THE POTENT TRUTH:
+98% VS. +99% CBD
We’ve all seen the labels: “99.999% CBD potency!” “The PUREST CBD isolate available!” But how do we know we can trust these labels? And who even regulates these types of claims in the CBD industry? The answers are still very unclear. Without a standard set of regulations from the FDA, these potency claims can end up being inaccurate, downright dishonest, and in some cases, even dangerous.
In The Potent Truth, we’ll be taking a look at some of the myths and messages that run rampant in our industry, and offer some insight into what we’re doing to remain transparent and honest with our customers and their consumers.
THE MEASURE OF QUALITY
The quality of a product is determined by how consistently that product meets its predefined specifications. For this post, we’ll be looking at potency as the main specification. The potency of CBD and related cannabinoids are determined by using High-Performance Liquid Chromatography, or HPLC, an instrument that is used to first separate compounds, and then establish what those compounds are and how much of each is in the sample.
“The quality of a product is determined by how consistently that product meets its predefined specifications.”
We do everything we can to minimize variability and maintain consistent testing conditions for every single analysis, but variability is an unavoidable part of testing. We believe that being upfront about it, rather than hiding behind misleading COAs, will have long term benefits for the industry as a whole.
CONSTANTS AND VARIABLES
Statistically speaking, there will always be variability in sample testing. However, extreme variability at third party labs is typically due to poor method development, inferior analytical technique, inconsistent control of instrumentation, failure to run standards with each sample set and even the use of reference standards that are not adequately characterized.
“… the variability of the potency of CBD isolate in our testing is very minimal at ±2%, while our competitors’ range of variability is at ±5%.”
CBD isolate consists of the CBD molecule isolated in its purest form. Though minimal, there will still be trace amounts of impurities, as well as some variation in the exact purity of the isolated product. The analytical testing methods used at Mile High Labs are validated to FDA and USP standards and are highly sensitive. Because of this, the variability of the potency of CBD isolate in our testing is very minimal at ±2%, while our competitors’ range of variability is at ±5%. This is why you might see a number anywhere from 98% to 102% potency on our isolate COAs.
One of our core values at Mile High Labs is complete transparency between our company and our customers. This includes everything from where we source our hemp, through our extraction processes, to our testing methods. A potency of +99% may be the industry standard, but through thorough testing and understanding of our product, Mile High Labs has determined that our process capability is +98%. This is a potency you can trust, whereas other higher numbers may be inaccurate due to inconsistencies in testing.
LOWER NUMBER, HIGHER STANDARDS
How do we know our testing is as specific as we say it is? Mile High Labs is building a team of pharmaceutical industry veterans to lead analytical testing efforts. Our lab technicians utilize a recognized standard (a known, thoroughly characterized concentration) to compare and determine the potency of each sample.
“How do we know our testing is as specific as we say it is?”
We establish system suitability for each HPLC run to ensure that the instrument is functioning properly prior to generating any sample data. This system suitability includes standards that are utilized for calculating the potency of the CBD isolate. This is common practice in pharmaceutical grade labs, and we believe it should be the standard for the entire hemp extraction industry.
Mile High Labs has quickly become the industry’s most reliable, high-quality CBD ingredient provider by implementing quality systems that allow us to control and maintain our consistent output batch by batch. Our sophisticated testing systems ensure that every product we create meets our strict potency specifications. It’s not an easy process, but it’s the only way for us to deliver a product that we trust will bring peace of mind to our customers and their consumers.