Your Cart is Empty

  • Add description, images, menus and links to your mega menu

  • A column with no settings can be used as a spacer

  • Link to your collections, sales and even external links

  • Add up to five columns

  • by Nicola Boulton September 05, 2022 5 min read

    How to Understand a Hem Extract Certificate of Analysis (COA)

    The legalization of hemp led to a huge mark on CBD as many products were produced and accommodated in the market. Since the FDA does not regulate the consumption and planting of hemp, manufacturers produce various products as the market is unstandardized and unregulated. Products should contain a certificate of analysis as one should be able to know what is contained in a specific CBD product. This article explains how best to understand a hemp extract Certificate of analysis.

    The signing of the Farm Bill in 2018 led to the large production of hemp products. Initially, hemp was a controlled substance as per the controlled substance act and was the same as marijuana. But with the legalization, the difference between hemp and marijuana is huge, as one is a legal substance deemed safe for production and consumption. At the same time, the other is illegal as per the designed bill. Many products in the market are related to hemp consumed by individuals for various reasons, either medicinal or recreational purposes. Individuals should be keen on product purchase as the CBD market is full of unregulated products. Individuals should look for high-quality products with a certificate of analysis as they help know what is contained in a specific product.

    Certificate of Analysis (COA)

    It is a document with a specific product from a GMP certified or an accredited third-party laboratory that verifies the cannabinoid contained in each product. During purchasing CBD products, one should be keen on what they intend to purchase and what is contained in the product. They should check whether there are some contaminants, ingredients, and the amount of CBD needed or composed in the product. Wakshlag et al. (2020) explained that the COA is a valuable source of information on the amount of content contained in the product, including THC and other cannabinoids. Consumers are advised to look for transparent and reliable CBD companies which use independent third-party laboratories to test the product batches and post the needed reports for a consumer. CBD products should have undergone CBD testing. The federal laws and the FDA explain that CBD products should contain CBD sourced from the hemp plant, and products should contain no more than 0.03% THC level. The COA is responsible for checking substances like pesticides, heavy metals, and other solvents. The laboratory text on the products tests for;

    • The method used in the extraction of CBD, such as the use of solvents
    • Any additional products in CBD products
    • Whether the hemp is a phytoremediator as if it can absorb substances in the soil or not.

    Importance of the COA

    The Cannabinoid Concentration

    The profile of cannabinoids contains all the cannabinoids found in the specific product, including CBD, CBG, THC, and CBG, among other major and minor cannabinoids. VanDolah et al. (2019) stated that if the hemp product is CBD based, the THC amount should not be more than 0.3%. All the synthetic cannabinoids will also show up in the concentration. The test profiles on terpenes and cannabinoids are called potency test profiles.

    Terpene Profile

    Terpenes are responsible for specific scents in a plant. They are used to attract pollinators and deter predators from the plant. With cannabis, different unique aromas are also distinct. In cannabis, terpenes and cannabinoids come from the same glands known as the trichomes. While cannabinoids are known to have no scent, terpenes contain aromas and are responsible for some of the various therapeutic properties related to cannabis.

    Flavonoid Test Profile

    Cannabis contains 23 identified flavonoids and can potentially trigger the therapeutic biochemical reaction in an individual's body. It also has therapeutic benefits resulting from different cannabis varieties.

    Heavy Metal Analysis

    Individuals can fall sick when consuming heavy metals that exceed their bodies' safe levels. Abdel Azim et al. (2018) explained that heavy metal is part of the COA to know what is contained in the product. Consumers should look for the concentration level in each list of heavy metals as it helps tell you how much each metal is in the product as per the testing. Also, the ingestion column under the use limit heading is the maximum amount considered safe for consumption by the government. The ingestion use limit should be lower than the tested concentration level.

    Pesticide Analysis

    Human beings and insects adapt and get interested in hemp-based products. Valdes-Donoso et al. (2020) explained that pesticide test results are mandatory in the CBD certificate of analysis. CBD products should not contain any pesticides in their composition.

    Red Flags of CBD Certificate of Analysis

    Too Much or Too Little THC

    Too much THC of above 0.03% in a product makes it illegal, especially in states that do not allow THC consumption. Quality CBD products contain the stipulated amount of THC as per the legal limit. Also, the concertation of CBD should be advertised by a quality manufacturer. COA helps users to purchase the products they need.

    Full Spectrum Products Missing Cannabinoids

    Full spectrum CBD products should contain all the products contained with the hemp plant, including all the cannabinoids. Individuals should avoid Full spectrum CBD products that do not contain all the cannabinoids as they can be low-quality products.

    Lab results

    High-quality CBD products are sent to a high-quality third-party lab to test any contaminant or other unwanted compound found in the CBD product. The COA should have a third-party lab result as it explains what is needed and what is not in the COA list.


    Most consumers prefer purchasing products they have seen and know they contain. A big challenge many individuals experience is the Unregulation of CBD products by the FDA. It becomes hard for them to know which product is ideal for consumption. A certificate of analysis can help users know what is contained in a specific product and which is safe for consumption. This is because some products are not good for health. It is important to check on various aspects like the ingredients contained, method of extraction of the products, and source of hemp, among other aspects. Products with more than 0.03% THC levels should not be consumed as they are not deemed safe for consumption.


    Abdel Azim, A., Rittmann, S. K. M., Fino, D., & Bochmann, G. (2018). The physiological effect of heavy metals and volatile fatty acids on Methanococcus maripaludis S2. Biotechnology for biofuels, 11(1), 1-16.

    Valdes-Donoso, P., Sumner, D. A., & Goldstein, R. (2020). Costs of cannabis testing compliance: Assessing mandatory testing in the California cannabis market. PloS one, 15(4), e0232041.

    VanDolah, H. J., Bauer, B. A., & Mauck, K. F. (2019, September). Clinicians' guide to cannabidiol and hemp oils. Mayo Clinic Proceedings (Vol. 94, No. 9, pp. 1840-1851). Elsevier.

    Wakshlag, J. J., Cital, S., Eaton, S. J., Prussin, R., & Hudalla, C. (2020). Cannabinoid, terpene, and heavy metal analyses of 29 over-the-counter commercial veterinary hemp supplements. Veterinary Medicine: Research and Reports, 11, 45.



    Nicola Boulton
    Nicola Boulton

    Also in CBD Guides

    He Shou Who? Get to Know the Brilliant Benefits of This Powerful Adaptogen
    He Shou Who? Get to Know the Brilliant Benefits of This Powerful Adaptogen

    by Nicola Boulton December 13, 2023 3 min read

    Read More
    Best CBD Bath Bombs UK
    Best CBD Bath Bombs UK

    by Nicola Boulton December 13, 2023 4 min read

    Read More
    CBD Bath Bombs for Pain
    CBD Bath Bombs for Pain

    by Nicola Boulton December 13, 2023 5 min read

    Read More