How to Read CBD Oil Labels

How to Read CBD Oil Labels to get the most from your product

Currently the cannabidiol (CBD) industry is pretty much self-regulated and under the control of the U.S. Food & Drug Administration. Because of this, CBD oil labelling across different brands and products tend to be inconsistent, often leaving both novice and experienced consumers confused.

However, with CBD considered a “dietary supplement” that has to adhere to certain labelling requirements, there are key elements that, when knowing how to read it, can be useful in helping to decipher what is in a product and how to use it.

Here we go over these elements, teaching you how to read CBD Oil Labels so you can get the most from your product and do so safely.

Key Elements on CBD Oil Labels Explained

Product Size

CBD oil bottles are generally available in 15 ml, 30 ml and 100 ml bottles which will help determine the amount of CBD per milliliter, an important indicator of CBD concentration/strength/potency.


Every bottle must have an ingredients list. Sometimes this includes only active compounds, however more often than not also a list of “other/inactive” ingredients as well. In the case of CBD oil, this can include the carrier oil and other additives such as flavorings, colorings and sweeteners.

Full Spectrum, Broad Spectrum or Isolate
The label should also indicate the type of CBD the product contains.

Full Spectrum:
Includes a wide range of terpenes and other cannabinoids in addition to CBD and in some THC (<0.2%).

Broad Spectrum:
Consists of a wide range of terpenes and other cannabinoids in addition to CBD but no detectable levels of THC.

Contains only “pure” CBD with no detectable levels of other cannabinoids or terpenes.

Carrier Oils
These are what the CBD extract is diluted in with the most common carrier oils include coconut oil, MCT oil, or hemp seed oil.

Recommended Serving Size / Dosage

Serving Size
Serving size is the amount of product to take at one time and will often also include the volume of the dropper. Droppers generally come in 0.5 ml or 1 ml sizes and are often calibrated to help with precision dosing.

Dosage is often more tricky than serving size and is commonly expressed as the amount of CBD in weight (e.g., milligrams) per volume (e.g., millilitres). Although it is recommended to measure dosage by milliliter it is useful to know that generally speaking 20 drops of CBD oil are equal to 1 milliliter.

Calculating Dosage
If the CBD oil label indicated the amount of CBD in milligrams it’s relatively easy.

Total milligrams of CBD in the bottle divide by bottle size in ml = CBD mg / ml

For example:
If you have a 30 ml bottle containing 1,500 mg of CBD 1,500 ÷ 30 = 50 mg of CBD per 1 ml

However, CBD oil labels often only shows the percentage of CBD in which case the percentage needs to be converted into milligrams first.

1 milliliter = 1 gram = 1000 milligrams of CBD oil.

For example:
So, if you have a 30 ml bottle of CBD with a concentration of 15% CBD 15% of 3,000 mg = 1.5 x 3,000 = 4,500 mg of CBD per bottle 4,500 ÷ 30 = 150 mg of CBD per 1 ml

Occasionally, as in the case with the popular brand Charlotte’s Web (see graphic), a product will not indicate the amount of hemp extract and not the amount of CBD. This requires the consumer to convert milligrams of hemp extract into milligrams of CBD to get dosage which can be tricky.

Depending on the type of extract, this can either refer to the total cannabinoid content, or it could be a direct substitute for CBD.

If it’s the total cannabinoid content: The CBD amount will be less than the labelled amount for example, 1,000 mg hemp extract may only contain 700 mg of CBD.

If it’s a direct substitute: The CBD amount will be the same as the labelled amount for example, 1,000 mg of hemp extract will contain 1,000 mg of CBD.

To find out which it is, check the third party lab tests for the product or reach out to the company directly.

Additional Useful Information Explained

Third Party Lab Testing

Although not required, if a CBD company is willing to invest in third-party lab testing and be transparent about their products and their contents, it can be reassuring when making a purchase.

Extraction Methods

Carbon Dioxide (CO2) Extraction
Uses supercritical carbon dioxide to separate the CBD extract and other compounds from the plant material and considered the “cleanest” and safest extraction method.

Solvent Extraction
Uses a hydrocarbon or natural solvent to dissolve the CBD extract and other compounds from the plant material but in the case of hydrocarbons can leave behind toxic residues in poorer quality oils.

Do Bigger Numbers Mean It's Better?
It is a common misconception that more means more, however a bottle with a high CBD content is not always “stronger” than one with fewer milligrams. For example, a 30 ml bottle of 1,000 mg CBD has the same potency as a 15 ml bottle of 500 mg CBD at 33.3 milligrams of CBD per milliliter.

How To Calculate Price / Milligram

To calculate the price per milligram of CBD is simple.

Product Price / CBD Content in MG = Price Per Milligram of CBD Content

For example:
A 30 mg bottle containing 1,500 mg of CBD for €79,95
€79,95 / 1,500 mg = €0,05 per milligram of CBD content

While the CBD industry is largely unregulated, there are certain labelling requirements that must be included on CBD oil labels from legitimate brands, and include:

With this information, you can be assured that your CBD oil is not only legitimate and safe to use, but will also help you to use it properly so you can get the maximum benefits from your investment.