Cannabis Packaging Canada – How to Read Packaging

Cannabis packaging Canada is regulated by Health Canada. Regulations for cannabis labelling and packaging are stringent and every Licensed Producer must adhere to these guidelines. Cannabis packaging (Canada) and labelling are consistent throughout the country. Learning how to understand one will help you understand them all.

cannabis packaging canada

At first glance, the label on your favourite cannabis products might look convoluted and messy. However, this information contains important information that can help you make an informed purchasing decision. 

To help you understand cannabis labels, here are a few important elements you should look for: 

1. Strain Name and Product Category

cannabis packging canada guide

Cannabis has three main categories: hybrid, indica and sativa. Each variety of cannabis flower has its own unique features and characteristics. The strain’s name and/or phenotype may also be included near the strain’s category. 

2. THC and CBD Content

THC and CBD are the two chief cannabinoids responsible for acting upon the body’s endocannabinoid system to produce the effects of cannabis. As such, CBD and THC content must be displayed on cannabis product labels. 

For consumers to make an informed purchasing decision, these numbers are displayed in two ways.

3. Product Warning Labels

cannabis packaging canada warnings

Cannabis products must be packaged in tamper-proof, child-safe packaging with warning labels indicating the presence of THC.

Any product containing THC above 10 micrograms per gram will also include a warning message highlighted in yellow as well as a red icon to indicate that this product contains THC. 

4. Product Weight

cannabis labelling

The weight of the product is listed on the packaging to inform users how much product they’re purchasing. The actual weight of your product may differ from the weight listed on the packaging due to differing levels of moisture content.

Health Canada allows for variances in weight depending on the declared net weight. The allowable tolerance in percentage is 10% for products more than 0 grams to not more than 2 grams and 5% for products more than 2 grams.

How to Read Cannabinoid Labels

Before exploring the differences between these two sets of numbers, it’s important to understand that cannabinoids activate and become biologically available through a process known as decarboxylation.

Without decarboxylation, cannabis has a lower number of active cannabinoids. After decarboxylation, the number of active cannabinoids will increase.

On cannabis packaging, the first set of numbers listed as “THC” and/or “CBD” represents the number of active cannabinoids as is. In other words, it represents the number of active cannabinoids before decarboxylation.

The second set of numbers listed as “Total THC/ THC Total” and/or “Total CBD/ CBD Total” represents the number of active cannabinoids when it’s ready for consumption. In other words, it represents the number of active cannabinoids after decarboxylation.

Ingestible cannabis products such as cannabis edibles, oils and tinctures will have had their cannabis already decarboxylated. As such, the numbers first and second sets of numbers will be the same. 

To learn more about the differences between THC vs CBD, read our guide.

5. Packaging Date

Cannabis labels must include the date it was packaged on. However, it’s important to note that the packaging date indicates when the product was packaged and sealed, not when it was harvested and/or processed.

Different Licensed Producers will utilize differing different harvesting and curing processes which may lead to a product being packaged earlier or later. 

Located near or under the packaging date will be a lot number referring to a specific harvesting date or batch.

This number helps Licensed Producers trace the product back to a certain harvest or “lot” of products. If you have any questions, concerns or comments regarding your cannabis products, be sure to note down the lot number. 

6. Licensed Producer Information

The name, phone number and email address of the Licensed Producer of the cannabis product will be included on the packaging label. Consumers can feel free to contact or reach out to Licensed Producers should they have any questions, comments or concerns. 

Understanding Cannabis Packaging – Canada

In order to make an informed purchasing decision, understanding Canadian cannabis packaging is essential. While not every piece of information will be relevant to every consumer, the details they contain can help you choose the right product once you understand what they mean.

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