COA: what is it and why is it important?
Welcome to my first blog from Cannabytics. Each month I will write a blog about my experiences and views on the cannabis industry, based on my 9 years of experience testing cannabis products. For my first blog, I want to talk about an important document that every cannabis user should know: Certificate of Analyses (COA).
What is a COA from Cannabytics?
In my first blog, I’m going to explain how to read a Certificate Of Analyses (COA) from Cannabytics. At first glance, it looks like a rather complicated document, but with a little know-how, it is easy to read. The advantage is that it gives you a lot of information about your purchase.
For a store, there are many benefits to testing their products:
- Safety (mold, excess pesticides, safe dosage)
- Species identification (approximate).
- Better advice for their customers (U)
All the weed and hash you buy at Greenhouse has already been tested. You can see that on the label. The label contains a unique batch number and a QR code. QR codes can be scanned by any smartphone with an Internet connection.
The QR code gives you, the customer, the full overview of the product you bought – Photos (standard and microscope), effects, gentetics and the analysis report. Cannabytics was the first cannabis laboratory to use this method in2014. (Every other laboratory you see using this method has copied it from Cannabytics.)
So let’s look at the COA in more detail: the top section (shown above) contains a photo of the sample of the specific type of hash or weed you bought, the name of the store where you bought the strain, unique QR code and batch number.
The Cannabinoids section, as seen above, contains both a detailed breakdown of the main cannabinoid contents and a quick overview of a pie chart to see the proportions of cannabinoids.
In a future blog, we will delve deeper into the specifics of cannabinoids and what they do, but for now, it’s enough to know that THC (and its delta variants) is the only cannabinoid with psychoactive effects (what gets you high).
THC and CBD
You will notice that in a cannabis report, the lion’s share of cannabinoids go to
THC(a) goes, which doesn’t get you high. But don’t worry, around 160°C most of the THC(a) turns into THC, so if you smoke it, you will feel the psychoactive effects.
CBD is a calming cannabinoid. It is not psychoactive, but has tremendous medicinal benefits. It also reduces the psychoactive effect of THC.
THC-V is a handy cannabinoid to know, when you (like me) are struggling with the munchies. THC-V is, among other things, an appetite suppressant. So if you are prone to nighttime refrigerator attacks and want to avoid that, choose a cannabis with a high THC-V content (usually sativas but specifically Hazes contain large amounts of THC-V.
CBN is a natural constituent of the plant, but is also degraded THC. Over time and when exposed to heat and/or sunlight, THC will slowly turn into CBN. CBN is a powerful sedative (5mg of CBN has the same effect as 10mg of Diazepam) CBG, CBC and CBL are all non-psychoactive, but have their own effects and medicinal benefits.
Terpenes give cannabis its smell and taste. They are also responsible for many of the
effects that we love about this plant. Terpenes are found not only in cannabis, but also in other plants, such as fruits and even insects. In the table above, you can see the type of terpene and to its left, in smaller letters, the main effects of that terpene.
Each cannabis strain has its own terpene profile that gives it its identity. In a future blog, we will delve deeper into the specific effects and flavors of terpenes. But in the meantime, try to identify the terpenes that work for you in the cannabis you use.
Then you might find other strains that you might want to try, by seeing if they have those terpenes that do it for you.
Contamination in marijuana.
The Contamination section, as seen above, is a snapshot of anything not naturally occurring in the plant. Also naturally occurring woes such as mold, rot and fungi(Mycotoxins). As with everything we consume today, the manufacturing process includes many man-made processes designed to improve the final product.
Occasionally, however, these man-made processes cause an excess of
contaminants that may be harmful. We’ll get into the details of contaminants in a future blog from Cannabytics, but for now,make sure everything under the ‘Status’ column is PASS, and you’ll be safe.
It is worth noting that even the fruits and vegetables you buy in the supermarket contain many of these contaminants (including pesticides) and in much higher concentrations than you normally find in cannabis products. The last part of a COA is the conclusion:
This is just a brief summary and shows that it is within safety standards or could be harmful for consumption. However, The Greenhouse removes all batches of cannabis that do not meet the required standard so that it is never consumed by anyone.
As you can see, a COA from Cannabytics contains a wealth of information. Scanning the QR code on the report or label gives you access to even more relevant info. Get used to scanning the codes and familiarize yourself with species and their characteristics – this will only enhance your future experience.