Certificate of Analysis | What Is It and Why It Matters


“How do we know which CBD brands we can trust?”

As an Integrative Health Pharmacist, this is without a doubt one of the most popular questions I receive from practitioners and patients alike.

Enter: Certificate of Analysis.

The Certificate of Analysis, or COA, is compiled, published lab results from a third party laboratory. This document is verified and includes a comprehensive evaluation of the components of the product; in particular, it highlights the potency and quantity of each of the cannabinoids and terpenes in the product. 

When reviewing a COA, first look for the term, Analyte. This term is fancy word for describing cannabinoids. In a COA of the Relief | Balm, there would be details about many analytes, including the major cannabinoids, CBD and THC, as well as the minor cannabinoids, including but not limited to CBG and CBN. These analytes are assessed in the Action Level column against the safe allowable limits, measured in parts per million (ppm). Even though all of Element Apothec’s products do not contain THC, each one has been tested for this cannabinoid with the Result of 0 mg/g or 0% of the overall weight of the product.

It is important to note that each company is able to decide which compounds they would like to analyze. Many of the CBD companies that have recently come under fire regarding poor or lack of testing are being penalized because of the presence or amount of certain components that were not intended to be in the product. This could be for a number of reasons, notably negligence and cross contamination. Beyond the cannabinoids and terpenes, COAs are where you can find out about safety testing in which these products are reviewed for harmful substances like pesticides, toxic chemicals, molds, bacteria, and metals.

But, where can you find the COA? If it is not publicly available via the brand’s website or via the QR code on the packaging, please do not hesitate to reach out to them to inquire about their most recent COAs. The brand should be more than willing to send them your way as the results are public domain. Should the brand not respond or not be willing to provide this information to you, is it not advisable to purchase their products. Another reason would be if there is a differing amount of cannabinoids or terpenes when comparing the COA and the label.

Knowing this information regarding COAs, will help you to understand which brands value transparency when it comes to business and manufacturing practices. Who runs the company is just as important as the products themselves.

We, at Element Apothec, wish you and your family a safe, healthy holiday season. We are here to help you start off the new year right and be the best version of you. If you have any specific questions regarding lab testing, or CBD in general, please do not hesitate to reach out and submit a question to our Chief Scientific Officer in Dr. Swathi's Corner.

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