How To Read CBD Lab Reports

We’ve talked time after time about how important lab reports are when it comes to CBD. However, these reports themselves can often be a bit intimidating at a first glance and you might find yourself unsure as to what you should be looking for. In this post, we’ll run through exactly this and make lab reports super simple to understand.

assorted lab results

What are CBD lab reports & why do they matter?

To make a CBD product, you first need to extract the CBD from the hemp or cannabis plant. CBD (cannabidiol) is just one of at least 113 chemical compounds found in these plants, known as cannabinoids. After the extraction process, the ratios of these individual compounds that are left will ultimately be what ends up in the product.

This is where cannabinoid profile testing comes into effect. The final product can now be tested for the breakdown of the main cannabinoids present, as well as the amounts of each one. You’ll not only be able to see if the product has acceptably low levels of THC, but also that the CBD content present matches the advertised amount. The “third-party” component of this is also very important - this just means that a trusted lab independent from the CBD brand has conducted the testing, and is therefore giving accurate and fair results.

glass vials and scientific glassware

Although lab reports from different sources vary in style, layout and structure, the information across them all is more or less the same.

But what if you can’t find testing for a brand, or they claim to be tested but provide no documentation? You can always try contacting the brand, but generally this is a big red flag - this should be a bare minimum investment for a brand when it comes to quality assurance. If they have said that products are tested but can’t follow through with documentation, this is equally suspect; it costs to get reports done, and there would be no reason not to show the results unless there was something to hide.

What does a CBD lab report look like?

Although there’s not one universal template for lab reports, they tend to be largely similar in how they are presented. Our Unique CBD lab reports are formatted to make the information that matters super clear; let’s take a look at what the full document looks like, and then we will go over what it all means: 

UNIQUE CBD lab report day drops

What to look for in a CBD lab report

As you can see, there are a list of cannabinoids, alongside percentages. This particular report is for a 5% CBD oil tincture, and if we look down the list to CBD we can see that the tincture is indeed 5%. The other main ones to look for are THC and CBN levels, which should be 0.2% or lower to be legal. From the results on this report, we can see that both of these levels are well below this at <0.0025%.

This value might seem a bit strange; how do we know it’s less than 0.0025 but not what the exact value is? This is due to something called “Limit of Quantitation”, or LOQ for short. Essentially, the equipment used to conduct the tests can only be accurate to a certain point, but once the values get too small to reliably measure, this value is known as the LOQ. So, in this case, the LOQ was 0.0025%, and if anything above that value couldn’t be measured then it gets marked with a “<” symbol to signify this. Sometimes, the LOQ values are listed in an additional column too.

If we look underneath the breakdowns, there is a summary of CBD and THC levels added up. This isn’t on every report, but makes things a little easier to read at a glance. Next to THC we have the letters “ND”. This is short for “non-detected” meaning that the THC levels measured are low enough to classify the product as free from THC (the threshold for this is 0.02% or less).

glass vials and scientific glassware

The rest of the information found on the report is mostly identifying information relating to the laboratory. One last thing worth noting here is that although the Unique CBD lab reports are customised documents in order to make them clear and understandable, any lab report document that is reformatted in this way must contain all the information on the original document (or have written permission from the lab used). Otherwise, there is no way to verify its authenticity. 

This should set you well on the way to being confident with reading lab reports, and after looking at one or two it becomes fairly easy to do. If you'd like to look at some more lab reports yourself then you can find the rest of the Unique CBD results here.