How to Create Compelling and Compliant CBD Labels

Posted on June 22, 2020

With the prevalence of more and more CBD products on the market, consumers want to know that they’re buying a product that will give them the best results for their money. It all begins with ensuring that your products deliver the information that they need while complying with Federal and State regulations.

One of the most confusing parts about this increasingly popular product is its connection to hemp and marijuana. People seeking to try out CBD worry that it may also cause unwanted effects similar to those of THC, the cannabinoid responsible for the psychotropic effects attributed to marijuana use. That confusion can be cleared up with a better understanding of hemp and CBD.

Both compounds come from the cannabis plant. While there are differences between the two, they are connected by definition.

What is Hemp?

Hemp is a cannabis plant with less than .3% delta9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) concentration. Although THC is a cannabinoid that produces psychoactive effects, CBD and hemp just don’t have enough THC to cause that kind of effect on consumers.

Worldwide, the hemp industry was valued at approximately USD 4.71 million in 2019, according to a market analysis report by Grand View Research. Hemp fibers are used to create items such as rope, shoes, and clothing while hemp seeds are used for food. When manufactured as an oil, it can be used in other ways such as a cosmetic cream.

What is CBD?

As one of the many cannabinoids found in cannabis and hemp, CBD has become one of the more recent wellness industry favorites. Consumers all over the world are turning to products that have CBD as an alternative to more traditional and antiquated options.

Used in cosmetics, health products, food, beverages and so much more, the CBD industry is on course to surpass $20 billion by 2024 in the United States, according to BDSA Analytics and Arcview Market Research.

Federal Regulations

The 2018 Farm Bill not only legalized industrial hemp but took CBD out of the federal Controlled Substances Act and the oversight of the Drug Enforcement Agency. Currently, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) presides over the hemp and CBD oil industry.

Because this is a fairly recent change, great care must be taken when advertising and marketing CBD products. The FDA is still working on details in regard to regulations.

For now, no one can market the product as having health benefits.

The agency relies on scientific research and reviews applications for the approval of products. This takes more time than businesses can afford, which is why it’s so important to tread lightly when marketing CBD products.

Breaking Down Federal and State Regulations

If CBD oil is extracted from industrial hemp and contains no more than .3% THC, then it is federally legal to sell as a CBD product.

Even so, it’s not legal to sell as a dietary supplement. According to the FDA’s official website,

“Based on available evidence, FDA has concluded that THC and CBD products are excluded from the dietary supplement definition under section 201(ff)(3)(B) of the FD&C Act [21 U.S.C. § 321(ff)(3)(B)].”

But, the Hemp CBD products can be marketed nonetheless. We see the products on shelves in different stores all around the U.S. What we don’t see are CBD brands making claims of CBD as a product with health benefits.

Those claims or suggestions can only be made by third parties such as websites, bloggers, etc. who are not CBD sellers or distributors.

CBD distributors who make health or supplement claims, and generally do not abide by FDA regulations will find that they stand to not just lose money, but also face legal repercussions.  

Cosmetics containing CBD such as creams or even shampoos are also regulated and there are restrictions that apply. The FDA defines a cosmetic as anything that can be applied to the body “…for cleansing, beautifying, promoting attractiveness, or altering the appearance.”

When it comes to CBD cosmetic products, the FDA has specific guidelines to follow when labeling them. Again, the cosmetic product shouldn’t claim any health benefits.

It’s also important to keep in mind that there might be state regulations on labels for any CBD product. You can search for that information through your state’s Agriculture Department.

Creating A Compliant Label

With so much to consider, creating labels for CBD products can feel complicated. But, with a little creativity and simplicity, you’ll find that it’s easier than you think, especially when utilizing the resources found here on The Hemp Plug.

CBD products can’t be called dietary supplements but they might include gummies, tinctures, or oils. If you’re creating a label for a CBD oil, you’ll need to include information that gives consumers enough specifics to satisfy their needs while also meeting the FDA requirements.

Your product name as well as the milligrams or net quantity need to be displayed on the front of the container.

The information on the back or side panels of your label should state the quality of the product and any third-party testing.

Doing this adds value to your product and will give consumers a reason to purchase and continue to use your product.

Adding information for suggested usage is also important. For example, if the product is a sublingual tincture, you’ll want to add suggestions such as place one drop under the tongue, one to two times daily.

Anatomy Of A Compliant Label

Then, you’ll move on to the details on the back of the container. These details need to include nutrition information, an ingredient list, as well as the name of the manufacturer, packer, and the distributor.

Beneath the ingredient list, you’ll also want to add a statement that the product hasn’t been approved by the FDA.

You’ve also probably already seen FDA warnings on supplements. You know the ones that read, “Keep out of reach of children”. These, as well as any FDA warnings, should be clearly stated.

You’ll definitely want to add information about the THC percentage and your product website.

The Design Matters

Federal regulations require labels to be large enough that all information is clearly visible. You’ll have to take into account that the text must be readable and at least one-sixteenth in height.

The color contrast of the text also needs to allow for easy reading. It does make sense for both the consumer and the regulations. If consumers have to struggle to read important information, then they might move on to another product.

Any design element that interferes with FDA statements should be avoided. And, again, don’t make any claims that aren’t approved by the FDA.

Getting Creative

The most creative element of your label will be your brand name. You can get ideas for names by looking at some of the products on the market or by brainstorming ideas yourself. 

You can also use the name to help the consumer infer the desired effect of the product. Just because you can’t announce that the CBD product has therapeutic effects, doesn’t mean that you can’t create a name that evokes feelings of tranquility.

The same idea holds true of colors and icons. Soothing colors such as light blues, greens, or violets will enhance those feelings of calm.

Making Your Brand the Best

Today’s savvy consumers are passionate about certain causes. If your product or brand happens to support those same causes, be sure to give yourself the advantage of making it clear on your labeling and marketing.

For example, highlight that your product is cruelty-free, vegan, sustainably sourced, or packaged in recyclable materials if the statements are true of your brand and/or products.

Aside from those mentioned above, you might also want to add any of the following, if applicable.

  • Sugar-Free

  • GMO-Free

  • All Natural

  • Gluten-Free

  • Responsibly-Sourced

  • Made in the USA


Double Check Guidelines and Regulations

Although we’ve covered the basics of CBD marketing and labeling guidelines, always check to make sure you’ve met all the requirements necessary. Check the federal guidelines as well as your state’s regulations.

You can also get feedback from friends and family to help you make sure you’re creating a package that’s not only appealing to consumers but has label information that’s clear and easy to read.

Once you’ve completed this process, you’ll be able to concentrate on marketing and advertising a product that consumers will be able to appreciate and recommend to their own friends and family.

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