Can you be sure you’re getting what’s advertised when buying CBD? Over the past year and a half, we purchased hundreds of CBD products to answer that question.
Our mission was simple: send the products for third-party testing and compare the results to the amount and type of CBD listed on the product label.
For this summary report, we combined our findings to evaluate the overall accuracy of CBD product labels.
In total, we sent 221 CBD products from 111 brands for third-party testing. These included 35 CBD oil, 40 topical, 40 edible, 22 beverage, 55 pet, and 29 coffee & tea products.
For each one, we compared the amount and type of CBD shown on the test to the label.
To be considered accurate and receive an A grade, products needed to be within 10% of the labeled CBD content. Products that were off from the label by a higher percentage received a B, C, or F grade.
Check out the key findings below.
We purchased the products from a mix of online brands and brick-and-mortar stores like vape shops and supplement stores. Next, we sent the products to an independent cannabis testing lab (Canalysis Laboratories or SC Labs).
The lab technicians tested the levels of CBD and other cannabinoids in the products and sent the certificates of analysis (CoAs) back to us.
Then, we compared the test results to advertised CBD strength. We assigned each product a later grade depending on its accuracy:
For products that were advertised to contain full or broad-spectrum CBD, we also checked the levels of other cannabinoids. Broad-spectrum products should contain minor cannabinoids and no THC, whereas full-spectrum ones should have both.
To be considered accurate, a product needed to be within 10% of the labeled CBD strength.
For example, if a company sold CBD oil that should contain 1000 mg of CBD but the tests only showed 600 mg, that means it contained 40% less CBD than claimed. This poor result would receive an F grade since you’d be getting much less CBD than you paid for.
We summarized the key findings for each CBD product category below.
|Product Name||Rating||Claimed CBD||Actual CBD||% Variance|
|CBD Dog Health Calm Tincture for Dogs 550 mg (30 ml)||A||550||595.08||8.20%|
|CBDMEDIC Eczema Ointment 200 mg||A||200||204.68||2.30%|
|CBDPure Hemp Oil 300 mg (60ml)||A||300||316.62||5.50%|
|CBDfx Hemp Tincture 500 mg (30 ml)||A||500||519.18||3.80%|
|CBDistillery CBD Isolate Tincture 250 mg (30 ml)||A||250||253.2||1.30%|
|Deep Relief Tincture 500 mg (30 ml)||A||500||545.67||9.10%|
|Elixinol CBD Tincture 300 mg (30 ml)||A||300||305.19||1.70%|
|Endoca Raw Hemp Oil 300 mg (10 ml)||A||300||296.15||-1.30%|
|Fab CBD Citrus Full Spectrum CBD Oil 300 mg (30 ml)||A||300||302.31||0.80%|
|Funky Farms Alaskan Ice Tincture 250 mg (30 ml)||A||250||249.06||-0.40%|
|Green Gorilla Full Spectrum CBD Oil 300 mg (30 ml)||A||300||307.23||2.40%|
|Green Roads CBD Oil 250 mg (15 ml)||A||250||256.969||2.80%|
|Honest Paws CBD Oil for Dogs 125 mg (30 ml)||A||125||126.12||0.90%|
|Joy Organics Tranquil Mint Tincture 250 mg (30 ml)||A||450||473.16||5%|
|JustCBD Tincture 250 mg (30 ml)||A||250||235.14||5.90%|
|Lazarus Naturals Chocolate Mint High-Potency Tincture 750 mg (15 ml)||A||750||773.91||3.20%|
|Medterra Broad-Spectrum Tincture 1000 mg (30 ml)||A||1000||1077.15||7.70%|
|Nanocraft CBD Oil 300 mg (30 ml)||A||300||305.43||1.80%|
|NuLeaf Naturals CBD Oil 240mg (5 ml)||A||240||232.8||-3%|
|Pachamama Black Pepper Turmeric Tincture 750 mg (30 ml)||A||750||758.22||1.10%|
|PlusCBD Oil Gold Drops 250 mg (30 ml)||A||250||247.26||1.10%|
|Receptra Naturals Vanilla Mint Serious Rest Tincture 750 mg (30 ml)||A||750||747.15||-0.40%|
|Savage CBD Tincture 1000mg (30 ml)||A||1000||1016.25||1.60%|
