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For any CBD consumer, it is extremely important to exercise caution by avoiding low-quality or even dangerous products, especially CBD. One of the easiest ways to do so is examining a product’s Certificate of Analysis (COA).

These certificates, provided by accredited laboratories, determine a product’s quality by testing for a wide range of substances. While understanding this analysis may seem difficult, read below for tips on how to make sure you’re using the safest CBD products possible.

Reading a COA

A COA stands for its Certificate of Analysis. Acquiring a COA involves in-depth testing of a product by an accredited laboratory. A product will be tested to determine the amounts of individual cannabinoids, compiling what’s called a cannabinoid profile.

Labs also test for the presence of other compounds, some of which may be harmful to your health. COAs are critical because they help consumers avoid dangerous products and ensure products are advertised correctly.

In addition to the cannabinoid profile, laboratories also acquire profiles of other compounds to analyze a product’s quality. There’s many different types of profiles, but three critical profiles are included in most COAs.

Terpene Profile

First, a terpene profile determines the amount of terpenes present in an extract. Terpenes are responsible for producing how we feel through our olfactory sense (smelling).

Pesticide Analysis

Second, a pesticide analysis profile simply makes sure a product has no traces of residual pesticides. This is critical since certain pesticides can cause severe health issues.

Volatile Organic Compound Profile

Last, but not least, is the volatile organic compounds profile, which tests for organic substances that may threaten the safety or purity of a CBD product. Like the pesticide analysis, this profile determines if the product you’re about to consume is safe.

Reading a COA Made Easy

While COAs may appear pretty complex, there are a few easy signs to look for when reading a product’s COA.

First, always make sure that the COA was completed by a laboratory other than the manufacturer’s to make sure the results are impartial. It’s also important to note whether the lab provides contact information on the certificate.

Many products provide a scannable code to access its COA, or it should be readily available online. Not all manufacturers are required to provide COAs, but most high-quality products will have them.

A common trick used by low-quality manufacturers is to claim a COA for an existing, high quality product as their own, so make sure the brand and product names match! This may seem obvious, but it’s quite easy to miss.

Finally, understanding terminology is super important to translating a COA, so it’s important to study up, especially for those looking to get into the burgeoning CBD industry. No doubt, there are many different challenges in doing so, but if you want to be seen as a reputable company, it should be understood that good CBD means good quality.

Why is a COA Important?

All-in-all, COAs are important for any CBD consumer to understand in order to avoid low-quality or potentially dangerous products. While they may seem complicated, being mindful of certain signs and red flags will ensure you’re consuming only the best of the best!

Perhaps the most important reason to read a COA, is to see if there is any THC in the product. THC is the cannabinoid that can intoxicate a consumer and also the cannabinoid most employers drug test for. If you are looking to take advantage of the benefits of CBD, but have no desire to get high or have THC in your system, then avoid CBD products that contain even trace amounts of THC.

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