NOV 10, 2022 9:10 AM PST

What labels are telling you about your weed

WRITTEN BY: Helaine Krysik

As the still-young cannabis industry adapts to becoming a legal one, it still has a lot of catching up to do in several areas from the black-market days. Product labeling is one of them.

Several labels exist that are supposed to inform consumers as to the nature of the cannabis products they are buying. For example, indica, sativa, and hybrid are familiar labels that have been around awhile, long associated with providing certain types of effects upon consumption.

However, current labels do not accurately represent the effects of most cannabis products on the market, nor do they inform the consumer as to what they are buying. In some cases, the labels are misleading. One study found that the labels indica and sativa are meaningless.

A recent study of almost 90,000 samples across six states concluded that product labels do not consistently align with the chemical diversity of the products.

One of the issues is that while marketers are required to disclose how much THC and CBD are in a product, they are not required to disclose information about any other compounds. This includes details on terpenes, which influence the smell and overall effect of the THC and/or CBD in a product – which is also called the entourage effect.

As a result, researchers are calling for a new cannabis product labeling system that is like the FDA’s nutrition facts panel for food, which would provide a more comprehensive representation of the cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids in cannabis products. Furthermore, as researchers are discovering more cannabinoids as the industry evolves, a more accurate labeling system is timely.

In order for the weed business to be taken more seriously as a mature industry, it needs to either adopt or create better and more consistent standards as what is in the products on the market.


Sources: Dalhousie University, PLOS One, Curr Neuropharmacol, Eureka Alert

About the Author
Bachelor's (BA/BS/Other)
Helaine is a cannabis industry writer and marketing consultant. She has been active in the Illinois cannabis industry since 2020, and writes for a variety of national publications.
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