Lab Tests & How to Read Them

Asterra Labs relies on a completely independent outside laboratory to test all our company’s products for quality and purity. We also test to ensure that each product we manufacture contains the marketed amount of CBD.

There are plenty of companies selling CBD products without appropriate controls on their manufacturing processes and with substandard ingredients. In fact, the FDA has found products on the market that did not comply with label claims on the packaging.

When a CBD product contains ingredients not listed on packaging — or lacks ingredients listed on packaging — this reflects a lack of control on processes or a lack of care. Either way, these substandard products should be avoided.

Always look for a CBD product that has been tested independently and is accompanied by a certificate of analysis so you can confirm results for yourself.

To view a certificate of analysis of one of our products, click here. Read through the analysis to see that this independent lab testing examined total CBD content, finding it to match the amount stated on the label, and also found no presence of substances such as terpenes, pesticides, mycotoxins, heavy metals, microbes, and residual solvents.

When you purchase an Asterra Labs product, you can count on receiving exactly what is claimed on the packaging, which is:

  • A product that’s manufactured in America
  • And contains pharmaceutical-grade ingredients per FDA regulations
  • With zero THC
  • And which has been tested and verified by an independent third party laboratory to confirm purity.

We settle for nothing but the best so that you, our customer, can be assured that you are receiving a quality product every time.

All of our products have a QR code right on the packaging that you can scan to confirm its purity. When you scan one of our QR codes, you will be directed to a website hosted by our third-party tester that contains all of the certificates of analysis for Asterra Labs products.

At that website, simply enter the batch number for the product in the search field, and the certificate of analysis will be displayed for your review.

Once you have sourced that certificate of analysis, you may ask, “What does all that information and data mean?” We are happy to tell you.

Finally, bookmark our Asterra Labs website and visit frequently. We’ll add blog posts that dive into testing so you might gain even more insight into the world of cannabinoids and analytical testing.

Following is a full breakdown of what we test for, why, and what that means for you as a consumer:

Cannabinoid Profile, or Potency

Hemp contains many cannabinoids, and a variety are pulled from the plant during the extraction process. From there, extracted cannabinoids can be used to create broad-spectrum products, or further processed to fully isolate a select cannabinoid, such as CBD.

Depending on the finished product, it may contain only the cannabinoid isolate or it may contain a spectrum of the extracted cannabinoids. Therefore, when purchasing a product, make sure you understand the difference.

At Asterra Labs, CBD in the only cannabinoid contained in our products. Our products are tested by an independent lab to ensure purity.

Scientists at the independent lab use high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) to test Asterra Labs products for multiple cannabinoids, including Delta-9 THC, THCA, CBD, CBDA, CBDV, CBC, CBN, CBG, CBGA, Delta-8 THC and THCV. We pledge to sell products that contain CBD alone, and no other cannabinoid.

The independent lab also tests to ensure products contain the correct potency as formulated and stated on the label (25mg, 50mg, 100mg of CBD).

The Presence of Pesticides

For any agricultural crop including hemp, people have concerns about what pesticides may have been applied during the growing process to control pests and weeds.

Our CBD isolate provider sources its hemp from reputable farmers who use organic growing principles. Still, there always is a small possibility of pesticide contamination of the crop.

That is why we have our independent laboratory test every lot of CBD isolate we receive — along with all finished Asterra Lab products — to confirm that residual pesticides levels are non-existent or at minimal levels as regulated by the federal government.

In addition, we source pharmaceutical-grade ingredients that comply with USP/NF monograph.

Using high performance liquid chromatography coupled with mass spectrometry (HPLC MS) and gas chromatography coupled with mass spectrometry (GC-MS), scientists at the independent laboratory test our CBD isolate and finished products for trace levels of more than 60 commonly used chemical pesticides remain within our CBD isolate and finished products. The independent laboratory can detect levels down to the nanogram. With this level of accuracy, we can reliably release our products knowing that they are safe for consumption.

The Presence of Terpenes

As aromatic compounds found in hemp and other plants, terpenes are responsible for scent and flavor, and they can synergize with individual cannabinoids to enhance or lessen their physiological effects.

Terpenes should not be considered bad, but since these synergist effects might affect individuals in differing ways, Asterra Labs formulates products to be free of terpenes.

