Knowing the Label

Product Information

Cannabinoid Profile

Terpene Profile

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Medical Marijuana Packaging Labels

Medical marijuana laws in the state of Pennsylvania require grower/processors to correctly package and label all products they produce. From flower and concentrate, to vapes and oral solutions each product must be labeled and packaged according to state regulations.

When patients go to purchase medical marijuana for the first time it can be a daunting task to go through a dispensary menu and attempt to make the right selection based on what they are looking for. While it is tempting to decide purely off the name of a strain, all patients are better served to know and understand what they are purchasing and how it will affect them. Knowing how to read the label of medical marijuana packaging gives patients insight into the composition of the product they are purchasing and helps patients to understand how to find what works best for their needs.

 

To the right there is an example of what an MMJ label in PA looks like. The sections below on this page will go through what each of these sections are and how they affect patients. 

KCRA Product Label Example

Product Information

Name of Product: 

Type of Product: 

Date Packaged / Packager:

Weight:

Dosage:

Expiration Date: 

Cannabinoid Profile

THC: %

THCA: %

CBD: %

CBDA: %

All Other Active Cannabinoids Included here...

Terpene Profile

S-Limonene: %

B-Pinene: %

B-Myrcene: %

Linalool: %

B-Caryophyllene: %

Bisabobol: %

Terpinolene: %

Humulene: %

All Other Active Terpenes Included here...

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Product Information

Medical Marijuana Label

Name of Product: 
Type of Product: 
Pack Date: 
Packaged by:

Weight:
Dosage:
Exp. Date: 

PA medical marijuana labels will contain a section giving the patient general product information. This section will include packaging information detailing the grower that produced the product, the date the product was packaged, batch and harvest ID number, and an expiration date. Patients can also see the weight of the product and the recommended dosage amount contained in the package for the product. All this information is beneficial so patients can clearly understand where their product came from and the journey it took to get to them. While the packaging information is helpful the most important product information for patients on the label is the name and type of medical marijuana product. 

The name of the product will almost always contain the strain of marijuana, but it is important to understand that the name can change depending on the product. For example, when purchasing dry leaf from a dispensary the name will simply consist of the strain of cannabis along with the type of cannabis (sativa, indica, hybrid). If purchasing concentrate, the name will consist of the strain used as the raw material for making the concentrate along with the type of concentrate you are purchasing (e.g., “sour diesel shatter,” shatter is the type of concentrate and sour diesel is the strain used to make the concentrate). 

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Cannabinoid Profile

When you look at the label of a medical marijuana package you will see a section dedicated to the cannabinoid profile. The cannabis plant naturally contains dozens of chemical compounds called cannabinoids. To put it simply cannabinoids are the main compounds that give cannabis its effects. They work in connection with terpenes to provide relief to an array of symptoms including pain, nausea, anxiety, and inflammation.    

The most common cannabinoids you will see on the label are THCA, THC, CBDA, and CBD. Many people usually know about THC and CBD but are less aware of THCA and CBDA and are then surprised to notice that on the label THCA and CBDA are the predominant cannabinoids. THCA is the raw form of THC and it is non-psychoactive. The process to turn THCA into THC however is a simple one. It involves decarboxylation, which sounds complicated but is just heating THCA. When you heat THCA (or decarboxylate it) it turns into the psychoactive THC. This is why cannabis is typically consumed by vaporization or smoking in order to achieve the desired effects. So, the amount of THCA listed in a percentage shows you the potential amount of THC when the product is decarboxylated. This same logic applies to CBDA and CBD.

Medical Marijuana Label

THC: %

THCA: %

CBD: %

CBDA: %

All Other Active Cannabinoids Included here...

Medical Marijuana Label
Medical Marijuana Label

When looking at the label you will always see cannabinoids listed in the form of a percentage. It is important to understand that the THC level of different products can vary widely, and patients should be aware of the THC content before purchasing to understand how to properly dose the product to avoid adverse effects of consuming too much THC. 

While THCA, THC, CBDA and CBD are the most known cannabinoids patients will recognize on the label there are many other cannabinoids that can exist in the cannabis plant. You will not see all of these on the label, but some of the more common cannabinoids include: cannabinol (CBN); cannabigerol (CBG); cannabichromene (CBC); and tetrahydrocannabivarin (THCV). It is hypothesized that when different cannabinoids interact with each other, or cannabinoids interact with different terpenes in cannabis, the plant can be more therapeutic. This is known as the “entourage effect” and it involves the complete makeup of the cannabinoid profile and terpene profile that exists in the product.

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Terpene Profile

Terpenes are the organic compounds that provide aroma and flavor in cannabis and a variety of other organisms, including plants. Terpenes are responsible for the aroma and flavors of cannabis and influence its effects by interacting with cannabinoids. Terpenes are formed inside cannabis trichomes.

Terpenes are what makes one strain smell like a pine forest, another smell like a pineapple orchard, and a third smell like a potpourri basket. They occur naturally in nature and different terpenes have different hypothesized therapeutic benefits. Some of the most common terpenes found in cannabis plants are myrcene, limonene, and caryophyllene. Terpenes have a large impact on the cannabis plant and patients should look to find what terpenes work best for them and allow them to have the best experience possible. 

Medical Marijuana Label