The Cannabis Manufacturer's Guide to THC Labels & Labeling Machines


The demand for cannabidiol (CBD) and CBD-infused products for medical and wellness purposes is high due to its healing properties without psychoactive effects. CBD oil and other CBD-derived products are used to treat anxiety, depression, stress, chronic pain, cancer symptoms, and more. It’s these reasons and more that CBD popularity and sales are growing every year.

According to a market report by Grand View Research, the global CBD market was valued at USD 4.6 billion in 2018 and is anticipated to have a lucrative compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 22.2% by the end of 2025. 

This is great news, right? Sure is! But it means that competition is fiercer than ever. How does your CBD product stand out from the rest? 

As a CBD manufacturer, make your products speak louder than the competition. Your branding — including packaging and labels — needs to communicate quality, prompting consumers to choose your CBD product over other options. To do this, select the best container for your products, design exceptional labels, and get your CBD product to the dispensary market as quickly as possible.

CBD manufacturers need innovative ways to make their brand stand out as competition continues on an upward trajectory. Creative and unique CBD labels are just one way to gain attention and create distinction. Fortunately, there are a variety of labeling technologies that can make a visual impact on your target audience.

Label Design Trends

Research shows that color is critical in consumer purchasing decisions. Color affects the customer's mood and interest. For instance, green is associated with nature and elicits feelings of calmness. Blue is associated with health and peace. Yellow with cheerfulness. 

Label Design TrendsWhile these color principles can influence your container, label, and packaging color choices, here are a few packaging trends that are popular in the CBD market.

  • Earthy - If your ideal customer gravitates toward a natural lifestyle, you might brand your packages using rustic colors and recyclable containers. This natural, earthy look also appeals to consumers who are concerned about being eco-friendly.
  • Health-conscious - Another segment of the market is interested in the potential CBD health benefits. These consumers may resonate with packaging that resembles other familiar health items such as protein powder or bagged granola.
  • Medicinal - As CBD becomes more accepted as a medical alternative for pain relief, some are branding their products to connect with this market. These containers may resemble traditional pill bottles or toothpaste boxes.
  • Feminine - Depending on your target market, you might opt to take some cues from the beauty industry. Choose containers and labeling designs that employ soft coloring, floral touches, and feminine lettering styles.
  • Masculine - Dark or sporty colors, graphics, and bold fonts may be attractive to a masculine market that is interested in exploring the benefits of CBD. Consider taking your design inspiration from products such as deodorants or body sprays that are primarily geared toward men.
  • Minimalist & Neutral - Clean, simple packaging with crisp black and white or charcoal gray labeling (possibly with a pop of color) can present a modern, high-end feel and offer broad appeal to the mass-consumer market.
  • Botanical - Labeling that features hemp leaves (whether prominently or subtly) using a variety of green hues can quickly tell consumers that the package contains CBD. A botanical look and feel also fit well with modern design trends.
  • Multi-color Palette - Another option is to select a pleasing family of colors, then use the same label design in a different color for each variety of CBD products in your line. This is a great way to add visual appeal as well as show consumers, at a glance, that your brand offers multiple options.
  • Interesting Shapes - Don’t feel that you’re stuck in a box with a rectangular shape. Using a circular label may cause your package to stand out from the crowd. Another bonus – round shapes are known to be both inviting and impactful. 
  • Vibrant & Bright - Although CBD is often known for its calming effects, there are plenty of other benefits that consumers love. So don’t be afraid to go bold with your color pallet. Bright hues, used tastefully, are eye-catching and offer amazing shelf-appeal in dispensaries and online stores.  

The importance of well-designed packaging cannot be understated. Up to 70% of purchases are made at the shelf level, and a product’s label is what the customer sees first. But food, drugs, and cosmetics labels aren’t just blank canvases for creativity; they must also display regulatory information required by the FDA. 

When developing your label, it’s critical to comply with FDA regulations. Whether you need to refer to an FDA-approved supplement guide or food labeling guide, depends on your specific CBD product. As with any label, the best course of action is to be clear, concise, and easily legible so consumers know exactly what they’re purchasing.

