In recent years, CBD has become the hottest new health food trend. With a slew of supposed benefits, it is said to combat everything from aging to anxiety to more serious conditions such as cancer and epilepsy and everything in between. Many believe CBD is a miracle and has made their quality of life much better, others are hesitant to get on board. Numerous people and maybe even you yourself question the legitimacy of these companies that have sprung up overnight.
When shopping around for CBD products, any legitimate companies that stand behind their products will have lab reports for the consumer to read. Lab reports are also known as certificates of analysis or COA and contain a whole host of useful information about the content of the finished product. These COAs can be notoriously hard to read with tons of confusing terms and numbers. Do not worry! We are here to teach you how to read these important documents so you can be sure of what you are putting into your body.
Why Are Lab Reports Important?
The world of CBD is a mostly unregulated market, meaning there are a variety of companies out there selling tons of products with varying levels of quality. This has also paved the way for many companies to pop up that do not have the customer’s best interests in mind. Some shady companies will market CBD products that contain very little to no CBD at all or even worse will have a potentially harmful synthetic version of it in their products.
Due to this unregulated space, many reputable companies have made their COAs available either online or at the request of the customer. This gives the consumer the confidence needed when looking at a CBD oil, edible, or skin product that it is made with the best and safest ingredients available. These COAs can tell us a lot about the product as well as if it is full-spectrum CBD, broad-spectrum CBD or CBD isolates. When shopping for CBD products be sure to see if the company offers lab reports if not this is a major red flag and another company should be considered. Companies you can trust will not hide and will proudly display the quality and content of their products.
How to Read Those COAs
Well, you found a company you like and they offer up lab reports to read, but still, you are wondering, just how do I read them? They may look a little intimidating at first, but with a little know-how, you will be reading them like a pro in minutes.
- Cannabinoid Profile – This part is the most important as it is essentially going to tell you the amount of specific cannabinoids present in the product. It will tell you the exact amount of CBD, THC, CBG, CBC, CBN, and raw acids in each dose. From these reports, you will be able to determine the spectrum of the product and also the potency. For example, if the product contains all the cannabinoids and a very small (0.3%) amount of THC it can be determined to be full-spectrum. If other cannabinoids are present, but there is no detectable (ND) THC it can be considered broad-spectrum. Finally, if CBD is the only cannabinoid present, you know you are dealing with an isolate. Furthermore, these reports will tell you just how potent each of these products are and the exact cannabinoids and in what quantities. For example, if a company is selling 500mg CBD tincture with 50 doses, then there should be about 10mg per dose. COAs can also shed light on just how much THC is present, which may be useful for those avoiding THC at all costs.
- Terpenes Profile – Terpenes are also thought to have their own beneficial properties. Terpenes are aromatic compounds found in hemp and each strain has a different makeup of terpenes contained in it. The terpene profile can show you just what terpenes are found in each product and the amount present.
- Heavy Metal Screening – Hemp plants are known to soak up a lot of materials from the soil that surrounds it. This includes heavy metals such as cadmium, arsenic, lead, and mercury. This section of the report tells us just what kinds of heavy metals are present and in what quantity. It will also tell us if the amount is in what is considered to be safe levels.
- Microbiological Contaminants Screening – This is the part of the report where it shows that it has been tested for microbial contaminants. Just like food CBD products are tested for E-coli, salmonella, yeasts, and molds to ensure stable shelf life and that it will not get the consumer sick. If it says FAIL in any one of these categories, then the product is determined as not safe to sell to consumers.
- Mycotoxin Screening – This is a test that shows the product is free from any toxins produced by fungus that could be potentially harmful to the customer.
- Pesticide Screening – This section can tell you if the hemp was grown without pesticides using organic methods. If it is shown as a pass for each compound, you can be sure you are getting a top-quality product free from harmful pesticides.
- Solvent Residue Screening – This area of the COA tells you what solvents are left over after the initial extraction process. Some extraction methods use solvents that have the potential to be dangerous and here you can find out just how much of it is left behind.
Understanding Lab Report Conclusion
At first glance, lab reports appear to be full of scientific mumbo jumbo, but now you can see that these reports can be a valuable tool. They can tell you all kinds of things about the product you plan to put on or into your body. In the unregulated world of CBD, lab reports give you the tools necessary to find quality CBD products from reputable companies and make an informed decision. When doing your research be sure to ask about the COA!