How Do You Read CBD Oil Labels?

The Magazine: How Do You Read CBD Oil Labels?

There’s certainly no shortage of CBD products. Whether you prefer a lavish body butter or a beverage elixir that blends seamlessly into your favorite drink, there’s a product that fits your preferences and lifestyle. But with such a variety in brands comes a range in quality. Not nearly every CBD item is created equal, and the first place to look while evaluating your options for quality is its label. What should you look for when looking at the label? Here, we’ll give you an overview of what you’ll find on the packaging.

What is CBD?

The abbreviation CBD is short for cannabidiol, which is among the many plant-derived phytocannabinoids found in cannabis, including hemp. Whereas plants produce phytocannabinoids, your body naturally produces similar substances called endocannabinoids, including 2-arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG) and anandamide. If you’re looking to enhance your body’s natural endocannabinoid supply, you can turn to CBD-infused products to support what your body already produces naturally.*

CBD won’t get you high like its intoxicating cannabinoid cousin, Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Hemp is generally defined, by law, as cannabis with THC levels of at most 0.3%. Many CBD products available in stores and online, including our products at Prima, are made with hemp extract containing naturally-occurring CBD.

What’s on your Product label?

First and foremost, you’ll want to look for the type of product you’re buying. Hemp products usually come in three main forms; the version you’re buying should be clearly defined on the label or packaging of the CBD product you’re considering. The three options include:

  • Full spectrum. Full-spectrum hemp extract is the unaltered extract straight from the plant. This extract mimics the chemical profile of its source plant, containing all the cannabinoids, terpenes, flavonoids, and other compounds you’d find in hemp. This includes the trace amounts of THC which naturally occur in hemp.
  • Broad spectrum: Broad spectrum hemp extract is full-spectrum hemp extract processed further to remove as much THC as possible. All the beneficial minor cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids remain in broad spectrum hemp extract. At Prima, we only use broad spectrum hemp extract in our products.
  • CBD isolate. This term means that the product primarily contains CBD that has been isolated from hemp extract.

You may see the type of CBD described as such, or you may see it expressed in different terms, such as “phytocannabinoid-rich hemp extract” or “PCR.” This simply means that the extract from the hemp plant contains CBD and other cannabinoids, as opposed to hemp seed oil, which does not contain cannabinoids.

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Numbers and figures: What the amounts on the bottle mean

On each package or CBD oil label, you’ll see several figures which detail what exactly you’re getting, and how much you’re getting. Look for the following numbers:

  • The total amount of product in the container: Just like any other item you buy, you’ll see the amount of total product contained within. Depending on the product, the amount will be expressed in ounces, fluid ounces, milliliters, the number of items contained within the package, or a combination of these terms. When you look at our R+R Cream advanced recovery rub box, for example, you’ll see “net wt. 3 fl. oz.” near the bottom, and our The Daily capsules will clearly state there are 30 capsules within the jar.
  • Amount of total CBD in the product: This amount, listed in milligrams, indicates how much CBD can be found in the entire package or container. Be careful to not mix up this number with the amount of CBD per serving.
  • Amount of CBD per serving or use: How much CBD are you applying or consuming each time you use or take the product? This number specifies how much you’re taking in with each suggested amount, whether you choose a capsule or a bath gem.

How to read the CBD oil label for quality standards

Not all the information you need to make an informed decision about your CBD purchase can fit on the label. That's why the most transparent CBD brands will include additional information — and ways to access that information — right on the label. Look for these items:

  • QR code. Only so much can fit on a label. QR codes allow you to easily scan and review important information about your product. At Prima, we include QR codes so that you can review each product’s test results before taking it home. Our products are tested at multiple stages for purity and potency, including heavy metals screening, terpene profile, and verification of all the other figures we list on the label.
  • Batch number. A batch number is a marker of manufacturer accountability. Without one, you can’t determine where and when your product was made, bringing its quality and content into question. A batch number helps you track your purchase from farm to shelf and verify all contents and claims listed on the label.
  • MFG date. CBD doesn’t last forever. Be sure to purchase and use your CBD within two years of the date stamped on the label.
  • Source. The country of origin does not have to be disclosed, but listing a country of origin on your CBD product is a marker of the brand’s commitment to transparency.
  • Ingredients. Reading the ingredients list is key. Keep an eye out for ingredients to which you may be sensitive.
  • Suggested use. New to CBD? Instruction on how to use the product should be detailed on the label.

Looking for markers of quality — and transparency

CBD oil labels have only a small amount of space to convey a lot of important information. If the answers to your questions don’t exist on the CBD label, visit the manufacturer’s website to learn more. At Prima, our website offers a deep dive into where our CBD comes from, our gentle extraction process, our testing standards, and more. Transparency with our customers is a value that we hold dear, and our labels are just the first step to demonstrating our commitment to quality and veracity.

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