How To Read CBD Third Party Lab Reports

The only way to truly know what’s in a CBD product is to read the third-party lab reports. These lab results will give you very important information. This includes how much CBD and other cannabinoids and terpenes are really in the product. They will also tell you if there are potentially harmful levels of toxins, including heavy metals, pesticides and residual solvents.

Since they provide such valuable product information, we recommend that you only buy CBD products from companies who make third-party lab reports readily available to you. All reputable CBD brands make them easily available either on their website or upon request.

Reading and interpreting the CBD third-party lab reports can often be a challenge even for experienced users. The purpose of this article is to explain the sections commonly found in third-party lab reports to help you understand the information in them.

Cannabinoid Profile & Potency Testing

This section of the lab report tells you which cannabinoids were detected in the product. You’ll see separate line items for each cannabinoid including THC, CBD, CBG, CBC and CBN. This section is important because it tells you exactly how much CBD and other cannabinoids are in the product. It’s also very useful if you are looking for products with specific cannabinoids. 

Here are a few observations from the Cannabinoid Profile & Potency testing page below to demonstrate how to interpret the results.

  • The following cannabinoids were detected in this product: THC, CBD, CBG, CBC and CBDA. This proves that this product is full spectrum since it contains an array of cannabinoids, including trace amounts of THC. If a CBD product shows undetectable levels of THC, then it is either broad spectrum or an isolate.
  • The “Max CBD” concentration is shown to be 45.11 mg/ml. This means that the product contains 45.11 milligrams of CBD per milliliter. You can multiply this number by the size of the bottle in milliliters to calculate the total number of milligrams of CBD in the product. In this case, this 5 milliliter bottle of CBD oil has a total CBD content of 226 milligrams (45.11 mg/ml x 5 ml). 
  • The “Max THC” weight % of 0.18%. This proves that this is a legal hemp-derived CBD oil since this percentage is less than 0.3%.

Cannabinoid Profile and Potency Section of Third Party Lab Reports

Terpenes Profile

Terpenes are the naturally-occurring oils that give cannabis its aromatic and flavor diversity. Each terpene has unique properties and can play an important role in the overall effectiveness of the product. All full spectrum and broad spectrum CBD products will contain terpenes. Isolate products do not contain terpenes since they only contain pure CBD.

The terpenes profile page of a third-party lab report tells you which terpenes were detected and at what levels. The amount of each terpene found in the sample is reported as the number of parts per million (ppm). The colored bars give you an indication of the relative levels of the different terpenes.

The Terpenes Profile testing page below shows a high level of the beta-caryophyllene terpene (396 ppm). It also shows material levels of other terpenes including alpha-humulene, alpha-bisabolol, linalool and guaiol.

Terpenes Profile

Testing for Heavy Metals, Pesticides, Residual Solvents and Other Contaminants

A complete set of third-party lab reports for CBD products will include results of testing for potentially dangerous toxins. These include:

  • Heavy metals such as arsenic, mercury and lead
  • Microbiological contaminants including bacteria and mold
  • Residual solvents such as propane, butane and hexane
  • Pesticides

Separate sections of the lab report show any detected levels of each substance. The lab result will generally give a “PASS” or “FAIL” status for each compound based on acceptable limits.

How Do I Know if the Third-Party Lab Reports are Legit?

Most major CBD brands use reputable testing labs like Proverde and Steephill for their third-party lab testing. The lab report pages posted on the CBD brand’s website will list the name and contact information for the laboratory that performed the testing. 

If you have any concerns about the legitimacy of third-party lab reports, you can contact the lab company directly to validate them.

Summary – How To Read Third Party Lab Reports

We recommend that you only buy CBD products from companies that make third-party lab reports easily available to you. They are really the only way to know that a product is safe and contains the advertised amount of CBD. Interpreting these lab reports can be a little overwhelming at first. But once you get the hang of it, you’ll be able get useful information that can help you decide on a product that is best for you.

Hopefully this article has helped you gain a better understanding of how to read CBD third-party lab reports. If you have any questions, please feel free to leave a comment below.
Brian Peterson

Brian Peterson has been a CBD consumer advocate and educator since 2015. He is the founder and managing editor of the CBDOilUsers.com website. He's also the lead administrator of the CBD Oil Users Group, the largest CBD group on Facebook. His passion is educating consumers so that they can make their own decisions when purchasing and using CBD products.

2 Comments
  1. This is an excellent article with a lot of useful information. A lot of new CBD buyers should read this article before making a purchase. Thank you!

  2. Very good info.

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