Trust and credibility are non-negotiable when shopping for CBD. Unfortunately, the lack of industry regulation allows some companies to slide through the cracks, selling bogus products to unsuspecting CBD newbies. They might peddle tainted products or even knock-offs.
That’s where the certificate of analysis (CoA) comes in handy. This document is essential for consumers to know a CBD product is exactly what it claims to be.
Let’s break down what exactly a CBD certificate of analysis is and why they are so important for a consumer to keep on their radar.
What is a CBD Certificate of Analysis?
A CoA is a document meant to detail exactly what is in a CBD product. This is key with a product that isn’t approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) yet. A third-party laboratory will test the product for certain compounds that should and shouldn’t be in it.
The CoA report will include a batch number, which laboratory conducted the report, total active ingredients, active ingredients by weight, CBD, and THC levels. It will also seek to identify any less desirable compounds such as molds, residual chemicals, or pesticides.
Essentially, it’s a full breakdown of the phytocannabinoid profile and sheds a light on the truth about the product. If a batch of CBD products has multiple CoA’s, then there’s definitely no questioning what’s in the end product.
Why Are CoA’s Important?
There are CBD companies out there that truly don’t have the best interest of their customers in mind. They may not produce their products using industry standards or they might even try to pass counterfeit products off as CBD. Who wants to purchase a faux CBD tincture off of Amazon? A CoA is a document meant to help customers avoid this kind of deception. It’s a way for a reputable company to maintain honesty and transparency with its clientele.
Advertised Levels of CBD and THC
The last thing you want to do is spend money on a product that doesn’t contain as much CBD as advertised. It can be even dicier to purchase a product with more THC than there should be. When you’re searching for the type of CBD product that can keep you safe from a drug test, the CoA will come in handy. A CoA will list out exactly how much of each cannabinoid is included in a batch of products.
Contaminants in Product
Whether through poor production practices or simply bad luck, contaminants can sometimes make their way into CBD. Sometimes processing raw materials can leave behind volatile chemicals or byproducts you don’t necessarily want to put in your body. This is where a CoA can come in handy. They test a product for a number of different contaminants from pesticides to fungus.
As much as we hate this reality, there are some bad players out there that want to reap the rewards of this growing industry without putting in the work to formulate a legitimate product. Some may try to pass off products laced with synthetic cannabinoids as authentic CBD. Others might bottle hemp seed oil and sell it as CBD. If a company does not have a CoA, it calls into question the authenticity of their products and you should avoid doing business with them.
Where Can I Find the CBD Product’s CoA?
The CoA should be readily available somewhere on a CBD company’s website. But since they are not technically required, there’s no agreed-upon area where they can be found across the board. A lot of the time you can find them included on the product page or catalog. Other times there might be a separate page dedicated to housing their CoAs, which you could find in the footer or main menu bar of the website. Regardless, you shouldn’t have to dig around too much to locate it.
Sometimes, it’s as easy as Googling the company and adding “certificate of analysis” to the end of your search.
If you’re buying a product in person it can be trickier to find its CoA. You might just have to look up the company and check on their website. Many companies are starting to include a QR code on their product packaging that will lead potential customers to their CoA when scanned.
How to Read a CoA
A CoA is a rather intimidating document if you’re just learning how to read them. But they are a lot more simple to understand when you know what you’re looking for. You’re really only looking for a handful of important pieces of information.
Let’s take a look at one of our CoA’s as a reference to find the following information as we go.
Here’s what you need to look for on a CoA:
- Information on the third-party lab. A CoA cannot be signed off on by the CBD company itself. They must seek out an impartial, independent lab to conduct the inspection. Look for their name, contact information, and signature. You can find this on ours on the first and second page near the bottom.
- Accurate batch ID: Each product batch needs its own certificate of analysis. Switching from product to product, you’ll need to source the CoA for the batch you’re looking at. A good, trustworthy CBD company will have this information available to you before purchasing (never only after purchasing!).
- Confirmation of label accuracy. Be sure you’re getting what you’re paying for. Look for the cannabinoid profile (you can find ours on the top of the second page under “potency profile” in the example above). Confirm that the CBD and THC levels match up with what is stated on the product label.
- Contaminates: Now look for any potentially harmful compounds. Take a look at the pesticide or heavy metal analysis. There will be a list of every contaminant they tested for. If it isn’t present, it will state something like “within a safe range”, “pass”, or “compliant”. Our contaminate report is on the second page of the report above.
- Terpenes: Now that we have the serious bits out of the way, you can take a look at the terpene report (ours is on the second page). Terpenes are the aromatic compounds that give a plant its distinct scent and taste. This can be helpful when trying a product for the first time. You can look up the different compounds to get a basic idea of what it might smell and taste like.
No Certificate of Analysis? Search Elsewhere!
If you can’t find a CoA, keep searching for other CBD companies. You don’t want to risk potentially wasting your money on a fake product or getting sick as a result of unknown contaminants. Why take the chance when there are plenty of reputable companies willing to undergo this practice in business-consumer accountability?
A lot of people may fall victim to low-quality products because of the price tag. We agree CBD is way too expensive most of the time. You shouldn’t have to break the bank to enjoy CBD and the peace it brings so many of its users. That’s why here at Peace River CBD we keep our prices low and get every batch of our products tested with a CoA.