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How do you read a COA/3rd Party Test?

COAs aren’t always easy to get your hands on before buying a product. You may need to reach out to the company to request it. 

However, once you receive your product, there should be a QR code on the label that you can scan and be taken to a web page with the product’s COA. Most iPhones can scan QR codes through the regular camera, just open the camera app and point it at the QR code (don’t take a picture, just hover over the QR code) and a notification should pop up with a web address. For Android or older iPhones, simply go to the app store and search for a “QR code scanner”. There are free options to download.

Typically, you’re going to see COAs that show the results in one of the following three ways: 

  • Milligrams (mg) of CBD in the full product 
  • Milligrams (mg) of CBD per gram (g) 
  • Milligrams (mg) of CBD per milliliter (ml) 

Note that we are using CBD as an example, but the same goes for all other cannabinoids in the COA. 

That first type of result means you don’t need to do any work or calculations, as it already shows you the total amounts of each cannabinoid in the product. However, for the others, you will need to know one thing about the product in order to make your calculations. 

Before explaining those two test result formats, we should refresh our memory on units of measurements. A milliliter (ml) is a measurement of volume. So even though most liquid CBD products will show the size in ounces (oz), you can convert that. 1oz will always equal 30ml. However, grams (g) is a weight. Two 30ml tinctures will not weigh the same in grams, as the weight is affected by each ingredient in the product’s unique formulation.

how to read a coaMG per G 

If the results show the amount of cannabinoids per gram, then you need to know the total weight of the product in grams. The weight does not include the packaging, just the product itself. Most products do not show their weight in grams on the label, so you may need to ask or check if the COA contains that information. 

For example, a product weighing 50 grams with an advertised 600 mg of CBD should have 24mg of CBD per gram. 

MG per ML 

If the results show the amount of cannabinoids per milliliter, then it’s a little easier. However, this type of measurement only (easily) works for liquids. Simply take the total milliliters of the product and multiply it by the amount of CBD per milliliter. 

Liquid tinctures will always tell you their size, such as 1oz (30ml) or 2oz (60ml). 

So, for example, a 1oz (30ml) tincture with an advertised 300mg CBD should contain 10mg of CBD per milliliter.