In our previous blog post, Certificates of Analysis: What Tests are commonly Performed on a Hemp Extract CBD Product, we addressed common tests reported on a COA, short for Certificate of Analysis, and why they’re important.
Here, we provide a general overview on how to read a COA for a hemp extract CBD product. First, we outline some common abbreviations and what they generally mean. Following that, is an interactive guide that features a sample COA with numbers displayed by each field to be covered below for the sample batch of a 3500mg Full Spectrum oil tincture. Hover the displayed number and a pop-up will appear, providing a brief description for the selected field.
Common COA Abbreviations
- Below Limit of Detection (“B/LOD”). This means the substance or compound tested was present, but the amount detected is below the cut off value detectable by the testing instrument.
- Below the Limit of Quantitation (“B/LOQ”). This means the substance or compound was detected, but the value is below what can be accurately reported. If you review the LOQ for a substance or compound and see “B/LOQ”, it means the detected amount is below that indicated number.
- Below Threshold. This means the result for the compound or substance is below the acceptable, legally set number.
- Limit of Detection (“LOD”). This is the lowest value that the testing instrument is capable of detecting the presence of a substance or compound.
- Limit of Quantitation (“LOQ”). Generally, for the laboratory to report a result value, the number must be greater than or equal to the LOQ number listed in each row of the test column for each compound tested.
- Not Detected (“N/D”). This is one of the most common abbreviations on a COA. A result showing N/D means the instrument did not detect the presence of the tested substance or compound. Some products labelled or otherwise indicated to be “THC Free”, “0.00% THC” or “0.00 mg THC” may still contain trace amounts of THC that simply were not detected when tested due to the cut off limit (i.e., the LOD) set on the laboratory’s testing instrument.
Summing It Up
You should always have access to the COA for a CBD product to verify its content and safety for use. Unfortunately, certain brands have claimed their products contained a certain amount of CBD when, in reality, less or no CBD is present. The COA is a resourceful tool available to you in this regard.
If your phone’s camera is unable to scan the QR code, try using a QR code reader app instead. Not all phone cameras function the same and QR code reader apps are generally more successful. If neither of these options work, notify the brand to determine if there is a technical issue, as those do sometimes occur.
If you ultimately can’t get access to the COA where state law requires that one be provided (like Florida does), consider shopping from another brand. If you live in a state that doesn’t require a COA, then buyer beware.