HHC Lab-Testing & COA's 101
Testing and Certificate of Analysis for HHC
When buying any hemp or cannabis products, safety is always a priority. One of the advantages of legalized products is that there are standards in place to assure that products meet certain safety standards. One of the most important standards to look for is the Certificate of Analysis or COA. let's look at what kind of testing is involved for HHC and what is required for a COA.
HHC: Safety and Purity Concerns
With cannabis popularity soaring and many states legalizing it, many new cannabinoids have entered the marketplace. One of these is hexahydrocannabinol, better known as HHC. HHC is a substance that's found naturally in hemp, though in trace amounts. quantities. HHC is usually formed in the laboratory by using a process called hydrogenation, in which THC is saturated with hydrogen atoms. THC, of course, is the cannabinoid known for its psychoactive properties.
HHC has effects that are comparable to THC, which include euphoria, relaxation, pain relief, and sensory distortion. It is generally considered milder than THC, with a more relaxing than stimulating effect. Like other cannabis products, some users report side effects from HHC, which include dizziness, dry mouth, anxiety, rapid heart rate, insomnia, and increased appetite.
HHC is still fairly new and more research needs to be conducted to understand its effects. However, it is generally safe for most users. At the same time, there are certain safety concerns that have to do with the manufacturing process. For example, heavy metals are often used when producing HHC. Certified labs removed these before the process is complete. However, if you buy HHC from an unreliable source, it may still contain heavy metals or other toxins. That's why it's important to look for a COA when researching HHC products.
What is a COA?
A Certificate of Analysis is a document issued by an independent laboratory that states the levels of contamination present in any batch of hemp-based products. Simply having a COA doesn't ensure the safety of a product. It's comparable to having a building inspection conducted before purchasing a property. The inspection report may be favorable or not. Similarly, with a COA, you need to understand how to read and interpret the document. With this in mind, let's review the different components of a COA.
- Header —This section states the name of the laboratory, the name of the company that ordered the test, the date of the test, and the batch number that identifies the product in question. You can verify that it's a legitimate laboratory and that the batch number matches the product you're researching. There may also be a QR code at the top that can be scanned.
- Pass/Fail —You will see "Pass" or "Fail" stamped near the top of the page. There are also pass/fail ratings for sections of the report such as heavy metals.
- Summary — A list of all the elements tested for.
- Concentration of Cannabinoids — A breakdown of the cannabinoids present in the product. Most products will contain multiple cannabinoids, though many will be in extremely small traces. ND means that the cannabinoid was non-detectable.
- Terpene Profile —Terpenes are the aromatic oils found naturally in cannabis plants. They are usually listed in terms of PPM (parts per million). The terpene profile doesn't impact the purity but is of interest to customers who are seeking certain terpenes.
- Heavy Metals —Reveals the presence and quantity of metals such as arsenic, lead, mercury, or cadmium. This section will also show residual solvents used to produce extracts. This may include solvents such as butane and methanol. Levels should be at acceptable limits or ND. You definitely want to see that this section is rated "pass."
- Pesticides —Another undesirable element that may be found in cannabis products are pesticides. These are especially likely to appear with imported products. Be sure to check that there is a "pass" rating for pesticides.
- Microbials — Microbes are present in all plants, and most are harmless. However, you want to be sure that products are free of harmful microbes such as salmonella and mold.
Acronyms Found in COA Reports
In addition to ND (Non-Detectable), you may see the following acronyms.
- MDL —Method Detection Limit, the minimum concentration of a substance that can be verified with at least 99% confidence.
- PQL –Practical Quantitation Limit, the minimum level that the test can distinguish between two values.
- RPD —Relative Percent Difference — reports differences between two results.
- LoQ —Limit of Quantitation, the smallest quantity that can be accurately counted for each substance reported.
Tips For Studying a COA Report
The following are some general tips to keep in mind when reading a COA report.
- Take note of the test date and make sure it's recent.
- In the section reporting on cannabinoid concentrates, pay particular attention to the amount of THC to ensure it's within legal limits.
- Verify that the test was conducted by an independent third-party lab and not in-house. If the company selling the product is also testing it, there's a conflict of interest.
If you are purchasing hemp products for either personal use or to resell to your customers, it's essential to consult and understand the Certificate of Analysis, which reveals the percentage of cannabinoids in the product as well as assures that it's free of harmful substances.