How to Read CBD Lab Results

We all know that we should I only buy lab tested CBD oil, but being able to read the results is another story. If you’re anything like me, you look for the percentage of CBD, THC, and call it a day. That’s all I used to care about. I just assumed that if it was organic, I didn’t have to worry about pesticides or any of that stuff.

Well, organic is just a 7-letter word. Any company can type it in their product listing, but it doesn’t mean that it meets any kind of international standard. I’ve seen people sell products as organic that were not tested or certified by any company or agency. It does happen, and we, the consumers, have to be smart enough to decipher fact from fiction. Learning to read lab results is a good place to start.

What to Look For

what to look forBesides the strength of the batch, I didn’t know what else to look for. That’s why I wrote this article. I wanted to help people who were in my same situation; looking for a reliable CBD supplier but not knowing how to vet them properly. Let’s cover the obvious first, which is the cannabinoid content.

Strength and Cannabinoid Profile

The main things I look for with the cannabinoids is the CBD content and the presence of other cannabinoids. The CBD is usually listed as a percent or in mg/g. I like seeing the percentage, because I always end up calculating it myself if it’s not listed.

The higher the percentage of CBD, the stronger the oil. This is also referred to as, potency. The more potent your CBD, the less of it you have to take. Each serving will contain more CBD than an equal size serving of a less potent batch.

I prefer to buy strong CBD oil. In my personal opinion, I feel like my body absorbs it better. I know my capillaries can only absorb so much fluid, so it only makes sense to concentrate that fluid as much as possible. Whatever is not absorbed will have to venture off into the digestive tract, essentially giving you a second serving about 45 minutes later. I think this is one of the reasons that sublingually administered CBD has the longest lasting effects.


Next up is THC. I look at the THC levels to make sure it’s not high enough to have a psychoactive effect. If you’re looking for a job, then you’ll want to get a product like CBD isolate with zero THC. If the drug test is set to the industry standard of 20 ng/mL you should be fine. But if it’s set to detect any level of THC, you’ll need to use a zero THC product.


THC and CBD are the most well known and abundant cannabinoids, but there are a lot more lesser-known cannabinoids. These little cannabinoids will be found at very small levels, but they still can have a beneficial effect. Combined with CBD, the other cannabinoids help to enhance the anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, and anti-psychotic effects of the cannabis plant.

When you see these other phytocannabinoids on a lab result, it’s a good thing.

microbiological recommendation

Microbiological, Pesticides, & Heavy Metals

This section of the test results is geared towards discovering if the batch has any substance in it that is hazardous for human health. I’m going to be honest, this section is a bit tough to read. There can be some tricky information disguised within the results.

What you’re really looking for here is the presence of bacteria, pesticides, mold, or any other contaminant. The batch will probably contain trace levels, but you want to make sure it doesn’t exceed the recommended levels set by the Department of Public Health.

That’s the tricky part. When you read the superscripts, you’ll notice that some tests use arbitrary limits set by themselves. I kit you not, I’ve seen it with my own two eyes. I’m not sure what the point of that is. It seems like pure trickery.

The only way I could see it being good intentioned is if they set their standard lower than the national standard. By lower I mean, allowing less contaminants than the nationally recommended levels. The standard varies from industry to industry, and it’s one of the most confusing things in the world. Since CBD specifically is not regulated, it would fall under the dietary supplement regulations.

To the best of my understanding, the total aerobic bacteria should be less than 10,000 CFU/g. Since CBD goes through the supercritical CO2 extraction process, I’m guessing it falls into the bottom category of the chart above. I could be wrong, and feel free to correct me in the comments if I’m mistaken.

CFU is short for colony forming unit, and it’s simply a unit of measurement for bacteria. The reason that the limit is not zero is because bacteria occurs naturally in soil. You would have to process the crap out of something to get it down to zero, which would also probably kill the nutrients you were seeking.

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