Using head space gas chromatography coupled with mass spectrometry, scientists at the independent lab determine the levels of more than 22 terpenes. See the complete list below:

  • Alpha-pinene
  • camphene
  • beta-myrcene
  • (-)-beta-pinene
  • delta-3-carene
  • alpha-terpinene
  • trans-beta-ocimene
  • d-limonene
  • cis-beta-ocimene
  • eucalyptol
  • (1,8-cineole) gamma-terpinene
  • terpinolene
  • linalool
  • (-)-isopulegol
  • geraniol
  • beta-caryophyllene
  • humulene
  • cis-nerolidol
  • trans-nerolidol
  • (-)-guaiol
  • (-)-caryophyllene oxide
  • (-)-alpha-bisabolol
The Presence of Mycotoxins

Mycotoxins are naturally occurring toxic compounds that may be produced by molds and fungi during the growing, processing and storage of hemp. Because they are chemically stable, mycotoxins often survive processing and are certainly a known risk within the food industry. 

At Asterra Labs, we test our products to ensure that they are free from mycotoxins, which may be harmful to ingest.

Using high performance liquid chromatography, scientists at the independent lab determine levels of mycotoxins in Asterra Lab products including: aflatoxin b1, aflatoxin b2, aflatoxin g1, aflatoxin g2, and orchratoxin a.

The Presence of Elemental Impurities

Elemental impurities, otherwise known as heavy metals, may find their way into final products from catalysts used in the chemical purifying processes; from interactions with processing equipment during extraction; or from environmental contaminants in the soils where hemp is grown.

The primary elemental impurities of concern are cadmium (Cd), lead (Pb), arsenic (As), and mercury (Hg). These heavy metals are highly toxic and, if present in the product, should be kept at an absolute minimum.

Our independent laboratory uses inductively coupled plasma mass spectroscopy (ICP-MS) on all Asterra Labs CBD isolate and final products to detect if elemental impurities are present.

The Presence of Residual Solvents

Residual solvents are volatile compounds left over after the extraction and purification process. These solvents are used to draw cannabinoids out of the hemp plant and to separate and purify a cannabinoid of interest, such as CBD. Solvents then evaporate, leaving a pure substance. Processors strive to evaporate all solvents; however, generally some residual amounts remain.

At Asterra Labs, our Quality Assurance team has a rigorous supplier approval process, which includes a detailed audit, to ensure that the CBD we use is pure, safe, and of the highest quality.

In addition, we test our CBD isolate and finished products to ensure residual solvents are completely removed or are at minimal acceptable levels.

Using head space gas chromatography mass spectroscopy (HS GCMS), scientists at the independent laboratory test to ensure solvents are appropriately removed or reduced to an acceptable level. Listed below is the complete list:

  • Propane
  • butane
  • methanol
  • pentane
  • ethanol
  • ethyl etheracetone
  • isopropyl alcohol
  • acetonitrile
  • dichloromethane
  • n-hexane
  • ethyl acetate
  • chloroform
  • benzene
  • dichloroethane
  • n-heptane
  • trichloroethene
  • toluene
  • xylenes
  • ethylene oxide
Microbiological Testing

Although we don’t like to think about it, microbes are found everywhere in our daily lives. Some microbes are beneficial or essential for life; others are pathogenic and cause harm.

Our independent laboratory tests Asterra Labs products to ensure that they are free from bad, disease-causing and objectional microorganisms. Using either plating or real-time polymerase chain reaction (qPCR), scientists test CBD isolate and finished products for: e. coli, salmonella, stec e. coli, s. aureus, a. flavus, a. fumigatus, a. niger, a. terrus, c. botulinum and l. monocyte.

Moisture Content and Water Activity

Scientists at the independent laboratory determine the amount of water present, which could affect overall stability. They also examine activity of any water present, which could indicate the rate at which microbial growth may occur.

Because we strive to provide the highest quality and pure CBD products, we want to ensure that moisture is low so it does not promote microbial growth or affect stability of the product throughout its shelf life, which is determined by the expiration date provided on the product during packaging.

Overall stability of a finished good and the CBD isolate within are important considerations when looking for a quality product. Stability in simple terms is the ability of the finished good to maintain its physical, chemical, and microbial properties during storage and usage within the expiration date.

Water activity is very important in the stability of a product. Our products are formulated to mitigate the movement of water within, thereby minimizing potential microbial growth and degradation of the CBD isolate.

Helpful hint: Look for a product with an expiry date. Be sure to store the product and use it as detailed on the package. Always dispose properly upon expiration.

Finished Goods Testing
Finished goods testing and the release of products to the market involve all functional teams. At Asterra Labs, this includes operations, quality control — not not only the independent laboratory, but also our internal expertise and oversight — and, finally, quality assurance. Working together, they ensure safety and purity throughout the process from beginning to end.

After production, samples of each batch are sent to an independent laboratory for testing. Once acceptable test results are obtained and batch records have been reviewed and approved by QA, the final product is released for shipment. All laboratory test results are available for our customers to review.

At Asterra Labs, we believe in transparency, science, and our pharmaceutical industry background to create products that are safe for our customers. We manufacture products we would offer to our family and loved ones without hesitation.

Learn more on our blog:

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