What ’ s in a “ Certificate of Analysis ” ?
Are you aware that there are tools you can use to decide what cannabis product is right for you ?
by Danielle Buntyon , contributing writer
We often enter the dispensary and don ’ t really have any idea what we ’ re looking for when we step through the threshold . We want the strongest , most potent cannabis product , but is that always the most effective product ? To truly understand your tolerance , one must examine what is inside the plant that we are consuming . To do this , one must properly obtain a full panel Certificate of Analysis ( COA ) to examine what ’ s inside the plant . Throughout this article , we will deconstruct many complicated sections to understand COA and explain how each section should be read . We will also explain how this paper or analysis can be used to help you determine the right amount of cannabis to use or how to calculate it .
First , let ’ s look at the overall COA and what it holds . 1 . You should look for the name , address , and contact information of the company that issued the certificate of analysis . 2 . The contact information for the testing laboratory should be included in the analysis .
3 . An analysis can often be changed or switched according to the company providing the extracts or raw materials used to create the cannabis goods . For this reason , asking questions and doing deeper research can lead you on a smooth path .
Cannabinoids Section In the cannabinoids section , you will see a long list of abbreviated letter combos like THC , CBD , CBDA , THCA , 9-THC , 8-THC , CBDV , THCV , CBC , CBG , CBGA , CBN . Their cannabinoid parent is represented by these letters . There is also a dry weight percentage , milligrams / grams weight percentage , and overall percentage next to these names . So , what information can be found here ? You should pay close attention to this section if you want to find out what percentage of cannabinoids there are .
● In the sample COA ( image above right ), the THC is at . 359 , but the THCA is reading 19.561 . It also has . 085 CBG , . 466 CBGA , and . 287 of CBDA . Since this is not a “ high THC ” plant , and it contains a lot of minor cannabinoids , I can anticipate staying up as well as feeling my medicine in this strain . However , it does not have the paranoid sativa effect that results from a high-level THC strain deficient in a full-spectrum of minor cannabinoids .
The next section includes the “ Total Cannabinoids ” followed by the moisture content and water activities . Truth be told , many dispensaries refer to this section to explain their potency . The cannabinoids will be listed and added together in this section . It could be said that this section summarizes the report ’ s potency .
COA Sample Test Results
● One of the most important factors is the plant ’ s moisture level . If the material is too wet , it will not pass the test . This limit is usually around 15 .
● Checking the moisture section and seeing when the plants were harvested and tested will help you determine the shelf life of the plants you purchase . ( See test results above right page .)
Next , we ’ ll look at the “ Terpenes ” section . This section contains a great deal of information and can show you what the dominant smell of the plant is , plus what the herb ’ s medicinal properties are .
● The strain tested on terpenes sample analysis contained high levels of limonene . ( See test results right page .)
● In nature , limonene is one of the most common terpenes , and it may have a variety of health benefits .
● Researchers have demonstrated that limonene has anti-inflammatory , antioxidant , anti-stress , and perhaps disease-preventing properties .
● B-Caryophyllene is also abundant in this plant . Netacare . com states that “ B-caryophyllene is the only known terpene that also behaves like a cannabinoid . In contrast to other terpenes , which mainly amplify the effects of THC or CBD — b-caryophyllene interacts directly with the endocannabinoid system by binding to CB2 receptors .”
● B-caryophyllene is a relatively spicy compound found in black pepper , cloves , and cinnamon .
The last sections are test results for pesticides , heavy metals , and microbials . These sections let you know what chemicals were used while growing the plants . Many growers are pushing away from chemical use to treat their buds , but many still do . The pesticide section helps one understand what this cultivator used . The pesticide area will list all potential pesticides known and test the plant for these chemicals . ( See sample of test results above right page .)
● Look closely at the limit section to understand the grower ’ s guidelines .