Certificate of Analysis: Understanding the importance of COAs for CBD

CBD and CBG here, there, and everywhere

It seems like CBD, CBG, and other hemp extracts are everywhere you look. From heavily regulated cannabis dispensaries right on down to local corner stores and gas stations, thousands and thousands of businesses have started offering legal cannabinoid products to their customers.

And while we would hope that every consumer has positive outcomes with high-quality brands every time they buy natural wellness products, we know many have had poor experiences with brands offering subpar CBD, CBG, and other legal cannabinoid products. In other words, not all hemp extracts are created equal.

The "Wild West" of CBD

Because there is currently little federal regulation around who can sell hemp extract products or what specific requirements these products must meet, there's a large variance in quality across different brands.

Some brands use state-of-the-art extraction and handling processes and technologies to make their CBD and CBG products in Certified Good Manufacturing Practice (cGMP) compliant lab facilities like Circle City Cooperative. Unfortunately, not all brands do this, and some may even use harmful additives or techniques that reduce overall product quality and put consumers' health at risk.

That's why it's important that buyers make themselves knowledgable about how to identify quality products from reputable brands when purchasing CBD and CBG. There's one great place to start, and it's called the "certificate of analysis," or COA for short. 

Neon sign reading "We sell CBD"

It seems like every storefront retailer, from gas stations and grocery stores to dispensaries, is selling CBD nowadays

The importance of COAs

Buyers should always check the COA for any given product before purchasing it. We strongly recommend buying from brands that offer COAs for all of their products. If a brand can't provide COAs for its products, look for a different brand instead.

A COA is a buyer's source of truth about the contents of a product being sold. In technical terms, it's a document that details lab test results performed by an independent third party for a specific product across a number of metrics.

What does a COA cover technically?

A COA verifies that a given product contains the correct amounts of CBD, CBG, THC, and other cannabinoids. These values should be roughly equivalent to the amount of CBD, CBG, etc. advertised on the product. If something is advertised as a 1000mg CBD product, the COA should show that it contains 1000mg CBD.

If a brand's products are advertised as "full spectrum" or "broad spectrum", the COAs should show at least trace levels of other minor cannabinoids like CBN and CBC present in the product as well. These help activate the entourage effect.

In some cases, COAs may also list any heavy metals, pesticides, or mycotoxins that result from the extraction and manufacturing processes to be included in the final product. The lower these toxin values, the better.

We recommend treating a product's COA as the source of truth regarding its actual cannabinoid content and overall sanitation, and if a brand is unable to show COAs for its products, do not buy from that brand.

Certificate of Analysis for Circle City CBD Oil, 1000mg

A Certificate of Analysis (COA) from a reputable lab should indicate the total amount of CBD, THC, and other minor cannabinoids included in the product

Buyer beware

It's important for consumers to be informed purchasers specifically because of the lack of government regulation in this space at present.

While CBD itself may be considered generally safe and effective for most individuals when taken in moderate amounts, finding high-quality, authentic CBD products for a fair price is often where the challenge for consumers arises.

Until there are clearer guidelines and enforcement on which sellers are allowed to sell CBD and CBG products as well as what goes in them, the responsibility rests with consumers to be informed purchasers of hemp extracts.

Circle City Cooperative offers COAs from a leading independent third-party lab facility that does chemical testing for all of our products. Our COAs can be found on the Labs page of our site.

Our Commitment

Circle City Cooperative invests 10% of all proceeds in youth learning & development.