When customers start shopping for ideal CBD products, they’re often overwhelmed by the enormous amount of products and brands to choose from. While we encourage customers to find CBD products that fit their lifestyle, there is one quality that should never be compromised on: third party lab tests.
Independent, 3rd party tests are the first thing you should look for in any CBD product.
How CBD Testing Works: The Process
The process of testing CBD is simple. A brand will send a sample to an independent, 3rd party lab, and that lab will run a test to see all the compounds or impurities that might be in the product. For CBD products, a lab result will show:
- All cannabinoids and terpenes naturally present in the sourced hemp
- Any impurities present, like heavy metals or pesticides
Most brands have lab results available on their website for easy viewing, while others will have information on where to see lab results on their product packaging. Often, brands may incorporate both to make sure that customers have easy access to lab reports.
What is 3rd Party Testing
Third party testing means that the lab that is testing the CBD products is not affiliated with the brand or the CBD industry in any way. The separation of the lab from the entire CBD industry helps remove any potential conflict of interests, and customers can fully trust the results from the lab.
The Importance of Testing
Third party testing is crucially important to making sure your CBD product is pure and safe. Most countries (including the USA and the UK), don’t regulate the CBD industry, which means there’s no legal consequence for a brand to lie about how pure their product is.
If your CBD product isn’t pure, you’ll run into issues with trying to get the best results. If there’s simply less CBD in the product than claimed, you’ll run into issues with absorption and getting the relief you’re looking for. If there’s heavy metals or pesticides present, the product could be a danger to your health, and could even exacerbate the health issues you’re trying to manage.
What Companies Test & Why
- To confirm purity: This is the primary reason for third party testing. It confirms that there is only hemp-derived materials in the product (or the only ingredients present are the ones advertised). It also confirms the concentration of CBD, which can be helpful for dosing.
- To avoid heavy metals and pesticides: The presence of heavy metals and pesticides can be harmful, and it also indicates a fundamental problem in the manufacturing process.
Lab Testing: What to Look For
There are a lot of different kinds of third party tests a brand may conduct. Depending on what you want to avoid (or what you want to make sure you have), you may want to make sure that a specific brand conducts a specific kind of test:
Liquid Chromatography (or LC)
Liquid chromatography (or high-performance liquid chromatography, shortened to LC or HPLC respectively), is the test that is conducted to show what kinds of cannabinoids are present in a CBD product and what concentrations they have.
This test is important if you are trying to use certain kinds of cannabinoids (for example, if a brand claims to have an added concentration of a minor cannabinoid, LC will prove that the cannabinoid is present at those higher concentrations). LC will also show which cannabinoids are lacking (which is important if you are buying CBD isolate, which only contains CBD).
Polymerase Chain Reactions (PCR)
Polymerase chain reactions (or PCR) tests are used to make sure there isn’t contamination of bacteria, fungus, or other foreign biological substance. This test won’t tell you anything about what kinds of cannabinoids are present, but it will help to ensure there aren’t any harmful biological contaminants that you should avoid.
For CBD products, the PCR test makes sure that the hemp was harvested and stored safely (mold can be a significant issue with harvested cannabis).
Mass Spectrometry (MS)
Finally, mass spectrometry, or MS, testing is used to confirm that there are no heavy metals present in your CBD product. Poor manufacturing standards are what most commonly cause heavy metal contamination, and heavy metal poisoning can cause severe health issues.
Some brands may use MS testing to determine what cannabinoids are present, similar to LC. This is another common use for MS testing, though using both LC and MS testing will provide the most accurate cannabinoid profiles.
Who Doesn’t Do it & Why
Since testing is so important, it may be confusing why a brand would skip the testing process.
- Testing costs money and is optional: Since the market is unregulated, brands don’t have to test their products. So, if one is interested in trying to make as much money as possible instead of providing a consistently pure, high-quality product, they may skip the testing phase.
- New to market: A brand may be brand-new to the market and not yet able to get tests back on their products. This could be an innocent mistake (maybe the brand is still learning how to best safeguard the purity of their product). Regardless, this is not a good reason to skip lab testing.
- Communication problems: It’s very possible that a brand does conduct third party testing, but they don’t offer the lab results on their site. This is a frequent occurrence, especially for brands that may not rely heavily on online sales. If you come across a brand that looks great, but you can’t find the lab tests, ask! Almost any brand will provide lab results when requested (if they are getting lab tests to begin with).
If you come across a brand that seems suspiciously inexpensive, check to see if they offer third-party lab results. If they don’t, that’s likely why they can offer such cheap prices, and you should choose a more trustworthy brand.
PhenoLife: Third Party Tested with Certificate of Analysis
Our primary focus is to make sure that PhenoLife products are pure, safe, and easy to absorb. That means we take third party testing seriously, and we have performed it on all of our products since our inception.
Customers can look at our certificate of analysis (or COA) which shows the results of third party lab reports we request. You’ll be able to see:
- The full cannabinoid profile of our products
- The concentrations of each cannabinoid present
- Results showing no biological contamination
- Results showing no heavy metal contamination
If you have questions about our COA, the kinds of lab tests we request, or anything regarding the purity of our products, please ask! We’ll make sure that you can confidently buy knowing that PhenoLife is provably pure and safe.