How To Read a Certificate of Analysis

How To Read a Certificate of Analysis

When you go to buy a CBD product online, you may notice a link somewhere on the page to a document called a “certificate of analysis.” If you don’t see one, you should click out of the site immediately. Why? Because it can be the difference between a great CBD experience and wasting your money. That’s why knowing how to read a certificate of analysis is so important.

Simply put, a certificate of analysis (or CoA) is a lab report that states what a hemp-based product contains. Because CBD is not regulated by the FDA, CBD labels may say that the CBD content is above or below the real amount found in the product. CoAs verify the content of the product. Below, we break down the information you find on a CoA.

Who Performed the Tests

At the top of any CoA, you will usually find information about the lab which performed the test. Check to see if the company that is selling the product conducted the testing themselves, as you may want to reconsider purchasing it if they did. Doing your own testing as a company may introduce bias to your results. Having a third-party company do your testing ensures your results are spot-on and impartial. That’s why all our hemp CBD products are third-party tested.

Cannabinoids & THC

Somewhere under the header, you will usually find a chart that contains a list of cannabinoids with different number amounts. These numbers state how much of each cannabinoid was in the product and what its concentration was. If a cannabinoid says “ND” beside it, that stands for “Not detected,” meaning there was not enough of it to be detected by lab instruments. THC content will also usually be listed on this chart. Since the legal THC limit for hemp is 0.3%, you will want to take special note of this number.


If you are buying hemp flowers, you will also want to know about the number of different terpenes in your product. CoAs will report all the terpenes that a lab tested for and how much of each terpene is present in the product.

Heavy Metals & Pesticides

During the process of growing hemp and making products, metals or pesticides may become tangled in the process, but they are usually processed out by the time they get into your hands… or at least you hope they are. Fortunately, CoAs will confirm that metal and pesticide contents in a product are ND. If there is some metal in your product, CoAs will often include how much of a particular metal can be safely ingested in a day for your reference.

With all the different CBD products on the market and how little regulation there is, knowing how to read a certificate of analysis is essential for making good choices when purchasing CBD products. Remember, a good company will make a CoA available to you before you purchase the product. (We do.) If they don’t, run the other way.