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What are Cannabinoid Lab Reports and Why Should You Take the Time to Review Them?

What are Cannabinoid Lab Reports and Why Should You Take the Time to Review Them?

20th May 2024

There’s nothing like finding a cannabinoid product that perfectly checks every box - the ideal milligram strength, a strain that offers the effects you’re looking for, etc. But, before you go ahead and make that purchase, there’s one critical piece of information that you need to look at first: the lab report. Lab reports are a big factor to consider when you buy any hemp product, and we will be explaining why not only their importance, but also offer a guide to reading them. That way, you can make the most informed purchase possible.

What is a Lab Report?

A lab report is a document that should come with each hemp product sold by a company. Basically, with every batch of a specific formula that a company makes, whether it be, say, a CBD gummy or a delta 8 THC vape cartridge, a sample from that batch must be sent to a state-licensed third-party testing facility that specializes in testing cannabis. The sample is tested, and a lab report is created by the facility, following a template that’s standard throughout the industry. This lab report is given to the manufacturer, and the manufacturer makes the report accessible to customers through their website, so that customers can see for themselves that the product has been tested, and that the findings indicate a good-quality product.

The key things that a lab report is identifying are the breakdown of cannabinoids and terpenes in the formula, the purity level of the product, its potency, its safety, and whether or not the product complies with federal law (maximum of 0.3% delta 9 THC per dry weight). Customers should be able to find the lab report either on the product page, or on a separate page on the company’s website that provides links to lab reports for every product that they carry.

Just How Important is it to Look at a Lab Report Before Making a Purchase?

Essentially, you should never buy a hemp product before you look at the lab report. The reason why is simple: this document is really the only way to get objective information about the product you’re thinking of buying. A company can make any claims they want on their website regarding how potent the formula is, how safe it is, and so on, but there’s an obvious bias. A lab report provides objective, factual information via an unbiased source, and that’s why this document is so valuable. Essentially, here is where you can find out whether or not a company is, in fact, telling the truth about their product.

Are Lab Reports Always Authentic?

One thing we want to quickly mention is that while it’s extremely rare to come across a company that displays fake lab reports, it can happen. After all, anyone can build a website, put some formulas in bottles and jars, write up some fake lab reports, and call it a day, although it is really a matter of time before they get caught.

So, can you prove that a lab report is authentic? Fortunately, yes. Lab reports should always have the name of the lab somewhere – usually in the top left corner of the document. Included should be a verification number as well. If you want to, you can look up that verification number by contacting the laboratory, to verify that it’s authentic, as they will have a matching record on file.

What if a Company Doesn’t Provide Lab Reports?

We want to point out that if a company does not provide lab reports at all, even upon request, this should be seen as a major red flag. Publishing lab reports online is very much a standard throughout the industry, so for a company to make a point to keep these reports hidden can mean that they have something to hide - like the fact that they’re products contain contaminants, or that they aren’t as potent with, say, delta 8 THC as they claim to be.

What Does a Lab Report Look Like?

A third-party lab report typically consists of two documents in one. There’s the “short-form” lab report and the “long-form” lab report. The short-form one is usually just a single page, while the long-form one is multiple pages.

The single-page document is going to give you a breakdown of the chemical composition of the product, which will include the percentage of delta 9 THC in the formula, for legal purposes. It will also indicate the purity of the product. The second document is going to provide you with information that relates to the safety of the product, how it was handled, and more. Now, let’s go into more detail as we move into the next section.

What You will Need to Check Out When Viewing a Lab Report

Let’s take a more in-depth look at a lab report, section by section, to help you know what you should be looking for.

Cannabinoid Breakdown

To start, let’s talk about the first section of the document. Again, there should be a breakdown of cannabinoids present in the formula, listed from most prominent to least, by percentage. Now, we want to point out that any sample of hemp can contain over 100 cannabinoids, so you’ll get a list of the dominant ones, as listing every single one is tedious and unnecessary.

Naturally, you want to make sure that the cannabinoid that’s highlighted in the formula is up there on the list. Let’s say you’re purchasing delta 8 THC flower. Delta 8 THC should make up a high percentage of that product (at least 15%), and there should be a heavy amount of CBD in there as well, as CBD is the dominant chemical compound in hemp.

Flower products and full or broad spectrum products should contain a large variety of cannabinoids. But, products that are made with cannabinoid distillates should contain no more than the slightest trace of other cannabinoids. For instance, gummies and tinctures frequently contain just a cannabinoid distillate, which is a purified cannabinoid extract. If the product is advertised as containing just a cannabinoid distillate, the lab reports should show that the product doesn’t actually contain a large variety of cannabinoids, or any other hemp compounds like terpenes (below), for that matter.

The cannabinoid breakdown will also demonstrate the amount of delta 9 THC, which determines whether or not the product actually complies with federal law. If the product contains more than 0.3% delta 9 THC, you know that it’s actually illegal.

Terpene Breakdown

Terpenes are secondary compounds in cannabis that make up the strain of the plant, and are responsible for the flavor and aroma profiles. Again, if the product is advertised as containing a cannabinoid distillate as its only hemp derivative, there shouldn’t be any terpenes in this section. Otherwise, you’ll see a list of terpenes in descending order of concentration by percentage, just like with the cannabinoids as we talked about above.

If you want to verify that a product is made in a certain strain as advertised, here is where you can do so. If you know the dominant terpenes of a certain strain you’re buying, you can cross-check by looking at the breakdown of terpenes.

Purity

How pure a product is will matter a lot, too. For example, vapes, concentrates, and flower should be 100% pure - that is, no ingredients added. Gummies, tinctures, and the like will show in a lab report that they’ve been diluted with other ingredients.

Pesticides

Pesticides are tested for, with the results usually shown in the long-form document. This is critical, as it tells you whether or not the product comes from organically grown hemp. The use of pesticides indicates that the hemp was not grown organically, and impacts the safety of the product, as pesticides are harmful to our health.

Safety Factors

Finally, look for other indicators of safety, like the presence of contaminants, mycotoxins, heavy metals, heavy metals, and/or residual solvents (in other words, traces of solvents that remain after the extraction process is complete, because solvents should be vacuumed out of the final product).

Always Look at the Lab Report Before Buying!

The key takeaway is that third-party lab reports should never be ignored. And, knowing what information to look for means that you’ll be able to quickly identify a product that’s worth buying, and one that falls short of its promises. At PureRemedies CBD, you’ll find that each product we carry has undergone thorough third-party testing by a licensed laboratory, as we’re proud of the results, which show off just how pure, potent, and high in quality our formulas actually are!