Labeling Trends for CBD

Photo credit: Dribble

These principles apply to white label CBD products, private label CBD products, and commercial CBD brands.  

After evaluating your competition and your current label design, take a look at your label application process to be sure it's optimized. No matter how quickly your CBD products are made, and no matter how awesome your CBD labels look, if your assembly line is slow or inefficient, it can be a significant hindrance to your operation. Consider upgrading or updating your labeling machine — a key component in any manufacturing line. Your labeling equipment investment can pay for itself quickly by increasing efficiency and productivity immediately.

Labeling Equipment Types

Professional packaging isn't just about intentional coloring or attractive label designs. It also allows you to highlight some of the key benefits of your products in meaningful and impactful ways. Additionally, it sets you up as a trustworthy CBD product expert.

With the popularity of CBD on the rise, your product, packaging, and speed-to-market need to be on point if you’re going to claim your piece of the proverbial CBD pie.

Some CBD manufacturers don't give enough attention to choosing the right labeling equipment — and that’s one area in which you can get a leg up. Designing a professional-looking label with consumer appeal — and making sure it’s efficiently well-placed on your product — can differentiate your CBD product from the competition.

As for labeling application options, applicator machines come in manual, semi-automatic, and automatic models. Knowing your label application needs and your goal production speed will help narrow down the choices.

Manual labeling machines require workers to load and apply each label individually.

Labeling Equipment Types

Semi-automatic labeling machines are operated by a hand or footswitch. An employee loads the CBD bottles, jars, or tins onto the conveyor then presses a button to apply the labels. This method is faster and more consistent than manual hand labeling. In many cases, a semi-automatic, wrap-around labeling machine is the best option for labeling dropper bottles, tincture bottles, and containers because it allows for a seamless transition to a fully-automatic bottle labeler down the road without having to overhaul your equipment or packaging line. 

Automatic labeling machines have rotary and inline options. Both are quicker and more accurate than manual and semi-automatic labelers. Automatic inline bottle labeler machines provide a massive leap in productivity and efficiency. Once bottles are filled, they can be continuously fed to the labeling machine, resulting in roughly 150 labeled products per hour. Rotary label machines are at the high end of the spectrum, running up to 500 labels per hour and providing ultimate label placement control and consistency. Automatic labeling equipment ranges in capability and price. Choose one that not only fits your current operational needs but can scale with your needs as you grow.

The Importance of Labeling Equipment

No matter how fast you’re able to bottle, jar, or can your CBD product, the overall output can be limited by the speed at which you label and push to market. One major challenge experienced by many CBD manufacturers is the printing and application of labels.

Bottle labeling machines come in a range of prices, which often seems overwhelming to CBD manufacturers, business owners, and operations managers who are operating on a limited budget. However, the addition of efficient labeling equipment can increase productivity dramatically and pay for itself by ramping up fulfillment immediately.


Typically most CBD manufacturers start without a huge upfront capital investment, so to begin production, they manually hand label their CBD product containers. However, the addition of one semi-automatic labeling machine, tabletop or modular, can increase productivity by almost 500%, allowing up to 150 containers to be labeled per hour. 

Fully-automatic inline labeling machines are physically larger and a little more expensive than semi-automatic options, but they can label up to 500 containers per hour. This efficiency increase allows more products to be labeled at an equally accurate but faster pace. 

As more CBD oil dropper bottles, CBD tincture bottles, and CBD extracts jars — or whatever your specialty — leave the manufacturing line and hit the market, the right labeling equipment will quickly justify its cost.

Quality Labeling Assurance


The use of a semi-automatic or fully-automatic bottle label machine gives CBD manufacturers the ability to place a well-designed label accurately every time — and we all know that a label with a great design and precise application is a crucial marketing tool. 

Label machines are faster, more consistent, and consistently accurate compared to manual hand labeling. The best labeling equipment includes stabilizers that ensure the label is placed evenly and in the same location over and over without movement vertically or horizontally.