|Sunmed Broad-Spectrum Lemon Tincture 240 mg (30 ml)||A||240||251.01||4.60%|
|Veritas Farms Unflavored Tincture 250 mg(30 ml)||A||250||255.45||2.20%|
|cbdMD CBD Oil Tincture 300 mg (30 ml)||A||300||321.27||7.10%|
|Dixie Botanicals 250 mg, peppermint-flavored dew drops tinctures||A||250||245.8||1.7%|
|Produce Name||Rating||Claimed CBD (mg)||Actual CBD (mg)||% Variance|
|Green Roads CBD Dark Chocolate Bar||A||180||171.738||-4.59%|
|Nirvana CBD Gummies||A||25||25.8022||3.21%|
|VT CBD Lemon Recovery Strips||A||25||25.4261||1.70%|
|Highline Wellness CBD Gummies||A||10||10.8449||8.45%|
|Proleve CBD Gummies||A||25||26.4159||5.66%|
|Chronic Candy CBD Peach Rings||A||250||253.456||1.38%|
|Smilyn CBD Gummies||A||10||9.8648||-1.35%|
|Sunday Scaries CBD Unicorn Jerky||A||10||9.0619||-9.38%|
|Wyld CBD Blackberry Gummies||A||25||25.9674||3.87%|
|Dixie Botanicals CBD Kicks Chews||A||5||5.0469||0.94%|
|Produce Name||Rating||Claimed||Actual||% Variance|
|CBDfx CBD Muscle & Joint Cream||A||500||546.3||9.26%|
|Erth CBD Face Serum||A||250||272.22||8.89%|
|Lazarus Naturals CBD Lotion||A||300||317.07||5.69%|
|Koi Naturals CBD Healing Balm||A||150||142.954||-4.70%|
|Green Gorilla CBD Balm||A||300||319.5||6.50%|
|Medical Mary CBD Relief Cream||A||500||510||2.00%|
|Social CBD Muscle Rub||A||50||54.893||9.79%|
|Steve’s Goods CBD Relief Balm||A||500*||527.9886*||5.60%|
|Receptra Naturals Yoga Balm||A||400||416.815||4.20%|
|Produce Name||Rating||Claimed||Actual||% Variance|
|Austin & Kat Hemp Chews||A||2.5||2.266||-9.37|
|Austin & Kat Hemp Salmon Tincture||A||100||109.290||9.29|
|AVID Hemp Full Spectrum Pet Oil||A||150||159.630||6.42|
|Joy Organics Pet CBD Oil||A||450||457.920||1.76|
|Honest Paws Calm CBD Oil for Dogs||A||125||129.840||3.87|
|Honest Paws Calm Peanut Butter||A||160||144.500||-9.69|
|Just CBD Oil for Dogs||A||100||92.100||-7.90|
|CBD Essence CBD Oil for Dogs||A||75||73.350||-2.20|
|NuLeaf Naturals Pet CBD Oil||A||300||327.295||9.10|
|Naternal Dog Chews||A||5||5.196||3.92|
|Steve’s Goods Hemp Bites||A||10||9.263||-7.37|
|Tree of Life Seeds CBD Oil Pet Chews||A||2||2.073||3.63|
|Medical Mary Pet CBD Oil||A||250||269.430||7.77|
|King Kanine King Kalm CBD Oil||A||150||135.360||-9.76|
|Naternal CBD Oil for Pets||A||300||328.650||9.55|
|Steve’s Goods CBD Oil for Pets||A||150||153.735||2.49|
|PlusCBD Pet Tincture||A||250||266.875||6.75|
|CBD American Shaman Canine Tincture||A||300||320.610||6.87|
|CBD Living Cat Tincture||A||150||153.498||2.33|
|Charlotte’s Web Dog Tincture||A||510||556.215||9.06|
|Veritas Farms Joint Care Chews||A||300||325.350||8.45|
|Lazarus Naturals CBD Pet Tincture||A||600||564.448||-5.93|
|One Farm Pet CBD Oil||A||100||95.7685||-4.23|
|CBDistillery CBD Pet Tincture||A||150||160.1258||6.75|
|Product Name||Rating||Claimed CBD (mg)||Actual CBD (mg)||% Variance|
|Steve’s Goods CBD Coffee||A||360||388.823||8.01|
|Strava CBD Coffee||A||250||230.52||-7.79|
|FloChi CBD Tea||A||30||31||3.33|
|Diamond CBD Chill CBD Assorted Coffee & Tea||A||100||100.572||0.57|
|CBD Living CBD Matcha Tea||A||250||240.929||-3.63|
|CBD American Shaman CBD Sparkling Tea||A||10||9.75||-2.50|
|Allo Bean & Bud CBD Coffee||A||320||298.998||-6.56|
|Coldfire Roasters Nano Hemp Coffee||A||60||59.661||-0.56|
|CBD Infused Tea Blazin’ Berry Black Tea||A||200||202.646||1.32|
|Sun State Hemp CBD Ground Coffee||A||300||294.608||-1.80|
|Glow Water Restore CBD Tea||A||125||127.855||2.28|
|Tranquility Tea Company CBD Coffee||A||900||953.564||5.95|
|Cadence Iced Cold Brew CBD Coffee||A||10||9.1||-9.00|
|The Brothers Apothecary Mellow Mint Hemp CBD Tea||A||150||150.84||0.56|
According to the report results, we asked our experts what is their personal opinion of the CBD industry and what are their tips for users who want to buy CBD?
