What is a Certificate of Analysis?

Some CBD users wonder what is a Certificate of Analysis?  CBD products do not always contain what they claim. How can you find a quality CBD product? By reading the Certificate of Analysis. The COA or Certificate of Analysis is a Lab Report that tests what is in a CBD product. This article shows How to Read a Certificate of Analysis.

What Is a Certificate of Analysis?

The certificate of analysis reports on the various chemical components of CBD products.

The COA report indicates the amount of various types of cannabinoids and compounds such as heavy metals in CBD products and determines whether the product contains the advertised CBD potency.

The COA is a test report conducted by a third-party certification agency. Consumers can find a copy of the Certificate of Analysis on the CBD product seller’s website. If a company will NOT provide a copy of the Certificate of Analysis, don’t buy their CBD!

Why It Is Important to Read the Certificate of Analysis

Studies show that many CBD products do not contain what they claim. One study found that 26% of tested products contained less CBD than what was labeled! [1].

The COA provides a way to ensure you are taking the dose of CBD you expect. It also assures that there are no unwanted chemicals, THC, or heavy metals.

What Certificate of Analysis information is important?

For CBD products, the COA may look different from lab to lab, but they all contain the following important information.

How to Read a Certificate of Analysis

There are a few important results to look for on a COA:

The name of the testing lab on the Certificate of Analysis Report

When looking at the COA, look first at the name of the testing lab, to see if it is the same company that sells the CBD product. It is important that the testing is done by a “third party” company.

Also check if the lab is authoritative. If it’s a lab whose name is not listed in an independent laboratory directory, don’t buy that CBD product.

QR Code

There should be a QR code at the top of the report. Scan this QR Code to verify the report’s authenticity.

Cannabinoid ingredient list

The COA will have a list of the six major cannabinoids with the levels or percentage of those cannabinoids found in the CBD tested. The most important is the THC and CBD content.

Cannabinoid Profile: CBD and THC content

The Cannabinoid profile indicates the percentage of each cannabinoid present in the CBD product.  There are two important levels on the cannabinoid profile or ingredient list: THC content and CBD potency.

CBD Potency

CBD content levels determine whether the product contains as much CBD is claimed on the CBD label.

THC Level

The report will show the THC levels. Since THC is the hallucinogenic and addictive component of the cannabis plant, all CBD products must have a THC content of 0.3% or less to be safe.

The other four major cannabinoid levels are also tested. These include CBC, CBG and CBN. The presence of these cannabinoids establishes if the CBD product is full spectrum, broad spectrum or isolate.

A COA might also measure the terpenes.

Impurities: Heavy metal and pesticides Analysis 

Heavy metal and pesticide residue analysis can determine if the product is extracted from compliantly grown industrial hemp. This testing will also show if any solvents or chemicals remain from the CBD extraction process.

Date and product lot number

  • Check the test date to see if it is the most recent test
  • Check the product lot number to see if the specific lot of the product purchased is the same as the actual lot tested.

Final Thoughts 

Buying good quality CBD is not an easy thing to do, especially if it is your first time. It is possible if you choose the right place to make the purchase.

Be careful when buying CBD. Many CBD products do not contain what they claim. Always check for the COA report before buying any CBD Oil. If a brand won’t provide you a copy of this report, then don’t buy from that brand. The best thing is to trust a reliable site or a specialized store that only offers quality CBD products.

Summary of How to Read a Certificate of Analysis

Only use safe and lab tested CBD from a reputable USA vendor. Look for the Certificate of Analysis, a third party lab report that shows cannabinoid levels, any heavy metals or impure substances. If it is not available on the vendor website, ask for it before buying,

Was How to Read a Certificate of Analysis CBD Lab Report helpful? See the other CBD Guides and explore the CBD Types such as CBD Isolate.


  1. Bonn-Miller MO, Loflin MJE, Thomas BF, Marcu JP, Hyke T, Vandrey R. Labeling Accuracy of Cannabidiol Extracts Sold Online. JAMA. 2017;318(17):1708–1709. doi:10.1001/jama.2017.11909

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