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Key Takeaways

  • A CBD Certificate of Analysis (COA) is a document from a third-party lab that tests the contents of CBD products.

  • A COA can be found on a product’s product page, on the third-party lab’s website, or by scanning a QR code.

  • A COA usually includes details such as product name, potency, batch number, and best-by date, as well as information about the third-party lab, such as its name and address and date of testing.

  • The most important part of a COA is the test results, which include quantitative values for cannabinoids, heavy metals, microbes, solvents, and pesticides, along with reference values to indicate test results.

  • Understanding a COA is crucial for ensuring the quality and safety of a CBD product, as well as its compliance with legal requirements

With the abundance of CBD products on the market, ensuring you get a top-shelf product is important. One way of doing this is finding a reliable brand known to produce quality products.

Yet, even with the promise of the best care and the highest-quality source material, you don’t have the certainty the product you’re buying is what it claims to be. This is why Certificate of Analysis (COA) testing is so important.

A COA is a document provided by a reputable third-party laboratory that tests the contents of a CBD product. Yet, as those come in a technical format, it can be hard to understand what the numbers actually mean.

Here’s a brief guide to help you wrap your mind around this subject.

Where to Find the COA

To sound reputable, CBD companies often talk about their third-party lab testing. Typically, you will find the COA on the product page of the product you’re interested in, under the product description, or in a separate tab.

Some manufacturers go the extra mile and publish tests of each batch. In this case, you will either have to scan the QR code on the product or search for the product name and batch number on the website of the third-party laboratory, such as My CBD Test.

How to Read the COA

Once you have found the COA, you will need to understand the information presented in the document. It is usually divided into two sections β€” test summary and test results.

Test Summary

A standard COA should include the product name, advertised potency, batch number (or numbers), and best-by date. This information will help you identify the correct product.

Underneath, you should also find a review of third-party analysis with relevant data, such as the name and address of the lab and the date the sample was tested.

The results of the tests should also be stated β€” with either unit value or pass/fail mark. You can expect to find the results of tests for cannabinoid potency, heavy metals, microbial (mold, fungus, and bacteria) contamination, solvent residues, and pesticides.

Test Results

The test results are the most important part of the COA, as this is where you get the exact numbers. Each category is divided into subcategories, with a quantitative value for each β€” or an ND if a given substance was not detected.

So, for example, in the cannabinoids section, you’ll find the THC and CBD percentages followed by percentages of other cannabinoids, such as CBG, CBC, and CBN.

In the metals section, you’ll find the results of heavy metals tests, such as arsenic, cadmium, lead, and mercury. The same goes for other sections, where you’ll find the quantitative values for microbial, solvent, and pesticide tests.

Each of the tables should contain some reference values β€” either the limits set by the lab or the maximum allowed by law.’

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In Conclusion

Reading a COA may initially seem confusing, but as you can see, it’s not complicated. Once you understand what each section means, you will be able to easily identify if the product is safe and of good quality.

What’s more, a COA is important not only from a safety point of view but also from a legal standpoint. By verifying the potency and lack of THC, you can ensure that your product complies with the law.


What is the significance of a COA in the CBD industry?

A COA, or certificate of analysis, provides information about the composition and quality of a CBD product. It can help consumers make informed decisions about the products they use and ensure that they contain the ingredients and potencies claimed by the manufacturer.

How can I determine if a CBD product is of high quality?

To determine the quality of a CBD product, you can look for a COA and check if a reputable third-party laboratory conducted it. You can also learn more about the manufacturing processes and ingredients used by the company, as well as customer reviews and testimonials.

Are there specific standards a COA must meet to be considered valid?

Yes, a COA must meet certain standards and guidelines in order to be considered valid. These can include testing methods’ accuracy, results transparency, and adherence to strict quality control procedures.

Is it mandatory for CBD companies to provide a COA for their products?

No, it is not currently mandatory for CBD companies to provide a COA for their products. However, many reputable companies voluntarily provide COAs to provide transparency and build consumer trust in their products.

Are there any reliable third-party laboratories that test CBD products for consumers?

Yes, several reliable third-party laboratories specialize in testing CBD products for consumers. These labs use advanced testing methods to accurately determine the composition and quality of the products and provide unbiased, independent results.

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