Is your cannabis safe? What to look for on cannabis product packages

(Photo by Seth McConnell/The Denver Post via Getty Images)

The cannabis industry in the U.S. is projected to reach $30 billion annually by 2025. Its rapid rise and incredible potential have led many U.S. states to legalize medical marijuana products, and even more to legalize adult use. Still, cannabis is not legal on a federal level and state laws are different nationwide.

Te lack of federal regulation on the industry makes quality cannabis products hard to find, and even harder to recognize based on their packaging and advertising.  Cannabis products can be laced with other, harmful drugs such as fentanyl, or could contain heavy metals, so the stakes are high. Just recently, Curaleaf was accused of mislabeling their “Select” brand drops.

Unfortunately, there’s no way to guarantee the safety of any cannabis product on the market today, but there are several things you can do to better protect yourself while shopping for weed.

For those looking to become more savvy consumers, here are three ways to be sure your cannabis is safe:

RELATED: Legalization Nation: Curaleaf faces fine for mislabeling

1. Look for a QR code

With so many different types of cannabis products, it’s hard to recognize the good stuff. If you’re ever in doubt and want to learn more about a product, look for a QR code on the packaging.

Scanning the code with your phone camera should lead you to the company’s web page, where you should be able to read more about the ingredients, manufacturing process, strain, extraction process, potential side effects, and other important information.

A company being transparent about this information says a lot about its integrity and trustworthiness, and helping consumers find the information in an accessible way online is even better.

Not seeing a QR code? See below.

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2. Read the list of Ingredients

Rather than put a QR code on the product leading to the company website, some cannabis businesses will choose to put a full list of ingredients on the cannabis product package itself. Either way is fine, as long as they list their ingredients. If a company is not transparent about ingredients, it’s probably not a good idea to risk consuming the product.

But don’t stop there. Just because they list ingredients doesn’t mean you should trust the product.

Here’s what you should be looking for in a cannabis product’s ingredients list:

The ingredients label should contain all the active ingredients by order of amount. THC or CBD should be the first or second ingredient, followed by the rest. CBD ingredient labels usually also contain the type of CBD (whether it’s full-spectrum, broad-spectrum, or isolate), the strain, and/or THC percentage. This is all vitally important information.

If it’s a CBD or THC tincture, it should also list the type of carrier oil in the product. This is essential because some people may be allergic to certain oils or ingredients in the product.

You should always read the ingredients carefully and make sure you understand every one of them. Accurate labels should also include the purity of the product, potency, the cannabis strains it was derived from, and what benefits it claims to have.

RELATED: They say marijuana is stronger these days. But exactly how much stronger is today’s cannabis?

3. Beware false advertising

Because the CBD and cannabis market is exploding in popularity, competition is fierce. Many companies resort to false advertising in order to sell their products, promising health benefits that seem too good to be true. Sometimes, cannabis companies even deceive buyers into a purchase by packaging their products similarly to popular snacks.

To avoid falling into a trap, look for false advertising on the product. Look for overly optimistic promises and suspicious packaging. Then, check to see if the ingredients label seems legitimate. Some manufacturers may avoid listing additives in the ingredients and claim their products contain 100% pure CBD without providing any more information. Others may sell THC products and mislabel them as CBD. It can often be hard to spot false advertising, but the more you do it, the more you’ll know what to look for.

Find peace of mind with the highest-quality cannabis products

Finding trustworthy cannabis brands can be challenging. With so many cannabis products on the market and no federal regulation, lack of transparency and false advertising is rampant in the industry. But if you know what to look for on cannabis packaging, and read your ingredient labels carefully, you’ll start recognizing what products are truly great.

Hearst Blogger Network