Can You Trust Your CBD? Here's What to Look for on a CBD Certificate of Analysis

November 12, 2020

A certificate of analysis (COA), also known as a lab report, verifies the amount of CBD found in your CBD product. COAs are important because they ensure you that your CBD products are legitimate.

But what do you do after you find a COA? Reading a COA might seem intimidating, especially if you’re not science-savvy, but it actually can be pretty simple. Here’s what you need to look out for on a COA.

What is a COA?

CBD companies hire independent labs to test their products. These labs then compile reports that confirm the contents of the CBD products. This report is called a COA.

COAs confirm that your CBD products contain what the packaging says it contains. Unfortunately, many companies mislabel their CBD products, saying that they contain more or less CBD than what they actually contain. 

If a company doesn’t provide a COA, you can’t be certain that their products are legitimate. Most companies make their COAs available on their website. If you want to check out our COAs, you can read them here.

How can I tell if a COA is legit?

First up, it’s important to make sure that the COA itself is legit. 

COAs should:

  • Name the lab. The COA should include the name of the lab, which you should be able to verify with a quick Google search. 
  • Name the product. The COA should include the exact name of the product. Some COAs also include batch numbers.
  • Come from an accredited lab. If you’re in the US, the lab should be ISO 17025-compliant.
  • Be dated within the last 18 months. The COAs should be updated regularly.

If the COA includes all of the above, you can move onto the next phase: actually reading the COA.

How to read a COA

Don’t be intimidated by the long, sciencey-sounding words! COAs aren’t too difficult to read once you know what you’re looking for. 

How much CBD does it contain?

The most basic COA should confirm how much CBD the product contains in total. This number should be exactly (or very, very close to) the amount advertised on the website and packaging.

What other cannabinoids does it contain?

Cannabinoids are chemical compounds that naturally occur in hemp and cannabis. CBD is one of many cannabinoids. 

Common cannabinoids include: 

  • Cannabigerol (CBG)
  • Cannabinol (CBN)
  • Cannabichromene (CBC)
  • Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC)

If the product uses CBD isolate, then CBD is the only cannabinoid that the lab will find. Full-spectrum and broad-spectrum CBD products also contain other cannabinoids in small amounts. 

Terpenes and flavonoids 

Terpenes and flavonoids give hemp and cannabis strains their unique aromas and flavors. The terpenes and flavonoids vary from strain to strain. It is believed that they have their own unique health benefits. 

Common terpenes include:

  • Myrcene
  • Humulene
  • Linalool
  • A-Pinene
  • Beta-Caryophyllene
  • Limonene


Many COAs test for toxins. These toxins include:

  • Molds
  • Pesticides
  • Herbicides
  • Heavy metals
  • Solvents

When the product contains none of the above, it’ll usually say “pass” on the COA. 

Since CBD products are health products, it’s important to ensure that you opt for the very best products. This includes reading COAs before making a purchase. In the long-run, the effort is definitely worth it!

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