In this blog we will discuss the Who, What, When, Where, and Why of CBD lab testing.
In the world of CBD and minor cannabinoid production, one of the biggest challenges companies face is lab testing and the reliability of Certificates of Analysis (COAs). Since hemp is a bioremediator and pulls toxins out of the water and soil it’s grown in, lab testing is crucial. Having 3rd party lab testing can be costly and results may vary between labs, even for the same product. This inconsistency can lead to financial losses and precious time.
Have you experienced any of these common issues?
- A product, after being evaluated accurately by a trusted lab, is independently retested by customers for potency verification. If they use a different lab and get different results, it raises questions about accuracy.
- Similarly, there are instances where CBD Isolate, expected to be THC-free, tests positive for THC due to potential contamination from labs that also test THC products. This raises concerns about the lab’s equipment cleanliness and their willingness to stand by or reconsider their results.
- Another case is when a lab report shows over 100% potency for a cannabinoid isolate. This also raises questions about the accuracy of the test. How can my product contain more than 100% CBD? The answer: The accumulation of uncertainty. Theoretically, you can’t have more than 100% of anything. Scientifically, when you combine the uncertainty of the 1) Chemical Standards, 2) Laboratory Processes, 3) Laboratory Equipment, and 4) Laboratory Personnel, the additive effect of uncertainty translates into the final Assay value which can derive values in excess of 100% for ultra-pure compounds. This is widely accepted in the scientific world but was not passed down to the extraction labs, who in most cases have not been introduced to this concept.
Who Needs Lab Testing?
- Extractors ~ test hemp biomass before extraction.
- Formulators ~ test raw materials for cannabinoid potency and safety. Even if a supplier sends a COA, it’s crucial to retest to ensure the product matches the COA.
- Wholesale Buyers ~ test the final retail product for safety and accurate cannabinoid levels as per their label claims.
- The type of test depends on the production stage. The CBD industry lacks standardized testing, leading many to skip full panel tests due to high costs. As of 2024, the cost for a full-panel lab test in the CBD industry can vary. For instance, a non-flower full panel test, which includes testing for 12 cannabinoids, 4 heavy metals, 59 pesticides, 5 mycotoxins, 3 microbials, and 27 residual solvents, is priced at $665 per sample at one testing facility.
- A full panel test should always be conducted for raw materials before the production of retail products that will be sold to consumers. This ensures the product’s potency is accurate and that it’s safe.
When to Test?
- Test raw materials upon arrival. If from the same batch, only one sample may need testing.
- For formulations, potency tests are essential after full panel testing of raw materials.
- For finished products, potency tests validate the original formulation. Since the raw material COA may not be available for the consumer a full panel should be run for the finished products and posted on the retail website selling the product.
Where to Test?
- Choose reputable labs with an ISO/IEC rating, known for accuracy.
- Consider factors like the lab's cleanliness, their testing scope for THC, CBD, minor cannabinoids, and terpenes, and the business ethics they practice.
- A reputable CBD lab should ideally have ISO/IEC 17025 accreditation, which assures competence in testing and calibration. This accreditation should cover all the tests offered by the lab, ensuring comprehensive testing capabilities.
- Additionally, the lab should demonstrate expertise in CBD-specific testing, including cannabinoid profile, terpene analysis, heavy metal analysis, mycotoxin report, residual solvent report, and pesticide analysis.
- Transparent pricing, good communication, and positive reviews from clients are also important indicators of a lab's credibility.
Testing ensures the safety and accuracy of the materials used in final products. However, interpreting COAs can be challenging for consumers unfamiliar with lab result formats, which can vary between labs. If you are a consumer and have trouble reading a COA, contact the company for clarification.
At Resynate we provide all product COAs on our website and have 3rd Party Full-Panel tests run on all our product batches. Our core values include transparency to our customers, and we take that seriously!
Shop our site today and check out the COAs here: https://resynate.com/pages/certificate-of-analysis