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What You Need to Know about Lab Testing and COAs in the CBD Industry

Without Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulations, it's fair for consumers and retailers to a bit weary trusting a CBD company. Luckily, there's a way to know exactly what you're getting into by reviewing a product Certificate of Analysis (COA).

At the end of this article, you will be able to:

  • Understand why COAs are so important

  • Read and comprehend a product COA

  • Identify the differences between tests

Why COAs

A Certificate of Analysis (COA) indicates whether the hemp is sustainably farmed; organic; contains pesticides, heavy metals or other fertilizer chemicals; and has been tested by a third-party laboratory.

“Knowing the source of the hemp used in making a CBD product is important because it gives you insight into [a variety of components],” says Vanessa Niles, M.D., a medical cannabis expert at Heally, a telehealth platform for alternative medicine based in New York. Read more in this Forbes article

How to Read a COA

Every CBD company should have COAs available to consumers for each of their products. Most can be found on the website (Unoia CBD COAs can be found here) or you should be able to access them by request.

On a COA, you'll find a few key elements:

  • Summary of product

  • Photo of tested product

  • Third Party Testing Lab information

  • Test results

Summary of product includes the company name, the type of product tested (tincture, edible, etc.), sample size and company information. The product or the label of the tested will also be pictured. We also strongly recommend learning more about the third party lab the CBD company uses.

At Unoia, we use an awesome lab, SJ Labs & Analytics located in Macon, Georgia. SJ Labs is a DEA registered facility and their facilities provide precise, accurate, and repeatable analysis using industry standards and expert interpretation of data collected with world class instrumentation, including LC/MS/MS, GC/MS, and ICP/MS

View COA for CBD Vegan Fruit Gummies

Types of Tests in a COA

Test results are easily the most important part of the COA. Some CBD companies only test for potency -- which means they only test to ensure the amount of and types of cannabinoids marketed align with the results. Keep in mind that this is one sample, so the potency numbers should be within a reasonable range. For example, one gummy may test at 12mg and another 9mg when it's advertised as 10mg each. This type of range is considered acceptable.

There's other CBD company (like Unoia) that go a step further to get a full panel test that includes:

  • Potency

  • Residual Solvents

  • Heavy Metals

  • Pesticides

  • Microbial Analysis

The lab will indicate whether something is non-detectable (ND) or PASS. Assess each line item in the COA to learn more about what is exactly in the CBD product.


Have more questions about COAs? Learn more from this Forbes article or email us at with your questions.

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