Our Certificate of Analysis

When you submit a sample for testing to CW Analytical, you will receive a certificate of analysis that is available exclusively to you through our secure laboratory database. As soon as your results are complete, you will receive an email from the lab prompting you to log into your account to access your data. Once you're logged in, you have the ability to view or print a one-page certificate of analysis for your sample, print labels to place on your product, print or download a unique QR code for each sample, or even share your results via email or social media. 

The images to the right are examples of what a typical certificate of analysis looks like, with some simple annotations added to help you navigate and understand the data within. Reading through these three examples should give you a good idea of what to expect from your own certificates of analysis.

The Lab Database

The CW Analytical Lab Database allows clients to access their results online as soon as they are posted. Each client can access all of their historical data. 

The Lab Database allows for the printing of labels with QR codes to place on your samples, the ability to share your results through social media, and the ability to print and .pdf versions of certificates of analysis. This gallery highlights some of these features and how to access them.

Frequently Asked Questions

+ High Performance Liquid Chromatography (HPLC) vs. Gas Chromatography (GC)

Chromatography is a technique by which different molecules can be separated from each other. While there are many ways of doing this, the two principle technologies consist of liquid or gas chromatography. Both options are capable of quantifying the amount of cannabinoids present in a sample, but use different mechanisms to get there.

High performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) - moves liquids through a chemically active column that has different affinities for different types of molecules. Using this column and by changing the solvent polarity we can separate the different Cannabinoids. Because HPLC operates at room temperature and in the liquid phase, no decarboxylation of the acidic cannabinoids takes place. This means that an HPLC report will tell you exactly what is in your sample in its present form. Many municipalities require information on THCA and CBDA content, so HPLC must be used for vendors planning on marketing their products in these locations.

Gas chromatography (GC) uses column chemistry and boiling points to separate compounds. In order to get everything into the gas phase, the sample must be heated to a very high temperature (over 200 C) to vaporize all compounds. The column is then slowly heated until all compounds have come through to the detector. At these temperatures, this method will decarboxylate the sample instantly. Because of this, all acidic compounds will be converted to their neutral form, and THCA/CBDA will be seen by the detector as THC/CBD. While it does not offer information on the acidic cannabinoids, GC is faster and cheaper to operate than HPLC. GC is a great option for items that will be smoked or vaporized prior to consumption, as well as for edibles that are produced with a fully decarboxylated butter or oil.

+ Residual Solvent Analysis (RSA) vs. Residual Solvent Screening (RSS)

CW Analytical offers two distinct tests for residual solvents.
Residual Solvent Analysis (RSA) is available for clients that are looking for precise ppm measurements of 14 different solvents that may be present in their samples.
Residual Solvent Screen (RSS) will detect flammable solvents and report the results as pass or fail depending upon the threshold you decide. For most municipalities, this threshold is currently 400 ppm. Although RSS is unable to determine which solvent is present, it is a quick and cost-effective and test for finding out if your sample is compliant with local regulations.

+ Why is microbiological testing important? Isn't Cannabis anti-microbial?

Microbiological organisms are ubiquitous and a vital part of life, but can also threaten human health. They can survive and thrive in environments that other organisms would perish. Most everything has a microbial load, our own bodies inside and out, as well as Cannabis. Microbiological testing helps to determine if a particular batch of Cannabis or products infused with Cannabis are safe for patient consumption. Even a relatively healthy patient could become sick from consuming an edible tainted with E. coli, Salmonella, or Pseudomonas. Microbiological testing ensures the safety and cleanliness of the Cannabis and Cannabis-infused products being consumed by patients.

While the living, growing Cannabis plant itself has many natural defenses to bacteria such as terpenes, low fat and carbohydrate content and cannabinoids themselves, this does not protect the plant from bacterial contamination throughout the drying, trimming and curing process. Moreover, some growing practices and techniques employ the use of bacteria rich fertilizers and pesticides that can introduce microbiological contaminants. It's important to note that even if the Cannabis going into an infused product is clean and free of microbiological contamination, this does not mean the final product has not become contaminated throughout the production process.We find that about 80% of contamination is a result of improper processing, handling and/or storage.

