How to Read a Certificate of Analysis (COA)
Christen Craig
How to Read a Certificate of Analysis (COA)

 At this point, we at Yuyo would consider ourselves well-marinated in the hemp industry, and navigating the technical documents needed to validate our ingredients have become second nature. Being familiar with a certificate of analysis, or COA has helped us keep our products legal and transparent for everyone. Still, as a consumer, a COA is a great tool when shopping for new CBD products. Have you ever tried to read one? It’s confusing, to say the least. 

With so many options from which to choose, how do you know which products are effective? One of the best ways to accomplish this is by examining the certificate of analysis. Read on to learn what it is and what to look for.

How to read a COA (Certificate of Analysis)


Check the Header

  1. The header is the first thing you'll see on the certificate of analysis, and it contains a ton of valuable information about the quality of the product.
  2. In the upper left-hand corner of the COA, you'll see the name of the company whose product has been tested. The upper right-hand corner has the name of the lab that performed the test. Ideally, you want a third-party lab to have conducted the testing.
  3. The upper right-hand corner, second line of the header contains information about the sample collection, batch number and date of the report. You want these dates to be relatively recent.
  4. Finally, you'll want to make sure that the product name and description match the item you plan to purchase.
  5. QR code is placed on a product that can be easily scanned at any given time to get the laboratory report and confirm its authenticity. The QR code is considered a security measure to ensure that the lab result is not faked.

Results Summary: the Cannabinoid Profile

A cannabinoid profile is provided on every certificate of analysis. Make sure that the certificate ID number matches the ID number on the cannabinoid profile.

The presence of D9-THC indicates that the CBD oil might have been produced with marijuana rather than hemp if the level in the oil is greater than 0.3% of the sample by weight.

  1. The result column indicates how many milligrams of a cannabinoid exists in a gram of the product. If the result column is blank, it shows that the lab was unable to detect (ND) that particular cannabinoid.
  2. Finally, look at the percentage column to see the overall percentage of cannabinoids in the product. Low results in the CBC, CBDV, CBN, and CBG columns mean that the product won't impact your mind or body. You want the CBD percentage to match manufacturer claims on the label.
  3. The report footer legitimizes the CoA shows Lab which conducted the test, Lab Stands Behind Results Includes Lab Contact Information Displays Lab License Number Principal Scientist’s Signoff ACS Laboratory CoAs CLIA ID Number Lab Toxicologist Signoff.

Safety Test: Metals and Pesticides

Highly detailed certificates of analysis include information about metals, fungi, and pesticides found in a sample. LLD stands for the amount of a metal or pesticide that must be present in the sample for the lab to be able to detect it. The limits column indicates the max amount of metal, pesticide, or fungi that can be detected and still be considered safe for consumption.

Ideally, you don't want the lab to detect any of these things in their analysis. If that's the case, then the label will read "ND," which stands for "none detected."

Always Check the Certificate of Analysis

Learning how to read the certificate of analysis is an essential first step in finding the right CBD oil product for your needs. You don't want to shell out big bucks for a product that doesn't do what you need it to do. It might take a little practice, but you'll soon be able to scan the certificate of analysis on many products and know right away if that product is for you!

Are you looking for high-quality products that contain CBD oil? We've done some of the legwork for you. Check out everything we have to offer, from tinctures to topicals!
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