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CBD Lab Reports, Top 7 Things to Look For

Seven things to look for when reading a Certificate of Analysis.

Whether you are a consumer or a retailer you should always request the COA or Certificate of Analysis from an independent 3rd party lab for your CBD products. Most transparent companies will have these lab results accessible by either a scannable QR code on the label/packaging or hosted on the company’s website. All lab reports are not created equal, some are harder to read into than others. For this sample we are using a lab report from our friends at Botanica Testing. Their design and graphics are user friendly and easy to understand.

So, what are the 7 things you should be looking for when viewing a COA?

Cannabinoid Volume:

How much CBD is in your product? If the Label is claiming 1000 mg of CBD then this can be easily verified by looking in the report ( see page 1: #2 & #3 ). Recently there were numerous products sampled by several news organizations. Many of the products sampled were tested and had far less CBD than what was advertised on the label.

Cannabinoid Content:

Is the CBD product labeled as a Full Spectrum or Isolate? This can all be cleared up if you know what to look for in the “cannabinoids by weight” chart (see page 1: #6).

Basically CBD comes in these two types and for the sake of sticking to the subject we are only going to discuss what to look for in the lab report.

A Full Spectrum product will show THC, CBD, + 2 to 4 more cannabinoids such as CBC, CBG, CBD-V, CBN, CBDA and there may be others depending on the report.

An Isolate product will have CBD only. All other cannabinoids will be ND (non-detectable).

What about Broad Spectrum? Well depending on who you ask and where you’re from, some are saying that Broad Spectrum and Full Spectrum are one and the same. Others will say Broad Spectrum is the same as Full Spectrum without the THC. Either way Broad Spectrum seems to be the word of the day and for now we are going to stick to the basics.

Terpenes Profile:

Terpenes are the volition aromatic compounds found in cannabis that are present in full-spectrum. Terpenes offer potential health benefits and additionally interact with cannabinoids. Terpenes are the aromatic and flavorful component of the plant. The Terpenes profile is broken down by percentage and the Botanica Testing report makes it fun to distinguish the different sources of taste and smell (see page 2 & 3).


Testing for elevated levels of common or problematic pesticides. This is typically a pass or fail based on parts per million (see page 4).

Residual Solvents:

This report verifies that any residual solvents used for extraction are below the limit considered safe for human consumption. This is typically a pass or fail based on parts per million (see page 4).


This screening verifies that a product is free of harmful microbes: Yeast, Molds, E-coli, and Bacteria’s. This is typically a pass or fail (see page 4).

Heavy Metals:

This screening verifies that metals are below the limit considered safe for human consumption. This is typically a pass or fail based on parts per million (see page 4).

Certificates of Analysis are becoming more and more essential in today's unregulated marketplace. We encourage consumers and retailers to purchase from brands that provide 3rd party lab reports for their products. Education, transparency and responsibility are key to the growth of the CBD industry. Know your brand, know your product and be informed!

Special thanks to Adam Christensen at Botanica Testing for his knowledge and feedback.

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