What is a COA?
A COA, also known as a Certificate of Analysis, is your most useful tool in understanding the quality and composition of the CBD products that you buy online. Across the USA there are a range of rules and regulations concerning the sale and production of CBD products. Not everyone has the option to go to a store and talk to a professional about the various aspects of different products like, CBD gummies, CBD tinctures or CDB soft gels and millions have turned to buying CBD online. The biggest issue with buying something like this on the internet is understanding the quality and potency of the products, because most of all you want something that is safe and that will meet your needs. Fear not, we are here to break down the COA for you and make sure that from here on out, you are a pro at reading this very useful certificate.
A COA is not only an important tool for a CBD consumer, it’s also of critical importance to a CBD manufacturer. In the most basic sense, a COA is an itemized list of the contents and quantities of different compounds in the product. Producers need to know what is in their products and consumers certainly want to know what is in their CBD tinctures, CBD gummies, CBD creams, and CBD salves. This is why for any product you buy, especially online, you should take a look at the COA and make sure it came from a 3rd party, certified lab.
In a perfect world you should not have to search far and wide for a COA, in fact many brands have a QR right on the packaging where you can scan and find the COA right away. However, if this is not the case, it should only be an email or a call away. If you find yourself dealing with a company that does not voluntarily provide this and walk you through the details, hit the road!
Why is a COA necessary?
One of the hot-button issues with CBD products, especially those sold online, is the lack of federal regulation and the variation of regulations state-by-state. The truth is, until we have nationwide oversight and regulation, the consumer is going to have a little bit more responsibility in doing some of this oversight themselves. When looking at a COA, it’s very important to understand that you are looking at the contents of the product. In terms of potency and safety a CIA will tell you about:
Hemp plants have varying levels of THC and you definitely want to know how much you are consuming. All CBD products should be under the legal THC limit of 0.3%.
Different growing environments contain different levels of heavy metals in soil, especially if the farm is located in the proximity to heavy industry, a COA will definitely tell you if there are heavy metals you should be concerned about.
These compounds are often a necessary part of agricultural activities however they are sometimes overused, and the chemicals used in pesticides can have secondary by-products that you will want to know about.
Basics of the report
Ok, so we have gotten down to the real meat and potatoes of what a COA tells you, now it’s time to decode all of those numbers.
A COA is essentially just a list of all of the substances found in the CBD product, and the amounts.
What you will see is going to be
- Cannabinoid spectrum: There are several types of cannabinoids, CBD, CBN, THCV, THC, CBC, CBG. It’s good to cross reference what you see here with what is on the label. It is important to understand the difference between full spectrum CBD and CBD isolate. (see FAQ for easy explanation here)
- LOQ: This refers to lowest observable quantity and will give you a good idea of how small the test really goes, generally anything under the LOQ is small enough to not have any adverse effect on the consumer.
- Measurement Scale: You will most likely see measurements as mg/g or milligrams per gram, this will translate to a percentage for each item.
What to watch out for
Now to wrap this up, actually this might be the most important part, here is a quick guide of what you really should look for to make sure the CBD product you are buying is right for you.
- Issuing Organization: As we noted above, the process to generate a COA is pretty intensive, definitely not something for amateurs, if you see a CBD company logo or another type of organization that is not a lab, you can pretty much determine that this is no more than a piece of clever marketing, that won’t work on you!
- Discrepancies for the name: This should seem obvious, but make sure the name brand on the COA matches the product you are consuming. There are tons of white label companies out there and if they don’t even have their name on a COA, their product could be, well, anything.
- Date: Make sure the COA is up to date, if the date on the COA is years old, there are many changes that could have been made to the hemp supply or the manufacturing process and you can pretty much assume that a COA that is more than a couple years old is worth nothing.
At Santtam CBD you can find all our partner’s COAs right on the product page, we know you care about quality, and we built our reputation on it, so you don’t have to look far! Thanks for allowing us to be your trusted CBD provider.