Lead image via

TKO Extracts’ vape pens have enamored weed consumers for years and won several prestigious cannabis awards in California. But, as the saying goes, imitation is the greatest form of flattery, and TKO’s success has led to black marketeers hocking counterfeit products for a quick buck.

While fake TKO cartridges may be more friendly to your wallet, they come with risks. Since unlicensed weed vape products don’t undergo regular lab testing, there’s no telling what’s in your fugazi vape pen. It could contain dangerous pesticide residues or heavy metal contamination, which can cause nausea, seizures, brain damage, cancer, and a whole host of other medical maladies.

Furthermore, black market vape cartridges are being investigated as the culprits behind America’s vaping illness epidemic, which has already claimed at least eight lives. While health authorities are still figuring out what’s causing the epidemic, evidence suggests that legal weed vapes filled with only pure, cannabis-derived oils are not causing the vaping lung illness. So, on just that one issue alone, you should be double-checking to ensure you’ve got real TKO carts.

But how do you spot a fake TKO vape cartridge? Here’s how.

Gallery — What Fake Vapes Actually Look Like:

Fake TKO Carts Come in a Wide Selection of Flavors

Real TKO carts only come in four flavors/varieties: Pineapple Express, Rich Gelato, Northern Lights, and Rose Gold. If your supposed TKO cart is labeled with any strain or flavor besides the four just mentioned, you’ve got a fake on your hands.


If your TKO cart comes in any other flavor besides these four, it’s fake (image via)

Fake TKO Carts May Require a Detachable Battery

Real TKO carts use a built-in CCELL lithium-ion battery. They only come as disposable vape pens, and there’s no way to recharge the batteries or hook them up to an outlet.

If the pen that comes with your supposed TKO product is not disposable, or it does not contain real CCELL batteries, it’s probably fake. Though let’s be clear: batteries are not causing the issue here. It’s unlicensed cannabis oil manufacturers who may be filling their bootleg carts with nasty additives, untested materials, and other harmful adulterants. 


Above, fake TKO Extracts vape carts

Fake TKO Carts Feature the Wrong Logo

The TKO Extracts’ logo was designed with minimal elements, and it’s only black and white. It’s pretty easy to recognize. Fake carts, on the other hand, may not feature the correct logo.


Here’s a fake TKO product with the wrong logo (image via)


This is what the real TKO logo looks like.

Fake TKO Carts Are Available Outside of California

TKO Extracts is based solely in California. By law, all licensed weed products must remain within state lines; if a business distributes TKO products outside of state lines, it becomes a crime.

While it’s very possible that your beyond-Cali TKO carts could’ve just been smuggled to your area, it’s unlikely that you’ll encounter the real thing anywhere other than the Golden State.

Fake TKO Carts Are Available Everywhere But Licensed Pot Shops

Again, by law, all legal cannabis products in California can only be sold by licensed distributors, namely medical dispensaries, recreational retail shops, and special delivery services. 

If you bought your supposed TKO carts from anywhere else besides a legit (California) pot shop or delivery service, you’re likely dealing with fakes. Be safe out there, and shop legal shops!