Our mission at Adio is to share our passion for CBD with the world and lead the UK market in establishing high levels of best practice to set the benchmark for quality production techniques.
Those criteria we apply to every batch of CBD include:
- 100% Organic Certified. Every plant we source is grown in environmentally sustainable greenhouses, by our licensed and accredited grower in Switzerland.
- Third-party Lab Tested. Adio uses independent lab testing to verify the concentration and quality of all our CBD to have absolute confidence in our consistency.
- We only use advanced CO2 extraction techniques to ensure our CBD is of a refined standard, without any use of chemicals, additives or processes that could impact the quality of our CBD oils.
Lab testing is one of those three fundamentals, and yet is a step we see so often overlooked, even by big name brands and retailers.
For Adio, our commitment to quality remains steadfast, and we will never compromise on the highest standards we set, even if that means not competing on unviable low prices points – that we know indicate the processes and methods behind them.
We wanted to explain how independent CBD lab testing works, why we use it, and how it matters in making sure you, as the consumer, only ever buy CBD that will live up to the promises a supplier will make.
The UK CBD Market – A Contest Between Quality and Quantity
While most independent retailers, such as ourselves, will have spent years establishing reliable supply chains, and personally vetting their growers, the explosion of CBD as a therapeutic market has created a gold rush.
The British CBD market is estimated to be worth around £300 million. It is predicted to triple in the next five years, according to a Savills UK report published in February 2020.
What does that mean for people new to trying CBD, or looking online for the best product?
- Vast numbers of sellers on global marketplaces – often selling CBD that is untested, unlicensed or may not contain CBD at all. Sellers from overseas are likely to be shipping CBD that does not conform to UK or EU standards and may be illegal.
- Low price points, which make authentic CBD seem expensive. The reality is that a very low price, discounted CBD product is very unlikely to contain the concentration it claims, and will usually have no lab testing to back up the labelling.
- Unethical sales of non-CBD products. Another phenomenon is a tactic used by sellers to imply – or even explicitly state – that their product contains CBD. In fact, the Adio quality control team has tested thousands of products that prove to be solely hemp seed oil, or another type of oil, with zero CBD.
Shop Our 100% Organic CBD Oils
We only use CBD extracted from 100% Certified Organic Hemp.
Explore the exceptional power of Mother Nature, with our unique CBD tinctures crafted from only the highest-quality organic ingredients.
How to Spot a Fake CBD Product
It is essential only ever to purchase CBD from an accredited seller, and there are a few things that will help you spot a fake:
- If your CBD product claims to cure cancer or makes any other such medical claim, it isn’t genuine. Adio is registered with the Cannabis Trades Association and abides by legislative rules which mean no CBD product can make medical claims anywhere on the packaging.
- It has no ingredients list. Every CBD product must have a complete ingredients list – ours doesn’t take much time to print, since every tincture contains only CBD and our hemp seed oil carrier! A bottle with no ingredients? Don’t risk it.
- The price is too good to be true. Particularly in vape liquids, a ridiculously cheap CBD product is not going to do you any good. It probably contains zero CBD or so little that it’s not worth the shipping price.
- A product is advertised as 100% CBD. Don’t buy into it – we make CBD oils in 5%, 15% and 30% concentrations. CBD can be as high as 60% concentrate in any form, until it turns solid, so you can only buy very high concentrations as a paste.
Now we know what a product should say, and what it shouldn’t, let’s dive into lab testing!
Most of us won’t immediately know how to interpret a lab test, or even to check if there is one available.
But, if you’re serious about the quality and authenticity of your CBD, it pays to educate yourself and get to grips with the value of lab testing, so you always know what you’re buying.
Understanding CBD Lab Test Labels
Of course, if you have a trusted supplier and don’t have any desire to understand the lab test results, you’re set!
However, it can be useful to be able to compare products, know what dosage and concentration you’re taking, and analyse the quality of your CBD product.
We believe that, as a user, you have the right to know exactly what it is you’re investing your money in. With such disparity in quality standards throughout the market, it’s also advisable to be sure you aren’t taking something unsafe.
