How to Read a Certificate of Analysis (COA)

By October 14, 2019October 26th, 2020No Comments
How to Read a Certificate of Analysis (COA) 1

What is a certificate of analysis?

A Certificate of Analysis (COA) is a laboratory report that features all the information about your pharmaceutical products. It is often used as a guide to identifying all the chemical make-up of pharmaceuticals. COA is expected to contain important information such as the concentration of the CBD in the final product and also make the user aware of other tested chemicals like microbiological, pesticides, and heavy metals. COAs come principally in ensuring that all hemp extracts have the needed concentration of the stated chemicals, for example, taking note of the less than 0.3% THC benchmark as proposed by the Industrial Hemp Law. 

Why is the COA necessary?

The CBD market is large, and many products come into the market daily. The purpose of having a COA accompany all CBD products is a way of minimizing the activities of the production of sub-standard products and also ensuring the safety of final consumers. With COAs, manufacturers cannot influence the numbers hence providing better quality and safety.

Users should note that the labeling of CBD products is not convincing enough to trust the companies and take them by their words. There is also a need to verify claims from COAs. The need for authenticity and safety of users makes the use of COA so paramount to all the user of CBD. This could also be criteria for choosing the best CBD manufacturers who abide by the regulating bodies in producing standard products of CBD.

How do I know a COA is genuine?

One major thing about COA that confirms its authenticity is the fact that the company that does the lab test differ from the company that sells the product. COAs are popularly known as “third-party” tests and are meant to ensure that the results are transparent.

What does a COA look like?

When you place your hands on a COA, the first thing you will notice is the name of the third party lab written clearly on the COA, followed by the information about the identity of the product sent to the third-party lab for testing. The next thing you will notice is the address of the company client that is selling the product and also a QR code is placed on a product that can be easily scanned at any given time to get the laboratory report and confirm its authenticity. The QR code is considered a security measure to ensure that the lab result is not faked.

A COA is supposed to possess the following reports about the CBD product that is being tested;

1.      Cannabinoid Profile

As the name implies, the cannabinoid profile of a sample gives the customer general information on the cannabinoids that are detected in the sample and also their level of concentration in the product. Most people regard this as the most useful part of the COA as it offers users with the general information concerning the most active ingredients in the product. Codes are used to report the results of the lab, and the key is often provided at the bottom of the result table.

The concentration column shows the potency of the compound in the product and has to be verified with values that are advertised in the label of the product. The last column shows a bar graph revealing the pictorial representation of the cannabinoids that are found in the product sample analyzed.

2.      Heavy Metal Analysis

Heavy metals are usually carcinogenic i.e., compounds have the potential to cause cancer and often appear in the form of contaminants of pharmaceutical products. They are often tested to ascertain the level of safety of the product. The heavy metal analysis is known to be a table which shows the chemicals that have been tested for, by revealing their name, symbols, the concentration of the sample measured, the unit of measurement in microgram per kilogram.

For the result shown above, only lead was detected in the product sample, and it was below the unacceptable units.

Pesticide Analysis

This section of the COA offers you a list of known tested pesticides in a product sample. It is often measured in part per billion (ppb) and uses codes such as LLD i.e., the lower limit of detection, for the presentation of the results. The LLB is based on the pesticide that is being tested for while limits column shows the maximum allowed concentration meant for consumption based on the guidelines of safety regulations established in your region or state. The status column offers the user with the necessary information about the status of the pesticide. Below is an illustration of how the pesticide analysis appears to be like.

Terpene Profile

The cannabis plant is known to contain terpenes, essential oils, and cannabinoids. They are known for their various unique flavors and aromas and can elicit one form of pharmaceutical activity or the other. The terpene profile analysis reveals the class of terpenes that are being detected in the test sample. It also shows their relative amount of amount in percentage weight. This analysis has the potential to provide the user with a general idea of how their CBD product may smell or even taste.

Can I purchase a product without COA?

The major need in a growing industry like CBD is not the potential to purchase more products but rather purchasing a product with good quality and safety. The CBD company is restrained by limited regulation in the aspect of dosage, concentration approved per product, and so on hence the need to be careful when purchasing a product. COA may serve as your assurance and should not be altered. Do not purchase any product without a COA with the following information; contact information for manufacturer and third-party laboratory meant to confirm its genuineness, the date of the test carried out, and product batch number to make sure the product is updated and is following the up-to-date regulations on the product.Do not purchase any product that does not have a COA to ensure your safety.

Kindly contact us if you have questions regarding COAs, our team of experts is ready to attend to you. We will love to hear from you.