Top Design Trends in Cannabis Packaging

As attitudes towards cannabis change, brands selling cannabis are moving away from the old, negative clichés related to cannabis and embracing more modern designs.

Good branding and design are essential for any business but particularly for products that stand on retail shelves where innovative cannabis packaging is essential to capture the attention of buyers. 


A new twist on clichéd images 

The cannabis leaf is an immediately identified but clichéd symbol in the cannabis industry. While brands continue to use the cannabis leaf in logos and cannabis packaging designs, they do so with a modern twist.

Identifying their target audience, which often varies widely from past consumers of cannabis, allows them to play with the familiar image in new ways. For example, they may use a modern, stylized version of the leaf, such as a simple, geometric shape, and combine it with other elements or use other colors.  


Experiential cannabis packaging information

Some brands are steering away from typical imagery and even recruiting well-known artists to visualize how a strain makes them feel. They then use the art on marijuana packaging.

They are staying away from strain names in favor of experiential-based information. This tells users how the product will make them feel rather than confusing them with unnecessary information about different strains. 


Marijuana packaging that suits a new type of user 

The standard image of a stoner brings to mind trippy rainbows and cartoon characters with bloodshot eyes. Consumers of today often want the convenience of using cannabis to unwind at the end of the day or ease anxiety. The products they are likely to use include those with low levels of THC or pre-rolled joints that remove the learning curve. 

New ways of consuming marijuana products, such as using elegant pen vapes or eating fancy artisanal edibles, has resulted in a need for new marijuana packaging designs. More consumers are open to using cannabis for the very first time. This opens up a whole market for products and packaging designed to entice new users. 


Compliance with regulations

States have long lists of regulations when it comes to child resistant cannabis packaging. They want to ensure that products do not appeal to children by using cartoon characters, certain words like “chocolate” or colors that attract their attention.  

California’s medical marijuana packaging laws focus mostly on labeling of products but many states have regulations about the types of containers that must be used too. For example, containers need to be opaque so the product cannot be seen until the package is opened. They also need to be resealable and clearly labeled. 

Many companies are taking an educated guess about what laws will eventually look like when coming up with new product packaging designs. Just one of the challenges of making child-resistant cannabis packaging is that it has to be too difficult for children to open and yet easy for senior consumers to open. 


Cannabis packaging is going green

Cannabis users tend to appreciate the natural roots of the product and therefore muted greens and browns are often used to reflect the ‘raw’ and ‘organic’ trend and an increased concern for the environment.

The environmental angle is important when choosing the type of packaging. More brands are going for recycled materials or biodegradable packaging and gaining the respect of green consumers.   


A new kind of weed bag

Cannabis packaging has come a long way from the plastic sandwich weed bags of the past. From lockable hemp pouches to custom weed bags, there are now so many choices. The latest exit bags are sturdy with zips and stand-up features.

Mylar bags are able to keep edibles fresh and potent by addressing concerns about smell, light and moisture. Quality bags can be both luxurious and sophisticated, as well as offer enough space for branding and labeling. 


A wide variety of cannabis stickers

Generic white labels are being replaced with a wide array of cannabis stickers. Quality cannabis stickers are being used for many purposes, such as helping to brand products and provide important information about a product.   


The health connection

Medical marijuana is legal in many states now. With the increased use of medical marijuana, marijuana packaging often makes use of medical or pharmaceutical symbols and colors to highlight the health aspect and add legitimacy. 

In CBD packaging, the focus is on the health benefits of using products, which take many different forms such as creams, tinctures and salves. CBD packaging comes in all kinds of shapes and forms, from sophisticated glass bottles to tins and wooden boxes. 



For a more stylish, contemporary look, the packaging is often minimalistic with clean and simple designs that fit well with the theme of relaxation and stress-free living. Stylish black and white designs are a far cry from the psychedelic designs of the past and appropriate for the high-quality products that are now coming on to the market. 


A play on the rich, counterculture history

One trend in cannabis packaging and branding is to hint at the old weed counterculture and traditional stoner tropes. For example, one design shows a meditating bear with the slogan “The only thing that bakes at room temperature.”

In states where cannabis is legal, brands tend to be more playful and specifically reference recreational product use. Fun and creativity help brands to stand out in the industry. Weed stickers are reframing weed use with quirky designs. 


Innovative child-resistant packaging and closures

Companies are being very innovative when it comes to making child-resistant closures, from squeeze-turn caps for capsules to push-turn dropper caps for CBD oils. Packaging too, from cases that look like contact lens cases to sophisticated cases for vape pens, is not only child resistant but elegant and functional. 


A final word

Good cannabis packaging design is important for the sustainability of the cannabis industry. Child resistant packaging, for example, is important to offer safety for children. Labeling and more product information help consumers to be more informed. This all signals that the industry is entering a whole new era and companies will continue to innovate in order to stand out from the competition and make their mark.   

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