How to read a cannabis label
Find the product that’s right for you
By Elizabeth Ardillo, PharmD, lead pharmacist at Rise Dispensaries
If cannabis product labels look overwhelming to you, don’t stress: At Rise Dispensaries, there are cannabis consultants ready to help you find the right product—no prior knowledge required.
Of course, as with any other product you consume, it can be helpful to understand the label. Here are some basics.
- Product name: This one’s straightforward: If you try the Barry Lemonade bud or the Windy City chocolate bar and love it, you can ask for it by name next time.
- Product ingredients: Some products, including edibles and tinctures, have ingredients other than cannabis in them, such as oils, flavoring, or sugar. If you have any allergies or sensitivities, be sure to check.
- Weight: This tells you the mass or concentration of the product. Over time, this will be helpful information to figure out which dose works best for you. As always, a cannabis consultant can help.
- Cultivator: This is the name of the company that grew and processed the cannabis.
- Cannabinoid content: Cannabinoids are compounds in cannabis that interact with our endocannabinoid system to cause various effects.
– THC is what makes you feel high, and it may help improve sleep and reduce pain, nausea, and vomiting. If you’re new to cannabis, you’ll want to start with a very low dose of THC and slowly, gradually increase to the desired effect.
– CBD won’t cause a high, but it may help to offset the psychoactive effects of THC.
- Terpenes: Terpenes are the organic compounds that give many foods and plants, including cannabis, their smell and flavor. They are the best way to dial in on what works for you because they’re the ingredient that most correlates with effect.
- Harvest date, test date, packaging date, and use-by date: Cannabis is most effective and enjoyable within a year of production.
- Batch number: Batch numbers help dispensaries keep track of which products were made at the same time.
- Testing company: This is the name of the licensed, independent testing lab that checked the cannabis for harmful materials and confirmed the active ingredients.
One last tip: Keep a cannabis journal to record products you consume, including the dose, terpenes, and THC/CBD makeup. This information will help you and your cannabis consultant make more informed decisions each time you shop.