CBD Third-Party Lab Testing: Why it Matters
When you purchase cosmetics, food, or health supplements, it’s assumed that the products have been assessed and tested for safety and efficacy before they make it to stores for public purchase.
There are certain government regulations in place that require such products to be tested for quality assurance and properly labeled with ingredients in order for consumers to make more informed buying decisions.
But consumers who purchase CBD products for health and wellness purposes also expect to be provided with detailed information about what they’re buying, and as such, lab testing is a crucial component of the regulatory environment of cannabis and the cannabinoids derived from it.
All cannabis products – including CBD – that are sold by licensed facilities must be subject to testing by laboratories that are accredited in their respective states.
But not only should these products be tested by any lab, but such labs should also be independent of the company creating the product.
Curious to know more? In this article, we delve into all that you need to know before making your next CBD purchase.
What is CBD Third-Party Lab Testing?
Third-party lab testing refers to the analysis of cannabis products by an entity that has no affiliation with the cannabis product manufacturer. As such, the assessment of these products will be unbiased and will not be influenced by the cannabis product manufacturer.
Having a neutral stance on the testing of CBD products is essential, especially when considering the fact that cannabis is not regulated by the FDA in the same way that other products are.
That said, each state has its own set of regulations when it comes to how CBD products are labeled, packaged, and distributed. But third-party lab testing is a critical part of ensuring that consumers are made aware of what is in the product they’re buying.
Not only is it important for the third-party lab to be unbiased, but it’s also important that it is accredited.
Laboratories that are deemed accredited according to state law must use the appropriate methods to properly assess the quality and condition of cannabis products that their state’s regulations require.
This means that such labs must go through an accreditation program, after which they are required to provide their compliance information to state regulatory entities.
In order to be considered legal for sale, cannabis products must come with this data, which accredited third-party labs can provide.
Independent third-party lab testing is not mandatory according to law, but legitimate CBD manufacturers insist that this important step is included in the process to ensure full transparency.
This type of testing is certainly not cheap, but the information that it provides to the public is essential. Savvy consumers will seek out CBD manufacturers that provide this important data, and as such, companies that offer third-party lab testing information will be more likely to be sought after by CBD consumers.
Like any other type of company, developing a trusted brand and name within the cannabis industry is essential for success.
It’s in the best interests of a CBD company to ensure that its products are third-party lab tested before any packaging and distribution for sale.
What Do Third-Party CBD Labs Test For?
CBD tests are conducted before products hit the market in order to verify their quality, but what exactly is being tested for?
When you purchase a CBD product, this particular cannabinoid will obviously be the component you’re looking for. But exactly how much CBD is contained within the product? And are there any other cannabinoids within the product? If so, what are their concentrations?
CBD third-party labs will test for the potency of the product. More specifically, they’ll determine the amount of CBD and any other cannabinoid in the product – including THC – with specific ratios of each.
For instance, CBD product labels can indicate the ratio of CBD to THC or the amount of CBD per weight.
You might purchase a particular strain that has a cannabinoid profile of 20% THC and 1% CBD, for example, or you might buy a full-spectrum CBD product that has 18% CBD and 5% THC. If third-party lab testing was not involved, consumers essentially wouldn’t know what they’re buying.
Knowing the potency of the CBD product you’re consuming is very important because it allows CBD companies to accurately label their products with its potency. Proper labeling will allow consumers to more accurately dose, and third-party lab testing will provide such vital information.
With an increasing amount of information coming out which specific cannabis profiles are better for different medical conditions, it’s even more important for consumers to be able to tell exactly what each particular strain contains, and more and more cannabis companies are providing such vital information.
Throughout the growth, cultivation, and harvesting process, any number of contaminants can make their way into cannabis products, and lab testing can identify them before they’re sold to the public.
This is crucial, as certain contaminants can be harmful to one’s health. By identifying their presence, they can be filtered out and eliminated as much as possible before they make it to dispensary shelves. The types of contaminants identified through lab testing include the following:
Certain pesticides may be used during the cultivation of cannabis plants in order to ensure the growth of healthy plants. But while pesticides may have certain advantages, there are some drawbacks to their use as well, including the fact that they can be harmful to human health.
Certain pesticides are forbidden for use in the agricultural industry because of the health danger they pose, and lab testing will be able to identify if any are present in order to ensure regulatory compliance.
Solvents may also be present in CBD products as a result of the extraction process, and while a small concentration is allowed, anything over these levels is not permitted. Lab testing will not only identify the exact solvents present but also their levels.
Mold, mildew, and fungus are microbes that can be found throughout the cultivation process of cannabis when in the presence of water.
But such contaminants must be removed before the cannabis product can be sold to the public, as they pose a health hazard. Lab testing will determine whether or not any microbial contaminants exist.
5. Heavy metals and other physical contaminants
CBD products can sometimes contain certain levels of heavy metals, including lead and mercury. As one would imagine, such heavy metals are dangerous when consumed, especially at high levels.
They can make their way into cannabis products via absorption through the roots if they are present in the soil in which the plants grow.
Other physical contaminants can also find their way into cannabis products – including dust and other debris – throughout the cultivation process. Thorough third-party lab testing will be able to determine whether or not such contaminants exist.
If you are considering including CBD as part of your health regimen for whatever reason, not only do you want to make sure that your money is being spent wisely, but you also want to ensure that the product you’re consuming is safe and effective.
The best way to find out is through the detailed information provided by independent third-party labs that use a variety of analytical methods to determine the quality of the product you are buying.
Considering the fact that the CBD and cannabis industry as a whole is still not federally regulated the way other consumer products are regulated, it’s even more important to have as much data about a product as possible before using it, and from what we’ve learned today, lab information from a third-party source is paramount.