proper labeling for cbd oil

How to Design a Beautiful and Compliant CBD Product Label

How many times have you wandered down a vitamin store or beauty store aisle and paused to stare at a beautiful label? How many times did you buy the product just because the colors, textures and words resonated with you? The importance of a well-designed product cannot be understated because up to 70% of purchases are made at the shelf level, and a product’s label is what the customer sees first. But food, drugs and cosmetics labels aren’t just blank canvases for creativity; they must also display regulatory information required by the FDA.

So how can you create an appealing Hemp-CBD label while remaining compliant with state and federal labeling requirements?

In this post –

Federal regulations for CBD

The consumer CBD industry is a bit like the wild west right now due to lack of written federal rules, but that’s about to change very soon. In 2018, the Farm Bill legalized industrial hemp, which opened up hemp-derived CBD products to state and federal regulations. As of today’s post, The Food & Drug Administration (FDA) is still researching CBD to determine safe daily usage and establish rules for product labeling.

While the FDA investigates CBD, the best you can do is reference the current federal rules for dietary supplements and cosmetics. Then, check to see if your state has an established hemp program with other labeling guidelines. If you proactively design your CBD labels with today’s compliance in mind, you can help prevent costly product recalls that may require you to redesign and reprint thousands of labels down the line. The potential cost in damages and harm to your brand’s reputation is not worth the risk.

Federal Dietary Supplements Guidelines:

According to the FDA, dietary supplements are defined as products that can add onto your diet or contain one or more of the following ingredients: A vitamin, mineral, botanical or amino acid. Dietary CBD supplements may include ingestible oils, tinctures and gummies. Below is a quick recap of labeling requirements for all dietary supplements. For the full list click here :

What does the label need to say?

  • Name of the supplement
  • The net quantity of contents
  • Nutrition information
  • Ingredient list
  • Name of manufacturer, packer or distributor

Where does all this info go on the labels?

  • The product name and net quantity must be on the front display panel
  • All other statements must be placed either on the front panel or directly to the right (the information panel)

Federal Cosmetics Label Guidelines:

According to the FDA, cosmetics are applied to the body for the purpose of cleansing, beautifying, promoting attractiveness or altering appearance. CBD Cosmetics may include skin oils, creams, body washes, and shampoos. Certain cosmetic ingredients are restricted by regulation, but that is not the case for CBD or other cannabis derived ingredients. All cosmetic products are expected to adhere to FDA regulations known as Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP). Below is a snapshot of GMP requirements for labels.

What information do I need to have on the front panel?

  • Name of the product
  • The net quantity of contents

What information do I need to have on the information panel (panel immediately to the right)?

  • Ingredient list
  • Name of manufacturer, packer or distributor
  • FDA 740.10 warning (where applicable)
  • Any direction for safe use of product.

How federal regulations affect design

Not only do you need to include the information above, you must also ensure that regulatory text is clearly visible. Additionally, the remaining content that you add to the label for marketing purposes must be compliant as well. That means your label cannot include benefits that may be misconstrued as medical claims. Your design and marketing team must work together to carefully choose your label’s words, font, and layout.

  1. Panel Size. The label must be large enough so that all required details are prominently displayed.
  2. Font style & size. Letters must be at least one-sixteenth (1/16) inch in height.
  3. Label background. The background must be sufficiently contrasted with text for easy reading.
  4. Label design. FDA required statements cannot be obscured by any design elements
  5. Label content. Label content cannot make any therapeutic claim that indicates your product works at the physiological level.

State regulations for CBD labels

In addition to federal supplements and cosmetics requirements, you may also need to look at your state’s laws for final labeling guidance. All states have hemp laws in place, but not all states have comprehensive programs that establish CBD labeling requirements. The best way to find out if your state requires additional label elements such as QR codes or state approved seals is to search your state’s Agriculture Department, like Florida’s fdacs.gov . According to Florida’s Agriculture Department representative Maux Flugrath, Florida’s state-regulated hemp products will eventually need to include an approved hemp logo.

It is in this environment of state and federal regulations that you must find a way to design an eye catching label that engenders trust and separates your product from competitors. It’s not simple, but it’s definitely possible.

Tips for Eye Catching & Compliant CBD Labels

Be Unique. Be upfront.

