How to Read CBD Third-Party Lab Reports [with Pictures & Answers]

How to Read CBD Third-Party Lab Reports [with Pictures & Answers]

September 10, 2019

What is a third-party lab report or Certificate of Analysis (COA)?

A third-party lab report, also known as Certificate of Analysis (COA), is a report that is conducted by a licensed testing lab in the state and:

  • provides unbiased tests results for transparency
  • is completely unrelated to the company that it’s testing for

CBD and cannabis have grown into a big market to consumers all across the world, which leads to the concern of transparency & safety.

Why is this important?

Extracting CBD is not as complex as it sounds and quality can vary significantly from company to company. The purification process can alter the end extract drastically depending on: the soil the hemp was grown on, the flower and leaves used from the hemp plants, and the extraction method.

Third-party lab reports are important because it shows full transparency of what the extract contains from the cannabinoid profile, heavy metals, E. Coli & Salmonella, and more. This assures consumers that the product they are purchasing is as advertised and safe to consume.

How to know a lab report is authentic?

  • You may call the lab that the product was tested by and provide them a “Certificate ID” that is shown on the Certificate of Analysis, which they can use to verify if the lab report is authentic.
  • “In-House Test” should not be written anywhere on the report. Third-party lab reports usually have special markings on it, which does not allow others to duplicate.

So how do you read a Certificate of Analysis?

Reading a Certificate of Analysis, or commonly known as a third-party lab report, is fairly easy to understand.

What is a cannabinoid profile?

This is the Cannabinoid profile of the lab report shows what cannabinoids and how much of those cannabinoids were found. The main cannabinoids which labs test for other than CBD or THC is THCV, CBG, CBC, CBN, THCA, CBDA, & CBGA.

More on THCA, CBDA, & CBGA is coming in another blog post so subscribe and don’t miss a post.

A Full Spectrum product will show a lab report like this which contains THC, but less than the legal limit of 0.3%.full spec

 

A Broad-Spectrum product will show a lab report like this and as you can see it will contain Non-Detectable (ND) levels of THC.

broad

A Isolate lab report will look like this where the CBD purity is above 99%

isolate test

 

ID: lists the cannabinoids that was tested for. These are also the major cannabinoids with the highest content found in cannabis and hemp; hence, the reason they are always focused on.

Weight%: This lists the percentage of cannabinoid that are in the extracted oil. When the raw oil is tested it will never be 99% pure of cannabinoids because the rest of the oil are full of lipids and fatty acids. Isolates will be more than 99%, but we advise not using isolate products as they are not as effective, they are synthetic, and without other cannabinoids, terpenes, and fatty oils it will not pass through your body as effectively.

Conc.: is the exact concentration that is in the total oil or product.

ND: Stands for Non-Detectable

When testing a tincture or edible, it should show the exact amount of CBD content as advertised because if you’re buying a 25mg gummie then it should show 25mg of CBD.

For example this is a 30mL 1,500mg CBD tincture so as you can see it contains 50.20mg per serving (50.20mg*30mL=1,506mg of CBD per 30mL).

tinct

If it’s a tincture then they are testing for the amount of CBD per serving. So our 300mg will show 10mg of CBD, 750mg will show 25mg, and 1,500mg will show 50mg.  We always add just a little more to make sure we’re never below the dosage we advertise taking. Customer satisfaction is our #1 priority!

What is a terpene profile?

terff

Terpenes are the naturally occurring compounds whose main purpose is to repel predators and lure pollinators. However, they also have an unusual unique property.  Recent scientific research has shown that they can cause relaxation to pain relieving features. More research is being conducted, but it’s no surprise that to extract CBD without this magnificent feature is to leave out a powerful component.

So how do you understand/read a terpene profile?

It’s simple. No matter what lab tests the product, the terpene is shown on the left side and on the right it will show the exact amount that was found in the product or extract that was tested.

In this case it shows weight percent (weight%), but it can also show PPM or ND.

PPM: Stands for Parts Per Million and describes the concentration of something. When the particle size is really small they use PPM to show the value.

1 PPM= 0.0001weight%

50PPM= .005 weight%

100 PPM= 0.1weight%

no terps

If you came across as lab report that shows PPM you can do a quick calculation using this converter: https://www.rapidtables.com/convert/number/PPM_to_Percent.html

ND: Stands for Non-Detectable which means no concentration of that terpene was detected. This goes for cannabinoids as well which we talked about in the cannabinoid profile section. Check below to see examples of PPM & ND outcomes that we found on the internet.

