LAS VEGAS – As cannabinoids become more mainstream and the hemp and cannabis industries evolve, it should be commonplace for consumers to find high-quality options based on their product labels. Consumers relying on the information in a product COA (Certificate of Analysis) is standard when it comes to shopping for CBD and other cannabinoids. However, a lack of transparency from both CBD brands and some third-party laboratories threatens that goal.
Discrepancies, sometimes exceeding 30-50% in cannabinoid content, between results reported on brand COAs and independent laboratory tests are becoming more common. Particularly when it comes to cannabinoids derived from conversions like delta-8 THC. Third-party laboratories are reporting different (usually lower) concentrations of cannabinoids compared to label claims. For consumers looking to avoid traditional THC (delta-9) or other substances, this can be a serious concern; severe enough that consequences could extend from health issues, legal penalties or even loss of employment.
This issue is heightened by third party laboratories that do not recognize or address deficiencies in their testing procedures or results, yet choose to publish them anyway. While some laboratories may see a competitive advantage in delivering lab results that support a hemp brand or company, industry-progress is being jeopardized and consumers are put at risk.
The question then arises whether some laboratories are purposefully not recognizing discrepancies in COA’s, possibly for the sake of revenues, or if they lack the expertise in specialized analytical testing. Either way, a lack in transparency and disclosure creates risk for consumers and the industry.
Real Tested CBD, an unbiased platform bringing transparency to CBD consumers, is joining forces with Your CBD Store | SUNMED™, a major brick and mortar CBD franchise, and KCA Labs, an advanced independent testing facility, to encourage accuracy and standardization in hemp product disclosures on a national scale.
“If we don’t have reliable testing, we put the industry and consumers at risk,” says Steve Townsend, General Manger at Real Tested CBD. “And if we don’t impose our own standards, then we can’t blame government when it imposes greater regulation.”
Specific reforms called for by Real Tested CBD, KCA Labs, and Your CBD Store | SUNMED for labs and hemp brands include:
1. Develop, Validate, and Use Fit-for-Purpose Testing Methods. These methods would be based on the cannabinoids and matrix (product) types analyzed.
2. Be Willing to Challenge Inadequate Methods. Processes that are inaccurate or not adequately validated for matrix or sample type must adapt to the changing testing requirements introduced by a changing industry.
3. Strive to Achieve Baseline Resolution. The industry must evolve to accurately identify and quantify substances without interference and coelution with other substances. Extracted, isolated, and converted cannabinoids and the methods by which they’re obtained are complex processes. A single test approach using methods designed for plant materials is outdated and detrimental to progress in the industry. High concentration cannabinoids and formulations thereof should look to the adjacent nutraceutical and pharmaceutical industries for guidance. The exceptional selectivity afforded by using mass spectrometry should not be overlooked. Furthermore, the use of internal standards to improve accuracy and precision should become standard practices for the determination of cannabinoids.
(This information is primarily sourced from Real Tested CBD; KCA Labs; Your CBD Store. Highly Capitalized has neither approved nor disapproved the contents of this news release. Read our Disclaimer here).