+ What are the differences among sample types? Why are their potency results reported differently?

Medical Cannabis comes in many forms in today's market, and as such, the way we report THC differs between these different types of samples. Some of the typical sample types that we encounter are Cannabis flowers, bubble hashes, kiefs, shatters, waxes, distillates, edibles, butters, tinctures, topicals, and even more.

Since the sample types vary in form so much, sometimes it makes more sense for us to represent the amount of Cannabinoids (THC, CBD, etc) contained within that sample in different ways. All of our samples contain the raw % value of Cannabinoids in their sample, but each report includes helpful extra data depending on each sample type.

mg/g notation (milligrams per gram) is used for the majority of our sample types. This tells you how many milligrams (mg) of THC (or CBD, or any other Cannabinoid) are contained within one gram (g) of your sample. This can be especially useful for edible producers and the oils, keifs, or butters they use to dose their edibles. The mg/g notation will tell an edible producer how many milligrams of THC are contained within one gram of their sample, and with that information the edible producer can figure out how much butter or oil to add to their edible to achieve their desired potency.

mg/ml notation (milligrams per milliliter) is used for tinctures
and liquid samples, where the sample will typically be dispensed volumetrically, or on a milliliter (ml) by milliliter basis. This mg/ml number will tell you how many milligrams (mg) of THC are contained within one milliliter (ml) of your sample.

total mg notation is used for edibles, since most edible producers want to know how many milligrams of THC or CBD are contained within their entire edible. This total mg number represents the amount of THC contained within your entire submitted edible sample, unless you have specifically requested otherwise.

+ How do I interpret my microbiological testing results? What are APC? CFU?

When viewing results for microbiological screening, you will see a table with four columns. The first column lists six categories of microbiological contaminants CW Analytical screens for. The second column lists the level or count, measured in CFU’s or Colony Forming Units, detected for each category. A count that is blank or listed as NA indicates that test was not completed or was unnecessary. The third column lists the pass/fail limit for each category in CFU’s. The final column lists the status for each category as pass or fail, based on the limit from the third column. Additionally, it is possible to customize the pass/fail thresholds for each category of microbiological testing on your account.

APC stands for Aerobic Plate Count. This is a general screen for bacteria that use oxygen to grow and how many are present. Typically a high APC count (>100,000 CFUs) triggers a follow-up screening for pathogenic bacteria such as E. coli, coliforms, Pseudomonas and Salmonella.

CFU stands for Colony Forming Unit. This is a unit of measurement for the number of viable bacterial or fungal cells present. A high number of CFU’s detected indicates a high microbial load on the sample. If a sample is marked as TNTC, this means that the amount of CFUs present was Too Numerous To Count (TNTC) - this indicates many millions of colonies.

+ If my sample is 20% cannabinoids, what is the other 80%?

This depends on the sample type. For concentrates, which contain the highest percent cannabinoids by weight, the answer is predominantly plant lipids and waxes and other hydrocarbon chains of varying length, chlorophyll, and terpenes. Flowers will contain all of the previous components, along with the actual plant material itself. Butters and infused oils will naturally have the majority of its mass as the fat/oil that was used in the infusion, and edibles will be mostly food components.

+ Why is my edible's potency so low (0-2% THC)?

By mass and percentage of total weight, edibles are mostly food stuff, like the ingredients that go into brownies or chocolate. The actual % appears low because there is typically only a small amount of THC (milligrams) in comparison to the total mass of the edible (grams). The vast majority of an edible's mass is comprised of all the non-medicated ingredients used in the process of making that edible. Because there is only a relatively small amount of medicated butter or oil in the edible in comparison to the non-medicated ingredients, the % THC appears low. Just because your edible's % THC appears low, however, does not mean its potency is low by any means, which is why we include the total mg of THC in your certificate of analysis. This total mg number is usually more practical and helpful for edible producers, and will give you an idea of how strong your edible is.