- What is a CBD lab test actually testing for?
They analyse either the finished product, a carrier with a CBD compound, or the pure extract before it is infused with the oil.
Extract lab tests are more accurate rather than testing the finished product. However, a pure CBD, such as ours, only contains one carrier ingredient (hemp seed oil) which ensures that final product tests remain accurate since there are no additional ingredients that might mask trace compounds.
- What data does a CBD lab test show?
Tests show cannabinoids present – CBD and THC are the most vital. THC is illegal in the UK in plants with a concentration of above 0.2%.
Reports show those concentrations as milligrams per unit: ‘mg/ml’. On the bottle, that concentration can be shown as a percentage or as mg/ml.
Lab tests also analyse terpenes (the natural aromatic oils present in many plants, flowers, and herbs).
- Are there different types of CBD lab tests?
Indeed there are. In-house testing means that the manufacturer has its own lab and tests its own products and ingredients. The quality of such facilities is hugely diverse – if you purchase a product tested in-house, it should ideally be a medical-grade lab and accredited by the relevant authorities.
Third-party testing is our preferred option since it has the assurance of a professional, clinical product analysis from an independent expert. Not only does this back up our concentration levels and product strengths, but it also helps Adio manage our 100% quality control benchmark.
The CBD industry is not currently regulated, so this difference is critical. Third-party lab tests are the only safeguard to help users make sure they purchase authentic products.
Adio commissions testing from ISO 17025 certified labs, to allow us the assurance that all tests are conducted to the highest of technical standards.
What Does a CBD Lab Report Look Like?
Usually, these are laid out in a table. The report should show the date of the test, the batch number or test identifier code, the date of the product manufacture, and the expiry date on the product.
Figures are shown in a list, with each compound tested for often named by its initials. If there is a specified concentration expected to be found in the product, this will be shown, along with the test result.
Finally, the report should indicate the testing method used – this can be helpful to know if you’re looking at two CBD products that don’t look directly comparable!
Here are some of the commonly used terms on a CBD test report:
- LOQ (mg) stands for Limit of Quantification – i.e. the minimum volume that has to be present to be identified.
- The result in mg is the volume found. This might also be shown as a percentage, with the volume as a percentage of the weight of the product.
- Terpenes are shown as PPM – this stands for parts per million.
- Any CBD retailer using CO2 extraction, as we do, should provide access to lab reports that confirm there are zero solvents present.
What Documents or Certifications Does Lab Tested CBD Have?
One of the most significant challenges with CBD lab testing is that there aren’t universal standards yet.
As we’ve explained, the industry is not currently regulated; so even two suppliers with similar quality standards might have different tests run by different labs that are hard for the user to compare.
In a nutshell, CBD lab tests should always state the concentration of CBD, and whether any THC has been found. If it has, this must be below the legal maximum threshold.
Terpenes are usually tested for, but don’t have to be – so you might see these identified on one report and not another. That doesn’t mean there are no terpenes present, but that they haven’t been included in the analysis.
Commercial lab testing uses a document called a Certificate of Analysis (COA). This document is particularly crucial in an unregulated market, as it demonstrates that professional tests have been carried out to identify the product composition and any other criteria specified by the manufacturer paying for the tests.
Often, this is sample testing, rather than individual testing of each product. A lab will select a random sample, usually of products produced with the same batch code, and test those samples to arrive at their qualitative testing reports.
- Not buying a product that has no certification, or where no certificate is provided on request from the retailer.
- Checking lab certifications if you are buying from a seller for the first time, to make sure the data matches with the product labelling.
In any cannabis-derived products, lab testing is critical. Hemp plants are a bio-accumulator and absorb minerals and heavy metals from the earth around them.
Therefore, an Organic Certified CBD is crucial, since pesticides and metals present in the soil can lead to hemp products that aren’t only not as concentrated as they claim to be, but can be harmful to health.
Knowing what a lab test says, and matching it with the product packaging, is a reliable way to authenticate the quality of the product you are buying.
If no lab tests are available? Don’t take the risk.