It is important when testing your products as a consumer or a wholesaler when buying CBD to find an accredited lab and get a reliable COA (certificate of analysis).

Residual Solvent Analysis

Residual solvent analysis involves the extraction of active ingredients from hemp or cannabis via the use of solvents such as ethanol, carbon dioxide, butane, water, and other materials. Solvents play a significant role, with large volumes required in order to achieve higher purity levels and increase the efficiency of extraction.  Following extraction, further testing must be done to ensure that the highest percentage possible of solvents has been removed. Following this, the amount of residual solvent left in processed cannabis, expressed in parts per million (ppm), can be determined. Headspace analysis is performed to determine the amount of residual solvent present. This involves the use of a gas-tight syringe to obtain a small gas sample from those in the headspace of a sealed vial of the prepared sample.

Heavy Metals

Cannabinoids collects heavy metals. It absorbs them from the soil, water and air. The plant is an excellent bioremediator, soaking up a large majority of whatever the roots come in contact with. Even at extremely low levels, heavy metals such as lead and cadmium can be extremely hazardous to one’s health. Without uniform regulations for heavy metal testing, patients have no way of knowing whether their products are laced with cadmium, lead, arsenic or mercury – all of which pose serious health risks. This test can detect heavy metals at concentrations as low as one part per billion, giving patients and their caregivers an accurate profile.

Potency Analysis

The potency analysis refers to the percentage of cannabinoids contained in the sample being tested. Depending on the state in which testing occurs, a sample’s THC and CBD levels, along with its tetrahydrocannabinolic and cannabidolic acids may be all that’s required. Other labs may opt to test samples for their CBC and CBG as well. Testing for potency involves gas or liquid chromatography for a range of matrices.

Terpene Analysis

The measurement of fragrance and flavor compounds present in a cannabis sample requires terpene analysis. Gas and liquid chromatography is used to determine terpene content, which contributes to the sample’s flavor profile.

Testing Lab Setup and Educational Requirements

There are several tools and procedures required for the purpose of cannabis testing. When a sample is submitted to the lab for potency testing, it will typically undergo an initial visual inspection with a high-magnification dissecting microscope. This will reveal the presence of any mold or visible contaminants.  Several tasks are involved with the processing of cannabinoid for medicinal usage. Therefore, a wide range of degrees, knowledge, and experience is required.


It’s important to know about the third party lab you are taking your material to for testing. Make sure they are accredited and test for all solvents not just some. The result is keeping customers happy knowing that they can rely on you and your product, do your homework. Make sure your getting what you want and quality CBD.

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