What is a Certificate of Analysis for CBD? What Should I Look For?

This product is not for use by or sale to persons under the age of 18. 

This product contains less than 0.3% THC. 

A 2017 study found that nearly 70% of CBD products sold online are mislabeled and have more or less amounts of CBD than have been advertised. To combat this, companies that sell CBD products are now required to display a Certificate of Analysis, or a CoA. This document is issued from a laboratory that shows that a product has met predetermined specifications. In the case of hemp extract, a CoA includes the cannabinoid, terpene, and contaminant profiles of CBD-containing products. This information is used to confirm that the product matches what is advertised by the seller and contains the declared amount of CBD, along with other phytocannabinoids. This protects the consumer and the manufacturer. 

What should I look for in a CoA? 

A Certificate of Analysis should be thoroughly inspected before you make a purchase of CBD products. Here are some things you should look out for: 

  1. Synthetic cannabinoids - Due to cost, very few companies test for synthetic cannabinoids (made-made, CBD-like compounds) that may have been knowingly added to a hemp product. However, these synthetics can be toxic and produce many negative symptoms. That’s why it is prudent to purchase a hemp extract only if it has been tested for these synthetics so you will know you are getting a pure product. 
  2. THC content - In order to be considered hemp extract, its THC content cannot legally test above 0.3%. If it contains more than this percentage, it is considered marijuana and may be illegal in some states. 
  3. CBD content - The CBD content on the product’s label should be the same as what was reported in the lab results. 
  4. Laboratory testing location - If a company is testing products at their own location, it leaves the door open for potentially unethical practices. It’s a good idea to only purchase products from a company that utilizes an accredited third-party laboratory for testing. 
  5. Cannabinoids present - If the product is marketed as full-spectrum, phytocannabinoid-rich hemp oil (PCR), the CoA should show that the product contains small amounts of a wide range of cannabinoids, such as CBG, CBC, CBN, CBDa, etc. 
  6. Microbials and pesticides - These may be present in raw hemp plants, but should not be present in the final hemp  product. 

Learn more about Certificates of Analysis and the U.S. Domestic Hemp Production Program here