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Why Is Third-Party Lab Testing Important?

The CBD product market is largely unregulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). This has left room for untrustworthy CBD brands to deliberately market and sell mislabeled products with questionable ingredients, purity, and quality.

Even the most informed consumers find themselves at risk of buying products contaminated with toxic metals, pesticides, and synthetic cannabinoids. This is where third-party lab testing comes in. In this article, we discuss what third-party lab testing is and why it is important for patients and consumers.

What Is CBD Third-Party Lab Testing?

Third-party lab testing refers to testing performed by an independent and accredited third-party laboratory to verify the safety, purity, and potency of a CBD product. Sure, most CBD product manufacturers have their in-house quality control processes. However, third-party product testing is critical as it provides honest and unbiased analysis of a product from an outside source.

With the lack of regulation in the CBD market, consumers need a reliable way to validate the effectiveness and safety of their products. During third-party lab testing, a product is rigorously reviewed from the manufacturing process to the end product to ensure it meets quality and safety standards. With a third-party certificate of analysis (COA), you can compare what is indicated on the product labeling vs. the product’s actual ingredients.

How Do Third-Party Lab Tests Work?

It’s important to note that third-party lab testing is not mandatory. However, trustworthy and committed CBD brands send a sample of their products, for instance, CBD capsules, to an independent laboratory. The lab performs rigorous tests on the product and provides a detailed analysis of its chemical composition, quality, and safety.

Experts suggest that third-party lab testing directly increases customers’ trust in a manufacturer and their probability of purchase. That’s primarily because an independent company is less likely to provide false information in its lab reports.

In fact, research shows that companies whose products are certified by an independent third-party laboratory are highly regarded and trusted in the industry. By contrast, a company’s in-house testing may not always be accurate, provoking uncertainty about the credibility and legitimacy of its lab results.

What Do Third-Party Lab Tests Screen for in A Product?

Third-party lab testing is vital as it ensures manufacturers and vendors comply with the industry rules and regulations. For instance, third-party certified supplements should not contain more than 0.3% THC, per federal law.

Most independent laboratories go beyond validating the efficacy of a product to test for contaminants such as pesticides and heavy metals.

Here is the six main analysis conducted in third-party testing:

  • Cannabinoid testing: Cannabis sativa plants naturally produce numerous cannabinoids that offer unique effects. Third-party lab tests determine the cannabinoid(s) in the product and their quantity, allowing you to confirm whether what’s listed on the product label is accurate.
  • Terpene testing: Terpenes are naturally occurring compounds in cannabis responsible for the plant’s aroma. Terpenes work in synergy with cannabinoids to produce more potent benefits. Third-party lab tests confirm the terpene quantity in full-spectrum and broad-spectrum CBD products.
  • Pesticide testing: An independent laboratory test for the presence of harmful residual pesticides used in growing hemp. The presence of high quantities of residual pesticides in a CBD product can harm consumers’ health.
  • Heavy metal testing: Products may contain harmful heavy metals such as mercury, lead, cadmium, and arsenic. Heavy metals are a common pollutant in the soil where hemp grows and can be absorbed by the plants via the roots. Rigorous testing can detect the presence of these contaminants in a product.
  • Organic solvents: Organic solvents such as butane, propane, and hexane are commonly used in CBD extraction. These solvents can especially be harmful to health if consumed in high amounts. However, manufacturers are moving from solvent extraction to safer methods such as supercritical CO2 extraction. Nonetheless, third-party lab tests do check for the presence of organic solvents to ensure the products are safe.

Why Is Third-Party Lab Testing Important?

Unethical CBD brands take advantage of the lack of regulation in the CDB industry to make false advertisements and unsubstantiated medical claims. Third-party lab tests provide unbiased and reliable analysis of each product. This ensures that CBD manufacturers produce the highest quality products that meet industry standards. Here are other benefits of the 3rd party lab testing:

Verifies the amount of CBD

Third-party lab tests ensure that the CBD content advertised on the product labeling is accurate. This is important as it allows consumers to know exactly what amount of CBD offers their desired effects without causing side effects.

Verifies all cannabinoids in the product

Third-party lab tests provide detailed information about the cannabinoid profile of your full spectrum CBD product. It verifies the type and amount of cannabinoids such as CBG, CBN, THC, CBDA, and more.  

Ensures product quality

The core purpose of third-party lab tests is to ensure the quality and effectiveness of CBD products by detecting any defects or inaccuracies before the product is availed for sale on the market.

Confirms absence of contaminants

Third-party lab tests rigorously screen CBD products to confirm the absence of harmful contaminants such as heavy metals, residual solvents, and pesticides.  

Builds customer trust and loyalty

Most business’s goal is to build customer trust and loyalty. Third-party lab tests provide unbiased information about the quality and safety of a product, helping build trust between customers and manufacturers.

Michael Levin is a CBD enthusiast, a researcher, writer and editor in the cannabis space, experienced CBD user and educator. He believes CBD can help improve our overall health and wellbeing.

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