Every staff member at BelMar is well-educated and ready to support and guide you through your cannabis purchases. However, it is nice to feel prepared and confident while walking into a pot shop, so we’ve prepared a guide on how to read Washington State recreational cannabis labeling.

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Know the Regulations

Every cannabis product label must be in line with state regulations and law. All products must include a this following warning label: “Warning: This product has intoxicating effects and may be habit forming. Smoking is hazardous to your health. There may be health risks associated with the consumption of this product. Should not be used by women who are pregnant or breastfeeding. For use only by adults twenty-one and older. Keep out of reach of children. Marijuana can impair concentration, coordination, and judgement. Do not operate a vehicle or machinery under the influence of this drug.”

The producer or processor must also include a statement that discloses all pesticides applied to the marijuana plants and growing medium during production and processing. Edibles and concentrates must add the type of extraction method, including any solvents, gases or other chemicals used to produce or added to the extract.

Any Washington State pot packaging must have these items on the label:

  • Business or trade name
  • Inventory ID number
  • Concentration of total THC and CBD
  • Net weight in ounces and grams or volume as appropriate
  • Warning that product is intoxicating and may be habit forming
  • Date of harvest

Concentrates and cannabis-infused products (edibles, tinctures, etc.) must also state that: “There may be health risks associated with the consumption of this product. This product is infused with marijuana or active components of marijuana. Caution: When eaten or swallowed, the intoxicating effects of this drug may be delayed by two or more hours.”

Exploring Cannabinoids

Cannabinoids are plant chemicals that engage with our endocannabinoid system. This system in the human body controls appetite, pain-sensation, mood and memory. The most well known cannabinoids are THC and CBD but there are many others including THC-A, CBDA, CBG and over one hundred others.

Delta-9-Tetrahydrocannabinol Acid (THC-A) is the raw form of THC. It is non-psychoactive but when heated, decarboxylates and converts into the psychoactive form of this component.

Delta-9-Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is activated by heat and thrives in aging plant matter. This is the psychoactive chemical in Cannabis Sativa, or “weed.” THC can promote euphoria, divergent thinking and increased sensory experience or awareness.

Like THC-A, Cannabidiolic Acid (CBDA) is converted into Cannabidiol (CBD) through decarboxylation. The more Cannabidiol a strain has, the more mellow the effects will be. If the amount of CBD is higher than the amount of THC it is likely that the effects will not be very psychoactive. At room temperature, it is clear and crystalline. CBD can promote relaxation and social behaviors.

Understanding THC Concentration

There are 1,000 milligrams in every gram. Keeping that in mind, if one gram of dried and cured cannabis flower has 20% THC and 20% CBD, then that one gram would contain 200mg THC and 200mg CBD. This is because 20% is equal to 0.2, and when 0.2 is multiplied by 1,000 we get 200.

To calculate the amount of THC total (which should be on all cannabis labeling) you can use this equation: THC Total = (x% THCA) x 0.877 + (y% THC)

How Long Is Cannabis Good For?

Although the date of harvest will be listed on any package of pot you buy, only the expiration of analytics is listed – as opposed to an expiration of the product. This is because the effects and aroma will become more complex and desirable the longer the flower is kept in a cool, dry and sanitary environment.

Mold and other unwanted inhabitants will thrive in temperatures between 75-85 degrees, which is why it is important to keep temperatures low. Helpful inventions like the Boveda pack can keep humidity at bay inside any weed jar. Sunlight can begin to break down some of the chemicals in dried flower or concentrates, decreasing their potency. If you can, try to keep anything you’re storing in a dark place or sealed, opaque container.

Picking your Pot

The next time you come into BelMar to get some ganja, remember our guide to cannabis labeling and use it to your advantage! Pay attention to THC concentration, cannabinoid and terpene profiles and date of harvest. Becoming more familiar with analyzing these descriptors will increase the happiness found with the strains and products you pick, and the confidence felt in the decision-making process.