How To Read Cannabis Product Labels: The Breakdown

Cannabis plants are made up of many chemical compounds called Cannabinoids (THC, CBD, CBG, etc.) that can be found in the leaves, stalk, seeds, flowers and resin of the marijuana plant. Each cannabinoid provides relief for a variety of symptoms. When cannabis is consumed, these cannabinoids bind to receptors in the brain. Each cannabinoid produces different effects depending on which receptor they bind to.

To make things even more complicated, the effects also depend on what other cannabinoids, terpenes, or flavonoids are present in the cannabis strain being consumed. This is called the Entourage Effect. You can learn more by reading our blog. The Entourage Effect refers to the idea that the active chemicals in cannabis work together synergistically to create effects that wouldn’t come from any of their parts individually.

When you purchase cannabis at a registered Massachusetts dispensary, like Temescal, you’ll notice on the product packaging a list of compounds that make up each strain. We know these can be confusing and aren’t usually common knowledge, so here’s a bit more information to help you understand what you’re purchasing. 

An indicator you may see on cannabis menus or packaging is TAC (Total Active Cannabinoids). The compounds become active after going through the process of decarboxylation, where heat energy is applied, typically during the smoking or vaporizing method of consumption. 

But, the Acidic form of cannabinoids can still have beneficial medical effects on the body. They just don’t create the powerful effect most consumers are looking for from their cannabis products. That’s why cannabis isn’t eaten or consumed in its raw form. In order to receive effects, applying heat is needed to activate the compound. 

Here are some important cannabinoids (and most common among hundreds) and their effects: 

THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol) – THC tends to get the most attention from consumers as it’s the most plentiful cannabinoid in the plant. It’s a psychoactive cannabinoid that may provide relief for patients with severe pain, nausea, poor appetite, and muscle spasms.

You may see THC referred to as two different compounds: THCA and Delta-9 THC. In order to convert THCA to delta-9THC, the plant must be decarboxylated, or heated up. When you add heat to THC, it changes. 

Something to note: When browsing our menus, you’ll see a THC percentage listed for each product. This number typically refers to the total THC count, including both D9-THC and THCA compounds. But you may notice that sometimes these are separated out into two numbers on cannabis packaging. 

THCV (Tetrahydrocannabivarin) – THCV is a psychoactive cannabinoid that may help suppress appetite, reduce seizures, and may promote bone growth. THCVA is the acidic form.

CBD (Cannabidiol) – CBD is another cannabinoid that has gained popularity as the non-psychoactive cannabinoid. It may provide therapeutic relief for patients with severe, persistent muscle spasms, severe pain, agitation of Alzheimer’s Disease, anxiety or depression. CBDA is the acidic form.

CBG (Cannabigerol) – Commonly found in hemp as well, CBG is a non-psychoactive cannabinoid that may help slow bacteria growth, inhibit cell growth in tumors, promote bone growth, and reduce inflammation. CBG-A is the acidic form.

CBL (Cannabicyclol) – CBL is a non-psychoactive cannabinoid and are typically low in concentration in most cannabis strains. There is little known about the health benefits.

CBC (Cannabichromene) – CBC is a non-psychoactive cannabinoid that may help relieve severe pain, inhibit cell growth in tumors, promote bone growth, and reduce inflammation. CBCA is the acidic form.

CBN (Cannabinol) – CBN is a non-psychoactive cannabinoid that may provide relief for patients with agitation of Alzheimer’s Disease, severe pain, and muscle spasms. It has also been known to stimulate appetite and help with sleep.

Here are a few examples of our packaging. From left to right; flower, vape cartridge, fruit chew edibles.

Sources:

https://www.leafly.com/news/cannabis-101/list-major-cannabinoids-cannabis-effects

https://cultivarishemp.com/what-is-the-difference-between-delta-9-thc-thca-and-total-thc/

https://weedmaps.com/learn/the-plant/list-of-cannabinoids