CBD Oil Testing


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Testing CBD oil builds trust and ensures transparency with your customers and with regulatory authorities. Here’s what you need to know. Potency testing looks at the total amount of cannabinoid content, including tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and other phytocannabinoids such as cannabidiol (CBD), cannabigerol (CBG), and tetrahydrocannabivarin (THCV). Find out how Agilent can help you with potency analysis & testing methods.

Beyond CBD Oil Potency: Considerations for Testing

Testing CBD oil is important not only to understand how much Cannabidiol (CBD) is contained within a product made with hemp or marijuana extract (its potency), but to ensure that a product is safe for human consumption. Testing is about consumer safety and transparency, not just potency, and detailed test results can help establish that trust between your company and your customers.

In this blog, you will learn:

Three reasons to test CBD oil aside from potency

The difference between hemp-derived CBD and marijuana-derived CBD, and what that means for testing

Why CBD potency testing is a complex but crucial step in fostering consumer trust

Why testing CBD oil is important beyond potency

Before diving into the intricacies of CBD oil testing, it is essential to understand why CBD oil samples are tested in the first place. There are three key reasons why a CBD oil manufacturer should have their product tested:

Testing strengthens consumer trust: Buyers want to know that they are purchasing a clean, well-vetted, and well-tested product, particularly when it comes to industrial hemp-derived CBD. Hemp and hemp-derived products are federally legal and regulated; however, the only testing requirement from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the New Jersey Hemp Program is for cannabinoid potency. That said, the cannabis plant is still the same plant, whether high THC or low to no THC, and is still susceptible to the same environmental and safety hazards.

CBD potency and safety testing from a third-party analytical laboratory can go a long way toward affirming that knowledge. With the confirmation of a trusted, unbiased authority, consumers can rest easy knowing that they are buying a product that not only contains what it says on the label, but is also free of potentially harmful contaminants, such as pesticides or residual solvents.

Lab reports offer deeper insights beyond potency: Third-party lab tests are able to screen for more than just levels of CBD and THC potency in a sample. There are also tests available for screening a product’s overall terpene profile, homogeneity in marijuana-infused products (MIPs) like edibles, and levels of potentially harmful contaminants like pesticides and mycotoxins. Testing ensures that a manufacturer is bringing a safe and reliable product to market.

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Prepare your business for future testing standards: Here in the Garden State, while hemp and hemp-derived products are required by law to be tested only for phytocannabinoid content, it is the same plant as its high-THC cousin which is heavily tested for chemicals and harmful substances. Regulatory compliance is bound to continue evolving with time, so it will always be wise to stay one step ahead. Furthermore, consumers will be even more likely to trust in a brand knowing that it has been thoroughly tested above current industry standards and legal requirements.

The differences between testing hemp-derived CBD oil and marijuana-derived CBD oil

CBD oil can be derived from two sources: federally legal industrial hemp and federally illegal cannabis, also called marijuana. This greatly shapes testing requirements, as well as the considerations and concerns associated with each product type. Federal hemp rules only require testing for cannabinoid content, but not for product safety. State-legal marijuana, whether medical or for adult use, is subject to more extensive safety testing.

No matter from where the CBD is sourced, True Labs would suggest the following tests:

Potency: The potency of the oil refers to the amounts of CBD contained within the product. This is often expressed in milligrams or a percentage on the label or packaging.

Screening for the full phytocannabinoid profile of a CBD oil is particularly important for hemp-derived CBD producers who cannot legally exceed 0.3% total THC content in their crop or products. It is also useful for consumers who may be looking for products that contain no THC whatsoever, even in trace amounts, or who may want a product with a minor phytocannabinoid such as CBN or CBGA.

Homogeneity: Homogeneity testing can identify the distribution of compounds throughout a product, ensuring reliable doses and a consistent experience. This is particularly important for edible products.

Terpene profiling: Terpenes are naturally occurring compounds known to complement and augment the effects of phytocannabinoids upon consumption, known as the entourage effect. These compounds also enhance the aromas and flavors of products.

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Pesticides: Pesticide testing determines whether these chemicals were used in the cultivation of hemp and in what levels the chemicals remain. In high enough levels, pesticides can be harmful to consumer health. It is also worth noting that pesticide use is outlawed in New Jersey cannabis production.

Heavy metals and residual solvents: Through farming, extraction, and production, your product can be exposed to many substances. These substances can be harmful to consumers when present in high levels.

Microbes and mycotoxins: Your oil should be free of mold, mildew, and other unsanitary, unsafe, disease-causing contaminants. Most states require these tests by law, especially in cannabis cultivation.

Testing hemp-derived CBD oil

Even though phytocannabinoids extracted from industrial hemp have been federally legal since the 2014 Farm Bill, there is still no comprehensive framework for testing CBD extracts derived from industrial hemp. The USDA specifically maintains some hemp-derived CBD testing regulations, but these are primarily focused on ensuring hemp CBD products remain below the 0.3% total THC limit placed by law.

Nevertheless, in the interest of product safety and customer satisfaction, it is crucial for oil manufacturers to test their products to the highest possible standards. In the face of regulatory uncertainties, consumers will want nothing more than clarity, certainty, and information they can trust. This is especially important when the product is more available to a wider audience, including children, which should call for more scrutiny before the product reaches the market.

A comprehensive third-party lab test can thoroughly measure the prevalence of the above elements in your product, producing a detailed report on product quality and certifying it as free of contaminants.

Testing CBD oil derived from marijuana

CBD oil extracted from marijuana in legal states is subject to the same product testing regulations as other state-regulated cannabis products, even if the product is not primarily for THC consumption. Regulations vary from state to state, as there are no universal federal standards for testing cannabis. Due to the regulations being tied more closely to recreational laws, there are typically more strict testing requirements for CBD that derives from marijuana.

How is CBD oil potency tested?

Whether derived from cannabis or hemp, CBD oil is commonly tested for potency via a method known as High-Performance Liquid Chromatography, or HPLC for short.

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HPLC is a process that utilizes intensive, high-tech ultraviolet light scanning, typically performed with a testing device known as a Diode Array Detector (DAD). The product’s overall phytocannabinoid profile will be thoroughly analyzed with the assistance of this technology. Depending on the lab you work with, results can take a few days.

Depending on state regulations, results are usually published in the form of both a digital and printed Certificate of Analysis (CoA). You can have this CoA printed or choose to have the digital CoA widely accessible to patients through a QR Code on the product’s labeling. In many cases, the CoA will be submitted to the state, which will then publish the results on its own website. In either instance, patients are sure to be pleased with your brand’s transparency and willingness to test for safety concerns.

Hemp-derived or marijuana-derived, CBD oil testing is a must

By investing in third-party lab testing as a CBD oil manufacturer, you are investing in your legitimacy and trustworthiness. Reinforcing your brand’s reputation as a trusted manufacturer while reinforcing patient safety positions you as a responsible leader in the Garden State’s expanding cannabis market. True Labs for Cannabis, based in East Hanover, is dedicated to ensuring New Jerseyans have access to verified, reliable, and safe legal cannabis. Contact True Labs for Cannabis to learn how our cannabis lab testing services can help your organization.

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