You might have noticed that a variety of CBD products, in many forms, are all the rage right now, with dozens of brands operating in the UK already. Some are totally legit – and that’s fantastic. But others are downright misleading. It’s imperative that, for the sake of consumer health and safety and confidence in purchasing, it’s critical that brands get CBD analysis from government-accredited labs. To help shed some light on the matter, this blog will look at what a government-accredited lab actually is, as well as why CBD products need to be tested. It will also explore a few reasons why this testing is crucial for both consumers and retailers. What Is A Government-Accredited Lab? Simply put, government-accredited CBD labs are laboratories that have: ISO accreditation for the lab as a whole.The correct ISO standards for testing for THC in hemp-derived products. They must meet ISO 17025 standards, equivalent to a regular police THC test. Analysis should come from these labs because they are the most likely to implement rigorous testing methods and validations. Independent government bodies check and approve the methods they use regularly, ensuring that they are applying the highest standards when testing. This provides consumers and regulators with reliable information they can use to make informed decisions about the brand. It is crucial that these labs are in operation so that accurate CBD content measurements are possible and consistent, resulting in a higher quality of products being made available to consumers. CBD companies must now use these labs to carry out the following analyses: ADME EvaluationFull Chemical AnalysisMicrobiological TestingStability TestingToxicological Evaluation Why Should CBD Products Be Lab Tested For CBD And THC Content? CBD, like many other plant-derived compounds, is highly sensitive to changes in light, heat and pressure. The moment that processors extract it from the raw plant, there is a risk that it will undergo chemical changes, altering its properties, causing it to degrade. CBD vendors try to implement processes to prevent this from happening. However, developing such systems is technically and logistically challenging. Brands need to develop methods to protect extracted CBD from source to consumer. However, it remains that not all are successful in achieving this. For this reason, independent CBD testing is essential. Labs use highly sophisticated equipment to determine whether a CBD product offers the same constituent compounds that they claim to contain on the label, giving manufacturers additional credence in the eyes of both consumers and regulators and ensuring a high-quality product. Lab testing is also critical for THC testing. THC is a controlled substance found in cannabis responsible for the plant’s psychoactive properties. UK law states that cannabis products may only contain THC “in trace amounts” – this is usually less than 0.1% per Gram (1mg THC per 1000mg). Anything more than that flouts the regulations. Generally, processing THC out of cannabis products is relatively easy, due to the way that most cannabis is grown. Growers breed hemp cultivars with naturally low levels of THC, reducing the need to process it out of the plant later on. However, levels may still rise after extraction above the permitted threshold, putting cannabis brands at risk of police investigation. Thus, going to an ISO 17025-accredited lab with the equipment to test and confirm THC levels is essential for gathering product safety evidence. Confusingly, not all government-accredited labs are THC-accredited. Government accreditation is a general stamp of approval that the lab implements procedures to test products to a high standard. By contrast, THC approval under ISO 170025 means that the lab achieves specific quality controls for measuring the level of THC in products. UK regulating agencies prefer brands to go to labs offering this higher and more precise level of service. Why Testing Is Critical For Consumers There are a number of key reasons why testing CBD products is critical for consumers. For one, THC is a highly psychoactive compound, able to generate mood-altering effects. It is a controversial substance that inspires mixed opinions with regards to its effects. For instance, some tout its ability to help with ailments such as pain, anxiety, and depression, whereas others report that it can actively lead to these things, as well as other issues such as psychosis. Until more research is able to reach consistent results and conclusions, CBD and THC need to be treated very differently. Therefore, it is critical that CBD products, which are marketed specifically for their CBD content, contain only trace amounts of THC so consumers can rest assured that they are buying products that do not contain any psychoactive properties. Aside from THC, testing allows consumers to identify whether the products they are buying contain the correct amount of other active ingredients they want. For instance, lab testing can confirm that CBD isolates contain 98 percent CBD and only two percent other cannabinoids. It can also confirm the concentration of other potentially active ingredients, such as cannabigerol (CBG) and cannabichromene (CBC), which may interest some consumers, as recent research is uncovering interesting information about these lesser known cannabinoids. Some labs allow brands to measure the terpene content of their full-spectrum products too, which some consumers are also keen to know. Why Testing Is Critical For Retailers Testing from government-accredited labs is also critical for retailers. Trading Standards of other authorities may demand that brands produce reliable lab testing to confirm the low THC content of their products, as well as that they contain the same levels of other ingredients as claimed on their labels. If brands choose to use an unaccredited lab, they may find that this harms their case and makes prosecution more likely. Furthermore, Trading Standards may dismiss CBD lab results with low-sensitivity analysis. For instance, companies may need to prove the THC content of their products down to an accuracy of 0.01 percent to pass regulatory standards; 0.05 percent might not be sufficient. In light of the above, it is crucial that CBD brands choose to get regular analysis from government-accredited labs in order to not only protect themselves legally, but also to provide accurate, trust-worthy, information to consumers interested in their brand and products. ISO 17025 labs offer the highest standards available globally and should be the first port of call.