Certificate of Analysis

Scientist doing potency testing.

Lab Results

The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS) does not allow farmers to clip their own samples for testing. Instead, they must enlist approved third-party laboratories to conduct this task. Through ACS’s designation as the largest DEA-registered
Compliance test sample for Cannabis Extract

How to Read a COA

Transparency is key to raising the bar on this industry’s quality and safety. Still, most consumers aren’t familiar with laboratory reports and may not know where to start. That’s Our user-friendly COA and How to Read a COA guide seeks to solve that issue.

Step 1 - Header

ACS certificate of analysis dashboard
It’s essential to reference the COA Header first because this section confirms the identity of the product and testing laboratory.

What to Look For

Calendar icon in grey

What to Look For

Consumers should check the report date to be sure that the results are recent and relevant.

Flat bottom flash in grey

Laboratory Name

Consumers should check the report date to be sure that the results are recent and relevant.

Document bookmark icon in grey

Brand and Product Name

Consumers should check the report date to be sure that the results are recent and relevant.

Data research icon in grey

Batch Number and Description

Consumers should check the report date to be sure that the results are recent and relevant.

Test Summary

A Cannibis icon inside a circle in grey.


Circular clip art in grey


Heavy metals clip art  in grey
Heavy Metals


A mycotoxin icon in grey.


A Cannibis icon inside a circle in grey.


Circular clip art in grey
Residual Solvents


A droplet icon in grey.

Not Tested

Wavy icons inside a  circle in grey.
Water Activity


Aspergillus Molds icon in grey
Pathogenic Microbiology


A pathogenic icon in grey


Aspergillus Molds icon in grey
Microbiology (qPCR)


Foreign Material icon in grey
Filth & Foreign


The Tests Summary section of the COA features the tests performed and the critical results  at a glance.

What to Look For

Some brands test cannabinoid potency only, while others screen for terpenes, flavonoids, and contaminants like pesticides, residual solvents, and heavy metals. Customers should look for products that receive the full range of safety and potency tests.

More importantly, customers should check that the product “Passed” all safety tests.

Potency Results

Potency test dashboard summary.

After the summary section, Potency Results tell the customer precisely which cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids the product contains and how concentrated they are.*

*Note some Potency Results will include cannabinoids only. Terpene and flavonoid testing are optional.

How to read the results:

The Analyte is the compound that the laboratory test is quantifying. For potency tests, Analytes are cannabinoids (like THC), terpenes (like linalool), or flavonoids (like quercetin).

The Result column tells the customer how many milligrams of each Analyte are concentrated within every gram. Some results appear in milliliters if the product is a liquid or oil.

Customers may also see blanks in the Results column. A blank result means the laboratory did not detect statistically significant levels of the compound. ?? There should never be  blanks its <LOQ which means its less than the “limit of quantitiation” or ND (not detected)

The % column converts each Analyte’s concentration from milligrams per gram to a percentage of the product’s weight. This conversion is another way to look at the same Result but is often easier to understand.

Quality & Safety Results

Heavy metal test results.

Quality and Safety Results consist of one or more of the following tests: Residual solvents, heavy metals, mycotoxins, pesticides, pathogenic microbiology, and moisture.

What to Look For First:
The Analyte column identifies the compound, in this case, heavy metals.

Consumers can see this product Passed all heavy metal tests by looking at the top right of this section. Still, they may want to review the specific results.

In that case, they’ll start at the Action Level column, which indicates the safe allowable limits for each analyte based on state and federal regulations.

The Action Level is measured in ppm or ppb. 1 PPM equals 1 mg/kg and 1 PPB equals 1 ug/kg. So if the Action Level is 500 ppm, the product can contain up to 500 mg of the toxin for every kg of product weight (If your brain is starting to hurt, just remember that 500 ppm is not zero, but it’s a teeny tiny acceptable amount).

Customers should see “<LOQ” next to every analyte that passed the screening in the Result column. <LOQ translates to “less than the Limit of Quantification,” which means the lab confirmed the contaminant was below the safe allowable limit.

Spanish Language COAs

Thirteen percent of the population speaks Spanish at home, earning it the title of the most common non-English language in the nation. In fact, the U.S. has the second largest population of Spanish speakers in the world after Mexico.

Regarding cannabis, 20% of young Hispanic adults and nearly 10% of people over 26 years old say they're daily cannabis users.

Yet many brands fall short of educating this diverse community in meaningful ways.

At ACS, we believe education is critical to ensure equitable access for all Hispanic and Latin American adults. As a result, we recently launched Spanish-language COAs for all hemp and cannabis clients and products nationwide.

ACS certificate of analysis in spanish.