The CBD industry is evolving and testing is an area that we are starting to see more transparency and consistency.
With so many products on the market to choose from, there is no reason for a consumer to purchase a product that has not been tested for potency, contaminants, residual solvents and pesticides.
This report highlights the vast differences among CBD products on the market. Consumers are often unaware that CBD is unregulated and therefore testing is not required. It is nice to see a report like this that brings more transparency to the industry and demonstrates the true leaders in the CBD space.
It is imperative that consumers look for the test results to ensure that the label is accurate. Many consumers find that work to be tedious and overwhelming. Leafreport has simplified the process by independently testing CBD products and reporting on the findings.
Additionally, Leafreport looks at other factors such as pricing, customer service responses, and shipping. Their reports can save consumers a lot of time and money by offering a one stop place to find the information they need to make an informed decision.
This report highlights the importance of quality control in the manufacturing and testing process as well as the need for rational regulation of all products destined for consumption.
In the US, the FDA is still reviewing data, particularly on the safety, potential side effects, and benefits of CBD. It’s a frustratingly slow process, impeded by the fact that too many researchers stay away from cannabinoids because of the regulatory gray area.
This problem is made worse by businesses that don’t follow basic aspects of quality control — selling products that contain the stated amount of CBD and testing for various contaminants. These businesses are giving CBD a poor reputation.
The reality is that poor manufacturing and QC practices may result in overreaching and stifling regulations, and these businesses will only have themselves to blame. Even now, CBD regulations around the world are increasingly complex and developing in different directions.
To sum up, this report highlights high-quality CBD companies and I support the recommendations given here by LeafReport.
My advice has always been to go for a company that does full testing and practices organic (official or unofficial) and sustainable farming, has QC standards in place, understands the basic science of what they are doing, and the difference between proven and potential CBD benefits.
Considering the report results, the CBD industry has a long way to go to gain the public’s trust. CBD is effective for many ailments; this is widely accepted. However proper dosing is still unclear, especially since individual variations within the endocannabinoid system are unique from person to person. Mislabeled products only compound this issue.
For example, if an individual believes they are taking 50 mg of CBD daily based on the label of the product, but in reality, they are taking 30 mg, or 70 mg, or even 0 mg, there is no way to truly get a therapeutic dose for the individual. Furthermore, we will have individuals that say CBD does not work for them. Now we must question, does it not work, or was there CBD even present in the product they were using. Or one may find CBD to be quite effective at 100 mg, however in reality they are consuming 120 mg, and so their minimum effective dose may be higher than they realize due to mislabeling.
This report highlights the need for proper testing for all CBD products on the market. Going a step further, proper testing in a lab that has the proper protocols in place, with calibrated equipment and properly trained laboratory technicians is the even better answer.
Overall, the CBD industry exploded on the retail market before proper measures were put into place to ensure all consumer products are labeled accurately for public safety. As we continue to see the industry grow, I am confident that we’ll see more accuracy and regulation around testing practices and product labeling.
CBD consumers should always view the Certificate of Analysis report, or the COA of a product. If the products are tested by a third-party lab with good protocols in place, the COA should offer insight into the quality of the product and the accuracy of the label.
Buy from a trusted brand with an A rating to ensure you are getting the most accurate dosage and highest quality CBD.
Overall, our findings suggest that the CBD industry has a lot of room to improve.
While it has come a long way since its early days, most products still don’t match the labeled CBD strength and extract type.
The key point to take away from our independent research is the importance of third-party testing. You should only buy from reputable brands that provide up-to-date test results for all products, like the companies we discussed above.
More importantly, you should look at the test documents to make sure they match the product label:
It’s even better to choose reputable, positively reviewed brands that do both potency (cannabinoid levels) and purity (checking for pesticides, heavy metals, residual solvents, and other potential contaminants) testing.
We also recommend choosing CBD oil instead of other product categories because it’s more likely to contain accurate quantities of CBD.