Most companies design their labels with the same basic template: Product name or key ingredient like “CBD” is featured on the front panel while the remaining ingredients and nutrition details are placed on the side information panel. That’s because most companies see an ingredient list as an FDA requirement rather than an opportunity to differentiate their brand.

But what about looking at ingredients (and other regulatory content) from a different perspective? Companies like Upfront Foods and RX Bars are setting themselves apart by designing labels with ingredients at the forefront of their packaging. This is a unique approach to label designs that can draw attention to your CBD product and inspire trust through transparency.

Creatively display key benefits

Regardless of the amazing benefits that CBD is known to deliver, you cannot claim that your product produces therapeutic results. For example, you cannot say that your highly potent CBD gummy infused with melatonin relieves insomnia because insomnia is a medical condition.

But you can design a label that highlights your product’s key benefits and ingredients without using banned medical terms. These key call-outs will help explain how your product works without claiming to cure medical conditions. In the gummy example above, you might add a phrase like “CBD with soothing melatonin” to the front of the label. You might also get creative with your product’s name to hint at the benefits without making any direct health claims. You can tell customers why they may want to try the product, but don’t falsely promise a cure.

Highlight your brand’s key differentiators

Make sure that you prominently display your brand’s value propositions, like packaging that’s made from recycled materials or sugar-free gummies. Below are a few ideas to help you think about call-outs that you can add to your label.

  • GMO Free
  • Natural
  • Vegan
  • Responsibly sourced
  • Made from recycled materials
  • Free of sugar
  • Made in America

Use colors, textures, and fonts to your advantage

Colors textures and font styles can all help your product stand out on shelves. According to research published in the Journal of Marketing and Consumer Research, color can affect a customer’s mood and attract interest. Green is associated with nature and elicits feelings of calmness (perfect for Hemp CBD!) Blue is associated with health and peace. Yellow with cheerfulness. Products with brighter colors also have an advantage over darker colors, according to a psychological study from Avery UK . Another notable finding from Avery was that labels with bold lines, borders and stripes were viewed 42% more than plain labels nearby.

Educate your customer

CBD products are everywhere, so it’s easy to forget that the industry is still SO new and filled with confusion. In a survey by Know Instant Insights, 70% of respondents said they had never tried CBD and only about half said they knew the difference between THC and CBD. This provides an amazing opportunity for you to design a label with concise, conversational language that explains what CBD is and how to use it. For instance, you may want to feature content that explains CBD is a “natural” “non psychoactive” substance extracted from hemp. You can also make it clear that your product is THC-Free.

Advertise your product’s quality

Customers may not understand the benefits of CBD, but they’ve probably heard some of the recent negative headlines related to vaping illnesses and labels with false potency claims. Unfortunately, negative information is what sticks in people’s minds, and it can be difficult to overcome mistrust stemming from a few bad actors.

While the FDA has not issued testing requirements for Hemp CBD in supplements or cosmetics, you can guarantee that your product will stand out if you decide to test with an accredited third party provider, like ACS. Once your product is proven safe, you can add the QR code or testing badge to your label as proof of the results. Adding a testing seal to your uniquely designed label can make all the difference in determining whether or not a customer will trust your product enough to try it.

Before You Hit Print

OK, you’ve designed a beautiful label that stands out and contains all federally required information, in the right font sizes. You’ve also checked to see if your state has any additional labeling requirements. Maybe you even tested your product with ACS and added a QR Code for proof. Your product will likely stand out above the crowd without any risk of compliance issues, but we still recommend you take it a step further. Before printing any labels, you may want to hire an attorney who is familiar with state and federal regulations. Only then can you sleep easy knowing your product is compliant and retail ready.

How to Create Appealing and Compliant CBD Labels

The CBD industry has exploded over the last decade. On a saturated market, cannabis-derived products now crowd the shelves. And the online shops. From oils, tinctures, dietary supplements, to foods and cosmetics – it’s a real craze.

Whether you’re already in the business, or you’re getting started now – proper CBD labeling is essential.

I’m not talking only about a well-designed product that catches the eye. CBD foods, drugs, and cosmetics must follow the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulations.

In this post, I summed up a few important things that will help you create outstanding and compliant CBD labels.

You’ll learn about:

  • • FDA’s requirements for CBD labels
  • • Extra mandatory info to be displayed on labels
  • • Quick checklist for your CBD oil labels
  • • Tips to design your catchy CBD labels
  • • CBD oil labels inspiration

Let’s dive right in.

