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How to Read a COA (Certificate of Analysis)

With the outstanding amount of hemp products on the market today, it’s important to do your own research on anything you purchase to make sure it’s safe and legit. Unnecessary fillers, pesticides, and other toxins have been reported in cannabis products.

Luckily, all the information you need to make an informed decision before purchasing is available at your fingertips. If a manufacturer is one worth supporting, they will provide a public report called a COA, or Certificate of Analysis.

What is a COA?

The Certificate of Analysis shows the percentages of each substance in a product. These will ultimately tell you the potency of the product and how many different cannabinoids were used and at what amounts. The COA should also tell you how it was tested, what extraction methods were used, and other data.

What to Look for in a COA

COAs can be overwhelming at first glance. Make it a little simpler by asking yourself these questions.

What to Look for in a COA

Make sure your product has been third-party tested. Sadly, this is the only way to know that the results shown are the truth. A non-related testing facility will look at the product objectively and provide more thorough tests than the manufacturer themselves.

Does the product label reflect the COA report?

Any standout terms on the product label should be fact-checked with the COA. For example, if a product claims to be full-spectrum, make sure there are adequate levels of THC as well as CBD. If it claims to have multiple cannabinoids, make sure the percentages are high enough for each. After all, it’s important that you get what you pay for!

What extraction methods were used?

The COA should disclose what extraction methods were used for oils, concentrates and tinctures. Stay away from hemp products where solvents or “hydrocarbon” were used for extraction. Substances like petroleum, butane and propane could have been used and could still be leftover in the oil. The safest way to extract CBD from cannabis is with CO2. This extraction method is what top-notch CBD manufacturers use because it doesn’t involve any dangerous chemicals.

If a manufacturer or company doesn’t have COAs readily available, reach out to them and see if they have it to send to you. If they don’t, avoid the product altogether. In today’s cannabis-crazed world, it’s okay to demand complete transparency about anything you’re putting in and on your body. Bottom line: always do your research and check the COA!


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