Is your packaging CBD suitable?

The rising trend in CBD-containing products has inspired the set-up of LuxLeaf Packaging, a new division at Knoll Printing & Packaging, as Ben Cohen explains

CBD has quickly become one of the biggest buzzwords in skin care and beauty. But what exactly does this mean for the luxury packaging industry? Jeremy Cohen, the CEO of Knoll Packaging, believes this is the single largest opportunity in several generations for both entrepreneurs and established beauty clients to leverage CBD into successful mainstream products.

With the continued growth in luxury skin care, CBD is trickling into the marketplace, which opens up an opportunity for newcomers to have explosive growth. Knoll is a major supplier to the luxury skin care industry and this expansion is a natural extension of the company’s capabilities.

For over 35 years, Knoll Printing & Packaging has been a leading global company for innovative and creative packaging solutions to luxury brands. The family-run company specialises in sustainable packaging and complex shapes and sizes, and offers a full-service process customised around clients’ needs.

From precise conceptual design interpretation, to efficient materials and supply sourcing, and global manufacturing and production, the Knoll team carefully executes projects with the client’s vision in mind.

In 2019, Knoll launched LuxLeaf Packaging to meet the growing global demand for premium cannabis and CBD packaging.

High demand

Legal cannabis quickly became a phenomenon in the US and has sparked legalisation and regulatory conversations across the globe. The major food and beverage companies are on their way to incorporating cannabis-infused consumer products in the growing market and with the recently passed 2018 Farm Bill, hemp and CBD are now legal in the US.

As a result, Knoll anticipates the market to accelerate with personal care products.


Cannabis packaging typically needs to be secure and sealed, and many states require child-proof or child-resistant packaging


The global regulatory landscape is evolving quickly and it’s important to understand the history of legalisation in the US. In January 2014, Colorado became the first state to have state-legal sale of non-medicinal cannabis and, quickly after, Washington and eight other states plus the District of Columbia enacted laws to make the adult use of cannabis legal.

There are now 33 states with effective medical marijuana laws, but despite this progress, the US federal government still considers cannabis an illegal substance. The one exception is hemp, which contains less than 0.3% THC and was made legal with the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill.

We expect legalisation momentum to continue across the world, which will continue to increase cannabis industry growth and sales.

Reports state that Europe is set to become the world’s largest legal cannabis market in the next five years. According to news reports, the industry has grown more in the last year than the last six years combined.

France, the UK and Spain are reviewing current legislations, while industry leaders Germany, Italy and the Netherlands are focusing on expanding existing medical programmes.

Over 25 countries have legalised medical marijuana and Canada legalised recreational marijuana in October 2018. The medical cannabis market is considered to hold the greatest commercial potential in Europe over the short term, with recreational legalisation expected to be a slower process.

CBD in beauty

The most visible trend in the market is CBD-infused products. Many major retailers in the US have begun to sell CBD products, including beauty and skin care. Cannabidiol (CBD) is a non-psychoactive cannabinoid, which is extracted from the cannabis plant.

It is increasingly believed that CBD is able to treat anxiety, epilepsy, inflammation, nausea and other conditions, and since CBD is an extract, it is particularly easy to add to products.

Due to its recent popularity within the US, its potential health benefits and non-psychoactive properties, CBD has tremendous potential to be integrated into luxury products.

The market forecast is in favor of beauty and personal care products. Personal care accounted for 24% of the hemp-based product market in the US as of 2016 (Congressional Research Service and the Hemp Business Journal) and many retail for premium prices.

Skin care and beauty products from brands like Origins, Saint Jane, PureKana, Herbivore, Kiehl’s, Josie Maran and Lord Jones retail between approximately US$30 and $125.

The packaging and design of these products aren’t hippie, tie-dyed or flower-power, either. They are modern, sleek and worthy of posting onto a customer’s social media account. CBD products have also been available at retailers like Barneys and Sephora.

Celebrities Jennifer Aniston, Mandy Moore and Olivia Wilde have also voiced their support of CBD products, adding to the overall attention being drawn to these products.

But what about packaging?

One of the biggest challenges of cannabis packaging is state packaging regulations. Cannabis packaging typically needs to be secure and sealed. Many states require child-proof or child-resistant packaging, which can be utilised in the primary packaging to maintain the secondary packaging’s aesthetic.


Sustainable packaging is also a key element when you consider the connection between cannabis beauty and the wider natural beauty trend


Many states also have regulations about the amount of product that can be sold in individual packages, and specifications on labelling, font and type size, ingredient lists, allergens, nutrition facts, warning statements and restrictions around the design of the package. Brands need to work with their entire team to be able to find the appropriate balance to present a premium package that is also fully compliant.

Developing sustainable packaging for cannabis products is also a key element when you consider the connection between cannabis beauty and the wider natural beauty trend. Global brands are auditing their supply chain to ensure that every element of their product meets certain sustainability and clean beauty goals, and we’ve found that fully recyclable and sustainable packaging is particularly important to this industry.

Knoll is respected as an innovator in the luxury packaging business. The challenges posed by regulations as well the marketing goals of brands give rise to tremendous opportunity for innovation.

With an emphasis on sustainability, Knoll has already modelled packs for its luxury clients that can quickly be adapted into this new rising industry. Knoll can produce sustainable packaging that is equal in quality, visual impact and perceived value for any luxury brand on the planet, and CBD needs that for credibility, and for newcomer brands to compete with established names.

Knoll is recognised as a leader in its category for sustainable packaging, and the initiative in this emerging industry will drive change and innovation.

The LuxLeaf Packaging team is thrilled to be able to bring Knoll’s 35 years of quality and customisation to the cannabis industry. This has already included developing packaging from conception to delivery and helping brands understand the benefits of elevating their packaging.

This deep creative collaboration with the growing industry is not only an exciting opportunity, but a natural extension of Knoll’s expertise.

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