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How To Read CBD Lab Results and Understand Them

6 min read
How To Read CBD Lab Results and Understand Them

How To Read CBD Lab Results and Understand Them

6 min read

Medically reviewed by

Third-party lab testing is one of the most important signs of a reputable CBD seller

In order to make sure the product you are using is safe and legal, you need to know exactly what is inside.

To achieve this, many sellers send a sample of each batch of CBD oil to a third-party labBy outsourcing this essential task, the consumer can feel more confident in the results.

How To Read CBD Lab Results and Understand Them

In the lab, a qualified team will analyse the contents of the CBD to determine the cannabinoid profile

This is vital for a number of reasons.

  1. The buyer needs to know how strong the CBD is to determine the right dosage.
  2. The buyer also needs to know the THC content is within legal limits.
  3. And finally, the buyer should also be aware of other beneficial cannabinoids in the product.

While many CBD sellers may make their lab reports available to their customers, you might not feel confident interpreting the information. 

In this guide, we will explore the importance of lab testing and how to read CBD lab results.

What's in this Guide?

Introduction to CBD

CBD is short for cannabidiol. It is one of many cannabinoids that are found in the hemp or cannabis plant. Any mention of cannabis might make you nervous because of another, slightly more famous cannabinoid called THC.

THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol, is the main psychoactive compound responsible for getting users high. 

It is also a controlled substance in the UK, so it’s important to check that your CBD products don’t contain high levels of THC.

While there is still a lot we don’t know about CBD, we do know that it is capable of interacting with the human body and supporting a sense of wellness

Just like vitamin supplements, CBD does not heal or cure, but it can help individuals to maintain a sense of wellbeing.

Is CBD legal?

CBD is completely legal in the UK and in many countries around the world, provided the THC content of the product is low. In the UK, the THC content should be below 0.2%.

Many retailers make life easier by marking their products as “full-spectrum”, “broad-spectrum” or “isolate”. 

Full-spectrum CBD means that it contains CBD, legal levels of THC, other cannabinoids, terpenes and flavonoids. Broad spectrum CBD means that it contains CBD, other cannabinoids, terpenes and flavonoids but no THC. 

And isolate means that it only contains CBD.

However, it is also important for individuals to confirm the THC content of their products by reading the third-party lab test results.

Travelling with CBD products is a bit of a grey area as many countries will have their own rules for how strong the product can be and how much THC it can contain.  

If in doubt, leave your CBD products at home, as they may be illegal in the country you are travelling to, or through.

Is CBD legal
For this reason, you probably don't need to get CBD out of your system to avoid legal ramifications

What are CBD lab results?

CBD sellers use third-party testing to confirm the cannabinoid profile of their products. The primary reason for this is safety, but the cannabinoid concentration is also an important factor in pricing products.

A 10% CBD oil will cost more than a 5% CBD oil, so it’s important that CBD sellers can confirm the concentration. Safety is also an important factor to consider. Some third-party lab testing will also check for potential contaminants such as pesticides and heavy metals.

CBD lab results might be referred to as a certificate of analysis or composition analysis. It isn’t the individual CBD product that is tested, but the wholesale batch of CBD.

This means that CBD lab results should be updated every time a seller sells out of one product and switches to a new batch. This is why it’s also important to check the date on the certificate to ensure it is recent.

What are CBD lab results
Recent, easy to read lab test results are really important to make sure you know what you're getting

Why are CBD lab results important?

Knowing the composition of your CBD is vital to ensuring you get a high-quality and safe product. This is why we always recommend that individuals only purchase from companies that are open and transparent about their third-party lab testing.

Lab testing helps to ensure that you aren’t paying too much for products that don’t contain enough CBD to be effective. It’s also vital for ensuring that your CBD product is legal.

Since CBD is considered to be a food supplement and not a medicine, it is not subject to the same stringent checks and licensing rules. This means that anyone hoping to sell CBD products only needs to ensure they have legal levels of THC.

For CBD customers, this leaves them open to a considerable amount of risk; both to their health and their wallets. There are many ways that buyers can get caught out.

A seller can easily add “CBD” to the label to justify a high price, even if the product only contains hemp seed oil. 

A seller could also fail to disclose the THC content of a product, leaving individuals using illegal products without their knowledge.

As a responsible CBD seller, we believe in transparency and openness about our CBD products. 

By keeping our customers informed, we can empower them to make the right choices with regards to buying and using CBD products.

Why are CBD lab results important
Additionally, lab tests check for heavy metals and other unpleasant things you don't want in your CBD

Who can test CBD?

Only accredited labs should undertake CBD testing. Accreditation means that they follow regulations to ensure that their tests are accurate and reliable. 

Not only should the lab be accredited, but they should also be able to carry out accredited THC tests. The police use this type of lab to confirm the contents of illegal substances.

The laboratory should have the relevant accreditation, usually from UKAS or ISO. This confirms that the laboratory is able to work competently and deliver valid results. 

This type of accreditation is accepted between different countries. 

So, if your CBD product was tested in the United States, you can be confident it was tested to the same standards as a lab here in the UK.

Who can test CBD
As long as the test was carried out by an independent lab, you should be able to rely on your results

How to read CBD lab results

On the certificate of analysis, you should see the date and a reference for the sample provided. Certificates will differ by laboratories, but all should follow a similar structure.

One column will contain the names of substances tested for. Usually, the most important ones to look for are CBD and THC.

There are also lots of other cannabinoids which can be beneficial for health, and these may also be listed in the results.

Read more: CBG Vs CBD

You should see the results and the unit used. Most often, this will be a number followed by a percentage sign. You may also see this symbol: <. The angled bracket means “less than”.

To read your CBD lab results, look for the cannabinoid you would like to confirm. For example, in our recent certificate of analysis for our 500mg CBD Oil, you can see that the CBD content is 5.2889%.

The CBD content may be slightly higher than the amount stated on the bottle. However, it shouldn’t be much higher than around 1%. The important thing is that the CBD concentration is not lower than that stated on the bottle.

The THC content of the product may be split into THCV, THCA and THCVA. It should also be displayed as “total THC”. This will help to confirm that your product is legal.

A product may be marked as 0.0% THC, but you might notice that there are trace amounts in your CBD product. Provided the THC level is below 0.2%, it is perfectly legal

Anything lower than this will be too diluted to have any effect.

How to read CBD lab results
If you can't find the lab results on the website, email the company and ask for a copy

What if I can’t find the CBD lab results?

Not all retailers have them available on their website, but they will send them to you if requested. If a seller cannot provide CBD lab results, then you cannot confirm the contents of their CBD oil.

At best, you could end up with a CBD product that does not contain high enough levels of CBD to be effective. And at worst, you could be buying an illegal product with high levels of THC.

Taking the time to seek out and read the CBD lab results is a small but highly effective step that will allow you to buy effective and safe products.

Download your FREE Buyers Guide for an introduction to CBD   

If you want to learn more about CBD, its benefits and how to take it, have a read through our blog and keep checking back for the latest news and updates!

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