A well designed label is an essential piece to any cannabis business.
When customers come across a product, it’s the first thing that draws them in. It’s what looks good when they post an image on social media, which in turn helps spread the brand by word of mouth.
But the design isn’t the only factor to worry about.
Cannabis labels have to be a combination of creativity and regulation.
Brand design, product information, and warnings all have to be incorporated in a way that is compliant yet still appealing.
Different cannabis products have different requirements. Depending on the application, the label information will vary.
Cannabis Product Label Applications
With more and more states legalizing recreational use, the cannabis market continues to grow with new and exciting products.
Different versions of these products are packaged in different container types, which in turn use various label sizes and shapes. These can be applied to jars, bags, boxes, and more.
Depending on the type of cannabis product being sold, labeling requirements will vary. Each label applies specifically to that product. Because cannabis products can be consumed in different manners, each label will have small differences in how it is consumed and will affect the user.
Requirements for cannabis product labels will change for each different product. These include inhalables (flowers and rolls), ingestibles (edibles), and topicals (creams, lotions, and balms).
Regulations will vary by state, so businesses should frequently check the government guidelines to make sure they are staying compliant and up to date.
It goes without saying that cannabis is a heavily regulated product.
Therefore when it comes to labeling products, compliance is a huge component that must be followed. It helps prevent cannabis from getting into the hands of minors or making its way onto the black market.
However, compliance labeling can be a minefield to navigate.
As cannabis isn’t nationally regulated, requirements differ by state. Each state has its own set of laws, which often change or meet new revisions. This can leave companies in a bind when they have to quickly change labels or packaging to accommodate new regulations.
For example, cannabis businesses in Washington State have to get their labels approved through the Liquor and Cannabis Board (LCB). This organization is in charge of marijuana and verifies if companies are following compliance laws, giving LCB officials the ability to make or break a product through their approval process.
Warnings & Symbols
Compliance labels include vital product information and warnings in order to alert customers to the associated health risks.
One example of this is the universal warning symbol.
Each state where cannabis is legal for recreational use has their own symbol, usually showing a plant leaf, exclamation, legal age or the text THC.
This distinct image is meant to raise caution and awareness to protect the public’s health and safety. It must be displayed on every cannabis product.
Universal Cannabis Warning Symbol for WA
Businesses will want to stay on top of any regulation changes to remain within compliance. Failure to do so can result in large fines, and businesses can even have their license suspended or revoked.
Below are examples of different types of cannabis label applications and the necessary information required for each to be compliant.
As each state is different and the information is subject to change, we highly recommend frequently checking with your state’s requirements to make sure your labels are up-to-date.
Cannabis Flower Labels
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Label Info on Cannabis Flower
- Strain name
- Harvest date
- Test date
- UID (Universal Identification) number
- Lab information
- THC and CBD%
- Net weight (in grams)
- Lot numbers (from the original plant)
- Warning text
- Universal symbol
Cannabis flowers are one of the most popular forms of cannabis consumption.
They are used for smoking and can be crossbred with many different strains for inducing varying mood effects. Because they are meant to be inhaled, warnings about smoke exposure are printed on cannabis flower labels.
When it comes to packaging cannabis flowers, sealing is very important. This helps prevent mold from growing and spoiling the product.
Packaging must also be resistant and hard to open in order to prevent small children and toddlers from accidentally ingesting harmful chemicals.
Jars and resealable bags are popular applications for cannabis flowers. Transparent materials allow potential customers to see the details and coloring of each separate product.
Cannabis Edible Labels
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Label Info on Cannabis Edibles
- Manufacturer contact
- Date of manufacture
- Expiration date
- Product ingredients
- Nutritional information
- THC & CBD content
- Batch number
- Warning text
- Universal symbol
When it comes to edibles, there is an ever-growing list of products in the cannabis market.
Edibles are considered to be any food or beverage product that has been infused with cannabis. These include items like:
- Gummies & chews
- Baked goods & chocolates
- Juice & soda
- Coffee & tea
- Drops & chewable tablets
They are processed by the digestive system rather than by the lungs so they can affect consumers differently than smoking would.
Because they are ingested, the label information differs from if the cannabis product is smoked or applied directly to the skin.
For example, the THC levels in edibles are not measured in a percentage like other cannabis products.
The potency is measured in milligrams present in the product. This helps consumers determine proper serving sizes and dose amounts.
Packaging for edibles varies on the product type being sold and how the brand wants to market their product.
Items like candies, gummies, and chews can be placed into multiple packaging types, such as resealable bags, boxes, tins, or canisters.
Cannabis Topical Labels
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Label Info on Cannabis Topicals
- Product identity
- Lot number
- Net weight
- Total THC & CBD levels
- Warning text
- Universal symbol
Unlike the other cannabis products mentioned above, topicals do not produce the typical “high” associated with cannabis.
This is because topicals are not psychoactive. They are applied to the body’s surface and absorbed through the skin.
Combinations of THC and CBD help relieve pain, soreness, and inflammation. Dosing does not apply to topicals.
Similar to cosmetics, cannabis topical labels need to include specific text warning customers that the product is not for consumption and for topical application only.
Labels should be clear about the distinction between therapeutic and psychoactive effects of cannabis topicals. This keeps information transparent for customers who may not fully understand how to use the products or who are expecting different effects from the product.
- “Medical Cannabis” text
- Strain type (sativa, indica, hybrid)
- Name of the strain
- The state compliance
- “Unlawful to redistribute” text
- Weight in grams
- Testing lab (if applicable)
Medical cannabis labels or Rx labels are used on cannabis products specifically for medical purposes.
These small labels are a form of compliance and not required for recreational use products. They are found on cannabis items in states where use is only medically legal.
Medical cannabis labels are 1” x 3” on a white background with black and green text. They can be pre-printed with general information with the only variation being the state.
Pre-printed labels allow for customizations of each strain name, type, and product amount. Businesses can either write in or print this information themselves.
There are many factors that go into creating the perfect cannabis label for any type of application.
It can be tricky to navigate the information required on labels.
Remember to always remain up to date on your state’s cannabis regulations and laws to make sure your products are compliant.