What is a Certificate of Analysis? Why does it matter?

It’s safe to say that CBD has taken the market by storm. From tinctures and topicals to infused food and even pillows (??), it can be found in nearly any form you can think. Despite its ever-growing popularity, the cannabinoid’s lack of any standard regulation has lead to some pretty big industry issues.

Are the ingredients really what they say they are?

Is the CBD and THC content accurately advertised on the label?

Are you actually getting what you paid for?

Discrepancies between what’s in a product and how it’s advertised are harmful to consumers and retailers alike. But, without any federal regulation to keep CBD companies transparent, how can consumers choose a trustworthy product?

The Certificate of Analysis

The only way to know for sure what’s in a product is with a Certificate of Analysis (COA). A COA is a comprehensive test done by a 3rd Party Testing Facility to examine the purity and potency of a given product. It lists how much CBD is in a product, if  other cannabinoids — such as CBN, CBG and THC —  are present and how much. We’ve all heard horror stories of unsuspecting CBD users getting fired from jobs for THC in their system, so this information is especially important if you need a product that completely THC free.

In addition to testing the cannabinoid content, many 3rd Party facilities also test products for heavy metals, pesticides or other toxic chemicals. Because when it comes to ingestible products like tinctures, drinks, or gummies, the less toxins entering the body, the better!

Why should you care?

Third Party Lab Testing is currently not a requirement in the CBD industry. Some manufacturers themselves may not even know exactly what’s in their products if they aren’t testing each new batch. If a company is not performing these tests and sharing the results with the public, consider it a major red flag.  A company that’s done its due diligence will state, either on its products’ labels or its website, that the products are 3rd Party tested and where to find each COA.

At Relēf CBD, we test all raw materials for 10 different cannabinoids, 24 pesticides, four heavy metals, and 10 microbials. We then retest each batch of finished goods for cannabinoid potency. This helps ensure that our products remain 100% THC free from start to finish. Each product’s COA, organized by Batch/ Lot #, is easily available for anyone to read here. Upon further request, the results for our raw materials are also available.

Unfortunately, starting a CBD regimen isn’t an easy task.

Without regulation, it’s the consumer’s responsibility to research products/companies of interest to make sure they are credible and trustworthy. However, we hope in the future science and legislation will catch up so there’s no more risk or guess-work. Until then, a 3rd Party Certificate of Analysis is your best friend!

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