1. FDA’s Requirements for CBD Labels

You might be wondering why I start this article talking about FDA and regulations. And you’ll see that I’ll keep mentioning it for a while below.

Well because products containing CBD and THC are marketed as dietary supplements and/or conventional foods.

So we focus on what comes first – compliance.

CBD is legal but not yet federally regulated. FDA’s still running investigations on CBD. To date, it only approved one pharmaceutical product on the market. A pure form of CBD oil that treats severe epilepsy called Epidiolex.

What does that mean for your business?

It means that without clear regulations, the marketing and sales of CBD products are hazy. As a result, states have adopted their own approaches and regulations instead.

Some made it legal. Some only partly. And some completely banned the production and sale of such products.

Unfortunately, this situation has also led to inconsistent and misleading CBD labeling. All at the expense of consumers. Shady companies led deceptive marketing. So false claims about products’ benefits ended in lawsuits.

And that’s something you most definitely want to avoid.

That being said…

No matter what kind of products or where you’re selling them, you need to stay up to date and in line with the FDA’s guidelines for CBD supplements and foods.

You’ve put effort, time, and money into your business. Nothing’s worth the risk of damaging your brand’s reputation. Plus, compliant CBD labels save you from reprinting thousands of them. Not to mention the extra cost. So starting with the right foot is a warranty for success.

Now, let’s have a look at the FDA’s five most important pieces of information that must appear on your CBD labels.

You should make sure that all the following information is clearly visible.

I. FRONT DISPLAY PANEL

Product identity

This part describes what your CBD product is or does. For example, “CBD oil” or “hemp extract softgels”. It can also specify the benefit, like “pain relief” or “sleeping aid”.

Net quantity of content

This is the amount of product without the packaging or container. It also states the amount of active CBD per serving. For solids, it’s measured by weight. For liquids, it’s measured by volume. This info usually goes at the bottom on the front panel.

II. INFORMATION LABEL PANELS

Nutrition information

If your product is a food or beverage, you’ll state the Nutrition Facts. If the product is a supplement, you’ll have Supplement Facts.

List of ingredients

You should list all ingredients and excipients in order of weight.

Name and address of manufacturer, packer or distributor

Show your name, address, and phone number. They must appear both on the packaging and on the label. This is a sign of transparency. Buyers might want extra information about your product. And they should be able to contact you and find out more anytime.

These are the FDA’s basic requirements that you should display on your labels. They are mandatory and give the basic details about you and your product.

Nobody wants to mess around with laws and regulations. And I think that’s something we can both agree on. So I wanted to make sure we have this clear first.

But we’re not done with the info part yet. There’s more.

Another important thing to keep in mind – use your custom marijuana labels and CBD packaging to let customers know that you’re reliable and trustworthy.

If you’re wondering how you can do that:

By adding some more essential details on your CBD labels.

I’ll explain below…

2. Be Transparent With Your CBD Label

If you want to prove that you’re reliable and trustworthy, make your CBD labels as accurate as possible. And more importantly, be transparent and honest. This is the quickest way to earn customers’ trust AND loyalty.

As you know, people buy and use CBD products as a treatment for various disorders. From epilepsy to ADHD, insomnia, and other sicknesses. And this only is a valid reason to show on your CBD packaging boxes that customers can rely on you.

How exactly do you do that?

By making sure that your products are exactly what you tell them they are on the label. And give them all the details to check anytime.

Here’s what you should add:

  • Producer’s name

Your brand and logo should appear on the front panel. Make it look clear and professional. People like to know who they are buying from. Besides, loyal customers can easily recognize your products.

  • Manufacturing date

CBD quality degrades over time so people want to know how old the product is or when it expires. It also may be one of the things they check first. Tinctures and edibles must be consumed within months, for instance. Make sure to include this information on your labels for edibles. The longest shelf life of a CBD product does not go over two years.

  • Batch and lot number

This informs customers about when or where the product was made. Also, in case of a recall, it can track down an entire batch or lot to withdraw it from the market.

  • License number

Distinguish yourself from non-licensed makers. Make it easy for them to find you and trust your products. People have become aware of misleading marketing. So they check what they buy.

  • Third party lab testing

If you want to go even further for credibility and transparency, invest in third-party lab testing. This reassures customers that the information on the product label is accurate. Even better, it makes your products reputable.

