How To Read A Cannabis Product Label

Product labels can be confusing. When it comes to cannabis, it can be downright dizzying.

There’s a lot of information on cannabis labels and the font is tiny. If you don’t know what you’re looking at — or looking for — you can end up being dazed and confused.

This guide will help you figure out what you’re looking at and understand what it all means. That way, you’ll be able to tell the kush from the schwag. If you’re ever unsure about something on a label, a Prosper cannsultant will always be able to help you!


Cannabis comes in one of three strain types — indica, sativa, or hybrid. Each strain has unique properties. Each person will have a different reaction to each strain, so it’s important to know what you’re getting.

The name of the strain may also be listed on the label. These are strain names like Gorilla Glue, ZkittleZ, and Purple Haze. If you like a particular strain, ask for it by name.

Edibles typically don’t have a strain on them, but the label will list if it’s an indica, sativa or hybrid.


Labels on cannabis products will always list the amount of cannabinoids — in terms of CBD and THC — found in the product.

Depending on the product, you may see this written in different ways. Flowers, cartridges, and extracts will display CBD and THC as percentages. Edibles, tinctures, topicals, and vapes will be written in terms of milligrams.

This is where things can get a little tricky on marijuana labels.

When you see the percent THC on a label, it’s actually a measure of the amount of THC present in relation to the other cannabinoids in the product. Similarly, you may see the percent THCa labeled. This is the acid form of THC that gets activated when the product is heated. These two numbers are used to calculate the Total THC.

Total THC gives you an estimate of the highest potential THC available given the weight of the product, but it’s not a 100% conversion because some THC is destroyed during heating.

Here in Michigan, you might see Total THC with a “variance of +/- 10%.” That’s because Michigan law allows an approximate 10% variance on marijuana potency, but the label of the package cannot exceed the state’s maximum THC limits. That means cannabis with a THC potency of 20% could potentially be 18 to 22%.

CBD, CBDa, and Total CBD work the same way as THC on cannabis labels.

In products like edibles, THC has already been activated through the processing of the product, so it’s displayed on the label in terms of milligrams (mg/unit).


The dates found on labels are fairly self-explanatory. They’re found on labels to help you ensure that you’ve got the freshest, best quality weed.

You can find dates for everything from harvest, to testing, packaging, and expiration.


This is another simple one to understand. It’s the actual weight of the marijuana product you’re buying.

Knowing the weight can be useful because it can help you determine the dosing amount that works best for you, no matter the product you’re using. It’s also important because Michigan currently limits the amount of cannabis you can purchase and carry at a given time.


Labels of Michigan marijuana products will contain the name of the licensee and the license number of the producer and packager of each product. Sometimes, these will be the same.

This information is legally required to be there, but as a user, it’s useful if you like the product from a specific producer and want to purchase more of their products. Their contact information will be provided on the label too, so you can reach out directly to them.


The activation time is an estimate of how long it will take for you to get high after you use the product.

Activation time varies on the type of product. Smoked products can be activated in 0 to 15 minutes, while edibles and similar products that are absorbed in your stomach can take 30 minutes or more to activate.


Cannabis produced and packaged in Michigan requires lab testing at safety facilities. The lab’s information must be present on any state-licensed marijuana label.

These independent testing facilities check to confirm the amount of active ingredients in the product. They also test for any harmful materials like pesticides and mold and mildew that may be present. This lets you know that the product you’re using is safe to use.


Michigan law requires that all marijuana products sold in the state display something known as the universal symbol.

The symbol is a green, upside down triangle. Inside the green triangle is a white triangle with a green marijuana leaf in the center. Above the white triangle, the words “marijuana product” should be printed in white font.

Seeing this symbol means the product is a Michigan, state-licensed marijuana product.


Cannabis labels are also required to come with a warning in Michigan. These warnings are meant to serve as a public service, like warning labels on medications or cigarettes.

Michigan requires that all labels state the following: “For use by individuals 21 years of age or older or registered qualifying patients only. Keep out of reach of children. It is illegal to drive a motor vehicle while under the influence of marihuana. Warning: Use by pregnant or breastfeeding women, or by women planning to become pregnant, may result in fetal injury, preterm birth, low birth weight or developmental problems in the child. National Poison Control Center, 1-800-222-1222.”

If you want to learn more about cannabis labels and what it all means, visit Prosper and chat with one of our cannsultants. We’ll help demystify every aspect of marijuana labels so you can truly understand what you’re looking at.


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