What Do CBD Numbers Mean
by Alissa Gardner | 30 January, 2023
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At this point, anyone remotely interested in CBD and other hemp-related products knows the peculiarities of the compound – potential uses, legality, effects, and so on. But one of the most important concepts regarding CBD that many people are still unaware of is what exactly CBD product labels mean when they list numbers like 25 mg or 300 mg.
If you take a look at a bottle of full-spectrum CBD oil tincture, the label will most likely include some information about the potency, servings, or concentration of THC or CBD in the product. Organic CBD gummies may also list their potency per serving, while balms and creams will usually indicate the total CBD content.
All of this can make serving sizes and product strength quite confusing, so let’s take a closer look at what the numbers on CBD products really mean. Read on and see for yourself!
This is possibly your main point of interest when it comes to CBD products. The potency or strength of a product is simply the amount of CBD per serving, expressed in milligrams (mg) of CBD. Typically, it will be listed as the total concentration per bottle or jar, as well as per serving size.
As an example, our key lime full-spectrum organic CBD tincture comes in three potency options: 1,000 mg, 1,500 mg, and 2,500 mg per bottle. Considering that the oil comes in 1 oz (30 ml) bottles and there are 30 servings per container, you can easily calculate the potency for each option:
- 1,000 divided by 30 = 33.3 mg of CBD per serving,
- 1,500 divided by 30 = 50 mg of CBD per serving,
- 2,500 divided by 30 = 83.3 mg of CBD per serving.
It should be noted that one serving is one dropper, which equals approximately 1 ml of oil – so the precise number of milligrams per serving may vary slightly.
Full-spectrum CBD products may also list the amount of THC in their formula – in this case, you’ll first notice that the amount is less than the legal limit of 0.3%, which doesn’t always tell you exactly how much THC is in a product.
In such a case, you should refer to the Supplement Facts label, which will give you the exact amount of THC. For example, our tropical full-spectrum organic CBD tincture has about 32 mg of THC in a bottle, which is about 0.1% of the total volume – this means that each serving contains 1 mg of THC, which is a tiny trace falling within the legal limit.
Understanding Third-Party Lab Tests
If you’re not entirely sure about the content of a given product or the description doesn’t seem to cover everything, you should take a look at the independent lab test results, also known as the certificate of analysis.
Let’s take our CBD energy mix as an example. There are many tests performed to guarantee that the product meets quality standards, including:
- Cannabinoid potency – lists detected cannabinoids from a broad spectrum of hemp compounds, including THC, CBD, and other minor cannabinoids.
- Residual solvents – tests for any solvents that may remain after extraction, such as ethanol and butane.
- Heavy metals – checks for any heavy metals that may have contaminated the product.
- Microbiological contaminants – tests for any microbes, such as bacteria and fungi, that can adversely affect the product quality.
- Pesticides – tests for any traces of pesticides or insecticides that may have been used in the manufacture of hemp.
- Mycotoxins – tests for any mycotoxins that may have come in contact with the product.
There are a few ways of presenting the data, but typically, you’ll find tables with columns such as:
- Result – the test result, typically stated in milligrams per gram (mg/g), parts per million units (ppm), parts per billion units (ppb), or absent and none detected (ND).
- LOD and LOQ values – the limit of detection (LOD) and limit of quantification (LOQ) values, which indicate the levels at which compounds can be detected, typically per gram or milliliter.
- Dynamic range – used mostly for contaminants; this value indicates the degree of concentrations at which compounds can be detected.
- Notes – some tests don’t provide numerical results but rather a qualitative assessment, such as mold or foreign matter visibility.
You can also find lab results for your product by searching for the batch number. This way, you can check the values relevant to your product, the detection ranges used by the laboratory, and the accuracy of their results.
Along with the third-party lab results, you’ll also find the Certificate of Quality Assurance. This document includes the product’s batch number, the date of manufacture, active and inactive ingredients, and often a separate list of tests performed. The Certificate of Quality Assurance is your guarantee that the product has been tested and meets quality standards.
Understanding the values provided in CBD product labels and description is the key to choosing a product that best fits your needs. By now, you should have a pretty good idea of what all the numbers mean – and how to read them properly.
It is safe to assume that the big numbers on the product labels refer to the total concentration of CBD in a bottle, jar, or container. This means that if you are looking for high-strength products, the higher the number, the better.
However, CBD is not the only ingredient you should be looking at, and the most comprehensive source of information on your product is the third-party lab results. These results provide the most accurate data on product potency and purity, allowing you to pick a quality CBD product that meets your needs.
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