  • Scannable barcode or QR code

It’s optional but still remains the best way to guarantee product quality. Customers can get all the information they want in one action. They scan the QR code with their smartphones and have instant access to all the details of your product.

  • Other ingredients

Except raw CBD oil or CBD isolate, most CBD products have extra ingredients. Include these ingredients on your custom CBD oil boxes and labels if your product contains carrier oils, spirits, colors, or flavors. Also, mention potential allergens.

  • Warning or caution statements

Include here standard warnings for children and pregnant women. Also, people who take other medications may fail a drug test if consuming hemp products. It’s best if you mention it.

What You Should Know About Regulations For CBD Product Labeling

Looking through an assortment of cannabidiol (CBD) products, you might notice certain parts of the label that jump out at you, such as a lively green hemp leaf or the word “organic,” enticing you to give this intriguing product a try. A closer look at that label, however, might raise potential red flags about the quality or accuracy of that CBD product.

In other words, it’s important for consumers to understand how product labeling is regulated when it comes to CBD oil and CBD-infused products.

Even hemp-derived CBD products, which contain little to no THC, were federally illegal until the 2018 Farm Bill passed, legalizing industrial hemp production in the U.S., beginning Jan. 1, 2019. In what seemed like moments, hemp-derived CBD-infused products sprang to life and became the new darlings of the health and wellness industry, even appearing at CVS, Rite Aid, and Walgreens stores.

The Farm Bill made it legal for farmers to grow hemp plants that contain less than 0.3% THC, and shifted oversight from the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). After the bill was signed, FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb issued a statement confirming that the agency would oversee and regulate hemp-derived CBD products under the Federal Food Drug & Cosmetic Act (FD&C Act), a set of laws established in 1938 that gives the FDA authority to oversee the safety of food, drugs, medical devices, and cosmetics.

While the FDA slowly and cautiously approaches making new regulations for CBD products, the gap between regulated products and anything goes grows wider, leaving consumers at risk of buying poor-quality products.

How Does the FDA Regulate CBD Products and Labeling?

The FDA’s website posts 26 common questions and answers about cannabis and hemp, touching on current labeling regulations for CBD products. How a CBD product is labeled and marketed plays a critical role in whether the FDA deems it to be lawful.

“It depends, among other things, on the intended use of the product and how it is labeled and marketed. Even if a CBD product meets the definition of ‘hemp’ under the 2018 Farm Bill, it still must comply with all other applicable laws, including the FD&C Act,” according to FDA site.

The FDA currently does not allow CBD-infused food, drinks, or dietary supplements to be sold, and hasn’t reached a final conclusion on regulating hemp-derived CBD products.

“Currently, the FDA is just asking for information,” said Chris Husong, Vice President of Marketing and Communications at Elixinol, a Colorado-based CBD and hemp extract company. “They’re asking for public guidance and guidelines around that, which we’re happy to give them. Right now, their main instruction is ‘don’t make claims.’ ”

The murkiness surrounding CBD regulations, however, hasn’t stopped the health and wellness industry from putting the spotlight on this non-intoxicating cannabinoid. Wellness companies are following the lead of cosmetic makers, which aren’t bound by the same stringent labeling criteria as drugs, food, or dietary supplements.

The FDA defines cosmetics as “articles intended to be rubbed, poured, sprinkled, or sprayed” on the human body, a description that fits many hemp-derived CBD products. Aside from most color additives, under the FD&C Act, cosmetic products and ingredients are not subject to premarket approval by the FDA – this includes cannabis and cannabis-derived ingredients.

The agency warns that a lack of specific CBD regulations doesn’t grant freedom to make iffy claims. It’s still necessary to comply with the rules that govern safety.

Following the FDA regulations for cosmetic product labeling, CBD-infused health and beauty product labels should:

Not be false or misleading

Provide required information (includes identity statement, statement of quantity of contents, name and place of business, distributor statement, material facts, warning or caution statements, and ingredients)

Properly display label information

Not violate the Poison Prevention Packaging Act of 1970

Claims About Treating Diseases and Conditions

It’s important to note that the CBD oil and CBD-infused product labels should not make any therapeutic or medical claims. The FDA may classify a product as a drug if the label claims that the product “treats or prevents disease or otherwise affects the structure or any function of the body.” The agency sent warning letters to companies selling CBD products that claimed to prevent, diagnose, treat, or cure serious diseases.