Cost vs. Value

While the upfront cost of purchasing or leasing new labeling equipment may seem daunting, it’s essential to evaluate all of the production costs that impact your operation. 

For instance, the one-time purchase of labeling equipment will be significantly less than the cost of hiring a full-time employee to apply labels to CBD products. If you already have workers hand-attaching labels, automating your labeling process will free them up to do more pressing and profitable tasks. 

Another important part of the cost equation is the reduction of wasted and defective products coming off the line. Labeling equipment is consistent and reliable, so human error is eliminated and fewer labels are misplaced, which saves money. There is something to understanding efficiency and cost savings versus the actual cash price of the equipment. Ultimately, the value of the equipment is greater than the cost in many significant ways.

Evaluating Your Setup

Before choosing the type of label applicator machine you want, know your production goals, evaluate your current setup, and determine the right machine size. This will help you choose a labeler that meets your needs, fits seamlessly into your current operation, and makes your process more efficient.

Evaluating Your Labeling Setup

Production Run

To properly evaluate your needs, clearly identify your labeling and production goals. 

Start by deciding the quantity and speed that you want your CBD product to move through the assembly line. Label application equipment comes in different speed ranges, so choose one that fits a pace that your line can maintain. 

You'll also need to consider the potential downtime that could occur as you change labeling applications (e.g., moving from hand labeling to a semi-automatic machine). 

Any labeling machine you choose will come with pros and cons, so look for a labeler that will be simple for you to set up, use, and maintain.

Space and Equipment

Once you have clear goals in mind for the amount of product you'll be pushing through your line and at what speed, look for equipment that will fit into the space you have and be easily accessible by workers. Other considerations include existing equipment compatibility and overall packaging line design. 

Your production line includes a variety of machines, such as fillers, cappers, and labelers. For the sake of efficiency, it is best to purchase a labeling machine that is compatible with the equipment that you already have in your line to prevent problems. This is also an opportunity for you to decide whether you want your labeling machine to fit in line with your current machinery, or if you would prefer a freestanding labeler. 

You should choose a labeler that can scale with the production line as it expands and improves over time.


Container and Label Considerations 

From dropper bottles and tincture bottles to jars, tins, and vitals, there are a multitude of CBD container options from which to choose. You can pick from a selection of tamper-evident and child-resistant containers that meet the guidelines and regulations for CBD packaging, while also keeping CBD products fresh on dispensary shelves. This guide offers a complete look at the CBD products that are in high demand in the market today.

Regardless of your company’s container preference, once you determine the dimensions, it’s time to decide on label size, style, and placement. The most popular types are front and back labels, wrap-around labels, and shrink-sleeve labels. 

If you know that your bottle will have an unusual shape, you will need to find a labeling machine that can properly affix labels to those unique dimensions. Labeling machines come in a variety of sizes and types but are not necessarily universal to all label applications.

Quality Containers and Labels 

For a sharp, professional appearance, choosing high-quality materials is essential. While the right labeler can do a great job labeling your CBD products, if the containers being used aren't premium, they can cause issues that make your product look bad.

No matter what you choose, be sure the containers are consistent. Imperfections and inconsistencies in the size and shape can cause your label machine to misread where the labels need to be placed. Inspect your containers regularly for any signs of poor quality so that you can address them before they are filled and improperly labeled. 

Label quality is another factor that will determine your overall results. Labels come in many different materials and can use a variety of glues or adhesives when applied to your containers. Poor quality labels are susceptible to tearing, bubbling, smearing, and other label performance malfunctions. Choose a well-known and trusted label brand, and give some thought to whether you prefer a paper or synthetic product.

Choosing a Labeling Partner

Choosing the right labeler machine will depend on more than just the machine's functionality. When you purchase from a labeling equipment manufacturer or distributor, you also begin an ongoing partnership with them. Here are a few things to consider as you choose a labeling partner.


