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Understanding How to Read CBD Labels

Knowing how to read the labels from different CBD brands may be the equivalent of deciphering ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs. There is no standard labelling system, which creates a lot of confusion and can also be very misleading. This article aims to empower you with the knowledge to make an educated and well-informed decision when purchasing your next CBD products.

There is one ratio that you want to know when looking for CBD oil. You must know the mg of CBD per ml (mg/ml) so that you can know exactly how many milligrams to take per dose. This will allow you to compare like for like when shopping for CBD products and not fall victim to labelling trickery.

There are a few different ways of labelling CBD, so let’s get you familiar with the methods. We are going to use the most common strength CBD Oil in South Africa as a working example.

600mg/30ml     OR     20mg/ml     OR     2%



This is a common method of CBD labelling and unless you are well-versed in reading CBD labels, you may not know the necessary calculations to get to the amount of CBD per milliliter, or per drop, which will enable you to take measured; accurate doses.

Using our example, 2% CBD oil & the size of the container it comes in, which in this case is 30ml. You will need to do the following calculation to find the total amount of CBD:

Total Amount of CBD      = Size of Container (ml) x Strength of Oil (%)

                                        = 30ml x 2%

                                        = 0.6g

                                        = 600mg

Now, in order to get the required mg/ml, you need to do the following calculation:

CBD in mg/ml                    = Total amount of CBD (mg) / Size of Container (ml)

                                          = 600mg / 30ml

                                          = 20mg / ml


Total mg CBD

This is also a common method of labelling CBD products and still requires a calculation to get the mg/ml, which was shown in the calculations above. For the sake of absolute clarity, we have repeated it below:

CBD in mg/ml                    = Total amount of CBD (mg) / Size of Container (ml)

                                          = 600mg / 30ml

                                          = 20mg / ml


mg/ml CBD

This is what we like to see on CBD labels. When CBD companies use labelling practices like this, you can be sure they are not trying to hide anything from you. No need to do any on-the-spot calculations here. You can be sure that you’ll be able to accurately dose yourself and your pet.

Carrier Oil Used

All CBD brands should provide the type of carrier oil used. The most common are Olive Oil, MCT oil (coconut oil), and Hempseed Oil. (Keep an eye out for our blog post on different carrier oils which we’ll be releasing shortly.)

Hemp Seed Oil

Due to the general lack of knowledge surrounding CBD, some people may get confused by labels that read ‘Hemp Oil’, thinking it’s the same as CBD oil. Hemp oil (actually hemp seed oil) and CBD extracted from hemp are two completely different products and should not be confused as the same thing. Hemp seed oil is pressed from the seeds of the hemp plant, whereas CBD is extracted from the flowers (sometimes leaves and stems) of the hemp plant.

Some Important Things to Look Out For

There are a few things to look out for when looking at different brands of CBD. A few key things on the label might tell you if you are getting a premium product, or not.

Always look for CBD products that have been extracted using Supercritical C02 extraction. It is by far the best method and leaves no residual alcohol or any other solvents.

You definitely need to look for products that are lab tested by a third-party laboratory. This will give you peace of mind. There is transparency in the process and knowing the tests are not done in-house, creates more trust between the seller and the buyer. All reputable CBD brands should be able to show you a Certificate of Analysis (COA) upon request.

Concluding Thoughts

Most vague labelling practices are purposefully done to hide how little CBD is actually in the product. By forcing people to perform calculations, there is the possibility of incorrect information becoming the basis of understanding. With our quick guide, you’ll sift through the misleading information in a heartbeat and be knowledgeable enough to compare products and purchase with conviction.

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