Always look for a Certificate Of Analysis (COA) when buying CBD! Learn how to read a COA, and why it's important for your pet's safety. As leading industry experts in all things hemp, no one knows better than Manitoba Harvest how important quality and transparency are when it comes to choosing a CBD oil. We also know that there can be a lot of information to absorb when you’re reading a CBD product’s Certificate of Analysis (COA). So let’s break down what a
How To Read A Certificate Of Analysis (COA)
One of the things people ask us about a lot is how to know for sure which CBD and cannabis products are ‘good’ for their pets and which they should avoid. There are a lot of things you can look for to find a quality product, but this is an unregulated industry and the only way to know if the bark is worth the bite, is by checking the company’s Certificate Of Analysis (COA).
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What is a Certificate of Analysis (COA)?
Whether they call them lab results, certificate of analysis or COA, this document shows you exactly what is in your product at the time it was bottled. This report will give you the specific quantity for each cannabinoid, like CBD and THC, that are in the product. This is how you can be sure that you are indeed buying a full-spectrum product , which research has shown is the most effective type of cannabis medicine.
COA & Third-Party Labs
A COA should always be issued by a third-party lab. That means the company has paid to have an outside company analyze the contents of their product and generate a report that tells you everything you need to know about it. You can determine if this is a third party by checking the logo and contact info on the document. If the lab shares a logo or name with the company you are buying from, they are probably affiliated.
Feel free to give them a call and ask about the reports they produce!
By having the testing done in a non-affiliated lab, we can be pretty sure the company selling the item has no bias in the reporting of its contents. This is so important. Without this document, there is no way to prove that what is printed on the bottle is indeed true of what’s inside. When we are dealing with something as serious as a health supplement, the importance of transparency cannot be overstated and most companies worth their stuff will gladly offer a COA.
But don’t let that confuse you! There are a few simple things in all these reports that you can focus on.
How To Read A Certificate Of Analysis (COA)
The main thing you’re going to want to look for is how much of each cannabinoid like CBD and THC was found during testing. There are over 114 known cannabinoids, most of which are in such small quantities that they don’t show up in typical lab tests. That doesn’t mean they aren’t present, they’re just in really small proportions.
Carrier oils like hemp seed oil or MCT are great for improving the bioavailability of a hemp extract, but this can reduce the amount of cannabinoids to less than detectable levels. That being said, a full-spectrum hemp or cannabis extract should report quantitative data for CBD, THC, and at least a couple of the minor-cannabinoids like CBG or CBC.
What You Want To See in a Certificate of Analysis (COA)
If you look at the image labeled Figure 1, you will see a few different ways this particular lab reports THC levels. They give you the percentage of total weight (which for a hemp product must be below .3% THC) . They also give you the mg/g and the total mg per bottle. This lab has given you a nice colorful graph to show the relative concentration of all the detected cannabinoids. As you’d expect for a hemp extract, CBD reports the highest level. Were this a marijuana tincture, it would most likely show a higher level of THC.
Once we know that all the good stuff is accounted for, we need to make sure the results confirm that it is free of all the contaminants and other stuff we don’t want.
What You Don’t Want To See in a Certificate Of Analysis (COA)
The COA is also valuable as it can prove the product is free of pesticides, heavy metals, pathogens, and other nasty things that could harm your pet.
Two types of detection that you want to be aware of are LOD and LOQ. They are similar but are different ways of showing if something was detected or not.
- LOD, or limit of detection = the lowest level that an analyte can be detected by the tests.
- LOQ, meaninglimit of quantitation = the lowest concentration at which the analyte can be quantitated reliably at defined levels. In other words, the lowest level that a compound can be accurately measured, beyond just being able to detect it.
If anything is reported less than (LOQ), or LOD, that means it is virtually non-existent in the product.
Most labs will test for a long list of the most common pesticides, which should be showing ‘not detected’ or ‘N D’. They can and should also test for heavy metals and pathogens like E. Coli or salmonella.
Why is a Certificate Of Analysis Important?
Let’s be honest, there are a lot of questionable CBD products on the market right now. Without any regulation, it’s like the wild west out here. Products are being sold as one thing, then later found to have little or no CBD content at all.
Just because they give you a COA, doesn’t mean there isn’t still some shady business going on. You may find test results for products that claim to be full-spectrum despite their lab test showing THC levels below the LOQ. This means the THC was pretty much undetectable.
It’s really unfortunate that this is something that people need to watch out for and it reinforces the reason that it’s a great idea to build a relationship with your local independent pet shop. The reputable ones have done the necessary work to vet the companies they carry and they care about what they are selling.
Where Can I Find a Certificate of Analysis?
Companies should make it easy for you to find this information. If their lab test results are not clearly listed and accessible, they are probably hiding something. I’m always happy to give props to companies that are doing things right. There are millions of pets that could benefit from cannabis and we just can’t help them all.
