Everything You Need To Know About Marijuana Labels [2021 Guide]

April 28, 2021
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The last decade has been fertile soil for the CBD industry. Cannabis-based products have been flooding the market. Even more, there's also a promising future in sight with marijuana legalization spreading across the U.S. There’s a wide variety of CBD products coming as tinctures, concentrates, oils, or edibles, to name a few. The current legal framework may make producers scratch their heads about how to name, package, and label their products. So we hope this guide will come in handy to you shedding some light on the most important issues about marijuana labels. Dive in with me.      

“Cannabis”, “Hemp”, or “Marijuana” - What’s The Difference?

Did you think marijuana and hemp are two different plants? They’re not. Cannabis, marijuana, hemp, weed, pot, ganja, dope, 420, cheeba - so many names and coded language. These scientific, popular, or hippie terms describe the same thing: the wonder plant named cannabis. You may call it as you want. But when it comes to planning your labels and your custom marijuana packaging, you need to have your research well done. Keep compliance in mind and stick your sticky icky labels to the rule.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulates cannabidiol (CBD) products differently than they do medications and supplements.

For this reason, some companies take advantage and use the terms “hemp” and “CBD” interchangeably on their labels. But there are considerable differences between the two.


Using the terms appropriately and providing truthful information about the products is essential if you want to reach and connect to both old and new cannabis consumers.

Let’s do a rundown on cannabis vocabulary and see the actual difference between the terms.


The Cannabis plant belongs to the family classification of Cannabaceae. It’s a genus containing three psychoactive subspecies: Cannabis sativa, Cannabis indica, and Cannabis ruderalis.              

A cannabis plant and the chemical structure of THC and CBD.

Cannabis has more than eighty active chemical compounds, but the most commonly known ones are:

  • delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and
  • cannabidiol (CBD).


Its potential is related to health benefits, so there’s much interest around it. It is non-impairing and doesn’t cause a “high.”

THCIt is the main psychoactive component that produces the “high” effect or the state of euphoria. The levels of THC differ in each strain of the plant.

So far, the FDA has approved only one CBD product that treats severe forms of epilepsy.

However, among the advertised benefits of CBD are its anti-inflammatory effects, pain relief, anxiety relief, sleep aid, appetite stimulant, and many more.

The Cannabis species includes both hemp and marijuana.

Let’s see the difference below.


Hemp is a variety of the Cannabis sativa plant species. It is mainly grown for industrial use, and a wide range of products are made out of it. We find it textiles, clothing, paper, carpeting, ropes, building materials, hygiene, and body care products, as well as foods and dietary supplements.

The term hemp is used for cannabis that contains 0.3 percent or less THC. Put another way: hemp is unlikely to get you high. And less probable to register on a drug test, although not impossible due to the traces.              


On the other hand, hemp boasts more CBD and is rich in protein and nutrients that make it the perfect base for foods and supplements.


Marijuana was initially spelled “marihuana” or “mariguana” and comes from the Mexican Spanish language. The M-word (more popularly called “weed” or other names nowadays) is controversial because many associate the term with social racism.              


Immigrant Mexicans in the U.S. were stereotyped as people who frequently used cannabis. Therefore, some say “marijuana” is a racist word that should be on the way out. Although it is probably the best-known term for the plant, the word “cannabis” is preferred instead.And that's what you should put on your labels, too. Anyway, what sets marijuana apart from hemp is that it has more than 0.3 percent THC by dry weight. And this also makes it responsible for the well-known “high.”


Both marijuana and hemp are species of the same Cannabis plant.

They both contain cannabidiol (CBD) in higher or lower doses, depending on the strain.

  • Marijuana contains more than 0.3 percent THC by dry weight
  • Hemp contains less than 0.3 THC by dry weight.

What's the actual term on my marijuana labels?

As said, we're talking about a sensitive background and niche. And marijuana is still part of a drug class. So federal legislation prefers the term “cannabis.”

This means:

Your marijuana labels and packaging will read “cannabis” or “CBD.”

Now, let’s have a closer look at the legal aspect. There are things you should keep in mind when creating your marijuana labels, whether for CBD oil boxes, tinctures, edibles, or cosmetics.

So keep reading.

Legality And Federal Requirements

One essential thing to start with and remember: marijuana is still illegal. Now, I know you might say that in the U.S., the non-medical use of cannabis has been decriminalized in 13 states and legalized in another 17 states. That’s true. Until recently, CBD products were all in the same category as heroin, according to federal drug laws. But CBD derived from hemp and containing no more than 0.3% THC has been legalized. However, marijuana-derived CBD products are illegal on the federal level but are legal under some state laws.


