To find a quality CBD product you need to read the Certificate of Analysis. Don’t worry, today we’ll break it down so you can understand what that info actually means.
It seems like Cannabidiol (CBD) is everywhere you look. You can find it at gas stations, grocery stores, and even pharmacies. However, not all CBD is created equal. Lower quality CBD can have unnecessary additives, it may have less CBD than advertised, or it could even have higher THC levels than you’re comfortable with.
The only way to know for sure is to read the Certificate of Analysis. If, however, you’re not familiar with the layout and type of information found on that document…it can seem pretty daunting.
So here is everything you need to know about understanding a Certificate of Analysis for your CBD products.
What is a CBD Certificate of Analysis?
A Certificate of Analysis (COA) is a report that goes over the exact contents of a product. For Industrial Hemp products–like CBD–this report gives you the exact chemical make-up. You’ll be able to see which cannabinoids are in the product and if there are any contaminants.
The purpose of a COA is to verify what’s actually inside a product, and to make sure it matches the advertising claims. It’s also how manufacturers can prove their product has less than 0.3% tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) by weight. Legally, CBD products CANNOT exceed that amount.
A COA can also allow you to see if any hazardous compounds (heavy metals, pesticides, etc.) were detected. COAs are important for other reasons too…
Why are COAs Important?
CBD has only been legal at the federal level for a short time. That, plus the discrepancies between state and federal regulations, means that there was a lot of grey area for manufacturers to swim though when creating products. While the Wild West era of CBD allowed for a lot of creativity, it also meant that a lot of products were made that didn’t adhere to strict health regulations.
Some CBD products didn’t even possess the actual amount of CBD that they claimed.
In 2017, one study found that nearly 70% of CBD sold online was mislabeled. Some of these products had way more CBD than advertised, while others had way less. Either way, customers weren’t buying what they thought they were. Which is why we have an independent, 3rd party lab test every single batch to pass this transparency on to our clients so you can have a peace of mind and see that our products are not only save but you’re also getting what you pay for.
Because of the complications of making a product exactly hit the number of let’s say 1000mg or 2000mg, the industry norm is to accept a 5%-10% variation up or down on CBD milligrams in a product.
Trustworthy, reliable CBD manufacturers consider COAs part of their standard practice–WE definitely do! It makes it easy for their customers to know exactly what is, and isn’t, inside a product.
How to Find the COA
More reliable brands will make these reports easy to find (Psst! Check out our Lab Results here!). When a company puts time and effort to ensure that their products are high-quality, they WANT you to see those results.
A lot of online CBD stores will display each products COA somewhere near its description. In some states, CBD products are required to have a QR code on the packaging that links to this information. People can simply scan the code with their phones and the information is immediately at their fingertips.
If the information isn’t easily found, you may need to request it directly from the company. However, that’s a bit of a red flag. If they wanted you to see that report, they wouldn’t make it so hard to find.
How to Read a COA
Once you actually get your eyes on the report, do your best not to get overwhelmed. It may look like a complicated lab report…well, it IS a lab report. But here’s what you need to know to keep it from being overly complicated.
Verify that the COA was Third-Party Tested
This means that a separate lab performed these tests. If a company used an in-house lab to produce the COA, that would be a HUGE conflict of interest.
While there may be discrepancies in how each lab formats their COA reports, all of this information should still be available somewhere on the document. For our report, you’ll find the Third-Party Lab in the upper-left corner of each page in our COAs.
You can also see the batch number to the right of the lab name. When you’re looking for the COA of a particular product, make sure the batch number on the product matches the number on the report.
Double-check the Cannabinoid Profile
This lists any cannabinoids the lab found in the product and their concentrations. This is one of the most important parts of the report to familiarize yourself with. The Cannabinoid Profile will tell you exactly how much CBD and THC were found in the product.
If you look at the CBD levels, the potency SHOULD match the CBD concentrations that were advertised for the product. If you look at the bottom of the Cannabinoid Profile on our COAs, you’ll see Total THC and Total CBD. Those are the items you’ll always want to pay special attention to.
For Full-Spectrum and Broad-Spectrum products, you can expect to see a variety of cannabinoids present. The most important ones to pay attention to are CBD and D9-THC. D9-THC, the psychoactive component, legally must be lower than 0.3% by weight. If you see that your CBD product has higher levels than that, steer clear.
ND means, “non-detect.” So, if something is listed as ND it means it wasn’t detected at all in the product.
Look for a Heavy Metal Analysis
As a general rule, you don’t want a lot of heavy metals in anything you’re putting in your body. Hemp, however, can absorb any heavy metals that may be in the soil it’s grown in. So it’s important for companies to ensure that none of those metals have made it into the hemp they use for their products.
This section should tell you which metals were tested. Some reports use the chemical symbol, some use the name, and others use both. So, you may need to brush up on your chemistry. The Department of Public Health and U.S. Pharmacopeia has allowable levels for SOME of these metals. But if you’re trying to find the highest quality CBD possible, then you don’t want ANY.
Bottom line? You want to see ND next to items like Arsenic, Lead, and Mercury. You’re welcome.
There should also be a Pesticide Analysis
Hopefully, by now we all know that pesticides aren’t good for human consumption. If you’re using CBD to improve your quality of life, then why would you use CBD that contains harmful pesticides? Unfortunately, some farmers still use them for crops though.
This is another section where you only want to see results with ND. Be good to your body and only put good things in it!
What if you have allergies?
If you know you’re sensitive to certain chemicals or compounds, then checking the COA is a MUST.
Some people are sensitive to certain scents or flavors, so they’ll want to find the Terpene Profile. Not all COAs will include a terpene profile though, so if you don’t find it easily then definitely reach out to the company for it.
Have a specific allergy that you can’t find on the COA? CONTACT THE BRAND! It’s always better to be safe than sorry
Seriously, don’t be afraid to reach out to brands about their products. Reputable brands love talking to people about CBD and they want to help you find the right products.
On every single one of our product pages, you’ll find a button that says, “Lab Results.” Clicking that button will give you access to the complete COA for that product. At Singy’s, we want our customers to be educated about what they’re putting into their bodies. Everyone deserves to choose what they use, and that starts by understanding what’s in a product.
If you ever have a question about our products then we encourage you to contact us as soon as possible. We believe CBD is the key to feeling better and living more, and that all starts with high-quality products made from high-quality hemp.