lab test results
All COA’s for our inputs and products can be found on this page below in the COA section.
Products have two relevant tests:
- Full panel test for the active input ensuring safety
- Batch test verifying potency and compliance
Inputs including but not limited to Live Resin, Delta 8, THCv, CBDv, CBG, and CBD have one relevant test:
- Full panel test ensuring safety, accurate potency, and compliance
COA is short for certificate of analysis. A COA is a test that shows potency and presence of different compounds within a product or extract.
It can be produced by the company making the product if they have testing equipment or it may be done through a third party (recommended to ensure accuracy).
COAs for hemp and cannabis will show levels for common cannabinoids and terpenes. It also shows if there are harmful contaminants such as heavy metals, pesticides, molds and bacteria.
Which compounds are measured and shown on the COA is up to the lab. In general there are standard ones everyone includes but more novel or new compounds must be requested to be included and may not even be available if the lab doesn’t have the testing standard for that compound set up.
Each lab can setup the template for how their COA displays the test results including which compounds are highlighted on the main front page. Usually safety and compliance summaries are highlighted on the first page as well as primary target compounds like CBD, Delta 8 and others.
COA’s are usually several pages long and details for less common compounds are typically on secondary pages.
USDA and State guidelines require all products be tested to ensure potency accuracy and safety. If there is no COA available do not consume or buy the product.
The report date is listed and shows when the test was performed.
Next note the lab who performed the test. You should research to see if the lab is ISO certified (it may be displayed on the COA). ISO certified labs provide the most accurate results and reputable companies will test with these labs. When a company chooses not to test with an ISO certified lab it is often because they want inflated potency results on their COA to increase the value of their product (as non-certified labs often do this).
Next look at who had the COA performed. It should be from the product manufacturer, brand of the product or seller of that brand.
You’ll want to see that the tests shows PASS for all potentially harmful compounds that could be present and were tested for. It’s important to note that not all compounds that could be present and harmful are tested for by the labs. Learn more below by reading “WHY A PASSING COA DOESN’T GUARANTEE SAFETY”.
See where the COA lists the levels of Delta 9 THC and ensure it is below the legal limit of .3%.
Review the levels of cannabinoids and terpenes present to see how rich and diverse the product is in these compounds.
Sometimes the displayed levels for the compounds present are misinterpreted because it is not understood that the displayed levels are based on either the milligrams per gram or by the recommended serving dose which the company provides the detail for when submitting to the lab. If no information is given on the serving size then it is common for the lab to default to mg per gram. You may also see results measured in mg per ml if the tested product is a liquid or oil.
If you see no information or ND (non-detect) in the results column this means the laboratory did not detect significant levels of the compound.
The % column converts the concentration of each cannabinoid from mg per gram to a percentage of overall weight of the product. This conversion is simply another way to look at the same results, but is often easier for consumers to understand.
Full panel tests look a lot more in depth into what is present in the product or extract being tested whereas a potency analysis is focused on the levels of the compounds and compliance.
Full panel tests measure a variety of relevant and potentially harmful compounds including cannabinoids, terpenes, pesticides, herbicides, heavy metals, residual solvents, microbials, and mycotoxins.
With potency analysis it’s important to understand that there is an acknowledged and accepted level of variance for results. This transcends hemp and includes cannabis testing which is highly regulated.
Variance in potency results can be from the same lab running two separate tests on the same material or from two separate labs testing the same material.
Some factors causing variance include labs having different testing equipment, the equipment being calibrated differently, baselines varying, and lab techs interpreting the results differently.
The product or input being tested can also cause variations. Let’s consider flower. Flower has lots of variance which is impacted by how much sunlight the plant got. The tops of plants get much more sunlight then the bottoms and will have higher potency in the colas than what will be in the flower nugs on the plants bottom because of it. The only accurate way to test flower would be to do a lot of tests from different parts of the plant and field but even then the average could be higher than what the flower you end up with has.
In spite of the fact COAs have a lot of variance there are best practices that help make them more reliable such as:
- Testing with ISO accredited labs for more accurate results
- Test with the same lab that originally tested the product you bought so you are more likely to get a correct comparison
- Homogenize product to get average
Even though test results have variance you can still get a general idea of what you have and it should be accurate enough for most needs.
For formulations that need to be extremely precise we recommend testing with multiple labs and averaging the data.
For most peoples needs including those purchasing flower, Delta 8 distillate and carts…any small amount of variance is not going to be noticeable in the effects felt.
What we mean by this is that if you have flower you see is 20% on a COA and you consume it and it was actually only 16%, it is very unlikely you would notice much of a difference.
For consumers wanting the most potency the best way to ensure that is to stick with products that are more impactful like an edible over a cart versus worrying about whether a cart has 75% potency versus 85%.
We have been to bat on this one a lot. We understand the need to have something to look at to feel assured a product is safe to consume but we are town criers that this isn’t the most telling.
The reasons are such:
- A company can easily provide a COA from another vendor or from a separate batch they made that tested higher or safer than a current batch.
- All of the things tested for by labs are not all of the things that could be present. A COA that says pass means it passed for the things tested which is not everything that could be present. It’s important the company is reputable and knowledgeable enough to ensure they have the lab test for everything which usually means an increased cost for the COA so not all do this.
- Labs make mistakes. Whether the wrong sample was tested or a lab tech made an error, the tests are not 100% accurate and in all the tests we have ran we have had issues with errors.
- A company can take the wrong product to the lab to be tested and slap any product name on it. So they could take something safe with high potency to get tested and call it whatever other product they want.
So now that we have covered all the issues with tests let’s talk about the things you should pay attention to.
DO look for a COA; they aren’t irrelevant and can be helpful.
Do business with companies that show they have integrity and possess enough knowledge to do things the right way.
Don’t falsely assume that because a company is popular or bigger that that equates to them being ethical, safe or high quality.
Many companies outsource some or all of their products to be made. A company may be an expert in one product they offer but that doesn’t mean they make or know much about the other things they sell.
Some companies don’t intentionally do things the wrong way they just aren’t knowledgeable enough to know better while others knowingly falsify tests for gain.
All of this to recap- know who you are doing business with. Use the right metrics to gauge their intentions and expertise.
Just because many people buy a product doesn’t mean the products are safe.
Look for signs the company is invested in their processes and maintaining consumer safety and not just putting words on a box or webpage to increase sales.