ensure the end product is free of contaminants, microbes, and fungi. Even if a moldy nug snuck into the batch, all of its toxins would be long gone by the time the distillation process ends.

Professional manufacturers take numerous measures to prevent even one bud from going moldy. To achieve this, they reduce moisture to the minimum throughout the process to avoid giving bacteria and fungi a chance to grow.

Proper storage helps extend the raw material and extracted products’ shelf life and shield them from moisture [3]. Storage areas must have ventilation, temperature control, low humidity, and be as clean as an operating room to preserve the products.

Glass keeps the unprocessed buds dry and their trichomes intact, while stainless steel is the best material to store oils in [4]. Both containers should be dry and shut with air-tight lids.

If a manufacturer takes all of these precautions, you shouldn’t worry about ingesting harmful substances when hitting a cart. Make sure you only buy from reliable vendors who are transparent about their manufacturing practices and honest with their lab tests.

What is Delta 8 THC?

Delta 8 THC is a naturally occurring analog to delta 9 THC, marijuana’s main intoxicating compound [2]. Its effects are subtler than D9, which has earned it the moniker ‘diet weed.’

Obtaining large amounts of delta 8 is tricky since marijuana plants only contain small amounts of this isomer. Luckily, scientists have found a way to convert CBD into delta 8 by using solvents and acid catalysts.

The issue with this conversion process is that the resulting delta 8 could include harmful metals and acids, so thorough lab tests and quality control are necessary. Our top pick, Area 52, takes said precautions to offer a 100% safe delta 8 distillate.

Comparing Different Types of THC

Frequently Asked Questions: Distillate Carts

The following section addresses questions that many people seem to ask.

1. How should I store distillate carts?

Always store them upright to prevent the tip from clogging. Room temperature suits them best, so avoid hot spots in your house and avoid sticking them in the freezer. Make sure that they get minimal exposure to light, as it quickly degrades cannabinoids.

2. How long will a distillate cart last me?

A cart’s duration will depend on your habits, your tolerance to THC, and the potency and quantity of your cart. Half-gram carts can last over a week if you smoke sparingly or a few days if you’re a heavier user. If you smoke daily, go for a one-gram cart, as you can stretch it beyond two weeks if you alternate with other consumption methods.

3. Can I refill a distillate cart?

You can refill a distillate cart, but you shouldn’t do it more than once. You’ll need a syringe filled with distillate, which you’ll warm up before proceeding. Unscrew the cart’s cap and introduce the needle, applying even pressure to the plunger and distributing the oil all around the container.

4. Why does my distillate cart taste burnt?

A burnt taste usually indicates that the coil inside the cart has overheated or that the distillate has been used up. This can happen if the voltage of your battery is too high or if you take very long draws. Try using a battery with adjustable voltage settings and keep it on the lower end to avoid burning the distillate.

5. Can distillate carts crystallize?

Yes, it’s possible for distillate in carts to crystallize, especially if they contain high concentrations of THC or CBD. Crystallization is a natural process and doesn’t mean the product has gone bad. Gently warming the cart, such as by holding it in your hand or using a hairdryer on a low setting, can help redissolve the crystals.

6. How do I fix a clogged distillate cart?

If your cart gets clogged, you can usually fix it by gently heating it to liquify any hardened distillate blocking the airflow. A common method is to use a hairdryer on a low setting or warm water. After heating, try drawing on the cart without activating the battery to clear the blockage.

7. What’s the difference between a distillate cart and a live resin cart?

The main difference lies in the extraction process and the final product’s composition. Distillate carts contain a highly refined cannabis oil that’s been distilled to isolate cannabinoids, often resulting in a product with very high THC or CBD levels but less flavor and aroma. Live resin carts are made from fresh, frozen cannabis flowers, preserving more of the plant’s terpenes and offering a richer, more complex flavor profile.


  1. Lazarjani, M. P., Young, O., Kebede, L., & Seyfoddin, A. (2021). Processing and extraction methods of medicinal cannabis: A narrative review. Journal of Cannabis Research, 3.
  2. Gajdosechova, Z., Marleau-Gillette, J., Turnbull, M. J., Petts, D. C., Jackson, S. E., Cabecinha, A., Abramovici, H., Waye, A., & Melanson, J. E. (2022). Evidence That Metal Particles in Cannabis Vape Liquids Limit Measurement Reproducibility. ACS omega, 7(47), 42783–42792.
  3. Zamengo, L., Bettin, C., Badocco, D., Di Marco, V., Miolo, G., & Frison, G. (2019). The role of time and storage conditions on the composition of hashish and marijuana samples: A four-year study. Forensic Science International, 298, 131-137.
  4. Sabiah AL Ubeed, H. M., H. Wills, R. B., & Chandrapala, J. (2022). Post-Harvest Operations to Generate High-Quality Medicinal Cannabis Products: A Systemic Review. Molecules, 27(5).