How to read a cannabis package

Last revised: August 17, 2023

Before you use cannabis, read the package carefully. Here are 10 things to look for on the package:

  1. The standardized cannabis symbol
  2. The brand name
  3. THC and CBD content
  4. Health warning 
  5. Other brand element
  6. Other required information
  7. Non-required information
  8. Nutrition facts table
  9. List of ingredients
  10. Bar code

Example of front of cannabis packageExample of back of cannabis package


Source: Government of Canada

The standardized cannabis symbol Red and black octagon with white cannabis leaf and THC

 All cannabis products are packaged in child-resistant, tamper-proof packaging. Any product that has 10 micrograms (µg) or more of THC, must be labelled with the standardized cannabis symbol. The symbol warns people that the product has THC in it.

The brand name and brand element

Cannabis packages must include the company’s brand name. One other brand element, like a slogan or logo, can be on the label too.

THC and CBD content

The most common cannabinoids in cannabis are THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBD (cannabidiol). THC and CBD content must be displayed on every cannabis product. Cannabis needs to be heated to at least 150 degrees Celsius to activate the cannabinoids. Cannabis is either heated by the producer during processing or when you heat the product.

The cannabinoid content will appear in two ways:

1. THC and CBD is the amount of THC and CBD that is active in the product without heating it

2. Total THC or Total CBD is how much THC and CBD there will be after it is heated

Sometimes the amount of THC and Total THC or CBD and Total CBD will be the same. This happens when dried cannabis is heated to activate the cannabinoids to make products such as oils, capsules, and edibles. The measure of THC and CBD may appear differently depending on the cannabis product.

Here are examples based on types of products:

Type of productMeasurementExample
Dried or fresh cannabis Percentage (%) or milligrams (mg) per weight of product

THC 0.7% or 7 mg/gram

Total THC 14% or 140 mg/gram

Edibles Per unit or per package 

A package with 2 cookies may be labeled as:

THC 5 mg per unit, Total THC 5 mg per unit

THC 10 mg, Total THC 10 mg per package

Other products (pre-rolls, oils or capsules)

Milligrams (mg) per single unit

Milliliter (ml) per dose

THC 2.5 mg/unit, Total THC 2.5 mg/unit

THC 10.5 mg/ml, Total THC 10.5 mg/ml

When choosing a cannabis product, look at the Total THC and Total CBD. Choose products with low Total THC and an equal or higher amount of Total CBD. If you are smoking or vaping, start with 1 or 2 puffs of 10% (100mg/g) THC or less. Edible products can have up to 10 mg THC per package. Start with 2.5 mg THC or less.

Learn more about how to use the label to identify the THC content of a product.

Health warning

All cannabis products have a health warning in a yellow box. Health Canada provides the health warnings that are rotated on products. Topical cannabis products all have the same health warning.

Other required information

Cannabis products are labelled with specific information about the product. Some important information to look for is the type of strain, expiry date, packaged date, product weight, recommended storage, and intended use. You can learn about all the requirements.

All cannabis products include the licensed producer’s information and a lot number. If you have concerns about a product, contact the producer and tell them the lot number.

Other non-required information

Licensed producers can include more information on how to use the cannabis product. This could include directions for use, product form, or other warnings or precautions.

Nutrition facts table

A nutrition facts table is on all edible cannabis products. Learn more about how to read a nutrition facts table for edible cannabis.

List of ingredients

Cannabis extracts, topicals and edibles must have a list of ingredients. Any food allergens, gluten or added sulphites will be listed.

For more information on resources and services, visit our Mental Health, Addictions and Substance Use Health Services and Resources webpage.

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