Modified: 08/13/2021

Why It's Important to Know What's In Your CBD Product

It is important to know what is in your CBD product because not all CBD products are legitimate or safe to use.  As the CBD market continues to rapidly grow, so does the number of CBD sellers. Some CBD brands are legitimate and credible, and others are not. When a CBD product is viewed online or in a retail store, one tends to assume the product is legitimate and free of contaminants. In reality, not so. The same is true for CBD products with compelling label design and content.  It may look legitimate on the outside but what’s inside the product may actually be very different.

This is where the CBD product’s Certificate of Analysis (COA) becomes key.

What is a COA?

A COA is the lab report for the CBD product. Before a CBD product is made available for sale, a sample of the product’s batch is sent to a third-party accredited laboratory for testing. Once testing is completed, the laboratory issues a COA for the CBD product.

Why is it called a third party laboratory? 

Third-party means that the laboratory is a separate entity from the CBD manufacturer and CBD brand, and has no influence over the results of the tests performed on the CBD product. Many states, including Florida, require laboratories to be separate from the CBD manufacturer/seller to ensure unbiased testing.

In addition, these same states require laboratories be accredited in order to lawfully test CBD products.  The term “accredited” basically means the laboratory is officially recognized to have the necessary qualifications to perform high standard testing, and specifically on hemp extract products containing cannabinoids.

What does the CBD lab report show? 

The CBD lab report will show the types of testing performed on the CBD product, such as:

  • which cannabinoids were tested and the amounts detected
  • the amount of THC detected, if any
  • which terpenes were tested and what amounts were detected
  • which contaminants were tested and the amounts detected

→ Learn more: Types of Lab Tests Performed on a CBD Oil Product

Access to the CBD Lab Report

In an ideal world, when you purchase a hemp-derived CBD product it should contain the cannabinoids advertised and be safe to use.  Unfortunately, the rapid growth of the CBD industry has attracted some unsavory players who care little for quality and safety and are only in it for profit. Mislabelled, fake and dangerous synthetic knockoff CBD products are commonly found online, in retail stores, and in gas stations.

For example, in a study of 84 CBD products sold by 31 companies online in 2017, blind testing found that only 31 percent of the products contained the amount of CBD advertised. Some products were found to contain high amounts of THC that well exceeded 0.3 percent. For a hemp derived CBD product to be legal, it must not contain more than 0.3% THC. Also, not all CBD lab reports include safety testing.  These are a few main reasons as to why a CBD lab report is important.

Another reason the lab report is important is due to the lack of federal regulations and the inconsistency between state laws in those states where CBD regulations exists. Currently, there is no federal regulatory pathway for the CBD marketplace. The Food & Drug Administration has and continues to consider industry standards for hemp products containing CBD, but it has been a very slow process.

Due to the lack of nationwide industry standards, some states have created their own laws to regulate the sale of CBD products, but these are inconsistent. This inconsistency results in inconsistent quality and testing standards for CBD products. And, in some states there are no laws at all.

How to Find the CBD Lab Report

Some CBD brands host their lab reports directly on their website, as we do here. Other CBD brands host their lab reports on an accessible third-party website.

You should be able to find the lab report via the QR code displayed on the CBD product. Using your mobile phone camera, scan the QR code. Once scanned, a webpage featuring the lab report should appear. Look for the batch number stamped/printed on your CBD product. If the brand requires you to enter the batch number, type it in the requested field and the lab report should appear. If the brand doesn’t require you to enter the batch number, look for the lab report that lists the same batch number as the one on your CBD product and click to open it.

If your mobile phone camera is not capable of scanning the QR code you can download a QR code reader app which also tends to work better.

If you cannot locate the lab report for your batch number, contact the CBD brand for assistance.

Final Thoughts

Remember, not all CBD products are made the same and not all CBD products are thoroughly tested.

When shopping for a CBD product, make sure you have access to the product’s lab report to verify the content and that it is safe for you to use.

→ Recommended: How to Read a CBD Lab Report

If you are unable to locate the lab report, inquire directly with the brand. If the CBD brand fails or refuses to provide you with the CBD lab report, this should cause you grave pause for concern. In fact, shop from another brand that provides access to their lab reports so you can feel rest assured that you are buying a legitimate CBD product that is safe to use.

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