CBD products are everywhere: from CBD oil to CBD vapes, CBD edibles to CBD hand cream, it’s hard to go a day without seeing or hearing about one of these products. In many ways, this has been a very positive development: CBD offers a healthy and natural method of treatment for a lot of physical and mental health conditions. But the rapid increase in the popularity of CBD has also led to some abuse. In particular, many quality CBD products on the market aren’t manufactured following the proper regulations.
The lack of legislation for CBD in many countries has also created some room for faulty products. In recent years, we’ve seen quality CBD products that either don’t contain as much CBD as they claim, contain more THC than they should, or have some undesirable components like pesticides and heavy metals.
To distinguish themselves from dishonest manufacturers, many CBD companies resort to third-party testing or CBD test results to guarantee the quality of their product. But how exactly does that process work? How to read a coa CBD lab? What is a CBD certificate of analysis? And how can you, as a consumer, use them to make sure you are getting the best quality CBD products? Let’s find out!
What are third-party CBD test results?
Third-party testing or CBD test results is the act of sending over a product to an independent laboratory to have it tested. In the case of CBD oil, many manufacturers will send every new batch to a laboratory to check what their product contains, and in which quantities.
Making CBD oil isn’t an exact science. Certain types of cannabis contain more CBD and the way that hemp is grown can also impact the cannabinoids content of the oil. There are also a few more variables to do with the extraction process. All in all, it’s difficult to predict the exact content of a CBD product without testing it.
Third-party testing or CBD testing results are useful to the manufacturer: it lets them know what their product contains, and how to make adjustments so that it has the correct potency. It is also useful to consumers, who will be able to see the CBD Certificate of Analysis delivered by the laboratory and get first-hand information on the chemical profile of the product they are thinking of buying.
What is the CBD Certificate of Analysis (COA)?
CBD Certificate of Analysis (or COA) is an official document delivered by a third-party testing laboratory. It contains the precise measurements of substances contained in the CBD extract. Any good Certificate of Analysis should be dated, and specify the batch number of the product it is reviewing. Of course, it also needs to be issued by an accredited laboratory.
What should you look at in a CBD Certificate of Analysis?
To assess the quality of a product, you may want to have a close look at the Certificate of Analysis that the manufacturer is providing. This will let you know not only how much CBD it contains, but also the percentages of other cannabinoids and chemicals. Here’s what you should be looking for when reading a CBD Certificate of Analysis:
Percentage and potency of CBD
When you buy a CBD product, you expect it to contain a certain amount of CBD. For example, you may have read that a bottle contains 100mg of CBD. By reading the Certificate of Analysis, you’ll be able to assess whether that claim is actually right. The potency of CBD products is expressed in terms of milligrams per gram on a CBD Certificate of Analysis.
This is usually one of the first things that you’ll see on a COA, and it’s rare for manufacturers to lie about it. Nevertheless, it’s always useful to have an official document backing up the potency of the CBD you want to buy.
Percentage of THC
The percentage of THC is something very important to look out for. In some countries with very stringent laws like Australia or the U.K, a small difference in the percentage of THC could make your CBD product illegal. If you are thinking of using CBD for children or pets, making sure that the percentage of THC is minimal is also very important.
As well as CBD and THC, broad-spectrum and full-spectrum CBD oil will contain other cannabinoids. For example, you’ll find compounds like CBG, CBN or CBC. Although they are currently under-researched, those cannabinoids already show promising signs of adding some health benefits to the extract.
Terpenes are compounds found in cannabis that are largely responsible for its smell and taste. Today, scientists also believe that they boost the health benefits of cannabinoids like CBD. By reading a CBD Certificate of Analysis, you’ll be able to see whether your product contains any terpenes—preferably, it should!
As with any product, CBD oil should be tested for harmful bacteria and microbes. A CBD Certificate of Analysis will generally show results of tests for E Coli, Salmonella, mold, and a few other toxic substances. Unlike cannabinoids and compounds, that data isn’t expressed in terms of percentage. Tests for harmful microbial substances show up as either positive or negative.
Nowadays, a lot of the most reputable CBD companies are manufacturing organic products. Nevertheless, it’s not impossible even for products that are grown organically to contain a certain amount of pesticides. A CBD Certificate of Analysis allows you to see just how clean a product is in terms of harmful chemicals.
As a plant, hemp has a tendency to absorb heavy metals from the soil. This means that when it has been cultivated in certain places, it could contain things like arsenic, mercury or lead. If these show up in CBD test results, they could be very harmful. By reading the CBD Certificate of Analysis of a product, you’re able to see whether or not a product contains these undesirable chemicals.
Making sure you are reading the right certificate
When reading a CBD Certificate of Analysis for a product, the first thing to do is…making sure it’s actually the certificate for that particular product! For that reason, you should always check that the date of the certificate matches up with the date shown on the product. You’ll also need to make sure that the batch number specified on the certificate is identical to the one on the CBD oil bottle or product.
If you’ve heard all about the benefits of CBD and want to try it out for yourself, you need to make sure that you’re purchasing a quality product. To do that, no method is as effective as checking the CBD Certificate of Analysis provided by third-party testing or CBD testing results of the product.
This document will let you know everything you need about the potency of the product you’re buying, what positive element it contains (like other cannabinoids or terpenes), but also what unwanted substances it may have (like microbes, pesticides or heavy metals). When it comes to choosing quality CBD products, you can’t take manufacturers at their word. So be a smart consumer, and learn how to read a CBD lab report for yourself.