What is a Certificate of Analysis and Why is It Important?

What is a Certificate of Analysis and Why is It Important?

November 03, 2020

When browsing for CBD products, it’s important to opt for companies that make their certificates of analysis (COAs) available. COAs, also known as lab reports, verify the contents of the products. 

Without a COA, you have no way of knowing how much CBD the product contains—or whether it contains CBD at all. COAs also test the products for toxins that can have a harmful effect on your body.

Here’s what you need to know about COAs.

What is a COA?

To show customers that their products are legitimate, CBD companies hire third-party labs to test their products. By “third-party lab,” we mean that the lab is not a part of the company that produces or sells the CBD.

These labs then write COAs reporting their findings. The COAs are usually made available on the company’s website. If you want to check out our COAs, you can read them here.

Why is a COA important?

As we say here at Eve Farms, not all CBD is created equal. As CBD has grown in popularity, so has the CBD market, with hundreds of companies selling CBD products. 

Unfortunately, many companies produce and sell sub-par CBD products. In fact, some companies actually mislabel and misrepresent their products. 

A recent study looked at the content of CBD products sold online. The study showed that many companies overstate or understate the amount of CBD in their products. Only about 31 percent of the 84 products they tested were labeled accurately. 

In 2019, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) sent warning letters to 15 CBD companies that mislabelled their products. Their products contained more CBD than stated, less CBD than stated, or no CBD at all. These companies were selected randomly and tested.

While the FDA does send warning letters to companies that mislead their customers, the FDA doesn’t actually regulate the sale of CBD (or any dietary supplement). This means that the responsibility falls on you, as the customer, to choose decent CBD products

When it comes to researching CBD products to purchase, checking the COA should be the first thing you do. 

What does a COA include?

A basic COA should tell you how much CBD is found in the product. More extensive COAs also include information on the following:

Other cannabinoids 

CBD is a cannabinoid, which means it's one of the active chemical compounds in hemp and cannabis plants. It’s not the only cannabinoid, though: so far, we know there are over a hundred cannabinoids in existence. 

While CBD is the most prominent cannabinoid in CBD products, full-spectrum and broad-spectrum CBD products also contain small amounts of other cannabinoids. 

Terpenes and flavonoids 

In some cases, the COAs will outline the terpenes and flavonoids found in the CBD product. If you see words like “pinene” and “linalool”, don’t be intimidated—those are all chemicals that naturally occur in hemp as well as other plants (like pine trees and lavender). 


Some COAs test for toxins such as molds, pesticides, herbicides, and heavy metals. Avoid products that contain any of the above, as they can have a harmful effect on your body. Organically-grown hemp should not contain pesticides or herbicides at all. 

No COA? No purchase!

COAs should be seen as the absolute minimum requirement when it comes to buying CBD. If you can’t find one on their website and they won’t email you one on request, it’s best to avoid that brand.  

Of course, there are other things you should consider when looking for high-quality CBD. For example, you should look for a brand that:

  • Does not make false medical claims, such as claiming their products “cure” certain illnesses
  • Uses a quality extraction method, such as CO2 extraction, which reduces the chances of harmful solvents appearing in your CBD
  • Has positive reviews on their website, social media, and other sites
  • Uses premium hemp and tells you how the hemp is grown
  • Has not received a warning letter from the FDA for mislabeling their products

Shopping for CBD can be overwhelming, as there are so many exciting products out there. As overwhelming as it can be, it’s important to do your due diligence and only purchase the best products. This includes only buying products that have COAs available. 

After all, your health is worth the investment!

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