CBD Certificate of Analysis: What It Is and How to Read It

The Magazine: CBD Certificate of Analysis: What It Is and How to Read It

Just like any other ingredient you ingest or put on your skin, your Cannabidiol (CBD) should come from trusted sources that are carefully monitored and tested for purity and potency. To ensure you are purchasing a high-quality CBD product from a reputable brand, it's important to review key documentation which demonstrates that you’re actually getting what it says on the label. One of the most critical documents a CBD manufacturer should offer is a certificate of analysis, which will help you better understand exactly what is in the product you are considering buying. In this article, we’ll review what these certificates are and how they’re read.

First and foremost: what are CBD products?

CBD products are any of the many foods, lotions, bath products, and others infused with the cannabinoid Cannabidiol (CBD), sourced from hemp (though marijuana-derived CBD products can be purchased through dispensaries). Here's a look at some of the most common CBD products you might encounter:

  • CBD edibles: CBD edibles include baked goods, CBD beverage infusions, and even gourmet foods that have been infused with hemp extract that contains CBD. Edibles provide a tasty and easy way to incorporate CBD into your daily routine.
  • CBD topicals: CBD topicals offer a localized, external way to use CBD for a wide range of uses, including moisturizing dry skin, or calming uncomfortable skin.
  • CBD capsules: CBD capsules offer a familiar way to add CBD to your routine. Capsules contain a precise amount of CBD and can be taken quickly and discreetly at the time of day that works best for you.

What is a CBD certificate of analysis?

To be sure a CBD product truly contains the cannabinoids and other ingredients stated on the label, you should look for what is known as a certificate of analysis. A certificate of analysis is awarded to a CBD product that has been tested by a third-party laboratory and examined for quality. This analysis can consist of a few tests, including cannabinoid content, terpene content, and testing for common contaminants.

Why is a CBD certificate of analysis important?

A CBD certificate of analysis is important because it provides a window of transparency into the product that you’re buying. Not only does a certificate of analysis demonstrate that the company has submitted to a third-party examination of its products, it also contains detailed information about what is in the product, from cannabinoids and terpenes to externalities like pesticides. In addition, a certificate of analysis will also indicate the accuracy of the brand's labeling. If the contents described in the certificate of analysis don't match the labeling on the brand's products, that should serve as a red flag.

We at Prima test every batch of products we manufacture, and each batch is tested at multiple stages for purity and potency. Not only do we test our extract for cannabinoid and terpene content, we also test for mycotoxins and residual solvent, among other contaminants.

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5 steps to reading and interpreting a CBD certificate of analysis

There are several important elements of reading a certificate of analysis and interpreting it correctly. These five steps will help you make sense of what could seem like a complicated document at first glance.

1. Check the name of the laboratory that ran the tests

Be sure to review the laboratory that ran the test results so you can verify that they are indeed an independent operation. Moreover, you should check to see if the laboratory is ISO/IEC accredited and abides by industry standards and best practices.

2. Ensure that the batch number on the COA and product is the same

A batch number refers to the group of CBD products that were made with a specific "batch" of CBD extract. A certificate of analysis batch number must match the batch number on your CBD product to be relevant. Otherwise, the certificate of analysis could be referring to an altogether different product than the one you're considering.

3. Examine the cannabinoid and terpene profile

When examining the certificate of analysis, be sure to compare the cannabinoid content listed in the test results to the profile listed on the product label. The two should match or be very close to what is on the label; otherwise, it could suggest the labeling is inaccurate. Similarly, check to see if the terpene profile described in the lab results matches the profile listed on the product label, if disclosed.

4. Pay attention to the heavy metal analysis

Substances like heavy metals can be harmful to our brains and bodies. Always check a certificate of analysis to be sure heavy metal testing was performed and that your CBD product is either free of these substances or within defined safety limits.

5. Examine the pesticide analysis list

Pesticides and herbicides like glyphosate can be used during the hemp cultivation process and make their way into CBD products. At Prima, we only source hemp from cultivators that adhere to sustainable and pesticide-free growing and harvesting best practices. After all, the CBD is only as good as the hemp from which it was extracted. Review the certificate of analysis to ensure they’ve tested for pesticides or herbicides in the product.

Prima: leading in transparency and quality

At Prima, we nourish you inside and out by delivering CBD that adheres to the highest possible standards of quality. We are proud of our products and strive for total transparency every step of the way.

Tests completed on every batch of Prima products include potency testing, terpene profile testing, microbiological contamination testing, mycotoxin testing, heavy metals testing, adulterants testing, glyphosate residue testing, and residual solvent testing. Just check the packaging for a QR code, which you can scan to be brought directly to the lab results, or enter the batch code on our website to see the potency of the CBD product you just bought.

You deserve to know exactly what is in every drop of every CBD product you purchase, which is why we only utilize ISO/IEC-accredited third-party laboratories that adhere to the most rigorous and comprehensive standards of controls in the industry. Every product comes with a batch code that allows you to examine our third-party lab testing results. Rest assured, you’re getting the very best to support your wellness goals.

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