Confused on how to read a certificate of analysis (CoA) for CBD, or simply a CBD CoA? You’ve come to the right spot!
Let’s discuss exactly what a certificate of analysis (CoA) is, and why it’s crucial to read before consuming your CBD items. A certificate of analysis for CBD, or CoA, is defined as a laboratory report that contains all necessary details about your CBD. It is used as a navigator in identifying all phytochemical (chemicals in plants) compounds within the CBD product.
This certificate comes from a third party lab is supposed to have information such as the CBD concentration in the final product, amounts of tested chemicals such as pesticides, heavy metals, and microbiological compounds.
A certificate of analysis for CBD oil exists primarily to make sure all hemp extracts have the required concentration of said chemicals. Why would you want to consume CBD gummies for pain relief that are very much unregulated, without knowing what’s inside of it?
I know I wouldn’t…
PLEASE NOTE: For your safety, DO NOT purchase any products that don’t have a CoA.
Why is the CoA so important?
The CBD industry is vast, and a lot of products are still coming in daily into the market. The goal of having a CoA accompany all CBD oil items is to minimize the activities of manufacturing sub-standard products and to ensure the safety of consumers.
The CoA will show things like heavy metals, pesticides, and cannabinoid contents – among some other areas.
With third party CoAs, producers cannot alter the numbers, thus producing better quality product. Consumers should note that the label of CBD products is not enough reason to trust the companies claims of ingredients and CBD amounts. It is pertinent to verify claims from the certificate of analysis for CBD.
Let’s keep discussing how to read a certificate of analysis for CBD…
How do I know a CoA is authentic?
The main thing about a CoA is that it’s considered a third party test. This means that the laboratory doing the tests is different than the company who made the product. This is important because the producer of the product should have no influence over the test results.
The third party lab will only produce the report for the company who made the product – nothing more. A CBD certificate of analysis will have a QR code on in that can link anyone to that same report which is kept on file at the laboratory’s database of reports.
This same QR code should be on the labels of any CBD oils, for example, from that lot.
The pictures above show some different examples of QR codes, and where you can find them on products. You should always be able to find these on either the box of the item, or directly on the label of the item.
How to Read a Certificate of Analysis for CBD Products
When you first see a certificate of analysis, you’ll notice a name of the laboratory that conducts the testing. This is the company that does all of the testing, and provides the report you are reading.
Another thing you will observe is the company client’s address that is selling the product with a QR code that can easily be scanned at any time to ascertain the lab report and verify its authenticity. The QR is regarded as a security measure that ensures the lab result is genuine, and can be found on product packaging.
This same QR code, as mentioned above, should be on the product label. The batch or lot number of the certificate of analysis should match the label.
If this is not the case, immediately contact the company you bought the CBD product from and as for a full refund. If there is no QR code on the label, please ask for a refund as well.
An excellent certificate of analysis for CBD is supposed to possess the following reports about the CBD to be tested…
1. Cannabinoid Profile Section
The cannabinoid profile of a sample, as the name implies, provides the general information on the cannabinoids discovered in the sample and their concentration level in the CBD.
Many people take this as the most crucial part of the CBD certificate of analysis, as it provides consumers with general information about the most active ingredients in the product. While this is important, it is not the only thing you should pay attention to.
For example, if you buy broad spectrum or full spectrum CBD, wouldn’t you want to make sure that’s what you are getting? Don’t fall victim to companies selling CBD isolate as full spectrum CBD.
You should make sure that the product contains 0.3% THC, or less, otherwise it’s considered illegal. Why? Read more about why CBD is legal here. The Farm Bill of 2018 decriminalized hemp, and hemp products, so long as their THC content is at the legal limit of 0.3% or less.
If the content is over that amount, the product is federally illegal. Plain and simple. Unless you live in a recreational marijuana state, or have a medical marijuana card, you are breaking the law by possessing that item.
Also, make sure the total CBD value is at least the same content as what’s advertised on the product you bought. For example, if you purchased a tincture that advertises 500mg of CBD, make sure there is at least 500mg of CBD on the CoA.
Use the cannabinoid profile above to practice looking for different cannabinoid contents. It’s pretty simple.
2. Heavy Metal Analysis Section
Heavy metals are often carcinogenic, i.e., compounds tending to cause cancer.
They are most times tested to determine the safety level of the product. The heavy metal analysis is a table that shows the chemicals tested for, by revealing their names, the concentration of sample measured, and recommended limits (if they product tests positive).
Related article: How is CBD Oil Made?
A positive test result on a heavy metal doesn’t necessarily mean the CBD product is immediately dangerous, but a high-quality CBD product will test as “NT”, or no trace. That means there is no trace of any element being tested.
New Phase Blends recommends, for the safety of the consumer, to stay away from products if their certificate of analysis shows the presence of heavy metals. This just means there are far too many residual solvents in the CBD oil product.
3. Pesticide Analysis Section
This part of the certificate of analysis for CBD provides you with a list of already tested pesticides in a product sample. Pesticide analysis is measured in part per billion (PPB).
Excess pesticides that were used growing the hemp can stick around and remain in the CBD products that we consume. We have to be very careful not to consume residual pesticide content.
4. Terpene Profile Section
The cannabis plant possesses a few different elements: cannabinoids, essential oils, and terpenes. Terpenes are famous for their unique influence on both aroma and flavor.
The terpene profile analysis shows the class of terpenes that are detected in the test sample. It also reveals the relative amount in percentage weight. This analysis may provide the user with the general idea of how their CBD product will smell or taste.
There is extensive research going into the development of different terpenes and how the may influence other physiological factors. Very little peer-reviewed evidence exists yet to support these claims on terpenes, but it is an exciting field to follow.
PLEASE NOTE: For your safety, DO NOT purchase any products that don’t have a CoA.
Some labs may have even more testing sections that show further information in their certificates of analysis for CBD products. The sections mentioned above are the most common, and widely accepted as a “full-panel”, or full analysis.
If you have any more question on how to read certificates of analysis for CBD products, please let us know!
Wrapping It All Up | Reading a CBD CoA
While the certificate of analysis (CoA) might look scary, it’s really not. Most all CoA’s follow the same guidelines, and use the same measurements.
Almost all of the profile sections are the same, too. That said, it’s very important to read them, especially when buying from a specific company for the first time.
There are far too many companies out there trying to sell things like hemp seed oil under the guise of a genuine CBD oil product. This is a pure scam, and now that you know how to read a CoA you can avoid it completely.
Before you go, if you’re interested in purchasing any hemp-based CBD products, please check out our store by clicking on the banner above. If you aren’t signed up to receive updates like this and exclusive discounts on our products, please visit our homepage at www.newphaseblends.com and subscribe! It’s quick and easy.
If you find interest in reading about CBD, you should check out the eBook “CBD Essentials“, written by CBD expert and CEO of New Phase Blends, Dale Hewett.