Understanding a COA

Understanding A COA

A COA, or Certificate of Analysis, is a verified document provided by a cannabis testing lab to its clients, with information about cannabis products, as required by California. A COA contains details about the testing lab performing the analysis as well as the samples, strains, and types of products tested. Although potency may be the primary focus for consumers when reviewing a COA, each analysis included is important to ensure a product’s safety for public consumption. COAs are essential as they provide the consumer information about the makeup of a product, while simultaneously helping to establish and support a standard for growers and manufacturers to follow.

Once a COA is complete, knowing how to read the results is important.

How do I read a COA?

A COA has standard elements – a header with identifying lab and sample information, a summary of results, a breakdown of elements tested, an indication that it passed (or failed) testing, and a footer.

The header includes information specific to the sample such as METRC details (if applicable), sample name/ID, strain, sample type, sample size, batch number, and the dates of production and collection/completion by the laboratory. Information specific to the client, such as cultivator and distributor information, is included in this section, as well.

The summary highlights key elements of the analysis in each report, including information on whether a batch passed or failed testing, if applicable. Subsequently, the document is presented in sections, each with a deeper analysis of the results included in the summary. Each category (pesticides, microbials..etc.) shows whether it passed or failed. Not all tests are required for all products, though. As an example, Residual Solvents is required for manufactured products and would not be included on a flower COA. Terpenes are an optional add-on, as well. In the footer you will find a statement by the lab attesting to its methods and verifying the results along with the lab’s licenses and accreditations.

Within this article, we share a sample COA for educational purposes only. Contact us today if you have any questions about how to read or understand your results.