Product labels are a great place to start when you want to learn more about the potential benefits and effects of your cannabis. At first glance, all the information on the labels can seem overwhelming. That’s why we’re going to cover the basics to help you understand what it all means.
Although the information provided will vary from state to state, we are going to cover the information that is most commonly found on cannabis product labels.
Let’s start with an easy one, the name of the company or brand of the cannabis flower or product you’re purchasing. You will want to remember the name if you like it, so you can buy it again – or avoid it if you don’t.
Cannabis strains are typically categorized as Cannabis sativa, Cannabis indica, or a hybrid that includes both indica and sativa genetics. Here are some of the effects and characteristics that have been attributed to each:
- Tend to provide stimulating and energizing effects
- Can boost creativity and mental focus
- Shown to help to reduce stress and anxiety
- Typically described as having sedative, full-body effects
- Known to help alleviate pain and insomnia
- Can promote relaxation
- A blend of indica and sativa strains
- Typically classified as either sativa dominant or indica dominant
- Can maximize desired effects while minimizing undesired effects of certain strains
It is important to note that the effects commonly associated with indica and sativa strains will not be the same for everyone.
In the past, it was generally thought that the effects of different types of cannabis could be determined by whether it was a sativa or indica strain. But more recently, research is showing that the terpenes and cannabinoids found within each strain, and the way they interact with our endocannabinoid system, can be just as important in determining each person’s experience with certain strains.
CBD and THC Content
Cannabinoids are naturally occurring compounds found in the cannabis plant. There are more than 100 distinct cannabinoids identified within cannabis.1 Two of the most active and well known include delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and Cannabidiol (CBD).
THC is the main psychoactive ingredient in marijuana and is what is responsible for providing users with the euphoric, “high” sensation. CBD, on the other hand, does not produce a psychoactive effect and does not cause users to feel high.
The amount of THC or CBD will typically be represented by quantity (mg) or concentration (mg/g). For example, for flower and cannabis oil it might be listed as milligrams per gram. For edibles, it might be listed in milligrams or milligrams per unit.
“Total THC” and “Total CBD” amounts listed on product labels for cannabis flower, refer to how much of each will be made available when you smoke or vaporize your flower.
Harvest, Packaging, and Expiration Dates
This information is provided to help ensure you are purchasing quality products. It will tell you when the item was harvested (flower), packaged, and the date it might expire, if any.
This one is fairly self-explanatory and will let you know how much you are purchasing. The weight of cannabis flower will usually be listed in grams.
This information is important if you’re purchasing products besides cannabis flower, like chocolate, gummies, or beverages. If you are allergic to certain ingredients, you will want to pay close attention to this.
Depending on where you live, there will be certain warnings that must appear on cannabis labels. These warnings might include statements like: “Medical cannabis use is for certified patients only.” “Do not use if pregnant or breastfeeding.” Or perhaps, “do not drive or operate heavy equipment after consuming cannabis.”
This will tell you the name of the company that grew and/or processed your cannabis. You can usually find their contact information here in case you need to get in touch with them.
Batch or Lot Number
This number provides information on the batch of cannabis harvested or extracted for that product–which can be helpful if there is a product recall. The batch number can also be helpful in determining the potency of the cannabis. Every batch of cannabis is tested for THC and CBD contents and recorded with the batch number so that it can be tracked.
Terpenes are highly aromatic compounds naturally produced in plants and herbs like rosemary, lavender, and cannabis–giving them their unique flavor and scents. Terpenes are bioactive and can offer potential health benefits. Information about the terpene profile can be helpful for those looking to maximize certain health benefits of specific terpenes.
Putting it All Together for an Enhanced Cannabis Experience
Understanding how to read the information on cannabis product labels is an important first step in finding the cannabis products that are best for you. By identifying the strains with the cannabinoids and terpene profile that work best with your endocannabinoid system, you can enjoy the enhanced quality of life that’s possible with medical marijuana.
The best way to find the strains and products that are best for you and your condition, is to schedule a complimentary one-on-one consultation with a Patient Care Specialist at a Bloom Medicinals dispensary near you!