The Reasons Why We Lab Test & How To Understand The Results
Compared to most industries, the world of legal cannabis is a very new one. It is only recently that some governments around the world have begun to legalise certain aspects of the cannabis plant, and, although, of course, every country or even state in the USA is different, with different laws, the appreciation of all things CBD is a trend that we are beginning to see.
The main reason why we are beginning to see laws about some parts of the cannabis plant changing is because of overwhelming and mounting evidence that certain compounds of the plant can have medicinal qualities.
One of the compounds which is looking so promising in modern medicine is CBD – or cannabidiol. CBD seems to be taking the world by storm at the moment, with, it seems, everybody wanting to try it.
One of the problems that we are therefore having in the CBD industry is the appearance of dishonest blaggers who are out to make as much money as possible from the CBD boom and offering poor quality CBD products.
When an up and coming industry is beginning to find its feet, reputation is everything. Especially when it has a past like CBD.
It can be difficult to change attitudes to substances that most people have been told their whole life is dangerous. Although laws and regulations are changing (slowly), the CBD industry is still having to try to shake off its taboo.
CBD is a compound in the cannabis plant which won’t make you high, but there are still many people that don’t know this, and this is the fight that we are up against.
It is important, therefore that the CBD industry is kept as clean as possible – taking responsibility for itself and its reputation and regulation. Whereas in the past, producers of CBD products were all very passionate about the products that they are creating, with its sudden growth, there is now much more scope for abuse from untrustworthy people who are just out to make money.
The cannabis plant has many compounds – one of which is CBD, and another, THC (the compound which can make you high). When the CBD is extracted, in many cases it is not just the CBD which is extracted, some of the other compounds are taken out as well. This isn’t a bad thing, as when CBD is taken in conjunction with other compounds it is proven to actually be more effective.
However, it is important that we know what we are taking.
And this is why we lab test – to help CBD customers ensure that they are getting exactly what they think they are, giving them complete knowledge and understanding about what they are putting into their body.
There are a number of established CBD producers who have their own testing facilities, meaning that they are able to lab test their products at any point through the manufacturing process as well as at the end. However, this is as good as useless If these results cannot be verified – after all, we would have to be taking these on face value.
The results of these lab tests are therefore more for the benefit of the producer to understand what is in their product, than for an independent customer who is wanting to know that they are getting a good quality CBD product.
The key here is to have a third party, independent lab test carried out. By seeing a breakdown from a trustworthy, independent tester, you can be sure that you are getting something legitimate. The CBD producers should send off samples of each batch, which can then be tested, and the results published – and made available for customers or potential customers to see.
To be sure that an independent lab test has been carried out by a reputable and trustworthy company, check that it has the ‘ISO 17025’ tag.
Although lab testing isn’t a legal requirement, it is something that should be important to reputable CBD companies to both prove their legitimacy as well as give their customers as much information as possible.
Whilst there are also other methods, the most common way that labs test CBD products is through a process called High Performance Liquid Chromatography (HPLC). In this process, the sample is mixed with a solvent – often ethanol.
This liquid is then fired through a tube which separates out the different components which can then be analysed to produce an accurate breakdown of the molecules detecting what is present and in what quantities.
These results are then published by the CBD producers, either in the packaging of the CBD product, on their website or on request.
The lab report will tell you everything that is in the CBD product.
· First, check the CBD content matches what it says on the bottle. So, if, for example, you are looking for 30mg CBD per bottle, check that this is represented in the lab results.
· Check for THC. THC is the compound in the cannabis plant that will make you high and many places have legal requirements surrounding it. In the UK for example, unless they have a special license, THC levels must be below 0.2% for the product to be bought and sold legally. It is very difficult to produce a full or broad spectrum CBD product without having even a trace of THC present. However, at levels under 0.2% you won’t feel high.
· Check what other cannabinoids are present. If you are after a full spectrum or broad spectrum CBD product there will be more present, or if you are looking for CBD isolate there shouldn’t be any others present.
· Check for any metals, herbicides or pesticides present. The hemp plant (the strain of cannabis which is usually used to make CBD products) absorbs a lot of substances which are in the soil. This means that it is possible that there are some other substances in your CBD product. The breakdown will either pass or fail this, so make sure that it has passed!
· Terpenes can play an important part in the effectiveness of your CBD. You should get a list of the terpenes which are present. You can do some research into which terpenes you would prefer as they can have aromatherapeutic properties.
· Microbiological contaminants are also tested for in the same way that they are in food. These show any bacteria which are present and are given a pass or fail – and of course, it goes without saying that you should only take it if it has passed!
There are many benefits to taking CBD, and we are seeing more and more people enjoying these benefits. It is important, however, that the industry is regulated to ensure consumer safety and to maintain a good reputation, and independent lab testing is one way that the industry can do this.
By buying independently lab tested products you are not only making yourself aware of what you are taking and ensuring your safety, but also ensuring that dishonest, unscrupulous ‘CBD producers’ are kept out.