In any rapidly growing industry, regulation tends to fall behind.
When it comes to the cannabinoid industry lab reports should be the very first thing you look for when considering a product. If a company does not have lab reports freely available in an obvious place, avoid them. It is simply not worth the risk and with a large choice of good brands out there, not worth your time.
Lab reports are incredibly important as they show you what is in the bottle/product you are buying; specifically, they should show you the concentration of cannabinoids in your product. Any brand can put a label on the side of a bottle but only a handful have the resources and facilities to analyse their products and create detailed lab reports about the contents.
Lab reports shows that a company takes the industry seriously, but more importantly they take you seriously as a discerning customer. A detailed lab report will break down the cannabinoid ingredients in a CBD product as well as the exact amount of that product. As the ‘oil’ in CBD oil can be a variety of oils and solutions, lab reports allow you to get down to the nitty gritty to see if a product is right for you.
Lab reports aren’t just great for consumers but for suppliers as well. Creating products with consistent levels of CBD allows brands and suppliers to build a reputation as a reliable brand. As CBD is very personal, finding the right dosing for you can take time – it is therefore critical that if you find a dose and product that works for you, the next bottle you order is exactly the same. Consistency is key and without lab analysis it is impossible to achieve that.
BUT, lab reports alone are not good enough. Simply uploading a scan of a report from an obscure laboratory is not good enough. Lab reports should be uploaded in high resolution so you can read them. They should be clear in their contents and if possible, provide a basic explanation of what you are looking at. Brands that upload confusing lab reports and make no effort to explain the results are to be trusted with caution.
Below we will go through example lab reports from some of the bigger brands in the UK explaining what we think is good and what we think is poor. Our view is that lab reports should contain all the necessary information displayed in such a way that people without a science/technical background can understand them. If these efforts have not been made, they why display lab reports for consumers in the first place?
Clarity: By clarity we don’t just mean the layout and general ‘readability’ of the report, but we also mean literal clarity. You will often find scanned or photocopied paper reports uploaded to websites. Many of these are sloppily done and, in some cases, so poor they can’t even be read. Reports are important – they should be crisp and clear.
Spelling: We’re sticklers for grammar and although this point may seem silly reports with multiple spelling mistakes just aren’t professional and betray a lack of attention to detail; and when it comes to lab reports, detail matters! If reports aren’t proof-read and checked for errors can we trust the quality of the analysis?
Methods: While getting into the technicalities of analytical methods is not necessary on a report, it is wise to know how the report was generated which means the method by which the product was analysed should be stated. Quality brands typically use some form of Gas Chromatography – Mass Spectrometry (GC-MS).
Product Details: The product name should be clearly displayed on the report so that you are certain the report is relevant to you. If you have bought a 1000mg MCT Oil the report should state this clearly, usually at the top.
Batch Numbers: If a report doesn’t contain a batch number you have no idea if this report is relevant to your product. The report COULD be for your particular product, but it may be a report for a previous or subsequent batch of products.
% Vs Mg: Most lab reports should be displayed using milligrams (mg) on their analysis readouts, usually as milligrams per millilitre (mg/ml) as this is scientific standard but may choose to also include percentages as well. What doesn’t work, is testing a product labelled in milligrams but having the reports only state percentages. This is confusing and as a consumer you should demand lab reports that you understand without needing a calculator.
Summary Explanation: Some brands set themselves apart by including a summary/introductory paragraph about how these results were produced. If all you are presented with is tables, numbers and raw data, it can be quite hard to understand what you are actually looking at. Summaries usually include where the test was performed along with the method used and other useful bits of information.
While we believe our products and practises to be world-class, other brands are also developing and learning just like us in this rapidly expanding industry. Having said that, we have included lab reports that we think are particularly poor. We have removed the names of the brands involved to avoid conflict and these reports below are used purely as examples of where some companies are going wrong.
2. ‘In-house method’ means nothing to people outside the ‘house’. Tell us the method!
3. Spelling mistakes – are they paying close attention to detail and checking their work?
One of the worst offenders and this one really speaks for itself. It cannot be read. Even if it could be read, would this mean anything to the standard consumer? This is raw read-out data from an analysis which may be fine for technicians and those familiar with this specific technique but what about everyone else?
It took us a full year of hard work and testing to establish Dr. Ed and one of the things we looked at closely was our product analysis and how to display results in a clear and concise way. We’ve learnt a lot from other brands who paved the way – what to do and what not to do when it comes to producing a clear report that anyone can understand.
This is an example of a basic report from our 3rd party testers and looks at the CBD and THC content of one of our specific products. This is one of many different tests we run on our products (note: you can find the information of our testing lab and more on our reports; this image has been cropped to focus in on the core information of this particular test).
1) Clear labelling of the product and batch number: Dr. Ed CALM 500mg.
2) A title telling you exactly what this report is looking at: The content of CBD and THC in the product.
3) A summary paragraph telling you HOW we generated these results explained in an easy to follow way.
4) We’ve found the best way to display our results is first, in mg/ml. Second, we directly compare what the LABEL says is in our product with what is ACTUALLY in our product based on the results of the test. Super simple and straightforward.
For regulatory bodies and consumers who are particularly interested, we can then supply raw data from our analyses quoting the CAS NO.
Lab reports are a form of proof – proof that what you have purchased is what you are getting. Cannabidiol and cannabis extracts are premium products; they are not cheap or easy to make thus they have high value. If you invest in a CBD purchase, make sure to check lab reports as a first port of call. If you are having issues reading a lab report or want more information about us, just use the chat box on our website!