Keys to Successfully Navigate CBD Labeling Requirements
How do you design labels for your CBD products (Cannabidiol) so they are legally compliant, inform consumers, and require minimal changes when regulations change? Like anything related to the cannabis industry, it’s complicated. Federal enforcement varies, states have their own laws, and the legal landscape is constantly changing. Here’s what you need to know to meet CBD labeling requirements.
The Complicated Legal Status of CBD Products
CBD companies are growing in popularity, producing products in a variety of forms: dietary supplements, topical creams, edibles, tinctures, and CBD oil, just to name a few. However, each product must follow FDA regulations for labeling (or receive a warning letter when out of compliance).
Under the 2018 Farm Bill, cannabis products with less than 0.3 percent THC are categorized as industrial hemp. While this places hemp-derived CBD products under FDA (Food and Drug Administration) jurisdiction, enforcement is inconsistent. For example, it is against federal law for CBD to be added to foods. However, some states have laws allowing CBD to be used in foods, and others have no regulations concerning food and beverage use. For example, California’s Assembly Bill 45 explicitly allows CBD to be added to food, beverages, supplements, pet products, and cosmetics.
“Full spectrum” products containing more than trace amounts of THC are technically Schedule 1 drugs, making them illegal under federal law. In practice, these products are regulated under local marijuana laws.
Currently, THC-containing products are illegal in six states. Twenty states and the District of Columbia allow medical and recreational use of these products, which can be bought over the counter at dispensaries. The remaining states allow some form of medical use. Marijuana-derived CBD also falls into these state regulations, even if it contains trace amounts of THC.
Currently, the FDA isn’t actively pursuing CBD companies to the full extent of the law. They test random products on the market for their CBD and THC content and enforce gross violations. This enforcement is common across all dietary supplements, not just CBD products. The agency’s main focus is on claims that classify products as drugs (this includes health claims that the product may treat a disease or affect the structure or function of the body).
CBD Categorization and Labeling Guidelines
What does legal compliance for CBD label requirements and best practices look like today?
Hemp-derived CBD is legal in all states except South Dakota. Cannabis-derived CBD usually falls under the same laws as marijuana, no matter the THC content.
The FDA targets companies selling products that don’t match statements for cannabinoid content. To prove to consumers and the government that your statements are accurate, you should include a link to a third-party Certificate of Analysis (COA) by QR codes or links to a website that lets consumers look up the batch number.
Even if it’s legal to sell broad-spectrum products over the counter, it may be worth labeling and registering them for medical use. This allows easier access to patients, and it’s often cheaper thanks to sales tax exemptions. If the Clarifying Law Around Insurance of Marijuana (CLAIM) Act passes Congress, insurance coverage will cover medical marijuana products. You can learn more about the differences between medical and recreational marijuana labeling in one of our previous blogs.
The FDA doesn’t currently enforce restrictions on CBD’s use in food products and beverages, but many states have their own laws restricting their sales.
Both federal and state agencies are considering label regulations. Florida and Indiana have CBD label regulations in use, while Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Texas are either reviewing regulations or will enact them in the near future.
The Current Legal Status of CBD in Each State
Hemp products are legal for over-the-counter use in 48 states. Under Senate Bill 95, CBD is illegal in South Dakota unless approved for medical use by the FDA. In Iowa, CBD requires a prescription.
In most states, any retailer can offer CBD products, as long as they meet related requirements. For example, CBD-enhanced food can only be sold by an approved food retailer. Nevada only allows CBD products to be sold at dispensaries. Utah has a separate registration for CBD retailers.
In these states, CBD is legal for sale in any form, including food and beverages: Alabama, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Maryland, Mississippi, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Virginia, and Wyoming. CBD is not allowed in food or beverages sold in the following states: Arizona, Arkansas, California, Georgia, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Washington, West Virginia, and Wisconsin. A few states target specific foods. Colorado does not allow CBD in baked goods, while Kentucky doesn’t allow it to be added to tea. Vermont doesn’t allow CBD to be used in meat or dairy products. In Massachusetts, food and beverages with CBD must be tested for purity.
CBD products sold in Delaware must source hemp from a grower affiliated with Delaware State University. In Maine, CBD must be extracted from hemp sourced from a licensed Main hemp grower.
What Required Information Do I Need on My CBD Product Labels?
Products must follow general type regulations, whether it’s a food, supplement, or cosmetic. The principal display panel must include the brand name, product identity, and net contents. The information display panel needs to include an ingredient declaration, dosage, warning statement, and the name and location of the manufacturer or distributor. Product labels cannot have any health claims. While not required information, it’s also a good idea to include the total amount of CBD in the container, both on the inner container and outer packaging, if applicable.
While warning statements are clearly defined for pharmaceuticals, this isn’t true for CBD products. It’s up to the manufacturer or distributor to use their best judgment. For example, you may want to include a warning that repeated use could lead to a positive drug test from trace amounts of THC. Likewise, adding a warning that the product does not treat a disease can keep it from being classified as a drug by the FDA. It’s also a good idea to add a statement declaring the product’s THC content. In most states, products containing more than trace amounts of THC also need a “universal symbol.” This is usually a warning symbol with a marijuana leaf, the letters “THC” or both. It is often paired with the state abbreviation and an exclamation mark.
While other information may not be required, it can help customers make the right purchasing decisions. For example, the following labeling guidelines are included in Florida’s CBD label requirements:
- The batch number, which can be added to each label with a print-and-apply labeler
- Expiration date
- A scannable barcode or QR code that links to the COA.
- The statement “Product contains a total delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol concentration that does not exceed 0.3% on a dry-weight basis.”
Label information should also meet general FDA guidelines on their informational panel with information such as:
- Ingredient list
- Net quantity of contents
- Net weight
- Serving size
- Product name
- Phone number
We Make Labeling Your Products a Little Easier
CBD labeling requirements and other labeling regulations can be complex, but getting labels on your products doesn’t have to be. CTM Labeling Systems makes a wide range of equipment to label anything from small vials to industrial pails. Where do you start? Contact us, and we’ll get you in touch with your local distributor to find a labeling solution that fits your production needs.