Understanding Cannabis Dispensary Product Labels

Alaskan plants

Understanding some of the basic information on cannabis product labels can oftentimes help you better understand the product and the experience you’ll have while using it.

In the state of Alaska, there are several basic requirements for legal retail marijuana labeling.

The most prominent part of most cannabis labels is most often the name of the strain, or specific plant variety/origin.

If you’ve been in a marijuana dispensary before, you probably have realized there are many different strains, and a creative part of the cannabis industry is giving each a unique name based on hybrid parent mixes, flavors, terpene profiles, and more.

There are plenty of funky and memorable strain names like Grape Ape, Pineapple Express, and Blue Cheese, just to name a few.

Aside from the strain name, cannabis product labels also contain percentages of the major cannabinoids, which are essentially the equivalent of “active ingredients”. Most people have heard of the cannabinoid THC before, but there are many, many more. CBD is also a major cannabinoid, more recently coming into the public spotlight for its affects on the body without a psychoactive component.

There’s a common myth among stoner culture that the higher the THC percentage, the better the weed is. But that’s like saying the higher the alcohol content, the better the drink – it couldn’t be further from the truth. There are a variety of other factors and cannabinoids that come together to create strikingly different mental, emotional, and physical experiences – it’s referred to as the “entourage effect”. Even if you are only interested in a high THC content, there can be a significant difference in plant quality based on the cultivator’s care and experience. 

If you’re looking for a specific euphoric experience, or trying cannabis without the psychoactive experience, talk to your local budtender and ask them to recommend a product based on your needs. High THC content isn’t a bad thing, but there’s certainly a lot more to cannabis than just THC.

Aside from strain information and cannabinoid percentages, marijuana product label requirements vary state to state.

In Alaska, each statement, number and piece of information on marijuana product packaging serves a unique purpose. Identifying the cultivator license number, manufacturer license number (if applicable), and retail license number are required by Alaska state law. A batch number is also required.

In addition to the main product information, all cannabis products in Alaska are also currently required to include five main warning statements.

And while the legal cannabis industry continues to grow and evolve, it’s important that fellow industry businesses and advocates stay respectful and work within the law. After many years of false anti-marijuana propaganda, if the industry is going to continue to expand, we need to stay mindful of the current laws while actively working to spread accurate information.