A CBD certificate of analysis is a document from an accredited laboratory that indicates the chemical analysis of a CBD product. It provides information about the CBD product, the testing lab, and the brand. This article explains how one can read a CBD certificate of analysis.
Since its legalization, the CBD industry is not that heavily regulated; this can allow some manufacturers to sell a product that does not match the contents displayed on their products. Due to increased demand, some manufacturers resolve unorthodox methods to produce CBD. It may involve using extraction methods that utilize harmful substances such as propanol and butanol. In addition, some farming practices utilize pesticides and herbicides heavily as hemp is naturally delicate. These chemical substances may seep into consumers' final products and cause health issues. Reliable manufacturers often rely on third-party laboratories to conduct a chemical analysis of their products to establish safety levels. These laboratories provide a detailed analysis of the chemical substances present, including the presence and concentration of THC. The certificate of analysis contains the following information:
A CBD certificate of analysis will include information on the testing laboratory in the header section. Wakshlag et al. (2020) explained that one could obtain the lab's information if a third-party laboratory test is given CBD products. Testing by a third party is advantageous since it ensures that correct, unbiased data are acquired. An individual may find the name and address of the testing facility here. Details about their accreditation and license are also provided in this section. This information is offered in case someone wants to learn more about the testing facility or contact them. It is advised to check the product details before reading a CBD certificate of analysis. For CBD products, certificates of analysis should include the sample ID, product name, and product category. It ensures that the CBD certificate of analysis one reading corresponds to the item they are considering buying or having on hand. The date of testing is also listed on certificates. It is done to ensure that the product is tested frequently and that all certificates of analysis testing findings are current.
Cannabinoid Profile Analysis
The cannabinoids and other compounds are listed in the COA testing report section. The lab tests each ingredient's concentration and potency and then present the data in the table style. There is a list of well-known cannabinoids, including CBD, THC, CBN, and others, under the "analyte" column. The columns "Result percent," "Result mg/ml," and "Result mg/unit" are located next to this list. A potency value represents each of the cannabinoids listed in these columns. The "result percent" column displays each cannabinoid's concentration in milligrams per gram or as a percentage of the product's total weight. Mead (2019) stated that this enables one to determine whether the product contains the desired level of CBD. The "result mg/ml" columns display the amount of each cannabinoid per gram of the product in milligrams. Some of the cannabinoids listed may have 'ND' next to them. The analysis testing certificate did not reveal these components' presence. The final column, "Result mg/unit," displays the amount of each cannabinoid about the product's total weight. It is the most crucial section, and understanding how to read can prevent one from choosing counterfeit products. Some of the key issues to note include;
Terpenes are a different group of plant compounds in hemp, cannabis strains, evergreen trees, and many other plants in moderate amounts. Andre et al. (2016) explained that cannabis plants produce terpenes and terpenoids, giving them their distinctive aroma. They are also only present in full spectrum and broad spectrum CBD extracts. These chemicals are special since they help the body generally absorb cannabinoids. It is wise to avoid a product if a test reveals extremely high amounts of the substance or too little of it, which may indicate that the product is not as genuine as it has been labeled.
Tetrahydrocannabinol is a regulated substance in most countries worldwide. It has been prohibited as it has been shown to exhibit psychotic effects on the brain and can cause dependency issues among its users. Anderson et al. (2021) stated that THC’s concentration is limited to 0.3% by Federal law. A product with an excessive amount of THC may be prohibited. For products not labeled as containing THC, it's an issue if the level of THC exceeds 0.03% weight, especially in states where THC is prohibited. THC levels in high-quality CBD products are below the legal limit.
Heavy Metal Analysis
One may become ill if one consumes heavy metals in quantities higher than recommended. Johnson & Wallace (2021) explained that many manufacturers include a test for these in their CBD certificate of analysis. There are two key areas to look at in this section. The tested concentration of each heavy metal on the list is listed first. This number shows the quantity of each metal discovered during testing. Under the Use Limits category, the Ingestion column is the second. The government considers this amount the maximum that can be consumed safely. Always keep the tested concentration level well below the ingestion usage limit.
Residual Solvent Analysis
Any substance used to dissolve other compounds, such as plant matter, is referred to as a solvent. The process of CBD going from plant to product involves multiple steps. The plant needs to be harvested, dried, and then the CBD must be extracted with a solvent of some kind. An ethanol extraction and a CO2 extraction are the two primary extraction methods. Some businesses combine the two of these. Other businesses might utilize more potent and hazardous solvents to extract CBD from hemp plants. If a business employs a solvent like hexane or benzene, you should ensure that none are still present.
There are numerous CBD products in the market, and a certificate of analysis is one method to ensure that customers are getting what is labeled in the product. When reading a certificate of analysis, look for the header to get details about the product and the testing laboratory. Cannabinoid profile analysis contains information about cannabinoids present and their concentrations. Attention to the concentrations listed as too much or too little of each substance can be a red flag indicator. Finally, always look for heavy metal and residual solvent analysis to identify the presence of any toxic substance present.
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Andre, C. M., Hausman, J. F., & Guerriero, G. (2016). Cannabis sativa: the plant of the thousand and one molecules. Frontiers in plant science, 7, 19.
Johnson, M. S., & Wallace, J. G. (2021). Genomic and chemical diversity of commercially available high-CBD industrial hemp accessions. Frontiers in genetics, 12, 1160.
Mead, A. (2019). Legal and regulatory issues governing cannabis and cannabis-derived products in the United States. Frontiers in plant science, 10, 697.
Wakshlag, J. J., Cital, S., Eaton, S. J., Prussin, R., & Hudalla, C. (2020). Cannabinoid, terpene, and heavy metal analyses of 29 over-the-counter commercial veterinary hemp supplements. Veterinary Medicine: Research and Reports, 11, 45.