Reading Product Labels For CBD Oils: A Guide For Beginners

Reading labels on cannabidiol (CBD) products is almost like reading ones on food and cosmetic packaging. But unlike most common household items, CBD has vital information specific to this product.  

As a first-time user of CBD oils, you must always check the labels of the products you’re buying. It ensures you’re getting the type of CBD you want, the dosage you need, and how to use it. Despite technically being controlled by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the CBD industry regulates itself. Therefore, you’ll find inconsistencies in labels across the country. You may see product information looking like on dietary supplement containers.  

Fortunately, most CBD oils have similar information to other CBD items, no matter which manufacturer produced them. Here are the standard and most essential elements you can find on the labels:  

  • Product Size

Most CBD oils come in 15mL, 30mL, and 100mL bottle sizes. These sizes will help you calculate how much CBD there is per milliliter. You’ll find a number printed in a bigger font for oil-type products, like SUPA Naturals CBD Massage Oil. In milligrams (mg), this number indicates the concentration of CBD the whole product has, but not the individual doses.   

You can calculate the strength or potency of the CBD by dividing the total CBD amount and the bottle’s size. Sometimes you’re lucky that you don’t have to divide it because it’s already on the label in milligrams per milliliter (mg/mL) or ounces per milliliter (oz/mL).  

  • Ingredients  

An adequately regulated product for consumption or topical application must have a list of ingredients. If your newly-bought CBD oil doesn’t have one, the product may not have gone through proper testing or production. It’s best to avoid this and look for another product from a reputable source.  

Reading Product Labels For CBD Oils: A Guide For Beginners

The first thing you should look for on the list is cannabidiol itself. Some products may include hemp extract in place of CBD due to changing laws and regulations, though. Watch out for ingredients like Cannabis sativa seed oil, hemp seed oil, or hemp seeds. These three aren’t the equivalent of cannabidiol.  

The label should also indicate if the CBD is a full-spectrum, broad-spectrum, or an isolate. Here’s how to tell the following terms apart:  

  • Full Spectrum: This CBD contains tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), terpenes, and other naturally-derived compounds of the cannabis plant. THC levels will mostly be at less than 0.2%.
  • Broad Spectrum: This is similar to the full spectrum one except for the minimal THC or lack of it.
  • Isolate: This is considered ‘pure’ CBD. It doesn’t contain any other detectable terpenes, cannabinoids, and THC.  

Don’t worry if you see another type of oil in the list of ingredients. Some CBD products may also have carrier oil like olive, coconut, almond, or grapeseed oil to help your body absorb the CBD. Other CBD oil products and gummies may also have flavoring or artificial coloring.  

  • Recommended Dosage  

Another element you should look for on the label is the dosage. Keep in mind that not all CBD products will state the dosage accurately. The dose is often indicated in milligrams (mg) or ounces (oz). So, look for numbers in mg/mL or oz/mL for the amount of CBD per dose.  

You may also see a recommended serving size on the label. CBD oil often comes with a dropper in a tincture bottle. Most dropper-type products contain around 0.5mL to 1mL of oil per total drop. Some may have marked droppers with measurements on them so that it’s easier to check how much of the product you’re getting with one drop of it. You could always buy an oral syringe or dropper with measurements from your local pharmacy if your CBD oil dropper doesn’t have it.  

If it’s your first time using CBD, it would be better not to follow the recommendation obediently. It’s always best to start small, like a patch test, to see how much or how little works for you. This is especially necessary if you’re using CBD oil for anxiety, depression, or other physical and mental ailments. Start with 1mg and increase the dosage until you eventually find that ‘sweet spot.’   

  • Additional Information  

Some CBD products may contain extra information helpful to you if you read them. These may include the manufacturing date and the batch and lot numbers. Other products might state the oil’s extraction methods. You’ll know if your bottle label does if you see either of these two:  

  • Solvent Extraction: A natural solvent or hydrocarbon is used to dissolve the CBD and the compounds from the plant. This process may leave toxic residue in the final product, resulting in poorer quality CBD oil.  
  • Carbon Dioxide (CO2) Extraction: The CBD and the compounds are extracted from the plant using supercritical CO2. Many CBD users and manufacturers consider this the ‘cleanest’ extraction method.   

Depending on your CBD oil product, you may also find a QR code on the label. If your bottle has this, your product likely underwent third-party lab testing. The test assures buyers that the information on the label is accurate. Not every CBD product manufacturer does this. So, it’s a huge plus if you see verification from a third-party lab.  

Another vital information that should be on the label is the expiration date. CBD oil, like most naturally-derived substances, has a limited shelf life. It usually lasts for up to two years in proper storage. Your bottle should have easy-to-follow storage instructions. If not, the best way to store it is to keep it sealed at room temperature, away from moisture and heat. Your CBD oil will expire faster if left out in the open.  


Like food, medicine, and cosmetics, CBD oil should have a detailed label stating crucial information about the contents. However, unlike the former three, manufacturing CBD products isn’t strictly regulated. Hence, some may lack details or provide inaccurate information. But more often than not, your CBD oil will include vital data verified by a lab.  

Since you’ll either be orally taking or topically applying the oil on your skin, it’s essential to read its facts first. Doing this ensures that you’re putting or eating something safe for general use. Aside from that, it’s also to make your first experience using CBD worthwhile.


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