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Decoding the Labels in Cannabis Products

Right now, you might be thinking about how to make weed brownies or how to get hooked on a 420 lifestyle by lighting your first joint. If you are, you are not alone. Every year, the marijuana industry continues to grow, a development that is fueled by the curiosity of first-time users and the patronage of those who’ve grown particularly fond of the herb. In fact, according to Arcview Group, an expert on cannabis-related market research, the industry is poised to grow into a $21 billion industry by 2021, up from $6.7 billion in 2016.

Whether you prefer smoking pot, vaping marijuana, or consuming cannabis edibles, you’re probably already aware of the fact that weed products come in numerous variants, be it in terms of strain, potency, cannabinoid content, and many other variables. Such information are typically included in product labels, but on top of these considerations, cannabis manufacturers and distributors are also usually required by law to include other details in their marijuana products, including their identity as manufacturers, production particulars, legal information, and more.

Unfortunately, because of the lack of nationwide legislation on cannabis use, it has also become very challenging for manufacturers and distributors to establish a universal labeling framework that can be adhered to by everyone. As you can imagine, each state where marijuana is legal implements its own rules and regulations when it comes to defining marijuana labeling parameters.

Nevertheless, there are general labeling practices that are observed by a majority of cannabis product manufacturers and distributors. To get you up to speed with these, we’re providing you with this short guide on what to look for in marijuana product labels.

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Marijuana Strain

Most cannabis products offer information regarding the strain of marijuana used in them—whether it’s Cannabis sativa, Cannabis indica, or a hybrid of both. The sativa strain is often described by cannabis enthusiasts as more invigorating, while the indica variant is said to provide a more sedating effect.

Cannabinoid Content

Another important component of cannabis product labels is the information about the products’ cannabinoid content. The label should indicate the net weight of important cannabinoid compounds contained in the product, including tetrahdyrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD).

THC is the primary psychoactive ingredient in cannabis products, the one responsible for the “high” that people feel. This is because THC alters a person’s consciousness, perception, mood, and behavior. CBD, on the other hand, doesn’t seem to cause such intoxicating effects but is nevertheless useful in treating conditions like pain and anxiety.

Other cannabinoid compounds that may be listed in the product label include tetrahydrocannabinolic acid (THCA), cannabigerol (CBG), cannabigerolic acid (CBGA), cannabichromene (CBC), and cannabidivarin (CBDV). These compounds are also being studied for their potential beneficial effects when used as therapeutic substances.

Production Information

Medical marijuana, cannabis edibles, and other weed-based products are also typically labeled with important production information, just like conventional food, pharmaceutical, and nutritional products.

Aside from the name of the plant strain and the cannabinoid content, consumers should also look for other product information that answer important questions like the following: who manufactured the product; when was the plant cultivated, harvested, and packaged; when is the product going to expire; which laboratory tested the product for accuracy of stated contents; and does the manufacturer comply with its legal obligations. Ideally, the product should also show proper batch and lot numbers so that it would be easier to track it down in case the manufacturer or the authorities determine that a recall is necessary.

The label should also list all ingredients used in production, especially if the item is an edible marijuana product.  These include all artificial colors, artificial flavors, terpenes, and possible allergens used. Additionally, a product should also indicate that it’s safe from harmful contaminants, whether it’s pesticides, bacterial agents, fungal agents, or residual solvents used in manufacturing. Typically, it should indicate the laboratory that did the testing, as well as show when this test was carried out.

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In Conclusion

When choosing cannabis products, especially those meant to be used as medical marijuana or consumed as cannabis edibles, it is important to look for suppliers that clearly specify their products’ contents in their labels. Such labels should also be transparent about other vital product information.

It is recommended that you do your due diligence not only to investigate the background of the company offering these products but also to ensure that they are complying with the health and safety regulations established by your state.