THC Content on Packaging – Canada

thc content packaging

What Does the THC Content on Packaging Mean?

Does reading a label on a marijuana edible make you wonder what it means? But what does the THC content on the packaging mean?

Prof. David Hammond, of the School of Public Health and Health Systems at the University of Waterloo, in Canada, explains “Using THC numbers to express the potency of cannabis products has little or no meaning to most young Canadians.”

“We’ve known for many years that people struggle to understand the numbers on the back of food packages and cigarette packages. Consumers seem to have equal or even more difficulty with THC numbers, which are used to indicate the potency of cannabis products,” Hammond said.

THC Content on Packaging: “Traffic Light” Labeling System


To simplify the dosage recognition, researchers tried out the traffic light system of labeling the cannabis products. They recruited 870 people aged 16-30 in Canada and conducted an online survey.

In the first experiment, they assigned the respondents to one of three labeling conditions, namely: (1) No label (2) A label that explained the THC contents in milligrams (mg), and (3) A label that used “doses” of THC per package.

While in the second experiment, the team used a traffic light system to label the marijuana products – GREEN signified “low” potency and RED for “high” potency.

As a result, labeling the does per package resulted in the best understanding of THC serving at over 54%.

Thus, the traffic light system made it easier for the participants to identify the levels of THC in the products. About 85% precisely recognized products with low THC and 86% could recognize high THC content.

Experiment Conclusion

In conclusion, “few consumers can understand and apply quantitative THC labeling; in contrast, THC labels that provide ‘interpretive’ information, such as descriptors, symbols, or references to servings have greater efficacy,” the study author wrote.

“Effective THC labeling and packaging could help reduce accidental overconsumption of cannabis edibles and adverse events, which have increased in jurisdictions that have legalized recreational cannabis” the study author added.

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