What Should I Look for in a Cannabis Lab Report?
With the abundance of online smoke shops and new cannabinoid products, it’s more important than ever to check and make sure the cannabis products you are buying are safe, accurately labeled, and high-quality. Certificates of analysis, or COAs, are one of the best sources of information about any cannabis product, but it can be challenging to decipher the technical information on them. Because we value transparency, we at Power Distribution have compiled a list of the top four things you should look for when interpreting a cannabis lab test, plus the two things you must check before you even start reading the results.
Why Are Cannabis Lab Tests Important?
There is no federal oversight of cannabis products or other cannabinoids; each company is responsible for ensuring its products are safe and consistent. The lack of hard-and-fast rules about the quality of cannabinoid products means COAs and lab tests are especially important to ensure safety and quality.
Cannabis COAs ensure the product’s safety, whether it’s flower, edibles, or vapes. Lab tests look for potentially dangerous compounds like heavy metals, residual solvents, pesticides, molds, and fungi. When a cannabis product has passed all of these tests, consumers can be sure that the product they purchase is free of these potential contaminants.
Cannabis lab tests also ensure the quality of cannabis products and the accuracy of labeling. Because cannabis is a natural product, there can be some variation in the levels of cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids. Lab testing ensures that these compounds are consistent from batch to batch and that consumers receive what the label advertises.
The First Things to Check on a Cannabis COA
Before you even start reading the results of a cannabis COA, there are a couple of things you should verify.
High-Quality Cannabis Testing Labs
First, you should ensure the tests come from a trusted, verified, third-party lab. Recently, a small number of cannabis testing labs have been reprimanded or shut down for releasing falsified or exaggerated results, so it’s essential to ensure that the results you’re looking at come from an unaffiliated lab with a proven record of transparency.
Accurate Cannabis Lab Test Results
You will also want to ensure the results you are looking at match the product type and batch number you are evaluating. Trustworthy cannabis companies should have each product and each batch of products tested separately, and lab tests for each round of testing should be publicly available on the company’s website.
Four Things to Look for on a Cannabis Lab Test
Once you’ve established that a COA is from a reputable lab and that the product and batch information matches, there are a few basic things you will want to look at to verify the quality and safety of a cannabis product.
1. Cannabinoid Content on COAs
The first thing that most cannabis product lab reports will list is the cannabinoid content. Here, you can ensure the cannabinoids listed in the product description are accurate. You will also be able to review the minor cannabinoids that didn’t make it onto the label.
Checking the COA for cannabinoid content is especially important for products containing minor cannabinoids, like Delta 8 THC, hemp-derived D9, and HHC or HHC-R. The cannabinoid content discloses the exact cannabinoid makeup, verifies the legality of these products, and ensures that the product will produce the effects you seek.
2. Testing for Terpenes and Flavonoids
Complete cannabis lab tests will also display information about the terpenes and flavonoids in a cannabis product. Both of these compounds are responsible for the taste, smell, and unique effects of a given cannabis product.
Terpene and flavonoid levels are significant for flower, extracts, and vapes. Because cannabis is a natural product, the levels of these compounds can vary. These results will help you determine what a product will taste and feel like and show the potential effects and benefits you can expect.
3. Mold and Fungus Test Results for Cannabis
Several factors in cannabis lab results help to verify the product’s safety. Ensure the manufacturer you purchase from has tested their products for contaminants such as mold and fungus.
Mold and fungus often develop on cannabis flower that has been grown, harvested, or stored incorrectly, and both can harm consumers. Labs should screen cannabis products for these undesirable fungal compounds, and you can be sure that a cannabis product is free from mold and fungus if it receives a passing grade on a test from a trustworthy lab.
4. Heavy Metals, Pesticides, and Residual Solvents on Cannabis COAs
Finally, there are several compounds used in cannabis manufacturing that you should ensure are not present in the finished product. Heavy metals, pesticides, and residual solvents can harm health when present in large amounts.
Cannabis manufacturers must test for all these potentially dangerous compounds. Lab tests must show a passing grade or suitably low levels for a cannabinoid product to be safe for consumption.
Where to Buy Lab-Tested Cannabis Online
Distributors and consumers should only purchase cannabis products with publicly available lab tests conducted by a responsible third party. All of Power Distribution’s products have been tested by an unaffiliated lab and shown to be safe and consistent. You can view our COAs here and browse our products here.