CBD Lab Testing: What to Look For
You’ve done your homework, you’ve browsed through pages and pages of Google search results, you’ve clicked and unclicked tons of CBD products into your virtual cart, and you’ve finally found a CBD product that you’re interested in. Now what? Pull the purchase trigger? How do you know it’s a “good” CBD product? Is the price worth it?
Many reputable CBD brands and companies within the holistic health and wellness market pride themselves on their rigorous laboratory testing as being one of their key factors for success. So what does that look like? How can I find this on a company’s website? Is it easily accessible?
No need to worry, we’ll get into the logistics behind laboratory testing for cannabidiol (CBD) as well as how to find it, what it means, and how to break down these documents.
Let’s get to it!
WHY DO LABORATORY TESTING FOR CBD?
Independent lab testing may be the “gold standard” for a successful CBD brand. After all, if a company is putting in the time and effort to have their CBD products and oils additionally tested for good measure and quality assessment, there’s something to be said in just that.
CBD laboratory testing can be done “in-house” and through third-partying laboratories. The difference between the two is that in-house laboratory testing may be done by the company itself, while third-party laboratory testing is done by a third-party group, which has no bias of the products or company.
However, problems may come up if and when a brands claim to have tested all their products without actually have tested all their products. Unfortunately, and oftentimes, CBD companies rely on your inability to read their certificate of analysis or testing results to accurately understand the test results that may misrepresent their products. Hang tight, we’ll touch on this more below.
1. Quality Products, Quality Company
While the 2018 Farm Bill did legal industrial hemp, the cannabis industry is still largely unregulated, with no regulation or lawful oversight on the various products that CBD companies may offer.
This not only means that there’s no authority here, but there’s also no “big guy” investigating and looking into the CBD products’ safety and quality that companies are quickly producing.
There is also free rein for companies to misrepresent or stretch the truth on their CBD products. For example, since CBD is not yet regulated by the FDA, companies can have a product with 0.01% CBD oil in it and call it CBD oil, without needing to even prove the amount of CBD present. Kinda crummy if you ask me.
Even if a company does do in-house laboratory testing, it may be best to proceed with caution.
2. Holds Brands Accountable
This is why most reputable CBD companies (should) opt for third-party laboratory testing. If companies are able to do third-party laboratory testing, they should be able to publish their testing results online for user verification.
This ensures that you, as a consumer, can check for accurate CBD contents and ingredients in whichever product you’re interested in. For instance, you should be able to look for the list of cannabinoids and terpenes, the concentrations of these profiles, and assure that the product(s) are free from contaminants.
All in all, you should know what’s exactly in the product you’re purchasing as well as how much of each ingredient is in it as well.
HOW TO UNDERSTAND CBD LABORATORY TESTING RESULTS
First and foremost, look up which laboratory facility has conducted the testing. It’s also important to look into when the testing was completed, as in looking for an actual date.
While some companies may take pride and responsibility in testing their products regularly, others may not test each and every batch.
Interested in learning more about breaking down the laboratory testing results? Click here.
WHAT DOES THE TESTING PROCESS LOOK LIKE?
CBD products are typically extracted from the hemp plant, as hemp became federally legal in 2018, as we mentioned above. However, hemp-derived CBD is surely not the only ingredient included in the final CBD product.
For instance, CBD oil tinctures often have MCT oil, coconut oil, or sunflower seed oil as the main carrier. It is during this extraction and blending process that contaminants can seep in together.
Thus, products are usually tested at either of the two following stages:
After the initial hemp extract is acquired
After the final product is finished
Each of the two tests has its own merits, but rarely are tests conducted at both stages, every time.
When testing for the hemp extract, you should be able to find and read the full cannabinoid profile, terpenes, and flavonoids present. However, trace amounts of these compounds may not show up when testing the final product, as the compound may be so minor they may not be flagged. This is nothing to be alarmed by though, you can always ask the company about it if you are concerned.
WHY IS THIRD-PARTY LAB TESTING IMPORTANT?
When a new product or oil becomes readily available on the market, it can be difficult in determining whether it’s “good or bad” when there is such a lucrative market for CBD.
The lack of specific industry standards, guidelines, and regulations makes it “easy” for companies to incorrectly label or describe products. They may only provide half the amount of information necessary to buyers.
Such an issue greatly affects not only the reliability of product quality but also deceives customers about the products they’re interested in and are paying for.
Thus, creating labeling regulations isn’t enough. In today’s day and age, consumers may not be necessarily paying attention to the product’s content when it comes to purchasing. Here’s where third-party lab testing comes in the clutch: they provide consumers a reliable, law-abiding CBD analysis from real labs and companies. These third-party documents delve into the true composition for each and every product.
SIGNS YOU SHOULDN’T PURCHASE PRODUCTS WITHOUT THIRD-PARTY TESTING
Here’s the realistic, not so glamorous, fun part of CBD product shopping.
Just to reiterate a bit, CBD is not yet regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Thus, companies are free to make incorrect claims and mislabel their products at their discretion.
Even scarier to think about, some companies don’t do third-party lab testing, like at all. Think about it – you head to the internet, order a CBD product from a company you’ve never heard of, it arrives, and it doesn’t tell you what’s in it. You reach out to the company asking for their third-party lab information for that product and you get no answer.
Lab testing is the backbone of a company’s CBD products, without them there’s no foundation holding them up.