A certificate of analysis is a report from a lab that explains the chemical contents of a product.
Referencing products derived from Hemp, a COA exhibits the contents of the cannabinoids and other compounds such as heavy metals. COA’s are verifications of the contents of a particular product making sure they match to what has been marketed or advertised. Specifically for hemp products, the CBD Certificates of Analysis are important to verify that hemp extracts contain less than 3% THC which is determined by Industrial Hemp law.
COAs are Important
This industry is unregulated and has many upcoming manufacturers of CBD. This can become costly for consumers that may not know what they are actually paying for. It is important to know the ingredients and exact potency.
Manufacturers can claim their products contain no THC or state certain potency for their products. However, since there is very little oversight, it is easy to falsify the numbers. This could be a big issue for those that need to have products that do not contain THC for a variety of reasons.
A 2017 study showed that close to 70% of CBD products sold online were mislabeled. CBD Certificates of Analysis are a standard why to force manufacturers of CBD to be more law abiding and reliable manufacturers. COA’s make it more transparent for regulators and consumers to clearly recognize exactly what is and is not in any hemp extract.
Reading a COA?
On a COA the company that performed the test is not going to be the same company who sells the products. This is referred to as a third party test which will ensure transparency.
The top left section of the COA will be information to identify the product. The top right part of the COA will be the contact person and address of the selling company. At the center top will be the QR code to verify the COA’s authenticity of the report. This allows a cross check to be certain the COA wasn’t fabricated.
Look for the following components within the COA:
CBD Certificate of Analysis
The lower portion of the COA indicates the profile of the cannabinoid that were discovered along with their concentration.
This will explain to consumers the exact cannabinoids that are present and their potency. This is the most important part of the certificate of analysis. The next column is the ID section of the COA which tells which cannabinoids were tested for.
The psychoactive component, D-9-THC needs to be lower than .3% weight to be legal which appears in the middle column. If “ND” is shown it means non detected which indicates that the amount was so minute, if any at all, it couldn’t be detected.
The third column, “Conc.” Indicates how potent the tested CBD oil is, which is compared to the advertised CBD concentrations on the product’s label. To the far right of the COA is a graph that corresponds to the amounts of the assortment of cannabinoids in the sample of the product.
Heavy Metal Analysis
This tells you which metals were tested for with the chemical name and symbol. The concentration of the measured metal is found under “Con.” The size such as micrograms per kilograms is noted under the “Units” column.
The lower limit of detection for lab instruments is the MDL. In the section labeled “Use Limits”, the most important one being ingestion, is the amounts that are safe for ingestion each day according to the Department of Public Health and the US Pharmacopeia.
Another component in the COA is the pesticide analysis which provides a list of common pesticides that were tested for. In this case the “Units” stands for parts per billion, “ppb”. The lower limit of detection is under the column, “LLD” and the maximum consumption allowed is found under column “Limits”. The last column labeled “Status” indicates either PASS if it is less than the legal limit or NO PASS if it is above the legal limit.
This part of the CBD Certificates of Analysis provides consumers information on how the product tested will taste and smell as terpene is what gives products of hemp their unique aromas and flavors.
Don’t Buy Without the COA
This industry is rising fast with limited regulation so it is extremely important that consumers know exactly what they are buying. COAs provide assurance and transparency to consumers so they feel more confident with what they are purchasing. Remember, the profile should match the product description and be sure to get the most updated COA available.