Naturally, all equipment is subject to some rate of failure when it's used hard. It's imperative that your labeling machine manufacturer has spare parts on hand and that they're readily available. The longer your machine is down, the less product you can get out of the door — and time is money. 

Be sure to ask your labeling equipment provider if any parts are known to wear out and what the wait time is for replacements. This will allow you to plan for any maintenance or repairs that will need to be done without impacting your regular production time.

Cannabis Manufacturing Guide To Labeling Parts


The key to keeping your production line running smoothly is to ensure that your labeling equipment is being maintained and serviced throughout its life. The manufacturer of your labeling machine should be available to answer any of your questions or concerns and assist you in solving minor problems. 

The best way to find a reputable dealer is to ask for recommendations within the CBD community. As you look into labeling equipment dealers, consider the timeliness of their responses, whether their solutions are trustworthy, and if they're able to provide ongoing upgrades and continuous support. All of these will be important as your operation begins to grow.

Cannabis Manufacturing Guide To Labeling Service


High-quality products should be the goal of every manufacturer. However, not all companies follow the same set of standards. 

To ensure that you are getting the best value for your money, ask your equipment dealer a few questions about their quality control procedures for parts, repairs, and new machines. For instance, find out how they test machines before pre-sale and ask what type of inspections are done on used and refurbished machinery before they resell them. 

The investment you make today into labeling equipment for your CBD manufacturing operation or dispensary is going to depend on the support and customer care of the equipment manufacturer long term. As their customer, you want to know that they stand behind their products by providing thorough and helpful answers to your questions, make parts easy to get, and adhere to high-quality standards for all of their equipment, new or used. All of these factors will have an impact on how well your labeling machine performs beyond those first few thousand bottles, and as your operation expands.


As you move toward increasing your CBD product production, be it CBD tinctures, CBD vape juice, topicals, edibles, etc., with professional labeling equipment, keep in mind all of the decisions you will need to make.

  • Evaluate your current manufacturing line. Determine the number of containers that need labeling as well as space and design restrictions.
  • Once you've set some production goals and have an idea of how you are going to integrate a new piece of labeling equipment, it is time to go shopping. Purchasing a labeling machine will require you to compare the different options, including semi-automatic, fully-automatic, tabletop, inline, or rotary. You'll also need to consider your materials (e.g, glass tincture bottles with gloss paper labels) to ensure that the labeling machine you choose will perform well.
  • Remember that the labeling equipment you choose will also require ongoing maintenance and care to stay operational. You should contact a reputable dealer and get information about their service contracts and the availability of parts so that you will have the resources needed to keep your new machine in working order. 

For some, CBD contract manufacturing is the way to go. However, if you’re handling the CBD operation from start to finish, it’s imperative to have reliable labeling equipment. From choosing the right CBD supplier to buying the best-fit packaging equipment, it all matters if you want to deliver a great product that appeals to your audience.

The effective use of automated labeling technology offers significant improvements in productivity and output as a whole. However, finding the right labeling machine is the key. Make sure to evaluate all potential labeling machines for quality, speed, and reliability before you make a purchase.

About Pack Leader USA

About Pack Leader USA

Who We Are

As our name suggests, Pack Leader USA is a leader in the labeling industry. Built on the research and development of Pack Leader Machinery, Inc., we entered the North American market with high-quality products, modernized labeling technologies, and an excellent customer service reputation. We have taken the labeling industry to the next level by designing easy-to-use and cost-effective labeling machines that serve the growing cannabis and cannabis THC industry.

Our Commitment

We are committed to providing our customers with reliable machinery, quick service, and readily available parts to ensure uptime and eliminate costly downtime. Before you purchase, we are happy to offer free consultation and, if you’re ready to buy, we’ll walk you through the purchasing process step by step from price quote and delivery to set up and ongoing customer support and training. 

We promise to provide more than just a piece of equipment for your production line — we’ll come alongside you as your partner. 

Set up a free labeling equipment consultation with our team today to learn which of our labelers can help your CBD manufacturing operation or dispensary improve productivity and efficiency and fit your budget.

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