By providing a COA, cannabis companies like these are operating with the transparency necessary for consumers to ensure at a minimum that what they say about their product on the label is reflective of what’s inside the bottle. You can always call or email them directly and ask them to send you their COA’s. Transparency is so important and the good companies will be happy to prove themselves!
How to Read a CBD Certificate of Analysis
As leading industry experts in all things hemp, no one knows better than Manitoba Harvest how important quality and transparency are when it comes to choosing a CBD oil. We also know that there can be a lot of information to absorb when you’re reading a CBD product’s Certificate of Analysis. So let’s break down what a Certificate of Analysis is, why it’s important, and what you can learn from it.
What is a Certificate of Analysis?
If you only remember one thing about buying CBD oil, let it be this: always look for a Certificate of Analysis, or COA. No CBD oil company is worth your time if they do not offer – in a clear, easy-to-find format – a third-party tested Certificate of Analysis for every batch of products they make.
Why is a COA so important? Hemp is naturally a bioaccumulator, meaning it easily absorbs substances from the earth. That might include pesticides and other harmful chemicals. The extraction method that a CBD oil company uses can also affect the quality of its products: some extraction methods and carrier oils can lead to volatile, inconsistent products or unsafe chemical residues. We are proud to us a CO2 extraction process that is free of solvents and harmful residues and organic Coconut MCT Oil as our carrier oil.
Our Product Testing Page makes it quick and easy to look up the lot number of your CBD oil product – oils, softels, and CBD protein powders all have lot numbers (located on the bottom of every container of Broad Spectrum Hemp Extract with CBD).
You type that lot number into our Product Testing Page, et voilà, a COA! The information you’ll find in a COA can be broken down into six major categories. Let’s look at each of them:
This section of the COA details precisely which cannabinoids are present in this batch. Here, you can see that CBD is the most present cannabinoid, and there is less than .005% THC, which occurs naturally in hemp – that’s far less than the maximum 0.3% THC that can legally be present per the 2018 Farm Bill.
The “profile” section shows that you’re getting all the goodness of CBD with less than .01% THC.
We love terpenes! You love terpenes! And there are so many great ones in every batch of Broad Spectrum Hemp Extract. This section of the COA breaks down which ones are present and in what quantities. We encourage you to read the blog post linked above to read about the benefits of terpenes, and to do your own research and look up terpene names to learn more.
Microbiological and Mycotoxins
The “microbiological” and “mycotoxins” sections’ job is to assure you that your Hemp Extract product is free from harmful microorganisms. Mycotoxins that come from fungus are commonly found in plants – but you definitely don’t want them in the hemp extract you’ve made part of your daily routine, and our CO2 extraction process removes them safely and effectively. Microorganisms like bacteria, yeast, and mold are an important safety concern – as they should be for any reputable CBD company – and Manitoba Harvest adds steps in the manufacturing processes to ensure that Good Manufacturing Processes (GMP) are followed to ensure these harmful microorganisms do not get introduced to the product.
Other contaminants are commonly found in plants, such as solvents, pesticides, and heavy metals. Once again, you can trust our CO2 extraction process to remove all those unwanted contaminants. Hang on, you might think, what’s up with those hemp plants having so many contaminants? Good question! The hemp plant is a natural bioaccumulator – meaning it easily absorbs substances from the soil, including pesticides and harmful chemicals. Scientists are even studying how well hemp plants could be used to naturally clean harmful substances from soil all over the planet! That’s why our extraction process is so important: it rids the hemp extract of those chemicals while still maintaining a stable, consistent product with no chemical residues.
“Organoleptic” is a science-y word for the sensory experiences that food and other ingestibles create. Our Organoleptic profile shows consistent shape, size, and color – the organoleptic profile on the COAs of our CBD oil drops and sprays also note odor, and the COAs for our CBD protein powder indicates flavor.
This section can vary a little depending on the product, but in short we want to assure you are getting exactly the amount of Broad Spectrum Hemp Extract with CBD that we say you are. Information here may include the fill volume of a bottle of oil drops, the fill weight of a CBD softgel, and a softgel’s “rupture time” (or how quickly it begins dissolving into your system).
We stand behind every single Broad Spectrum Hemp Extract with 100% confidence, and encourage you to spend some time with a batch report of any product you purchase. We know that you deserve the kind of transparency and peace of mind that a Certificate of Analysis offers so you know you’re getting an absolutely premium CBD product.
Check out a Certificate of Analysis by visiting our Batch Reports page! If you have any questions, that’s what we’re here for. Give us a call at 1-(800)-665-HEMP(4367), or use our contact page to reach out.
The information provided is for informational purposes only. None of the information provided here should be considered medical advice or treatment recommendations. Consult with your health care provider if you have questions about incorporating CBD into your wellness regimen.