CBD Labeling Requirements
by Melanie Neff
July 20, 2020
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What you should & shouldn’t include on your CBD product labels
Labeling CBD products can be an incredibly confusing process with the lack of specific regulations surrounding the product’s booming popularity. Unfortunately, the lack of strict CBD label requirements is leading to mislabeled CBD products, violations and a trend of lawsuits being filed against companies dues to mislabeled CBD packaging or misleading marketing. Whether it’s the amount of THC contained in products or false claims about products’ “benefits”, some manufacturers are pushing the envelope on their CBD product labels.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently reported to Congress on rampant mislabeling in the CBD industry. According to law firm Akin Gump, the FDA sent a report to Congress in July on the excessive mislabeling of CBD products. The report outlines testing of 200 hemp products being sold online.
Akin Gump states that “Of the products tested thus far that indicated a specific amount of CBD, almost 55 percent contained a CBD level that differed from the labeling by more than 20 percent. Just under half of the products tested contained THC or a related compound. Hemp products must contain no more than 0.3 percent THC to avoid potentially facing scrutiny for containing marijuana, which remains an illegal substance under federal law.”
The testing has currently been put on hold due to the coronavirus, however, the FDA plans a more comprehensive study in the near future.
FDA Sends Out Warnings
One example of the warnings the FDA is sending to CBD manufacturers is a letter sent to The Dragon Tree Apothecary. The warning letter stated the CBD company is in violation for using false claims on their product labels and website.
“Based on the inspection and a review of your product labels and your websites, we have identified serious violations of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (the Act) and applicable regulations,” the FDA said in the letter.
It goes on to say, “…the claims on your company’s product labels and websites establish that your products are drugs under section 201(g)(1) of the Act [21 U.S.C. § 321(g)(1)] because they are intended for use in the diagnosis, cure, mitigation, treatment, or prevention of disease and/or intended to affect the structure or function of the body.”
The letter contains a laundry list of violations the company has committed in its product labeling and website claims by calling their products dietary supplements or stating they are intended for use as a drug, such as “relief of cold and flu symptoms” and “anxiety relief.”
The FDA has also sent out numerous warning letters to CBD companies trying to take advantage of the COVID 19 pandemic. Cbdgaze.com received a letter a for violations stating the company had “claims on your website representing or implying that the products can mitigate, prevent, treat, diagnose, or cure COVID-19 in people.” The website has since been taken down.
What you need to know
Since the FDA doesn’t currently allow the sale of CBD ingestible products, it’s important to note the labeling requirements on a state-by-state basis. Some states permit the sale of CBD in foods and dietary supplements but require specific label information and warning requirements. To help you understand where your product fits, the FDA has put together a list of the 26 most common questions about cannabis products and their regulations.
We’ve put together some important things every CBD seller should include on their CBD product labels. We’ve also included some common mistakes you should avoid.
At a minimum, you should follow the FDA regulations for cosmetic product labeling for your CBD-infused products below. If you’re selling in a state that allows edible CBD products, then make sure to check state regulations for CBD label requirements.
- Do not make any false or misleading claims of treating or preventing disease. The FDA has already sent warning letters to companies selling CBD products that have made these false claims.
- Properly display your label information (See 6 items below) and make sure it’s legible.
- Do not violate the Poison Prevention Packaging Act of 1970.
CBD Labeling Guidelines
Basic requirements you should include on your CBD product labels:
1. Product identity
This is what your CBD product is or does. It must be included on the Product Display Panel (PDP) of your product. This is not the brand or trade name but it must be easy to locate and see. It doesn’t have to be on the inner container of a product, but putting it in both places is often helpful to consumers.
2. Net quantity of contents
You must state the amount of the actual product without any of the packaging or container, as well as the amount of active CBD per serving. This must be measured by volume for liquids or by weight for solids. The net contents must appear within the bottom 30% of the PDP of the outer container and on an informational panel on an inner container.
3. Name and place of business
Customers must have a way to contact the manufacturer or distributor. The name and address are required on an informational panel on both the outer and inner packaging of your CBD product. Including a phone number is also a good idea or a QR code where consumers can get more information.
4. Ingredient declaration
All CBD products require a full declaration of all ingredients. They must be listed on an informational panel on the outer packaging. It isn’t a requirement on inner containers if on the outer packaging. If no outer packaging, it must be on the product container itself.
5. Warning or caution statements
It’s a good idea to include the standard warnings for children and pregnant women as well as any complications for people taking other medications. It’s also a good idea to include a warning that users could fail a drug test if consuming hemp products as well.
6. Disclosure of material facts
These are any facts that a reasonable person would deem to be important, significant or essential when buying your CBD product. For instance, if your CBD oil is only good for nighttime use, then that should be disclosed.
