April 23, 2021

How To Read A Certificate Of Analysis (COA) For Your CBD Products

Product quality matters. This is especially true of something — like a CBD product — that you’re putting in or on your body.

Quality can impact your CBD product’s safety and efficacy. So, how can you tell if you’re getting a first-rate CBD product?

One way is to examine the certificate of analysis (COA) for your CBD products.

No clue what we’re talking about? No prob! After reading this post, you’ll know:

  • What a certificate of analysis is
  • Why COAs are so dang important
  • How to read a COA
  • Where to find the COAs for your CBD products

What Is A Certificate Of Analysis For CBD?

Certificate of Analysis. Sounds really fancy and technical.

Well, it is pretty technical — but that’s OK. It’s supposed to be!

But, a COA is not beyond the reach of the average Jane’s or Joe’s understanding.

Uh…What’s A COA?

Plainly put, a certificate of analysis is a lab report. It shows key bits of information about the substance being evaluated. In the case of CBD products, the COA is looking to see:

  • The overall makeup and amount of cannabinoids
  • A breakdown of the presence and amount of individual cannabinoids — like CBD and THC

Where Do COAs Come From?

You know how you don’t really trust ratings-and-rankings sites where the companies are self-reporting? Of course they’re going to manipulate the assessments — 5-star reviews all the way around baby!

The same goes for certificates of analysis. While a CBD product maker can and should test its own products — for a number of reasons — it should not be the only entity conducting a thorough examination.

COAs should be done by an independent, third-party lab. A testing facility that isn’t linked to the CBD product producer is more likely to generate unbiased and possibly more accurate results. This means info you can have confidence in.

Why Are Certificates Of Analysis For CBD So Important?

Maybe the COA just looks like a jumble of numbers. It’ not, though. That COA is chock full of vital details about your CBD products.

Why would you want this info? How are the results of the analysis relevant to you?

We get it. If you’re going to put in the effort to learn about these reports and then actually read them — you want to know what you’ll get out of it. Fair.

Certificates of analysis are a big deal because they can:

  • Help you identify what’s in your CBD product. This is helpful, for example, if you want to be absolutely sure there’s no THC in your CBD gummies.
  • Confirm that what’s stated on the label is, indeed, what’s in the product. Label accuracy is a huge issue, especially since CBD products aren’t strictly regulated or monitored by the FDA like medications are. So having the test results back up the product packaging can be very reassuring.
  • Prove that the product meets the legal parameters of your state. CBD laws vary from state to state. The only way to tell that your product is definitely within the legal limits of your state is the COA. Some states — particularly the ones with stricter laws — even recommend keeping a copy of the COA with your CBD so you can verify its THC/CBD contents on demand.
  • Indicate how likely the product is to show up on a drug test. A COA will show the detected amount of THC in your CBD The higher the THC content, the greater the chance that your CBD product might result in a positive drug test.

Reading Your CBD Oil Product’s COA

With a little practice, you’ll be reading certificates of analysis like a seasoned chemical engineer or biochemist.

OK, that may be a bit of a stretch. But it’s really not hard to pick out and interpret the few pieces of significant data you’re probably most interested in. We’ll show ya!

Not The Numbers

Before digging into the numbers, let’s take a look at some other important parts of the COA. So you get a feel for what to look for. A bona fide third-party certificate of analysis will have:

  • A company name and address that’s different than the CBD product maker’s
  • Info about the CBD product that was tested (e.g., product name, batch, etc.)
  • Meta details about the testing that was done, such as the kind of analysis performed, applicable dates, calculation bases, and so on

The Numbers

If all that seems aboveboard, you can move on to the COA’s findings. The figures you’ll want to tune in to are usually set off somehow — like in a summary or totals section. They include the amounts of:

  • THC (or D9-THC). For federally-legal hemp CBD, you want that number to be no more than 0.3% by weight. The COA should indicate, at the very least, how much THC is in the product by weight. It may also tell you how many milligrams of THC there are for every gram of product (mg/g).
  • CBD. You’ll see this listed as the percent of cannabidiol by weight as well as per unit. For instance, it’ll show how much CBD was found in a single CBD softgel.
  • Cannabinoids. CBD and THC are only two of over 140 cannabinoids. The COA will enumerate the other cannabinoids in your CBD product and tally up all the cannabinoids (including the THC and CBD). This is good FYI and can help if you’re interested in cannabinoids other than just THC and CBD — like CBG or CBN.

Does the COA say N/D (aka Not Detected or Not Detectable) or <LOQ (aka less than Limit of Quantitation) where you’d expect a number to be? These notations mean that there was so little of a compound in your CBD that it wasn’t detectable. In other words, there wasn’t enough of a given cannabinoid — like THC — present to be measured by the particular test that was performed.

Each lab has its own report template. How they group the info or summarize the results may vary slightly. But, you should still be able to glean the necessary deets relatively quickly and easily.

Where To Find A COA For Your CBD Oil Products

At Pure Craft, we know how critical it is to have this info. That’s why we have every batch of CBD analyzed and why we make the COAs so readily available to you.

There are two ways to access the certificate of analysis for your CBD product.

  1. Visit our Certificates of Analysis page. This is an uber convenient inventory of all our COAs for all our products. When you click on the View Test Results button, the certificate of analysis (PDF) pops open in a fresh browser tab.
  2. Go to your CBD product’s product page. Below the Description section for the product, you’ll see a section called Certificate of Analysis. Simply click the Download button and the COA (PDF) displays in a new browser tab.

Still have questions? We’ve got answers! Feel free to contact us about Pure Craft CBD product COAs.

We can’t speak specifically for other CBD retailers. In general, though, all reputable sellers will have legitimate certificates of analysis for their products. And you should be able to find these COAs without much effort (e.g., on their websites or in-store).

In fact, ease of finding COAs is one of the biggest positives of shopping online for CBD oil. It’s something to consider….

Certificates Of Analysis, A Sign Of Quality

Certificates of analysis (COA) are lab reports that state the cannabinoid contents of your CBD. They can help confirm things like the true amount of THC in you CBD products. COAs are a useful tool for evaluating CBD products, especially if you’re comparing across brands or formulations.

Trustworthy CBD producers should have COAs — from independent third-party labs — readily available for you to look at. At Pure Craft, we post all COAs on our website and are happy to answer any additional questions you have.


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