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Understanding & Analyzing THC and CBD Lab Results

By Jeffrey M.

Jan 31, 2024


In recent years, the popularity of CBD and hemp-derived THC products has skyrocketed, with many people turning to these natural remedies for various health benefits. However, not all CBD products are created equal. To ensure you’re purchasing a safe and effective product, it is crucial to read and understand lab tests associated with CBD products. Sometimes referred to as COA’s (certificate of authenticity), lab tests provide valuable insights into the quality, safety, and potency, allowing consumers to make informed decisions. In this article, we explore why reading lab tests is so important when making your CBD and THC product purchases in the hemp-cannabis market.


Contaminants: Safety Is Key

One of the primary reasons to read lab tests is to ensure the safety of CBD products. Lab tests analyze the product for contaminants such as pesticides, heavy metals, residual solvents, mycotoxin, and microbial contaminants. These substances can pose significant risks to human health when consumed in elevated levels. By reviewing lab test results, consumers can verify that the CBD product they are considering meets stringent safety standards. Many CBD and hemp THC brands on the market will test their products for potency, but not a full range of contaminants. Lab tests are expensive for CBD brands, especially those releasing new CBD vape oil and flower strains on a constant basis, but that shouldn’t mean that skipping contaminant testing is an acceptable practice.

Units of Measurement

Measuring cannabinoid potency and contaminant quantity on product COA’s can sometimes vary between “ppb” (parts per billion) and “ppm” (parts per million). This metric allows scientists and researchers to measure and communicate extremely small concentrations, which can be crucial when studying pollutants, contaminants, trace elements, or any scenario where precise quantification at very low levels is necessary. To give you a more concrete understanding of what ppb means in regard to measurement:

  •  1 part per billion (ppb) means that there is one unit of a substance for every billion units of another substance.
  • In terms of ratios, 1 ppb is equivalent to 1/1,000,000,000.
  • Measuring in ppb is 100 times more sensitive than ppm.
  • If you were measuring the concentration of a pollutant in water, 1 ppb would mean that there is one part of that pollutant in every billion parts of water.


CBD & Cannabinoid Potency

CBD potency refers to the concentration of CBD in a product. Lab tests provide accurate information about the CBD, THC, and other cannabinoid content (CBN, CBC, CBG, CBDV, etc.), allowing consumers to confirm if the product contains the advertised potency amount. This information is crucial for individuals seeking specific therapeutic effects or those looking to manage their dosage effectively. By understanding the CBD and THC potency, consumers can select products that align with their needs and desired effects.


Identifying THC Levels

THC is the psychoactive compound found in cannabis. The current hemp-derived product industry has put out a large number of various THC and THC isomer products that are psychoactive and can be detected in the bloodstream. While CBD products are legally required to contain less than 0.3% Delta-9-THC, there are plenty of other hemp-derived THC isomers (such as THCA, Delta-8-THC, Delta-10-THC, etc.) that are not included in the current 2018 Farm Bill, which regulates federal hemp law. For some consumers it’s essential to confirm this through lab tests if they have a sensitivity to THC, want to avoid psychoactivity, or must adhere to strict THC restrictions due to legal or employment reasons. By reviewing lab test results, consumers can ensure that the CBD product they choose complies with legal requirements and personal preferences.


Batch Testing Products

Testing by batch has become a common and desired way for CBD companies to run their lab testing. With batch testing, any time a new product is extracted, produced and packaged, there would be a new COA ordered for testing that batch of the product. The finished product’s packaging would be linked to the COA for the consumer’s ease of viewing by a QR code and/or a batch number, making for a transparent and straightforward relay of the lab result information to the consumer. While batch testing small batch products (such as exclusive live resin or flower strains) is beneficial and valuable in the eyes of the consumer, it can be a difficult and expensive process for CBD brands because they are essentially committing to spending money on testing for a batch that they know is only going to be in stock for a limited time. 


Verifying Product Claims

With the CBD market booming, it’s not uncommon to come across products that make bold claims about their benefits. However, these claims may be unsubstantiated or exaggerated, especially in an industry that is not regulated by the FDA. Lab tests can help verify the product potency claims by analyzing the content of cannabinoids, terpenes, contaminants, and other components. By reading and understanding lab test results, consumers can better determine if the product will live up to its promises.

Transparency and Trust

Transparent companies willingly provide lab test results to demonstrate their commitment to quality and safety. By reading lab tests, consumers can assess the transparency and trustworthiness of a CBD brand. Reputable companies will often publish THC and CBD lab test results on their website and make them readily available by allowing the consumer to scan the product itself via a QR code. The presence of detailed lab test reports instills confidence in consumers, assuring them that the company is open about their manufacturing practices and values customer satisfaction.


Reading lab tests is an essential step when purchasing CBD and THC products. It allows consumers to ensure the safety, potency, and transparency of the products they choose. With lab test results in hand, consumers can make informed decisions, select high-quality products, and have peace of mind about the products they are using. So, next time you consider purchasing a CBD product, remember to prioritize reading and understanding the lab tests and checking to see if the brand you are choosing is doing their part to make the results available.

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