Understanding Test Results

How to read a COA (certificate of analysis) video with transcript


Hi, I'm Austin, a neuroscientist with a background in studying the neuropharmacology of pain. And today, I want to go over a topic that in many ways is a public service announcement, and that is the issue of low or bad quality CBD. The problem is, is that shopping for CBD can be extremely confusing and complex, if not treacherous.

A study published in the Journal of American Medical Association stated that about 70% of products are mislabeled. Some of these have much less CBD than stated and some of these have no CBD. And even some have harmful chemicals such as heavy metals, pesticides, and other non-desirables.

In just a few minutes, I'm going to teach you how to be an informed shopper for CBD so that you can get lab tested contaminant-free, safe, and effective CBD based products for you and your loved ones.

So now, I'm gonna take you to our own site w here we upload all the COAs for every single product and go through a COA together so that you have a better idea of how to read a COA.

For this product, if you scroll down you can see this download results here. So this lab is called ACS Laboratory and you can see that here in the top right. This test was actually done on the 27th of February 2020 and you can see all of the dates here at the top, and many of these also come with a QR code. So this can be used for consumers to get this and their various products, and they can have access to it very easily.

Up here at the top, you can see a brief overview of the different tests that were done and if they passed or not. So some of them that we talked about previously, like potency, residual solvents is another one, and heavy metals that we want to do for safety.

And right below this, we see some major ones that we want to talk about is your cannabinoids. And so in this case, we see potency and we have 11 tested so we have some of these big highlights here, some of the big ones.

So obviously, CBD is important, so a CBD total. Earlier I mention, the conversion from percent to milligrams per milliliter. So this 1.77 percent, if you move the decimal on one to the right it will be about 17.7 milligrams per milliliter.

THC in this case is non-detectable, so this is an isolate product. And if you look down below on all these different potency results, the only thing that shows up is CBD here. All of the other cannabinoids are not detected, and you can see that by this less than LoQ, so this is going to be below your limit of quantitation. And so, this is kind of a good overview of the potency results.

Now below this, we see some of the safety tests that are done. So, here at the top is residual solvents. And so these can possibly come from the extraction process. Now, what that means is that many times the plant is taken from the field, and then you extract the major compounds out of it. And these are some common chemicals that are used in this process. So ethanol and isopropanol, and some of these other ones can possibly end up in the final product. So we want to make sure that these are not in your product.

In this first column, you see the action level that we touched on earlier. This action level is the maximum concentration of the compound can get before it's deemed unsafe. So here in this case with acetone, the action level is 5,000 parts per million.

And if you look just to the right on the results, you see that it's less than LoQ. Meaning that it was not detected. It's less than their limit of quantitation. You can see that the results are less than LoQ, lik a lot of the cannabinoids above. Meaning that it was not detected. You can see just to the right, the LoQ, which is the lowest limit that you can actually test these things at. This is going to be very similar to all of the safety tests.

So just below residual solvents, you'll see heavy metals here. And just like the residual solvents, they have all of the different compounds and they're trying to detect, like arsenic and mercury. They each have their own action level, and they show the results that they got, as well as the lowest ability for the lab to actually quantitate these. And as you can see in all of these, they're void of any heavy metals this is going to be the same for mycotoxins. Mycotoxin can potentially come from molds in the field. So this is making sure that the products don't have any of that mold coming from plants potentially.

Other safety tests include microbiology, which is closely related to myctoxins, but you will also want to make sure that these are not in there as well. And these are more for the actual presence or absence so these don't have action levels. It's actually looking at whether it's there or not. So we want to have complete absence of these. There is no action level here. We don't want they, we want these to be zero.

And if we keep scrolling down, here at the bottom is actually the terpene test. Now typically, this will be closer to the cannabinoids. But with this product being an isolate and being void of terpenes, it's at the bottom here. And so, this would be read very similar to the cannabinoid results, and that you have an LoQ like everything else. And this is your result here as being less than the limit of quantitation. And here is the analyte, all of the different terpenes that you can possibly test for. And in many cases, these will actually have various terpenes in there. And as mentioned previously, the terpenes can add to the therapeutic potential of these CBD products. You can find out more about the difference between isolate products that have only CBD, broad spectrum and full-spectrum products have other terpenes and cannabinoids in them. If you go to TruPotency.com, we have a lot of blog information and education material that you can find helpful.

We hope all this information about certificates of analysis has made you a more informed shopper so you can be confident in your purchasing choices. If you have any other questions about which product might be right for you, oranything that we discussed today, feel free to contact us thru TruPotency.com. We have a Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. And you can email me directly at [email protected] Thanks!

How Do We Test Our Products and Analyze the Results?

Every product in the TruPotency catalog undergoes rigorous third party laboratory testing, and sharing those results with you is core to our mission. All of the products we receive are also anonymized before sending to the laboratory to remove bias in testing. You can find the results for every product as either a PDF or web link, or both, on every product page.

All of the products you see on our website have received a "passing" evaluation, and carefully reviewing the test results plays a crucial role in that evaluation. It goes without saying that you what you won't see is the products that have "failed." In fact only a handful of products that we test meet our standards and make it to the website.

Our 5-Factor Analysis of Lab Results

  1. Cannabinoids
    • While focussing primarily on CBD levels, we also test for at least 9 other cannabinoids: THC-9, THC-8, THCA, CBDA, CBDV, CBG, CBC, CBN, THCV
    • CBD levels must reflect what the product claims within an acceptable standard deviation
    • THC-9 levels must not exceed the federally mandated limit of .3% THC-9 or less
    • The presence or absence of other cannabinoids help to determine whether a product is truly "full spectrum", "broad spectrum" or "isolate"
    • If a product asserts the predominance of another cannabinoid, such as CBG or CBN, then we follow the same procedures but with an eye toward proving those particular claims
  2. Terpenes
    Terpenes represent crucial organic compounds that both flavor and infuse the products and we test for at least 20 terpenes, often many more.
  3. Residual Solvents
    Primarily a safety issue, and in the absence of federal guidance, we presently abide the published standards of the State of Oregon: State of Oregon Cannabis Standards.
  4. Pesticides
    The importance of accetable pesticide levels can't be overstated, and in the absence of federal guidance, we presently abide the published standards of the State of Oregon: State of Oregon Cannabis Standards.
  5. Microbial
    Anything consumable must be tested for the presence of mold, yeast and other biological contaminants, measured by the presence of CFU (colony forming units), and we abide the official U.S. Pharmacopeia Microbial Limits.


How Do We Score and Evaluate Products for Effectiveness?

The TruPotency Science Team has developed a database of relevant cannabinoids, terpenes and other key ingredients and has assigned an effectiveness score to them based on the results of over 100 scientific studies and clinical trials. The TruPotency algorithm uses these scores to determine which products are best suited for your particular needs (e.g. anxiety, insomnia, inflammation).

We take into a consideration a variety of factors when scoring products:

  • Cannabidiol (CBD) 
    Content, amount, type
  • Cannabinoids 
    Content, amount, type of cannabinoids other than CBD
  • Terpenes
    Content, amount, type
  • Supplements
    Content, amount, type
  • Bioavailability or Absorption
    Nano-infusion, micro-infusion or otherwise high bioavailability
  • Synergy
    Combinations of all of the above that increase potency and effectiveness