Cannabis Education, How To

How To Decode A Strain’s COA

How To Decode A Strain’s COA

We realize how important it is for our patients to know exactly what’s in their medical cannabis (and what’s not).  To help you make highly informed choices when you’re browsing the Emblem shop, and to help create even more transparency between LP and patient, we’ve added the official Certificate of Analysis (COA) to our dried flower strains. This simplified and patient-friendly COA is a result of third-party independent testing completed by Anandia Labs Inc., one of Canada’s most respected cannabis genetics and testing laboratories. It includes a breakdown of abundant cannabinoids and terpenes, as well as a detailed analysis proving the lack of potentially harmful contaminants. Here’s what to look for when you open up a COA:

Strain & Lot

Starting right at the top you’ll see Emblem’s name, the lot number and the strain name. The names will include both the Emblem name, followed by the common name below. Also included is the date of preparation and the signed initials of the scientist at Anandia Labs who performed the tests.

Potency Analysis
First, the lab tests for both THC and CBD, with the results showing in both total weight percentage and milligram (mg). The threshold for quantifying cannabinoids at Anandia is 0.06%, so if the strain tests at a lower percentage lower than this it is recorded as BLQ (below level of quantification). For a THC dominant strain, the CBD levels may be BLQ, and the opposite will occur if it’s a CBD dominant strain with only traces of THC. In addition to THC and CBD, the lab tests for other included cannabinoids. The most abundant of what we’ll refer to as the ‘minor’ cannabinoids will be listed, along with their percentages of total weight. These cannabinoids can include THCVA, CBG, CBGA, THCV, etc. You can read more about the minor cannabinoids on our Instagram feed <>.

Terpene Analysis
Anandia tests 39 quantifiable terpenes, with a maximum of the 10 most abundant appearing on the COA. Although the one most prominent terpene is included on your Emblem strain container, the COA reveals what other terpenes were found in that strain. Terpenes are listed in order of their percentages, with the most abundant starting first. You’ll find caryophyllene, myrcene, limonene, humulene, pinene, linalool and the rest of the terpenes listed here. It’s this combination of aromatic terpenes that create the specific fragrance & effects of each varying strain. And, in fact, the same strain can have a slightly different smell with each batch, as the terpene profile changes with altering environmental conditions.

Contaminant Analysis

These section details all of the possible contaminants that are rigorously tested for with each batch of Emblem’s cannabis. All of the dried flower contaminant test results will be shown as pass or fail (just like that particularly challenging college course you took years ago!). What this means for your bud, is that if it receives a passing grade it’s completely safe for human consumption. Of course, all of the strains in our shop have passed these tests, but the COA gives you proof and peace of mind. Anandia tests for microbial contaminants (bacteria, mold, etc.), aflatoxins (a type of toxin created by fungi on agricultural crops) and heavy metals (lead, mercury, etc.).

Details of Testing

Finally, the second page of each COA provides more detail into how the tests are performed and how they qualify their results. You’ll learn that the terpenes were tested using Gas Chromatography – Mass Spectrometry and that the microbial testing abides by the European Pharmacopoeia methods of safety. Toward the bottom you’ll find a list of all of the potential pesticides Anandia tests for. This page is pretty science-heavy, but it can provide additional information for any patient looking for it.

To review the COA for yourself, simply log in to your account, click on a strain and click on the “Download COA” button located underneath the product description. If you’re not a patient, you can take a peek at a sample COA by here.


We hope this additional information helps you along your strain-selecting journey. If you ever have any questions about our COAs, please feel free to contact our Client Care team for assistance at 1-844-546-3633.

Disclaimer: All blog posts are Content as defined in and subject to, and all capitalized terms in this disclaimer have the meanings found in, the Emblem Website Terms and Conditions, which can be found here: Website Terms and Conditions. In accordance with the Emblem Website Terms and Conditions and without limiting or restricting application thereof in any way, the Site, including the Content, is provided for general informational purposes only, and does not constitute any representation as to the safety, efficacy, suitability, effectiveness or other features of medical cannabis or any other product in the management of any medical condition or for any purpose, and is not intended to provide, or to be a substitute for, professional medical advice. ALWAYS SEEK THE ADVICE OF A PHYSICIAN OR OTHER QUALIFIED HEALTH CARE PRACTITIONER FOR ANY QUESTIONS YOU MAY HAVE ABOUT ANY ILLNESS OR OTHER CONDITION, INCLUDING THE SUITABILITY OR EFFECTIVENESS OF ANY PARTICULAR COURSE OF TREATMENT. NEVER DISREGARD ANY PROFESSIONAL MEDICAL ADVICE BECAUSE OF ANYTHING YOU READ ON THE SITE. IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY, CALL 911 OR A PHYSICIAN IMMEDIATELY.