Before we continue it’s important to know..

Since hemp is a natural Phytoremedition plant it can easily absorb toxic residue from both the soil and air in the surrounding area. This is another very unique trait of hemp as this can be a very good thing.. and also very bad.

The good:

For example, after the Nuclear Disaster of Chernobyl in 1986, hemp was used to clean the soil around the site. This was possible due to the process of phytoremediation, the “direct use of living green plants for in situ, or in place, removal, degradation, or containment of contaminants in soils, sludges, sediments, surface water, and groundwater.” Hemp is fast growing, has deep roots, and is unaffected by the toxins that absorb through the soil which makes this process possible.

The bad:

If the hemp is used for extracting cannabinoids—such as CBD, CBG, CBN, etc.—then it is extremely important that the soil being used is clean of any toxic contaminants and constantly monitored throughout the season. Different sections of the farm must be consistently checked to make sure that no heavy metals, pesticides, and pollutants are found. If the soil is poor quality and low standard, then the consumer would be consuming a product that is not safe or clean.

Read more about this by clicking on this text. Now that you understand this concept you should have a great understanding about why it’s really important to make sure the products you are buying don’t contain any harmful or toxic residue. That’s why companies should test for Heavy Metals, Pesticides, E. Coli, etc.

Heavy Metals

A heavy metal test is a test that reveals the levels of toxic metals found in the product or extract.  The most combination tests are for:

  • Lead
  • Mercury
  • Arsenic
  • Cadmium

The reason why you should be attentive of heavy metals levels is because heavy metals are used for “industrial applications such as in the manufacture of pesticides, batteries, alloys, electroplated metal parts, textile dyes, steel, and so forth” and “toxicity can result from sudden, severe exposure, or from chronic exposure over time”.

heavy

Metal: Lists the heavy metals the test was tested for. These are the most common found and are what ProVerde Labs tests for.

Conc.: This shows the concentration or potency of the heavy metal that was tested. Although you may see very small traces of these heavy metals, it is nowhere near the amount that can cause any kind of harm.

Status: This is the most important, as it shows if the amount of the concentration that was found is safe to be ingested or not. A Pass means that you’re safe to consume the product, but if you see a Fail then you should stay away.

Pesticide

Our last segment, the pesticide test, is important because hemp or cannabis may contain small amounts of pesticides and at certain levels can be toxic.

pesticide test

As usual on the left side you will see the pesticides that have been tested and under Result you will see how much was detected. From reading earlier you should know by now that ND means non detectable, therefore in this lab report no pesticides were found.

Units: This shows the unit value it was tested for and this case it was ppb which stands for “Parts Per Billion”.

Limits: this is the maximum value that can be found in the lab test for it to be passing. If it is above that value then the test will show “No Pass” since it has surpassed the regulations that were established in the State of California (these values can change depending on the state but in general the values are in this range)

Status: this column shows a “Pass” or “No Pass” if the levels are below or above the limit.

To conclude…

When purchasing CBD hemp extract you want to make sure you’re purchasing from a reputable company. Things have gotten much better in this past few months but before the market was filled with tons of unsafe and questionable products.

Just to go over thing again:

A cannabis or CBD third-party lab

  • provides unbiased tests results for transparency
  • is completely unrelated to the company that it’s testing for

How to know a lab report is authentic?

  • You may call the lab that the product was tested by and provide them a “Certificate ID” that is shown on the Certificate of Analysis, which they can use to verify if the lab report is authentic.
  • “In-House Test” should not be written anywhere on the report. Third-party lab reports usually have special markings on it, which does not allow others to duplicate.

Terms to remember:

Conc.: is the exact concentration that is in the total oil or product.

ND: Stands for Non-Detectable

PPM: Stands for Parts Per Million and describes the concentration of something. When the particle size is really small they use PPM to show the value.

Certificate ID: A number or phrase that is used to distinguish the lab report and can be given to the lab to authenticate the lab report.

Full Spectrum: A extract containing THC up to the legal limit of 0.3% Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC)

Broad Spectrum: An extract that is THC Free or contains Non-Detectable levels of THC

Isolate: A synthetic powder that is cut down to be 99%+ purity

 

 

 

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