Like any other consumable product, when it comes to hemp flower, you need to know what it is your body is digesting before you digest it. Although hemp flower is more popular than ever and seems to be everywhere, the industry is still new and unregulated. Therefore, if you are buying hemp-based products, it is important to know what is in them and how they affect your body.
Currently, the most common method for identifying ingredients in CBD products is third-party lab testing. However, for the average consumer, understanding lab test results can be confusing. Furthermore, most consumers do not bother to even ask about lab tests or wonder if they are accurate or honest. Below, we take an in-depth look at CBD lab results and what you, the consumer, need to know.
What is a CBD Lab Result?
Today most companies turn to third-party companies to get accurate lab results. CBD lab results typically report all the ingredients that are found in a CBD product. If the report is accurate, it will reveal the good, the bad, and the ugly - everything that is in the product that sellers and consumers need to know about.
The purpose of CBD lab results is to ensure that the product and ingredients advertised on the label is accurate. So, are CBD lab results accurate? A recent independent study found that a majority of products tested contained CBD levels within 10% of what was on the label. Most products contained more CBD than advertised, not less.
What Do CBD Lab Reports Contain?
There are more than 100 hemp plant compounds. CBD is only one compound. Test results provide you with information about how much of each compound is in a product. This information helps all parties involved in the production, distribution, and sale of hemp plant-based products know how much CBD is actually in a tincture or capsule. Here's what to look for in a CBD lab report:
Amount of CBD in the Product
The label on your CBD product displays the amount of CBD in your product in milligrams. However, there might not be as much as advertised. A third-party lab test can verify the actual CBD content in the container.
Amount of THC in the Product
The hemp plant naturally contains a small amount of THC. However, there is not enough THC to produce a high. Lab results can verify that the THC amount is at or below 0.3%, the legal limit of THC in hemp products.
A cannabinoid profile provides details on the ingredients in the product to confirm the type of extract you're purchasing. If you're purchasing a full-spectrum product, you can expect to see a cannabinoid profile that includes CBDa, CBG, THC, and more. Whereas if you're purchasing an Isolate product, CBD should be the only cannabinoid within this profile.
Mycotoxins, microbes like salmonella or E. coli, yeast, mold, or residual solvents should not be in your CBD product. As such, there should be no trace of these substances in CBD lab results.
Should Companies Provide Third-Party CBD Testing?
Since the CBD industry is not regulated, companies are not legally obligated to provide third-party testing or CBD lab results. However, the demand for third-party testing is growing, as more consumers seek transparency from CBD developers and retailers. The main reason for this is that many companies are not honest about their products’ ingredients or CBD/THC concentration.
Third-party lab testing allows a CBD company to send their product to an independent company to test CBD concentration and ensure no traces of harmful substances. Testing also helps hemp CBD companies ensure the quality of their products, and it provides peace of mind for consumers. So, while testing is not yet a legal issue, it’s an ethical one.
What Ingredients Do Third-Party Labs Look for?
The two main ingredients that labs look for are CBD and THC - specifically, concentrations of each. In addition, labs look for the following substances:
- Pesticides such as Daminozide, Bifenazate, and Cyfluthrin
- Terpene profiles
- Organic or residual solvents such as propane, ethanol, acetone, and isobutene
- Supercritical CO2
- Heavy metals including lead, arsenic, cadmium, and mercury
- Bio-contaminants or microbiological impurities
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