How To Read A Potency (Cannabinoid) Certificate Of Analysis
Understanding your Certificate of analysis
Reading a Certificate of Analysis can seem daunting at first glance. It’s an information overload filled with numbers, characters, and abbreviations. What does it all mean? First, we have to know what we’re looking at. There are several different analyses that can be performed on hemp and hemp derived products.
A Cannabinoid analysis (can also be called a potency test)…analyzes..Cannabinoids…So what does that mean? What are Cannabinoids? Cannabinoids are naturally occurring compounds contained within the Cannabis plant. These compounds are responsible for the effects you feel when you ingest the flower or cannabis containing product. CBD (Cannabidiol) and THC (Delta 9-THC to be exact) are two of the more commonly discussed and sought after Cannabinoids, and these are called “Major Cannabinoids”. But there are dozens of others, sometimes called “Minor Cannabinoids”. These include CBG, CBC, CBN, CBT, Delta 8-THC, and THCV, among others. There is much research yet to be done on the potential health benefits of each of the Minor Cannabinoids.
Dealing with Hemp, it is important to understand a Cannabinoid test for a variety of reasons. First, you want to make sure the product you are receiving is compliant with federal (and local) guidelines. For most states, this means the product must contain less than 0.3% Delta 9-THC by weight. Other forms of THC are not considered for purposes of legality in most places, but check your local guidelines if you want to be sure. Next, you want to see the levels of the other Cannabinoids, including CBD and the minor Cannabinoids. Certain strains that are higher in specific minor Cannabinoids (CBC or CBG for example) may work better for you, but you will only find this out if you know what is in the product you are consuming.
Understanding your Terpene Test
Next up we have the Terpene Analysis. Aside from Cannabinoids, the Cannabis plant also contains Terpenes, which are compounds that give Cannabis its smell and flavor, but also have a host of their own therapeutic benefits.
Terpenes also occur naturally in nature. Pretty much any plant that is growing has terpenes in it. Herbs, spices, fruits, and vegetables all contain these important compounds. In recent years, some companies have begun extracting these compounds for use in aroma therapy and essential oils. There are some people out there who have experienced tremendous relief with the use of Terpenes alone.
Terpenes work synergystically with Cannabinoids to enhance effectiveness and perhaps increase relief. Some common Terpenes found in Hemp can be seen below.
How To Read A Terpene Analysis
Has an odor that is variously described as an aroma of hops, clove like, earthy, green-vegatative, citrus, fruity with tropical, mango and minty nuances. β-Myrcene is the most prevalent terpene found in most varieties of Hemp. Myrcene has antimicrobial, antiseptic, analgesic, antioxidant, anticarcinogen (It blocks the actions of cytochrome, aflatoxin B and other pro-mutagens that are implicated in carcinogenesis.) and anti-inflammatory properties. It has shown some promise when used as an antidepressant, or as an additive to other antidepressant drugs and is also used in massage therapy as a muscle relaxer.
Has a mild, delicate odor that is floral, apple, rose, green and citrus-like with woody, waxy nuances. It can be found in ginger, niaouli and citronella. It is present as a low-level component in orange and other citrus peels. It is used as a flavor and fragrance agent. Its flavor has been described as green, floral and woody with fruity-citrus and melon nuances. It has antifungal, antileishmaniasis and antimalarial properties. It is also known to produce a sedative effect.
Is found in high amounts in cannabis resin as well as tropical fruit rinds and many other fruits and flowers. Limonene is a potent antibacterial, antifungal and anticancer agent. Limonene has been used clinically to dissolve gallstones, improve mood and relieve heartburn and gastrointestinal reflux. Limonene has been shown to destroy breast-cancer cells in lab experiments, and its powerful antimicrobial action can kill pathogenic bacteria. Limonene sprays are also used to treat depression.
Has a very faint aroma that is sweet, soft, dry and cedarwoody. Studies have shown cedrol to show deeply sedative effects when inhaled. Cedrol is a major component of cedarwood oil. It is found in the essential oil of conifers, especially in cypress and juniper. It has also been identified in Origanum onites, a plant related to oregano.
Has a sweet, woody and dry clove odor and has a peppery flavor with camphor and astringent citrus backgrounds. It is a major terpene found in black pepper, clove and cotton. Caryophylene contributes to black pepper's spiciness. Caryophyllene, given in high amounts, is a calcium and potassium ion channel blocker. As a result, it impedes the pressure exerted by heart muscles. As a topical it is analgesic and is one of the active constituents that makes clove oil, a preferred treatment for toothache. It shows great promise in a salve or lotion as a therapeutic compound for inflammatory conditions and autoimmune disorders because of its ability to bind directly to the peripheral cannabinoid receptor CB2.
Has an aroma that has been described as bitter, medium woody, and hoppy. α-Humulene has shown anti-inflammatory properties. Humulene is one of the essential oils made in the flowering cone of the hops plant Humulus lupulus. The concentration of humulene varies among different varieties of the plant, but can be up to 40% of the essential oil of noble hops.
Has a floral scent reminiscent of spring flowers such as lily of the valley, but with spicy overtones. It is a terpenoid prominent in lavender. Humans can detect its odor at rates as low as one part per million in the air. In tests on humans who inhaled it, it caused severe sedation. In tests on lab rats it reduced their activity by almost 75%. In addition to being a compound that counters anxiety and mediates stress, linalool is a strong anticonvulsant, and it also amplifies serotonin-receptor transmission, conferring an antidepressant effect.
Is the familiar odor associated with pine trees and their resins. It is found in many other plant essential oils in noticeable amounts including rosemary, sage, eucalyptus and many others. Pinene is used medically as an expectorant, and topical antiseptic. It also increases focus, memory, self satisfaction and energy. α-Pinene has inhibited acetylcholinesterase suggesting utility in the clinical treatment of Alzheimer’s disease.