Introduction to COA (Certificate of Analysis)

Introduction to COA (Certificate of Analysis)

A COA is issued by a certified laboratory after testing a cannabis product. It includes various tests for cannabinoids, terpenes, contaminants, and other important factors. Reading a COA correctly ensures you are informed about what you are consuming or in our case selling. 

Key Sections of a COA   

A typical COA includes the following sections: 

  • Product Information 
  • Cannabinoid Profile 
  • Terpene Profile 
  • Contaminant Testing 
  • Microbial Testing 
  • Pesticide Testing 
  • Heavy Metal Testing 
  • Residual Solvent Testing 

Detailed Breakdown of COA Sections 

Product Information 

This section includes details about the product such as: 

  • Batch Number 
  • Sample ID 
  • Testing Date 
  • Product Type (flower, extract, edible, etc.) 

Cannabinoid Profile 

This is one of the most critical sections, showing the concentrations of various cannabinoids: 

  • THC (Delta-9 THC and THC-A): THC-A converts to THC when heated. Look for the total THC content. 
  • CBD (CBD and CBD-A): CBD-A converts to CBD when heated. Look for the total CBD content. 
  • Other Cannabinoids: Includes CBG, CBN, CBC, and others. 

Typically, concentrations are given in percentages (%) or milligrams per gram (mg/g). 

 Terpene Profile 

Terpenes contribute to the aroma, flavor, and therapeutic effects of cannabis. This section lists the types and concentrations of terpenes present, such as: 

  • Myrcene 
  • Limonene 
  • Pinene 
  • Linalool
  • Caryophyllene 

Contaminant Testing 

This ensures the product is free from harmful substances. Key tests include: 

Microbial Testing 

  • Bacteria: E. coli, Salmonella 
  • Mold and Yeast 

Pesticide Testing 

  • A list of tested pesticides and their concentrations, ensuring they are below permissible limits. 

Heavy Metal Testing 

  • Tests for metals like arsenic, lead, mercury, and cadmium. 

Residual Solvent Testing 

  • Ensures no harmful solvents used in extraction processes are present in the final product. 

 Common Terminology 

  • LOQ (Limit of Quantification): The smallest concentration that can be reliably measured. 
  • ND (Not Detected): The substance was not found at detectable levels.
  • PPM (Parts Per Million): A unit of measurement for contaminants. 
  • CFU/g (Colony Forming Units per Gram): A unit measuring microbial contamination. 


 Why COAs Matter 

  • Safety: Ensures the product is free from harmful contaminants. 
  • Potency: Verifies the cannabinoid and terpene content, ensuring consistency and efficacy. 
  • Compliance: Meets regulatory requirements for legal sale and consumption. 
  • Transparency: Builds trust with consumers by providing detailed product information. 

Understanding a COA is crucial for making informed decisions about cannabis products. By carefully reviewing each section of the COA, you can ensure the product's safety, potency, and overall quality. Always purchase products from reputable sources that provide transparent and comprehensive COAs. 


Example COA Breakdown 

Here's a simplified example to illustrate key points: 

 Product Information 

  • Product Name: Super Green Extract 
  • Batch Number: 12345 
  • Sample ID: SGE-12345-6789 
  • Date Tested: May 1, 2024 

Cannabinoid Profile 

  • THC-A: 20.0% 
  • THC: 1.0% 
  • CBD-A: 0.5% 
  • CBD: 0.1% 
  • Total THC: 21.0% (THC-A converts to THC when heated) 
  • Total CBD: 0.6% 

Terpene Profile  

  • Myrcene: 1.2% 
  • Limonene: 0.8% 
  • Caryophyllene: 0.5% 

Contaminant Testing 

  • Microbial: ND for E. coli and Salmonella 
  • Pesticides: Below LOQ for all tested pesticides 
  • Heavy Metals: Below LOQ for arsenic, lead, mercury, and cadmium 
  • Residual Solvents: ND for all tested solvents 

By understanding and interpreting these sections, you can confidently assess the quality and safety of majority of hemp and cannabis products. 

Back to blog