Cannabis Packaging Types + Pros and Cons + Matching Packaging to Your Cannabis Product
Our great efforts to produce the best product and a remarkable cannabis brand should include choosing cannabis containers and creating cannabis packaging that is perfect for the job.
This of course means that your chosen cannabis packaging types should be more than ready and competent in dressing your product and preventing any shelf life, quality, and structural damage issues.
GETTING STARTED WITH PACKAGING CANNABIS PRODUCTS
By correctly choosing the best cannabis packaging types to match your specific product form you should be able to present your unique offerings in protective, dynamic, and eye-catching packaging while adhering to the necessary regulations.
If you’ve already planned out your cannabis packaging strategy:
It should be easier for you to decide on what type of cannabis container and packaging that will best protect and carry your brand.
NOTE: It’s important to review packaging options with a professional to detail any pros and cons of your chosen containers and packaging.
Your choice would ideally be the maximum balance between these factors: product protection, cost effectiveness, ease of use, budget, handling and shipping environment, and corporate philosophy (if you are particular about the environmental aspect of your cannabis packaging).
TYPES OF CANNABIS CONTAINERS AND PACKAGING
I. RIGID CANNABIS PACKAGING TYPES
This type of packaging is defined as any container whose structure is unyielding, hard packaging made of material such as glass and metal.
When it comes to product value perception, any container that is solid and heavier than other containers is viewed as premium, not seen as “disposable”.
PROS OF RIGID CANNABIS PACKAGING
- Hard material provides the marijuana product with excellent mechanical protection. This is of utmost importance especially with cannabis flowers to prevent trichome heads from getting crushed and subsequently increasing the oxidation rate of both cannabinoids and terpenoids
- Holds its form well, which makes for a consistent packaging presentation
- Is inert and therefore a safer container choice
- Most rigid container materials are made of completely nonporous material, easy to clean and are hygienic, which allow for a longer shelf life of its contents
CONS OF RIGID CANNABIS PACKAGING
- Depending on where you are, some rigid containers (naturally clear) may need to be packaged in an additional exit bag due to regulations disallowing transparent packaging
- Especially with oils and concentrates, accessibility can be a problem depending on the shape of the cannabis container and it can be difficult for customers to get every last bit of product
- Some rigid materials like glass can break or shatter easily, and cracked containers will be highly prone to cross-contamination
II. SEMI-RIGID CANNABIS PACKAGING TYPES
This type of packaging is defined as any container whose structure has some give, and holds its form well unless a moderate amount of pressure is exerted on it.
They are neither rigid nor flexible. These containers are made of material such as aluminum (such as thin cans), carton (duplex board or triplex board made into boxes or paper tubes), thermoformed plastic containers (using plastic sheets molded into containers such as plastic tubs and cups).
PROS OF SEMI-RIGID CANNABIS PACKAGING
- Highly cost-effective, easy and quick to produce
- It is a lot lighter than rigid containers, making transport and storage cheaper
- Most semi-rigid materials are easy to cast into molds, which give great customization options for your brand and type of marijuana product
- Containers of this material are tough yet flexible, have good transparency for cannabis product viewing, usually comes in high gloss for a great commercial aesthetic
- It doesn’t really break, shatter, or tear, so is hardy against handling and wear-and-tear
CONS OF SEMI-RIGID CANNABIS PACKAGING
- Most semi-rigid containers can scratch easily if not properly handled, leading to an unprofessional presentation
- Unlike rigid cannabis containers, most of these options are plastic and its quality will degrade—watch out for old inventory
- Plastics can yellow over time and lend to visual distortion
- Some semi-rigid containers aren’t easy to reuse and recycle, and some consumers regard these containers as pollutants
- Specific materials are flammable, especially if stored near solvents and oils
III. FLEXIBLE CANNABIS PACKAGING TYPES
This type of packaging is made of material that is yieldable. When filled and sealed, flexible containers may change in shape.
Examples of these containers are bags, pouches, envelopes, sachets, or wraps, made of paper, plastic film, aluminum (foil), or a combination of these (usually ranging from 13-75 micrometers in thickness).
PROS OF FLEXIBLE CANNABIS PACKAGING
- Widely and readily available
- In the case of parchment paper, this is most ideal for packaging cannabis concentrates because it has a silicone surface that oils won’t stick to
- They are flexible and breakage and consequent cross contamination isn’t a serious concern compared to other packaging formats
- Ergonomic and easy to handle and manipulate, as a type of packaging these are perfect for shelf display as they can fit closely around the marijuana product/contents and takes little extra, unnecessary space in storage, transport, and on the shelf
- Packaging types are relatively lightweight, stacks easily in storage, and cheaper to ship than other rigid or semi rigid containers, for less complicated protocols for shipping
- It is recyclable, and once product is consumed, can be used for other purposes
- These have excellent printing capabilities—flexible materials can have prints on them, instead of purchasing separate product labels
- There are many customization options available to further increase a flexible container type’s ease of use for customer handling as well as for branding purposes (i.e. tear notches, hang holes, degassing valve, adding clear windows on an opaque body, matte and gloss spot laminate, holographic foiling and foil stamping, and so on)
CONS OF FLEXIBLE CANNABIS PACKAGING
- If purchasing lower quality flexible containers, these will be thinner and will be prone to tampering and puncture during transport and handling
- Depending on your cannabis product, some flexible containers can only be used for packaging cannabis concentrates and won’t be adequate for most cannabis product formats
FINALLY, SOME GENERAL REMINDERS BEFORE YOU DECIDE ON YOUR CANNABIS PACKAGING
A few of the oils produced by cannabis (such as limonene) can dissolve plastic. The resulting residue is then deposited on the cannabis product itself.
Hard plastic is quite inert and a safer storage choice.
You don’t want to package flowers in flexible containers (unless these are stand up pouches) because of the risk of flowers and trichomes being crushed.
You want to package your dried cannabis flowers in airtight containers, lest your product continues to dehydrate. And as you know, when dried marijuana drops to minus 7% water content, volatile terpene oils follow quickly, and your once quality product loses some of its aroma and potency.
Rigid containers provide excellent protection to dried and delicate cannabis flowers and its trichome heads.
Vacuum packaging marijuana flowers in mylar bags is a great way to package product, as long as you are sure that both container and product have a safe anaerobic bacteria level.
Never do heat-sealing on a humidifying pack (such as Boveda) into an aluminum cannabis bag—the moisture pack can rupture once pressure is applied on the heat-sealed bag.
To lengthen the shelf life of your edibles, you can consider adding small dessicant packs to continuously wick any moisture in the container.
We hope this summary has been helpful to you as you finalize your packaging for your unique cannabis products. When in doubt, remember that talking to a packaging and print professional to discuss best options with you is still the best way to go before purchasing your marijuana containers.
When printing your custom cannabis labels or cannabis bags, remember that compliance should always come before creativity—you don’t want any problems in the long run.
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