Top 5 Trends in Cannabis Branding and Packaging

By: Berlin Packaging Specialist
Date: January 29, 2020


Branding and packaging cannabis is changing in both design and function, including the introduction of innovative child-resistant containers. New branding and packaging focuses on cannabis users as evolved, educated professionals. Let’s take a look at five major ways producers and manufacturers are reinventing how they brand and package products.

1. Packages Built for Design and Compliance

Packaging for cannabis products is becoming more creative but compliance with packaging laws needs to be at the forefront of design. Check state regulations and other requirements before designing packaging, then again before beginning production on packaging designs. Cannabis product manufacturers are responsible for making sure packaging is up to regulation standards, a last-minute check helps prevent you from missing updated regulations. Creative design may boost brand visibility but transparency about your product and following legal requirements helps build brand-trust.

General Labeling Requirements for Cannabis Products

Labeling requirements and regulations vary by state, but there are general labeling requirements for cannabis products. Specific testing and labeling requirements are more pronounced with products containing large percentages of THC and those that are marijuana-based. Below are general labeling and regulation requirements that apply cannabis-based products.

Production and Sale of Cannabis Edibles

No production or retail sale of edible medicinal or recreational cannabis products shaped like people, animals, or fruits. People shaped edibles include cartoon, comic, celebrity, and other characters, cartoon or otherwise. Logos on cannabis packaging are not part of the requirement and can take any shape. Geometrical or marijuana leaf-shaped edibles are also acceptable.

Testing and Labeling Marijuana Concentrates

Potency testing and labeling requirements apply for any marijuana flower or trim, both medicinal and recreational. Testing procedures for the potency of marijuana-infused and concentrate products are not set in stone, but any product that makes a potency claim must adhere to testing and labeling regulations.

Potency Labeling Requirements

There are two ways to note the potency of marijuana and concentrates on labels:

  • No smaller than 10 point font, bold, framed and in a font at least two sizes bigger than other label text
  • No smaller than 10 point font, bold, framed and highlighted with a bright, noticeable color

Percentage levels for cannabinoids on labels are shown by range and appear from lowest to highest concentration (or percentage). All marijuana-infused products must also have potency statements. To see packaging and labeling regulations by state click here.

Child-Resistant Packaging

Cannabis products are now legal in some form in at least 28 states, with most of the other states considering legalization for recreational or medical use. The increase in availability has led to an increase in child-resistant (C-R) packaging regulations. CBD, THC, and marijuana packaging containers like jars and bottles with C-R caps, help protect children from accidentally ingesting harmful levels of cannabis products. Using packaging like glass Boston Round bottles with C-R dropper caps for CBD and THC oils offers convenient dosing and meets packaging regulations.

Trend-Setting C-R Packaging

Special attention to new C-R regulations on cannabis packaging has created interesting branding opportunities. The trend of creating modern, professional designs for cannabis products has paved the way for the reinvention of C-R packaging. Companies like FunkSac® are offering modernized C-R packaging that meets regulations, functionality, and look sleek. FunkSac® and Leafs By Snoop™ paired to create a locking pouch made of hemp materials that carries the Leafs By Snoop logo on the front. Leafs by Snoop™ is a company spearheaded by rap icon Snoop Dogg, that is aimed at providing high-end marijuana-related products.


2. Eco-Friendly Emphasis

Cannabis is promoted as an all-natural solution, so it makes sense producers and manufacturers want eco-friendly packaging that’s sustainable. Hemp-based sacs and paper packaging products are popular choices for recreational cannabis packaging. Green, amber, or blue glass bottles help reduce environmental impact while keeping products potent longer with natural UV filtering abilities. There are four key eco-friendly trends in cannabis packaging that are going to be more prominent moving forward.

  1. Less packaging waste: Cutting unnecessary shipping and packaging materials
  2. Sustainable materials: Hemp, cotton, glass, recycled materials
  3. Earth-Friendly: Renewable, recyclable, compostable, biodegradable
  4. Non-Toxic Design Methods: Plant-based dyes and inks, embossing, etching, biodegradable adhesive

Marketing cannabis products and packaging as eco-friendly helps decrease the stigma of irresponsibility among cannabis users and helps promote an image of environmental consciousness.

3. Sharp, Sophisticated Branding and Design

The new branding and design of cannabis packaging targets the knowledgeable, professional consumer. Expect to see clean edges, bright colors, and minimalist designs. There has already been a reduction in the use of psychedelic imagery on cannabis packaging, with an increased push toward clean cut lines. Contemporary, stylish, high-quality graphics and logos will emerge and new design trends will include sophisticated options like:

  • Clean shapes and sleek package designs
  • Embossing, stamped gold and silver foil, and frosted glass
  • High-quality, intelligent brand marketing aimed at professionals
  • Focus on medicinal-friendly logs
  • Design by target market

Designing containers for recreational cannabis is one thing, but users should be able to distinguish between recreational and medicinal cannabis product. Appealing to medical and pharmaceutical markets is going to be just as important as getting the attention of recreational cannabis users. Professional design will allow cannabis manufacturers and producers to succeed in both markets.

4. Sourcing and Grow Methods Matter

How you grow cannabis may take center stage, consumers want to know your process. Include information like state, organic or non-organic growth, and any innovative irrigation or other methods used. Testing for the accuracy of THC, CBD, and terpene percentages on all cannabis-related products will become more important as well. Consumers are leaning more toward all-natural or organic products, but they also expect a high level of transparency. Consumers want the common name of the cannabis strain and to be able to tell by packaging whether it’s a recreational or medicinal product.

Medical Text and Imagery Changes

Using appropriate medical symbols in package design is going to be a major focus for cannabis packaging and marketing. Medical symbols help promote cannabis-based products as legitimate medical treatments or supplements. Naming recreational and medical products will pull away from drawn-out scientific names and claims, and focus on benefits and feelings.


5. Poking Fun at Stereotypes for Recreational Cannabis

The stereotypes associated with cannabis are widespread, everything from “trippy-hippies” to irresponsible “stoners.” So, manufacturers and producers of recreational cannabis are having a bit of fun with it. Expect to see clever puns and wordplay that pokes fun at common misconceptions around cannabis use. Packaging design may also hint at popular countercultures, or use words like baked, stoned, or munchies in titles or description labels. Using this type of wording on recreational edibles creates a relaxed “vibe” around using cannabis-based products. These statements may be followed by evidence that supports medicinal or health benefits. It’s a new way for the cannabis industry to say, “We know what you think, now let us change your mind.”

With medicinal cannabis products gaining ground as legitimate supplements and treatments for ailments, regulations are changing rapidly. Recreational marijuana use is also increasing, with more states legalizing cannabis for recreational purposes. It seems packaging cannabis products to meet ever-evolving regulations while still having design appeal is a challenge that the cannabis industry is welcoming with open arms.

Schedule a packaging consultation with one of our representatives today!