Understanding How to Read CBD Lab Results

December 28, 2020

Understanding How to Read CBD Lab Results
Understanding How To Read a CBD Lab Report


Every reputable CBD retailer should back up their products with lab reports. Lab reports are certificates of analysis (COA) that show the contents of and prove the CBD products’ safety. Typically, a third-party company will perform a COA to ensure that the results are unbiased and reliable. However, CBD lab reports can be challenging for the average consumer to understand. To make sure you feel confident in the CBD products you purchase, follow this guide to better understand how to read the results of a CBD lab report.

Understanding How CBD Types Differ

Before reading a product’s lab report, you’ll want to familiarize yourself the various types of CBD and how they differ from one another. This will help you read the CBD lab results you’re analyzing with more clarity. For example, CBD isolate is pure CBD, whereas broad-spectrum and full spectrum will have more cannabinoids and terpenes. Full-spectrum CBD will also have more THC content than broad-spectrum, while still staying below the legal 0.3-percent limit.

What Compounds and Profiles to Look Out for in a CBD Lab Report?

  • The Cannabinoid Profile

As a consumer, the most important section of a CBD lab report to understand is the cannabinoid profile. This section will tell you how much CBD is present in each unit of the product. It will also highlight the amount of any other present cannabinoids, such as CBG and THC. Again, understanding the difference between the types of CBD products will help here. If you’re searching for an isolate but the product contains trace amounts of CBD, it is likely a broad or full spectrum CBD product.

Also keep in mind that many CBD lab reports may not include the complete cannabinoid profile. If you don't find THCA, CBG, CBC, CBN, or CBDA in the report, it doesn't necessarily imply that the CBD product is bad; it just indicates the other cannabinoids didn't appear on the chromatograph.

  • The Terpene Profile

Terpenes are the aromatic oils in the hemp plant that carry out benefits like the entourage effect. Like the cannabinoid profile, the terpene profile will display what terpenes appear in the product and how much of each is present.

  • Toxin Report

No one wants to see toxins in their CBD products, especially not pesticides, microbes, or chemical solvents. Details of any chemicals and toxins present will also appear in the CBD lab report. It’s best to steer clear of products that contain any of these elements. The finest CBD products will be completely devoid of any dangerous byproducts like toxins.

  • Microbe

The name "microbe" is rather ambiguous, since there are millions of distinct types of microbial creatures, both benign and evil. However, in general you don't want any living creatures in your CBD oil.

  • Chemical Solvents

This is a significant one to keep a close eye out for. Stay away from ANY glycols in the CBD lab report, notably polyethylene glycol (PEG) or propylene glycol (PG). All of these ingredients are chemical solvents which can degrade into carcinogenic aldehydes like formaldehyde and acetaldehyde.

  • Pesticides, Herbicides, Growth Hormones, and Fertilizers

Ideally, pesticides, herbicides, growth hormones, or fertilizers should not show up in a third-party lab report. The best CBD oils will be 100% free of any of these potentially harmful byproducts.

  • Other Cannabinoids

CBD itself is a cannabinoid, but it’s far from the only one present in the cannabis or hemp plant. Other cannabinoids to look for in third part lab reports are CBC, THC, THCA, CBG, CBDA, and CBN. (Of course, though, if you’re looking for a CBD oil that doesn’t produce a high, you’ll want to make sure it has zero THC). Be advised that many reports won’t list the full cannabinoid profile. If you don’t see CBC, THCA, CBG, CBDA, or CBN listed on the report, it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a bad CBD oil. It just means the other cannabinoids didn’t show up on the chromatograph.

Whether you’re searching for tinctures or CBD tablets for sale, understanding how to read the results of a CBD lab report is vital for finding a safe and effective CBD product.