How to Read CBD Lab Results?

How to Read CBD Lab Results

How to Read The CBD Lab Results

Lab reports can be confusing. Often referred to as Certificates of Analysis, these reports contain information about the potency of the product. They may also include results for various contamination testing that is performed.

With numbers, percentages, and graphs, the amount of information the labs are trying to convey can feel overwhelming. Lab report formats vary; however, they should contain some basic components, and you should know how to read them.

Apples-to-Apples: As simple as it seems, the most important thing to look for is the product information. All lab reports should clearly state the name of the product that is tested.


Make sure the name of the product tested is the exact same as the label item you are buying. Also, make sure the batch number of the product you are buying matches the batch number tested.

Some products do not use batch numbers, and that makes verifying test results more challenging. Many lab reports also have a product description, and date received and tested that also aid in the validation of lab reports.

Next, we look at what’s in the reports. The most common test is potency. The potency is simply the amount of active ingredient (cannabinoids) that are in the sample. This is often referred to as a cannabinoid panel since labs will test for multiple cannabinoids simultaneously.

How CBD is Tested

Most labs screen between 3-11 different cannabinoids. CBD and THC are the major cannabinoids of interest because they occur at the highest levels.

For tinctures and other liquid products, the results are listed as mass, typically milligrams, of the cannabinoid per volume, typically milliliters.

However, products are usually labeled with the milligrams of cannabinoids in the entire bottle. For example, a 1 fluid ounce (30 ml) bottle of CBD oil may be labeled as 300 mg. This would represent a concentration of 10 mg CBD per 1 ml of sample.

A 30ml bottle / 300mg = 10mg per serving. Other dosage forms may report mass percent. This is simply the mass (typically grams) of the cannabinoid divided by the total mass of product (typically grams) and reported as a percentage.

Therefore, an 18% CBD flower, would contain 180 milligrams of CBD for every gram of flower. In order to be considered hemp, THC concentration cannot be more than 0.3%.

Thus, we need the mass percent to be less than 0.3% which is 0.3 milligram per gram of flower (or – 0.34 milligram per milliliter of oil).

Remember, full spectrum products should contain multiple cannabinoids. The entourage effect relies on a mixture of cannabinoids to enhance the efficacy of the cannabinoids.

Therefore, if your product is labeled as full spectrum, but the lab report only shows CBD, the product is either made from an isolate (a single cannabinoid) or the lab did not test for the minor cannabinoids.


Another popular test shows the terpene profiles. Terpenes are known for their unique and strong odor. While the profiles were originally thought to be for user preference (like the bouquet of wines), there is ongoing research about potential health benefits. Therefore, many lab reports lists which terpenes are present.

There are more than 100 terpenes in just one Flower (plant). Here are some of the most well known terpenes in use now. Most of which you’ll find in legal cannabis products.

Terpene Name Aroma Properties Common Uses
Bisabolol floral anti-inflammatory
pain, skin lesion
Borneol mint anti-inflammatory
eyesight, pain relief
Camphene fir needles
musky earth
anti-oxidant skin lesion
cardiovascular diseases
Caryophyllene spicy anti-bacterial
insomnia, muscle spasms
pain relief
Delta 3 Carene pine
anti-inflammatory bone stimulant
Eucalyptol mint anti-bacterial
pain relief
Geraniol peach
rose grass
pain, pain relief
Humulene earthy anti-bacterial
anti-tumor effects
appetite suppression
pain, infections
pain relief
Limonene bitter citrus anti-anxiety
digestion, gallstones
liver detoxification
weight loss, sleep aid
Linalool floral anti-anxiety
depression, convulsions
insomnia, pain relief
Myrcene citrus
relaxing, sedating inflammation, insomnia
spasms, pain
Pinene pine
asthma, bronchitis
pain, depression
memory, mental alertness
Phytol balsamic
reduce itching
sleep aid
wound healing
Terpinolene smoky
pain, heart disease
sleep aid
Trans-nerolidol citrus
skin lesion
Valencene sweet citrus anti-inflammatory
skin lesion

Independent Third Party Testing

It’s critical to have a neutral, independent laboratory testing the plant content and quality of a growers hemp product. From your perspective, this is incredibly important.

Today’s market is a non-regulated state of commerce, and because of the lack of oversite by the FDA, it has essentially allowed manufacturers and distributors to glue medical-looking labels onto cute little bottles and then turn around and sell them as a cure-all.

Hold on Charlie You Best Not Be Buyin That Junk!

Listen to me, don’t you dare purchase any CBD or THC product, without doing a little homework first, that’s number one.

You have my permission to buy online from any reputable source that tests their plant crop before processing and then tests again after the final product is ready to go market.

Over time oil goes rancid and potency diminishes. Hemp oil should be tested periodically, initially for impurities but to confirm efficacy as well. Testing safeguards you and establishes the amount of CBD advertised on the label, it tells you what’s in the product, and that it has not exceeded the legal level of THC (0.3%).

Proper testing and reporting show the company’s transparency in its practice.

One thought on “How to Read CBD Lab Results?
  1. Good morning! I’m hoping someone could help me calibrate the CBD & THC level per drop? I’ve tried a few online resources but having difficulty because it’s giving me an unreasonable amount per dose… please let me know! Or – would you just figure out how many drops are in a ml and use the ml as the dose? 1 ml = 1.2mg of THC per ml & 26.3mg of CBD per ml?

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