A Certification of analysis (COA) is an accredited laboratory document showing the quantity of a variety of cannabinoids in a CBD product. Manufacturers should send all their CBD product batches, like CBD-infused oil, for testing at a lab to prove their products have the amount of CBD in them they're advertising, and to protect their consumers.
For instance, in terms of Industrial Hemp extracts, this COA would report on the terpene, cannabinoid, and contaminant profile of the products. The COA is used for verifying the product's contents match what's being advertised. They're essential for verifying there's less than 0.3% THC in the hemp extracts by weight, as according to the Industrial Hemp law definition.
Importance of a CBD COA
A 2017 study found nearly 70% of online CBD products are labeled incorrectly, either having significantly less, or more CBD, than what's advertised. For nutraceutical implementation, knowing the precise ingredients and potency is very important.
It's too easy for manufacturers to claim there's no THC in a CBD product, or claim their product has a certain CBD potency, but because there's little oversight, it compounds the opportunity of "fudging the numbers." And, this can be a huge problem for individuals who are buying products with no THC, so they can pass a potential job's drug test or avoid the psychoactive effects. Because the industry is not regulated, new CBD companies are showing up all over, and it's hard for consumers to know precisely what they're paying for.
When there's no industry standards set, CBD product quality is all over the place. It's common to see unlabeled CBD products, such as CBD for anxiety, or cannabidiol and sleep disorders remedies. You could also end up with harsh synthetic knock-offs, which is even worse. Being a consumer, you need to be careful when you are looking for CBD products.
How to Read a COA
Presently, there's no uniform COA document for all hemp products. But, depending on the product tested, it may include one or more of these components:
- Name of Testing Lab: The laboratory's name shouldn't be the same as the company that manufactured the product. Not having the same name means it's an independent, third-party laboratory.
- The address and name of the company that sells the product.
- The Lot Number or Batch Number: Ensure the product's batch number is the same as that on the COA.
- The Sample Testing Date: This date also lets you know the estimated age of the product. If CBD is stored properly, it should last up to 18 months before it loses any potency.
- The sample's cannabinoid profile, which lists the detected cannabinoids and their concentration.
- The Analysis Chart for Heavy Metals: This documents the metals that went through testing. The unit refers to the measurement size and "Conc." stands for the measured metal's concentration. "Use Limits" references the amount of this product that's been determined to be ingested daily safely, according to the state Department of Public Health and US Pharmacopeia. MDL references the lower limit of detection by laboratory tools.
- The Pesticide Analysis: This shows the common pesticides the sample was tested for. LLD shows the lower detection limit based on each type of pesticide, while the Limits refers to the maximum amount of any specific pesticide you can consume based on a particular state's safety regulations.
- The Terpene Profile Analysis: This shows the sample's detected terpenes and each terpene's relative amount by weight percent.
- ND signifies there wasn't enough of a certain item for laboratory instruments to detect. PASS signifies the sample meets the legal harmful elements limit. NO PASS signifies the sample is over the limit.
COAs aren't always simple to get a hold of before you buy a CBD product. You might have to contact the company, and request it. If you can't obtain a COA through the manufacturer's customer service department, website, or product label, you might want to investigate further before purchasing the product. Quality CBD companies will always test their products through the laboratory.
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