How to read CBD product lab test results - Full Spectrum/Full Plant version.
by Brandon Ghidossi
The intention/purpose of this article is to teach you how to be able to interpret a lab test that was conducted on a certain CBD product specifically (hopefully it is a lab/COA that you asked for before buying a particular CBD product for personal consumption).
Before getting into the details I would like to state that not all lab tests will look the same as the one we are using for demonstration. In fact almost all lab test results will appear slightly differently if they are from different labs due to various software companies used to record and display the data.
I am going to start in numerical order (1-18) and interpret from top to bottom:
- In this box we see the name of the lab that the product was tested at. This is one of the most important things to look for on a lab. If there is no information listing the actual lab name that conducted the test (also see box #18 for their contact info to be able to verify legitimacy) and if the lab wasn’t conducted by a third party lab facility (not affiliated with the company that is having their product tested) it could be very risky purchasing their product.
- Lab tests are formally known as Certificates of Analysis (COA’s for short). If this information isn’t written on the lab it doesn’t mean that the lab isn’t a legitimate one but most certified and professional labs will have that listed somewhere on them.
- Confident Cannabis is a company that provides software that stores, organizes and displays the data from this particular cannabis lab testing company (374 Labs) which makes it a smoother and easier process for everyone to access the lab test results. This feature really has nothing to do with legitimacy but is a nice service to have to make things easier and more professional for everyone. Also it’s important to note that the document shows page 1 of 1 so there are no missing pages from the lab test results not being provided.
- Here we see the name and contact information of the company having their product tested. This is a very important thing to have available to consumers and retailers just in case they have questions about the lab test results (cannabis lab testing companies are not always easy to get ahold of because they are usually very busy and do not always do business with the general public). If the contact listed here does not know how to interpret their own labs that is what I like to call a “red flag” (a reason to possibly not use their products).
- The information here is pretty self explanatory yet still important to be able to verify legitimacy. The date of the lab test should not be too old but if it isn’t completely recent that’s not something to worry about as long as you can identify the quality, efficacy and safety of the product being tested by screening the company selling it. CBD products are not raw cannabis flower so there shouldn’t be a strain listed unless it is a strain specific CBD product (not likely to find any of those types of CBD products at this juncture because most CBD products contain only CBD isolate not the full plant and even with true full spectrum CBD products most companies mix together and use multiple strains to keep up with the high demand).
- The description of the product is listed here (important to double check that it matches the info on the product bottle label) accompanied by what type of product it is and how it was extracted (CO2 extracted in this circumstance). It is very important to do research on extraction processes and come to your own conclusions as far as what you feel comfortable potentially putting in your body. If any of the solvents or particulates used during extraction were not fully removed and are still in the product it could very well be harmful to consume. Even the slightest bit of harmful substance can affect the body, maybe not so much in the short term but if you’re taking it everyday in the long run it could potentially have seriously adverse effects in your body (food for thought).
- Here we have a QR code that can possibly be scanned to view more information or is used for other purposes that aren’t really relevant for what this article is portraying. Again, if this isn’t on the lab it’s no big deal in my opinion unless it links to very important information which in this case it does not.
- Having a picture of the product being tested with a label on it from the company selling the product is massively important. Some CBD companies use lab test results sent from their manufacturer (who could be lying to them through false labs) and those are what they provide to consumers and retailers. To be very blunt and honest, the current cannabis industry is largely all about money. Manufacturers lie to distributors buying and selling their products and distributors lie to the consumers. It happens more often than not unfortunately. No matter how much a distributor may trust their manufacturer they would be foolish to not have the final product lab tested again to keep everyone involved honest and if they don’t, the consumers are the ones left with the short end of the stick when all is said and done.
- Listed here is the total potential THC for the unit/bottle measured in mg not percent. A lot of labs list THC and CBD in a percentage on their labs which makes it very hard to know if the amount of mgs of CBD you’re about to buy is actually in the bottle itself. In those instances we recommend contacting the seller and/or lab and ask them to provide you a copy that shows the milligram measurement to be entirely sure you are not getting ripped off or lied to by the company selling the product. If you are buying a product that claims to be “Full Spectrum” (by definition containing the entirety of phytonutrients from the plant) and shows ND (non detectable) or 0% THC in this box/section, you will know right away that particular company is straight up lying or misinforming you. If the product says “Broad Spectrum” (contains other phytocannabinoids and possibly terpenes but no THC) then that particular company is most likely being honest and truthful with you as far as the lab tests are concerned.