So if your CBD products come from marijuana, you need to consult the laws in your state, follow them and establish your marketing path.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is still running investigations on CBD and will continue to update its regulations and guidelines as it learns more.

For this reason, make sure your cannabis plants and products are in line with the latest provisions and keep you and your customers safe in all aspects. Check with the federal laws in your state and always check with the FDA.

Make truthful statements on your marijuana labels

Some companies are marketing CBD products making claims that are not backed by science.    The consequence is that they are risking mislabeling and misleading customers. When a product is not marketed as a drug, it is prohibited to make any claims related to diagnosing, mitigating, treating, curing, or preventing any disease. The “disease claims” may only be made about drugs. So, your marijuana labels should be geared towards a clear and truthful communication of the package contents.And what exactly should your marijuana labels contain? Read below to find out.      

Required Information For Marijuana Labels

The FDA’s basic requirements list a few pieces of information that's mandatory to appear on your labels.

Product identity

Always include the term “Cannabis” in the name of your product. You can also mention the name of the strain or species (e.g., sativa, indica, hybrid). This differentiation of your cannabis boxes can drive consumers’ buying decisions.

Net quantity of contents

  • Stated in both U.S. customary and Metric (SI) units;
  • Measured by volume if the product is a liquid (net contents);
  • Expressed as weight if the product is solid, semi-solid, or viscous (net-weight)

Licensee name/phone/email

Name, address, and business phone number or email address of the licensee, packer, or distributor of the finished product. Contact info will make it easier for consumers to make inquiries and complaints.

Ingredients list

List ingredients by common name and in descending order of predominance by weight.


Nutrition info

The “Nutrition Facts” panel is a common labeling item that contains the quantitative amount per serving.

License number/batch/lot code

The license number of the manufacturer who produced the finished product and the product batch or lot code for tracking purposes.

Cannabis facts panel

Product coming from the plant's flower

  • List the effective THC percentage and all other cannabinoids weight by weight.
A green label of a cannabis product displaying details, ingredients, and instructions.

Product is a non-activated concentrate

  • List the effective THC percentage and all other cannabinoids, weight by weight or weight by volume.

Product is an activated concentrate/edible infused product - all for adult use

  • List the milligram content of active THC and all other cannabinoids per manufacturer-specified unit.

Product is a topical/medical infused product/medical activated concentrate

  • List the milligram content of active THC and all other cannabinoids per container.

Contaminant testing statement

This statement ensures customers your products are free of harmful substances.

Allergen labeling

Mention all major food allergens for ingestible infused products and concentrates.

Universal symbol

These icons warn consumers that the product contains cannabis or THC. The potency is of at least 0.3% effective THC weight by weight or weight by volume. Or 1 mg of active THC per container or per measurement unit.


Some of this information will go on the front display panel and some on the information panel. It’s up to you how you distribute it. You can read more about CBD labeling in our previous article Compliant CBD Labels. Regardless of the type of product you’re selling, as long as it contains CBD, there is some further info that’s good practice to add on your marijuana labels.      

Warning Statements On Marijuana Labels

For all cannabis products:

  • “Keep out of reach of children.”
  • “Keep out of reach of children and pets.”
  • “This product may be unlawful outside the State of [insert state].”
  • “This product has not been analyzed or approved by the FDA.”
  • “There may be additional health risks associated with the consumption of this product for women who are pregnant, breastfeeding, or planning on becoming pregnant.”

For all adult-use cannabis products:

  • “For use only by adults twenty-one and older.”

For all medical cannabis products:

  • “For medical use only.”

For psychoactive cannabis products:

  • “This product may have intoxicating effects. Do not drive or operate heavy machinery while under the influence of cannabis.”
  • “The intoxicating effects of this product may be delayed by two or more hours when eaten or swallowed.”
  • “This product may be habit-forming.”

Bear with me now, there's more.

Marijuana Labels - Your Short Info Sheets

You may have a single type of product in various versions or a line of multiple types of products. And each of them comes with its own rules concerning description.


The composition, psychoactive effects, and flavor of cannabis products are equally important for consumers who smoke dry flower. With this in mind, offer them essential information even before they know they need it.

Write about the elements of every strain, going beyond the basic Indica/Sativa/Hybrid designation. Mention the characteristics and benefits of use.



The percentage of cannabinoids and terpenes in marijuana concentrates is greater than in raw cannabis flowers. This can be intimidating for newcomers who are making their first steps into using cannabis products.

So to make labels easy to understand, use common terms. Also use key details about concentrate purity, delivery method, and extraction so that consumers know what they are buying.



