Sometimes it feels like you have to be Indiana Jones to decipher all the information on a package. Or be a chemist named Jeff Spicoli.

So to help Senior-High students better understand what they’re buying, we offer this handy explanation of all those numbers and nomenclature that make you feel you have to be high to know what’s going on.

cannabis package label


The large numbers on the label indicate how much CBD is contained in the product in relation to the amount of THC. Both THC and CBD offer their own unique benefits but how they’re combined makes a world of difference in their efficacy and what ailments they may be most appropriate treating.

Some manufacturers, including Papa & Barkley, state which number is THC and which is CBD. Other manufacturers don’t, so understanding the ratios may be confusing yet is quite important.

The Papa & Barkley packages further explain the ratio by stating the amount of CBD and THC in their products. In the 1:3 balm, you’ll be getting 30 mg CBD and 90 mg THC per jar for a total of 120 mg. In their 3:1 balm, you’re getting 135 mg CBD and 45 mg THC for a total of 180 mg per jar. This extremely helpful is letting the consumer know exactly what they’re getting.

The first number refers to CBD, the second refers to THC. Here are some examples of different ratios:

Sounds innocuous, right? But it’s high THC and high CBD. In case you’re wondering, such ratios are currently being used to treat severe spasticity in patients suffering from multiple sclerosis. If you are not comfortable with the psychoactivity THC can deliver, you may not feel comfortable with products offering such a powerful ratio. If you do, you may wish to try small doses at first and very slowly ramp up.
One part CBD to three parts THC. When such a ratio is used in a balm, as shown below, this does not mean you are going to get high. But more THC can make topicals more effective.
While richer in CBD, the THC in products other than balms may affect those not comfortable with the psychoactive effects of THC, although the increased amount of CBD may lessen the THC effects.
This offers high CBD and relatively medium-low THC. You may feel very low psychoactive effects from this ratio.
Very high CBD, fairly low to very low THC. This may be a good ratio for those who wish to avoid psychoactive effects and/or do not wish to feel them during the workday. If you are sensitive to THC or wish to avoid it, products offering these ratios may be your best bet.

Note: THC may impair motor skills and prevent the safe operation of vehicles and other machinery. Ask your doctor which may be best for you and it may be prudent to start with a smaller ratio of THC to CBD and gradually increase the ratio to gauge your comfort level. CBD alone, on the other hand, does not product psychoactive effects, is non-sedating, and can be used in higher doses.

Triangular CA Label

No, it’s not that pyramid on a $1 bill. In 2020, California’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) added marijuana smoke and THC to the state’s Proposition 65 list of chemicals known as reproductive toxins. This label was designed and must be visible on all cannabis products’ packaging and labeling.

Depending on the type of product, the package may also state, “WARNING: This product can expose you to marijuana smoke, which is known to the state of California to cause cancer, birth defects, and other reproductive harm.”

This warning may appear on its own label or sticker separate from the primary panel and information panel. If the product you’re buying does not display this label and warning, it may not be legal and you may want to steer clear.

Some other California state requirements for cannabis include:

  • Product packaging cannot be designed in a way that’s appealing to children
  • All print must be clear and legible
  • Labels must be printed in at least 6 pt. font
  • All labeling must be visible on the outer layering of the packaging
  • Peel-back labels or inserts may be used on small packaging that can’t accommodate all the information up front
  • All required information must appear on the packaging; it’s not acceptable to direct buyers to a website
  • County names may not be included on the packaging unless the product was 100% grown in that county
  • Misleading information and unproven health claims are strictly prohibited
  • Photos of the product may not be included

Again, if the product you’re buying doesn’t adhere to these requirements, it may not be legal.

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