- This particular product claims to have 1500mg of “Full Spectrum/Full Plant” phytocannabinoids in it but in this box it only shows 1431.75 mgs. Why is that you ask? If you are dealing with a true full spectrum oil there will be other phytocannabinoids present from those particular cannabis strains that were used to extract from. Those are factored in as well but in box #15 where you can see the actual total in the bottle is in fact 1545.30 mg/unit. That number (1431.75 mgs) represents only the molecule CBD (cannabidiol) and when looking at a CBD isolate only lab that number should meet or exceed what is listed on the product bottle label (if it was calculated in milligrams). Again, most labs will show this in a measurement of percentage which is very confusing and requires you to wisely contact them and ask for a copy that shows it in mg/unit.
- This is just a little blurb put on the lab that is self explanatory. Regardless the product pictured should look exactly how it is sold to you (box #8) or else, how are you to know if it’s truly the same product you are purchasing?
- This box is essentially the titles for what is listed below it showing how this particular product is measured by weight (mass, mg/unit and mg/g). Cannabinoids (by slightly modified and simplified definition) are the molecules found in cannabis that by our current medical and scientific knowledge are the particles of the cannabis plant that are responsible for helping the body to heal itself.
- Here we have the measurements for THCa (inactive molecule) and Delta 9 THC (active molecule). Remember, if this is a true “Full Spectrum” product as it claims to be then it must show that the active molecule of THC is in fact measurably in the product being tested. We won’t get into active vs. inactive molecules in this article and how they transition from inactive to active (decarboxylation) but would highly recommend that you research that process and the effects both versions can have in your body for healing. On a side note for consumers and retailers to be able to determine if any particular full spectrum oil is compliant with the federal legal limit of THC (less than 0.3% THC) we will show you a simple way to calculate that if the product lab was measured by weight and not by percentage (if it is measured by percentage you should already be able to determine if the product is below 0.3% THC just by finding that section on their lab and seeing what the percentage is). If you look at the number in this box in the same line as Delta 9 THC that is under the measurement mass mg/g which is 1.76, all you have to do is move the decimal point over to the left once and it converts into percentage. So 1.76 mg/g of Delta 9 THC then becomes 0.176% Delta 9 THC (less than the federal legal limit of 0.3% Delta 9 THC).
- Most labs that test cannabis products only test for a little more than a handful of phytocannabinoids for specific reasons which we will not get into in this article. However there are over a hundred known phytocannabinoids in the cannabis plant species to date. In this box some of them are listed as measurable and others as ND (which is also demonstrated by the bar graph and numeric values next to each phytocannabinoid listed). Different cannabis strains will produce varied concentrations and overall presence of these specific molecules. If the product being tested is a true “Full Spectrum” oil it will usually have at least 4 or more phytocannabinoids measurably show up on the lab test. If it is an isolate it’ll only have one, CBD (cannabidiol).
- Here we have the sum total for phytocannabinoids present expressed in mg/unit and mg/g to make it easier for consumers and retailers to cross reference the information listed on the product bottle label.
- This box simply states the measurement size of the product bottle and what that equals in grams which again should match the information on the product bottle label.
- If you really want to dive deep into how certain labs come up with their results through their particular testing methodologies then you can research the information listed in this box. It is important information but not something that you’ll likely need for screening certain CBD products. It is a sign of a legitimate and certified lab to put information like this on their test results though.
- The most important information needed here in this box for customers and retailers is the contact info for the lab who tested the CBD product. It is always a wise choice to call and verify that a product you are considering putting into your body and taking regularly has been actually lab tested. This does not mean that the product is entirely safe to consume though. There are many other factors involved to prove safety and quality of other ingredients in the product such as COA’s on the carrier oil (the oil or substance that the phytocannabinoids are suspended in), information on extraction processes used, heavy metals and pesticide tests from the raw plant matter used to extract from etc. Most companies that provide legitimate labs most likely buy their products from certified extraction facilities that abide by many state regulated laws and regulations. There are no guarantees though and we recommend being very diligent with researching anything you’re considering putting into your body. You can also see that it was signed off on by the head chemist (who happens to have a doctorate in chemistry) which is a good thing to look for to see if someone qualified signed off on the lab test results. The information to the right (Confident Cannabis contact info) would also be smart to look into just for verifiability. The very long and wordy section below would most likely only pertain to those that are more so interested in researching the finite details that this particular lab uses to come up with their results.
We hope this information proves useful and would like to extend an additional helping hand to anyone who needs it by offering our professional services for free to anyone that requires assistance interpreting labs for any CBD products they are considering purchasing and consuming. As usual we will provide non biased information for the sole purpose of truly helping people and not for our own personal gain.
Please email any labs in question to: Support@HarmoniousCBD.com and we will get back to you in a timely manner with any questions that you may have.
Much love and healing to you all - Harmonious CBD.