Other things that you should consider including for consumers:
- Whether your product is full-spectrum, broad-spectrum or isolate
- Expiration date
- Manufacturing date
- Batch codes
Please note: The suggestions above are just guidelines. You should consult all federal, state and local regulations that pertain to your CBD product before completing your labels.
What CBD labels are right for you?
Avery offers a huge catalog of CBD labels that are easy to create and order online. You can simply personalize a free CBD label template and order professionally printed CBD labels by the roll or by the sheet. Or you can order blank CBD labels by the sheet that you can print from a laser or inkjet printer.
Find the right material for your CBD including waterproof and CBD oil-resistant films, metallics, glossy, clear and many more. Avery also offers thermal transfer roll labels available in white, chrome and metallic film.
You can easily create and order your CBD labels, CBD tincture labels and CBD bottle labels to your exact specifications, all online. We can print your barcodes or QR codes or custom compliance labels for your specific state. Just customize with your compliance needs and order.
If you have any questions or need help choosing the right labels, please call our California-based Customer Care Center at (800) 942-8379. Or let us know in the comments below and we’ll respond within 24-48 hours.
Check out the latest CBD label requirements & what you need on your CBD labels. Read about companies that are doing it wrong & wher the FDA stands.
Reading a CBD Label: How to Find a Quality Product
Maybe you’ve been considering taking cannabidiol (CBD), to see if it eases symptoms of chronic pain, anxiety, or another condition. But reading and understanding CBD product labels can be overwhelming, especially if you’re new to CBD.
Understanding CBD labels is made even more complicated by the fact that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) hasn’t approved any nonprescription CBD products.
Instead, it’s up to you, the consumer, to do your research or rely on third-party testing to determine if a CBD product is legit and what’s in it.
We’ve partnered with The Vitamin Shoppe™ to make a 101 guide to CBD labeling to help you understand what you’re getting.
First, you need a rundown on cannabis vocabulary.
CBD vs. THC
CBD is a cannabinoid found in the cannabis plant. The more well-known cannabinoid, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), is also found in the cannabis plant.
These two cannabinoids — CBD and THC — are very different. THC is psychoactive and is associated with the “high” from marijuana use, but CBD doesn’t cause that sensation.
Hemp vs. marijuana
Both hemp and marijuana are cannabis plants. The difference is that hemp plants have no more than 0.3 percent THC, and marijuana plants have higher levels of THC.
CBD is either hemp-derived or marijuana-derived.
Depending on where you live and the laws in your state or country, you may be able to buy both marijuana-derived and hemp-derived CBD products. Or you may have access to hemp-derived CBD products only — or no access to CBD products at all.
Knowing the difference between marijuana and hemp is important because marijuana-derived CBD products may cause some psychoactive effects, and the THC included in these products will show up on a drug test.
Hemp-derived CBD contains only trace amounts of THC — generally not enough to cause a high or register on a drug test, though it’s possible.
It’s important to keep in mind that CBD and THC are known to work better together than they do alone. This is known as the entourage effect.
Your choice of CBD isolate, full-spectrum CBD, or broad-spectrum CBD will determine what you get in your product along with the actual CBD.
- Full-spectrum CBD contains all of the naturally available compounds of the cannabis plant, including THC. However, in hemp-derived full-spectrum CBD, the THC will be no more than 0.3 percent at the dry weight. THC levels rise when the flowers are extracted into oil.
- Broad-spectrum CBD has all of the naturally occurring compounds, except all of the THC—or all but a very tiny amount–is typically removed.
- CBD isolate is the purest form of CBD, isolated from the other compounds of the hemp plant. CBD isolate should have no THC.
So, which should you choose? Some people prefer full-spectrum because they want the whole kit-and-caboodle of the cannabis plant’s benefits — with all the cannabinoids and other compounds working in synergy.
Others choose broad-spectrum because they want all the terpenes and flavonoids but no THC. Some people prefer CBD isolate because it’s tasteless and odorless, and they don’t want any other compounds included.
Cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids
Now, about those compounds. What are they exactly? In addition to CBD and THC, the cannabis plant contains more than 100 cannabinoids, plus a whole bunch of other compounds called terpenes and flavonoids.
Cannabinoids go to work on your body’s endocannabinoid system. The endocannabinoid system helps keep the nervous system and immune function on an even keel.
Like cannabinoids, terpenes are another plant compound reported to have therapeutic and health-boosting benefits. And flavonoids, compounds also found in green tea and certain fruits, have been shown to protect against disease.
Want to try CBD, but not sure how to tell a real product from a fake? We break down terminology, labeling, and how to vet a product’s legitimacy and quality before you buy.