Understanding a Certificate of Analysis

We’re in the Wild West era of CBD.

CBD’s popularity is growing, but the industry is highly unregulated. Due to CBD’s rapid rise in popularity, the industry has attracted several poor quality products, from products that don’t even contain CBD, to illegal products that contain high levels of THC, and even harmful synthetic knock-off products.

Consumers want to know exactly what they’re putting in their bodies. After all, we’re attracted to CBD because we want to live a healthier life. So we need to know what’s in our CBD products.

Certificates of Analysis are key to knowing exactly what’s in your CBD.

What is a Certificate of Analysis?

A Certificate of Analysis (COA) is a lab report, usually conducted by a third party unrelated to the CBD company. This report shows what a CBD product does and doesn’t contain.

There are several screenings you can run on a product. Below you’ll find all the possible screenings you’ll run into when researching CBD COA’s.

Cannabinoid Content


Courtesy of Brizo Pure

A cannabinoid profile displays the cannabinoid contents found in the product, such as CBD, THC, and lesser-known cannabinoids such as CBG or CBN.

It also reveals what spectrum the CBD product is:

  • Full spectrum: Wide range of cannabinoids
  • Broad spectrum: Generally means a wide range of cannabinoids, without THC. However, this term is used very loosely. It can mean anything between the spectrum of Isolate and Full Spectrum
  • Isolate: Contains CBD only

The example COA above shows a full spectrum product, as it contains a wide range of cannabinoids.

Cannabinoid profiles also show the potency of the product by observing the concentration of measured cannabinoids, usually presented in milligrams or milliliters.

Finally, a cannabinoid profile tells us if the product contains non-decarboxylated raw material, which are raw and unfiltered cannabinoids, or decarboxylated material, which are cannabinoids that have been heated up.

Examples of non-decarboxylated material include CBDA and THCA. These are the precursors to CBD and THC. If you were to heat up CBDA and THCA, they would decarboxylate and convert into CBD and THC.

Terpenes


Courtesy of Brizo Pure

A terpene profile shows the presence and amount of terpenes in a CBD product.

Terpenes are aromatic oils that interact with the cannabinoids and other compounds to activate the “entourage effect,” and may offer potential benefits.

The entourage effect “magnifies the benefits of the plant’s individual components — so that the impact of the whole plant is greater than the sum of its parts.

Read more about terpenes here.

Pesticides


Courtesy of Brizo Pure

Pesticides are used to target “pests” such as insects, but unfortunately, pesticides can also harm humans. Exposure to pesticides can lead to minor as well as more serious issues.

This screening confirms that a CBD product is free of pesticides and that the plant was grown using pesticide-free methods in clean soil.

As you can see in the example above, a CBD product was tested for several pesticides and none were found, thus the product “passed.”

Solvent Residue


Courtesy of Brizo Pure

Many CBD extraction methods require the use of chemical solvents.

This screening tells us if any solvent residue remains after extraction.

From the example above, we can see that no solvents were found except isopropanol, but the amount found was small enough for the product to pass testing and be safe for human consumption.

What else do COA’s test for?

Heavy Metals

No, not heavy metal music. This screening ensures that a CBD product is free from heavy metal contamination. It measures heavy metals such as arsenic, cadmium, lead, and mercury.

Microbes

This screening proves that a CBD product is free from dangerous microbes such as mold, yeast, E-coli, and salmonella.

No one wants salmonella poisoning!

Mycotoxins

Mycotoxins grow on crops under warm and humid conditions produced by fungi. They can cause health issues.

This screening ensures that a CBD product is free from mycotoxins.

Conclusion

Every CBD company thinks they have the best product out there, but they need claims to back it up. A COA brings credibility and trustworthiness to the brand, and helps consumers make an informed decision.

We all want the best for our bodies, and COA’s help us make the best choice.

See our COA’s here.

Sources:

https://www.brizopure.com/

https://www.projectcbd.org/science/terpenes/terpenes-and-entourage-effect

https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/mycotoxins

https://www.osha.gov/archive/oshinfo/priorities/solvents.html

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