Topical ointments and lotions are becoming more and more popular among cannabis enthusiasts.

Make a clear distinction between therapeutic effects and psychoactive ones.

In this way, you avoid unhappy customers purchasing topicals and expecting to experience a high.

A small tin with a green label that reads "Bud Rub" under a marijuana leaf.


When it comes to edibles, things get trickier and extremely important.

Many states require product descriptions to contain dosage information.

Some go so far as requiring manufacturers to sell edible products with specific dosage quantities.

Cookies stacked one on top of the other and a marijuana nugget.

But there’s more on edibles labels that you should know.

Keep on reading.

* Pin on marijuana edibles

Edibles are made with different levels of THC. They can take the form of almost any type of food, but mostly candy and baked goods (like cookies or brownies). The CONCERN with edibles is that they look like candy or other appealing sweets and foods. And children and adolescents may accidentally eat them.              


They may not read the labels and marking indicating that the products contain THC. Or may not understand what the CBD labels mean. So they mistake these marijuana-infused products for regular food.

Therefore, there are two prohibitions related to marijuana edibles:

1. The word “candy” is NOT ALLOWED on edible marijuana labels and packaging.

2. Edibles in shapes appealing to children (e.g., gummy bears or jelly beans) ARE BANNED.

Everything about marijuana products, whether in bud form or as infused edibles and topicals, MUST APPEAL ONLY TO ADULTS.

Your artwork and design concepts should only be directed towards an adult audience.      

Do not use cartoons, toys, or other images that would appeal to young children.

Also, it would be best if you avoided ultra-bright color palettes that catch kids’ interest.

That being said: Once you've put all the puzzle pieces together to make your marijuana labels, it's time to give your creativity a high.

How do you make everything be useful and appealing (but not to kids) at the same time?

Read on.

Product Description and Branding

It may not be a cakewalk to create compliant and outstanding labels and packaging for your cannabis products. After all, we’re talking about a controversial niche with delicate marketing rules. But it’s worth the effort to be upfront and build your brand on solid bricks.

So, beyond putting down all the mandatory details and making them visible on the packaging, make sure you offer something extra.

Make your product description a killer and stand out as a reputable company that values transparency and its customers.


Regular cannabis users already know the varieties of marijuana products sold in shops, online, and dispensaries. Some have even settled on a favorite brand and keep coming back to it.              

Small glass container of CBD and THC from Baked Bros.

But there are also newcomers. They may have an idea of what type of product they are looking for but none about what it’s called.

At first, they will look at many sources and product descriptions to help them understand and make an informed decision before buying.

And here’s where your sweat and blood can add figures to your sales and gain customer loyalty. Guide potential buyers through suggestive titles and helpful descriptions about the types of products they wish to buy. Your marijuana labels are your powerful marketing tool!

Tips for a great product description

Deliver valuable information to customers. Educate them, and let them know you and what you offer.      

#1 Know your audience

Certain products target specific customers. It’s ideal to know your customers’ location, gender, age, and cultural interests. The more you know about them, the better your labels will target them.

#2 List the features and benefits

Set the value of your product by talking about its features and its benefits. If both are appealing to the customer, especially the benefits, you may have got yourself a loyal fan.

#3 Show your brand's personality

Every brand is unique. And so is yours. The way you describe your products will reflect your personality and how you perceive customers. Is your style formal, street-savvy, or casual? Whatever it is, make it so that customers identify your brand with a reputable source of value.

#4 Use fonts that are easy to read

Text readability is essential. If customers find it hard to read the details on your labels, they’ll lose interest quickly. Use fonts that are easy to read. Even if customers skim the text, they should be able to get the main and most important ideas about your product.

Now, you’re ready to put the best of you out there.

Create marijuana labels to represent your brand’s identity, provide critical and regulatory information, and offer instructions for use.

Attract customers to stay with your brand in the long term.

Ultimately, choose the best printing partner and printing options, and you’ve set yourself up for success. Choose embossed labels, hot foiling, and other embellishments to make your products stand out.

Print Your Marijuana Labels With YourBoxSolution

Everything about us is high, except prices. High quality. High standards. High commitment. From the materials we use to the support we give our customers in the printing process and the final result.

We only work with the best materials, and the customization options we offer might be exactly what you were looking for.

The labels we print are strong; they apply easily, and they last.


You choose the shape, size, and design. You can print your labels on matte, gloss, or metallic BOPP material. Anything you want, we make it happen.

Give us a call or click on the blue button below and let’s make your premium marijuana labels a boom.

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