How to Understand Lab Reports for CBD

How to Understand Lab Reports for CBD

Looking to buy CBD? Before you spend your money on a product, it’s essential to understand what’s actually in it. Find out how to understand CBD lab reports now. 

Before you buy a CBD product, it’s so, so important to make sure that it’s been verified by an independent third party lab. In fact, a 2017 study of 84 CBD products found that only 30% of products were accurately labeled. 

This is a problem. 

Afterall, I know that if I’m spending money on something and putting it in my body, I want to know that it’s not only safe, but that it actually contains what it says it does. 

But it’s not enough just to choose a product that’s had testing done. It’s also important to actually take a look at the reports to make sure you know what you’re buying. 

However, reading these reports can be super confusing the first time you read them. This guide will help walk you through the process so that you feel comfortable in making an informed decision. 

Steps for reading CBD lab report 

Now that you understand why it’s important to read CBD third-party testing reports, let’s talk about how to actually understand them.

Step 1: Find the report for your specific product 

Where to find this report depends on the brand. The three most common places I’ve found them include: 

  • A clickable link on the product page.
  • By scanning the QR code of a product using a brand’s app on your phone. 
  • Results displayed as a screenshot on the product page. 

If you can’t easily find the lab results, I recommend contacting the brand directly. 

Step 2: Look at the Cannabinoid Profile

More specifically, you want to look at the amount of CBD and THC found in the product. The report will usually list the amounts both as a percentage and in mg/mL. 

Checking THC amounts 

For checking the amount of TCH, I find looking at the percent by weight to be the easiest to understand. For full-spectrum hemp-derived CBD oil, there should be <0.3% THC. 

And for a broad spectrum or isolate, THC should be undetectable, which is often abbreviated as ND. ND stands for not detected above the limits of detection. It may also just show 0.00% THC.

Note: THC is often labeled as Δ-9-THC or D9-THC in lab reports. 

Checking CBD amounts

For CBD amounts, I look at the concentration rather than the weight. This will be expressed as mg/mL. More on this below. 

Step 3: Compare results to your bottle 

Once you’ve located the amount of CBD found in the bottle, the next step is to compare it against what the product claims to contain. 

For example, the screenshot below is for a 17mg/mL full-spectrum CBD oil.

How to Understand Lab Reports for CBD

You can see that it contains 17.29 mg/mL of CBD and <0.3% of THC.

Step 4: Check for contaminants and toxins 

Even if the amounts of THC and CBD check out, don’t move forward until you’ve double checked that the report clearly shows (or states) that the product was free from foreign matter like mold, mildew, or pesticides. 

You also want to make sure that the results don’t show levels of heavy metals or pathogens like salmonella or E. coli. 

Depending on the lab that tested the product, these findings may either be displayed in graph or table form, or simply stated in a few sentences. 

How to Understand Lab Reports for CBD

Step 5: Contact company with any questions or concerns 

Can’t find info on contaminants? Or unsure what the report is actually telling you? Any concerns or questions you have should be answered before buying a product, so make sure to give the brand a call or send an email. 

Complete cannabinoid profile

In addition to THC and CBD, hemp plants contain other cannabinoids that may have their own beneficial properties, or work in synergy with CBD to boost CBD’s benefits.

This is called the entourage effect, which you can read more about here

When buying a full-spectrum or broad-spectrum product, you want to see a variety of cannabinoids in the product.

Whereas, if buying an isolate, the only cannabinoid should be CBD.  For example:

How to Understand Lab Reports for CBD

Want to learn more about CBD?

Curious to learn more about CBD or find recipes to use your CBD in? I’ve got you covered! Be sure to check out my Recipes and Wellness pages. 

The information contained in this website is not intended to recommend the self-management of health problems or wellness. It is not intended to endorse or recommend any particular type of medical treatment. Should any reader have any healthcare-related questions, promptly call or consult your physician or healthcare provider. No information contained in this website should be used by any reader to disregard medical and/or health-related advice or provide a basis to delay a consultation with a physician or a qualified healthcare provider. The statements on this website have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Products discussed are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

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I’m Kelli MS, RD. As a foodie with a background in nutrition research, I’m a firm believer that what we eat affects nearly every aspect of our wellbeing, and that food should taste freaking delicious.

Welcome to New Mind Nutrition!

My name is Kelli McGrane, and I’m a Denver-based registered dietitian with a Master’s degree in nutrition.

As a foodie with a background in nutrition research, I’m a firm believer that what we eat affects nearly every aspect of our wellbeing, and that food should taste freaking delicious.

My goal with New Mind is to help you find balance in both your mind and body through nutrition research and whole foods-based recipes.

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