Cannabis Packaging Innovations and Increasing Consumer Options

The global cannabis packaging market is poised for growth. Cannabis companies understand that their packaging is as important as the quality of their products can make a difference in what people choose to buy.

The companies that put thought into telling a story and making a personal connection with their packaging are more likely to attract a strong consumer base.


Design creates familiarity and captures attention

Many consumers seek reassurance that they are buying legitimate, safe products. By using the type of labeling and branding consumers commonly see on a bag of roasted coffee beans or a craft beer, the buying experience gains familiarity. Companies are increasingly playing with sizes, shapes, tactile experiences, colors and materials found in high-end, mainstream retail packaging. 

Tasteful boxes hold beautiful jars that present flower and preserve its potency and freshness. Different varieties of products are labeled in terms of user experience rather than strains – calm, connect, alert and create are some of the terms used. 

The cannabis leaf is still a commonly used symbol but brands are using it in modern, creative ways. For example, it may come in a simple, geometric shape or be used together with a symbol from the medical world on a cannabis sticker. 


Color choices attract new and casual-use consumers

The psychedelic colors associated with marijuana users in the past are giving way to subtle, minimalistic color choices for certain products. Designers are steering away from past stereotypes to attract a new breed of consumer.

For example, boxed pre-rolls in classic foil with debossing convey a subtle touch of elegance. If gold and black make a product look high-end and expensive, this applies to premium cannabis too. 

Earthy colors like green and brown are popular as they reflect the trend towards organic and environmentally friendly product choices. 


Demand for customized cannabis packaging solutions

Packaging customization is important to give products a unique edge. From custom embossing on the packaging to customized box shapes, companies are using all the ways they can to make an impression. 

Bags and pouches used for cannabis today do not resemble the weed bags of the past at all. They are not only child-resistant but practical and beautiful, often coming with zippers that make them hard to open and resealable.

The design does not suffer as the zipper’s head is locked at the end of the zipper, providing a good cross between design and functionality. Grip-and-pull bags are popular too. Demand for innovative folding cartons, pouches and bags increases as edibles gain in popularity. 


More child-resistant packaging options are available

Designers and packaging companies have to avoid the use of colors that will attract children and graphics that resemble cartoons. This violates the regulations for child-resistant cannabis packaging.

The risk of children being exposed to products has resulted in many regulations and these have forced designers to come up with innovative solutions - squeeze-and-pull designs, push-and twist caps, exit bags and sliding metal tins.

Secure droppers are being specifically designed with a safety lock system to protect children from misusing products. Pop boxes that have to be opened by a strong pop makes them safe, resealable and simple to use. The next big thing on the market could be child-resistant tops for cannabis-infused beverages in cans. 


Considering the future of marijuana packaging

The shifting regulatory landscape requires a flexible mindset. For example, regulatory labels serve an important purpose and need to work together with marijuana packaging. Branding and other design elements need to hold their own and not fade into obscurity due to the necessity of cannabis stickers conveying certain information. 

Strategizing and designing packaging have to be done with future regulatory changes in mind. The challenges can be frustrating but they are creating an environment where brands are more thoughtful about packaging and are prepared to go the extra mile when using printing techniques or details.

Foils, spot UV, special text, soft-touch finishes and weed stockers are making marijuana packaging that exceeds expectations. 


A focus on sustainable cannabis packaging continues

The climate change crisis remains in the headlines and continues to influence consumer spending habits. Green cannabis packaging is a trend that is not going away anytime soon. Companies need to think about cannabis packaging materials that are biodegradable, recyclable, and compostable.

A number of companies are already using 100% plant-based hemp plastic and other materials, like post consumer resin (PCR) instead of plastic that ends up in a landfill.


Strong growth of the CBD industry and CBD packaging

If the FDA creates a regulatory framework for the use of CBD in supplements, foods and drinks, the U.S. CBD market is expected to grow exponentially. Capsules, drinks, beauty and skincare products are some of the fast-growing CBD categories.

Growth of the CBD market is being driven by factors such as the desire for alternatives to pharmaceuticals, more product availability, growing consumer awareness, and a wide selection of products. 

CBD packaging is rivaling the packaging of top products in the food and beauty industries. Packaging has to protect products against light, heat and air exposure, which can break down the natural cannabinoids, like CBD. Airtight containers equipped with UV-blocking layers in the material are one solution to the problem. However, protecting the integrity of the CBD is not the only requirement.

CBD packaging also has to reinforce the luxury status of products in the beauty market. Beauty serums, for instance, may come in elegant black bottles with cold-colored metal labels. A skincare line’s CBD packaging design may come in white with small pops of color for a Zen-like aesthetic. 


A final word

With limited advertising opportunities, the cannabis industry relies heavily on the packaging to foster brand awareness, communicate product attributes, and create a connection with consumers. Overall, the future of cannabis packaging is looking bright with a focus on safety and innovation to appeal to consumers from all walks of life. Marijuana packaging has come a long way and it will evolve more with increasing legalization across the world. 

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