Despite the lack of regulatory oversight, some CBD companies voluntarily adhere to strict labeling standards. Chase Terwilliger, CEO of Denver-based Balanced Health Botanicals, the parent company of CBDistillery, said a stricter level of FDA label standards would give consumers better access to higher-quality products.

“As a company that follows the most stringent guidelines, we at CBDistillery have a strong opinion and hope that hemp-derived CBD products will be labeled and regulated as they are with any other dietary supplement,” he told Weedmaps News.

Consumers already treat CBD as a dietary supplement, adding CBD oil to food and drinks, noted Husong of Elixinol.

“The FDA has clearly said they have not given the authorization yet to call it a dietary supplement, we hope they will,” he said. “I think adding it to food is something that people are going to do naturally. They’re already doing it.”

What to Look for on CBD Product Labels

Most reputable CBD producers will typically include the following information on their CBD product labels:

Amount of active CBD per serving

Supplement Fact Panel, including other ingredients

Manufacturer or distributor name

Full spectrum, broad spectrum, or isolate

Batch or date code

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is closely monitoring how companies are labeling and marketing cannabidiol (CBD) products. Photo by Stefan Rodriguez on Unsplash

Beware of Buzzwords

Don’t be enticed by compelling words like “pure,” “organic” or “all-natural,” because these have no scientific meaning for cannabis or hemp and could just be a misleading marketing slogan. There are also some CBD product labels that claim to contain hemp or hempseed oil, but this is not the same as hemp-derived CBD oil. While these products are high in antioxidants and fatty acids, they don’t contain any CBD. According to Terwilliger, consumers should beware of these products as they “frequently contain little to no cannabinoids.”

Full Spectrum, Broad Spectrum, and Isolate

The label also should clearly state which type of CBD is included. Three main types are most popular: full spectrum, broad spectrum, and isolate CBD oil.

Full-spectrum CBD oil, also known as whole plant, mixes CBD with cannabis-derived terpenes, a trace amount of THC, as well as lesser-known cannabinoids such as cannabigerol (CBG) and cannabinol (CBN). Consuming full-spectrum CBD oil tends to create what’s called the entourage effect, a phenomenon that occurs when cannabinoids and terpenes work together synergistically to produce a greater effect.

Broad-spectrum CBD oil contains a similar array of cannabinoids and terpenes but without the trace amounts of THC. Additional processes can remove as much THC from the CBD oil as possible, while still maintaining other cannabinoids and terpenes.

Isolates are made by stripping away all other cannabinoids and terpenes, resulting in a crystalline powder that is pure CBD. Product labels should denote if the CBD oil is isolate-based or contains other cannabis-based compounds. Since the isolated form of CBD comes in a crystalline powder, it’s usually mixed with a carrier oil, typically coconut or olive oil.

Also, read the label of CBD isolates for the level of purity. A range of 99.9% and above will likely have no traces of THC, but lower purity isolates under 99.5% could still have trace amounts of THC. The only surefire way to accurately identify the contents of CBD oil is through a certificate of analysis from third-party testing, but a reputable producer’s product label should suffice.

As for which type of CBD is better, some existing evidence suggests that full-spectrum CBD oil is the most beneficial. In a 2015 study published in Pharmacology & Pharmacy, researchers found that CBD-enriched cannabis extract with low THC was more effective in treating inflammation in mice than purified CBD. However, isolates offer a viable alternative for avoiding THC due to personal preference or fear of failing a drug screening.

How the FDA Can Improve CBD Product Label Regulations

No matter how descriptive labels are, consumers might not be able to grasp how much CBD is in a container, serving or dose, or how it may affect them. Husong offered other elements he’d like to see on labels, including country of origin.

“I think it’s important we start talking about price per serving, that not all CBD is created equal. Whether it’s isolate, full spectrum, a vape product, your body absorbs CBD differently,” Husong said. “We should start putting a price per serving as a measurement of a quality product.”

While some CBD companies try to go above and beyond to list pertinent information on product labels, until CBD label regulations are clear and strictly enforced by the FDA, the old advice applies: buyer beware.

Feature image: When purchasing cannabidiol (CBD) oil, it’s important to look for the amount of active CBD per serving, the manufacturer’s or distributor’s name, and if the product is full-spectrum, broad-spectrum, or an isolate. (Photo by Francesco Mazzone on Unsplash)