Don’t Get Busted: Avoiding Fake Lab Reports for THC

Hey remember when you were in school and everyone was passing around the same pen or the same notes? Well it’s happening in the hemp industry and in the most destructive way possible. One of THE biggest issues undermining the whole hemp industry is the pass around game low ethical growers and processors are doing by stealing other people’s Lab reports for Delta 9 THC and passing it off as their own. Fake lab results are disturbingly common with no repercussion for the person doing it, but the biggest risk for the person buying from them. 

Lab reports, also known as a Certificate of Authenticity (COA), are necessary in all states to ensure that your THC levels, whether they are testing Total THC or DELTA-9 THC, are below legal limit. If it tests over, usually 0.3% DELTA 9 THC, your industrial hemp is then considered Marijuana which at the moment in most states is an illegal substance. The consequence for testing over 0.3% is the DEA now handles your crop and demands that the whole crop is burnt down. That’s a loss of your whole lively hood, 3 months of growing, and 100,000’s of dollars if you planted 20 plus acres based on current seed prices. 

Tests are also necessary for sell-ability. If you have high CBD contents such as 16% and over you want to show that off because it can fetch you a higher price and can sell your crop quicker.  From our experience if you grew hemp with really low CBD it becomes really hard to sell because of the competitive market. When we did market research many buyers/ processors didn’t want low CBD hemp crops, even the dog food manufacturers didn’t want anything under 10% CBD. 

Many growers who fake or steal lab reports want to trick you on what the numbers are on their hemp. Most of the time their hemp is “Hot,” in other words:  not legal hemp. Their hemp if grown or bought would test hot in a state lab report and you’d lose your whole crop. Being caught with buds or CBD oil made from it would test back as Marijuana.

Fake Lab Results an Issue in the Hemp and Cannabis Industry

Another possibility is the overall CBD content is actually really low on the fakers’ hemp.  CBD numbers can vary even when it’s a certain strain that commonly comes out consistent. So it is possible that strain that commonly comes out let’s say 13% CBD to also dip under 10%.  This can be because of growing or drying conditions.  Other times growers will not test their crop at all and put it on the buyer to do so, a big red flag. 

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Below we have listed some of the signs of a fake lab report or COA. If you see these you will want to re think about buying from the person sending that lab. 

The common signs of a fake lab are:

  • Whited out information or vague information
  • The lab name missing from the report
  • Delta-9 THC information missing
  • No names of who worked on the report
  • One line of information only
  • Looks unprofessional or homemade
  • All test results whited out or missing except what the seller wants you to see
  • Either the company that the test was done for doesn’t match the company selling it or the information is whited out all-together
  • No date of when the lab was taken
  • Different font types in the lab report or looks handwritten
  • No certification number
  • No data on what testing type was used (GC or HPLC)

A look below of what a stolen lab that was sent to us looks like: 

This report is missing the strain information, no signatures of the lab workers, no lab name, no certification numbers, and no client name.

Certificate numbers are unique codes that are handed out with each individual lab report. It’s much like a digital fingerprint. Labs will often put in their license number and what method they are testing under. These are all ways that identify a lab and keep records. 

Un-ethical hemp sellers will also steal lab reports by asking for COA’s from strain they want to pose as. It tricks buyers into buying hemp that either is un tested or possibly hot. Essentially someone may say they are selling 15% CBD Cherry Wine when it can actually be a nameless low CBD hemp plant. It is a smart idea to watermark lab reports for your crop before sending it to someone to avoid it being stolen and used by someone else.  The lab report is your property that was made for you and gives information on your crop. 

If you’re buying hemp always ask for the post harvest lab report. The numbers will be at its highest at the end. This can lead to a lot of inconsistent products made out of it that actually turn out hot, such as CBD oil and edibles. Those manufactured products, such as CBD oil, can cause havoc in people lives that need it for health by costing them their jobs when it comes back as marijuana.

As a buyer, you have free tools that can help you from people who steal lab reports from Google searches and the internet. We personally recommend Tineye reverse image search and Google Image Reverse Search.  Both are search engines that will search the whole internet by pixel and locate it if the image is from the internet. They can locate images even if they are manipulated by Photoshop. We have had better luck using Tineye to scour the internet, while Google’s results can be general if the image isn’t popular. To access them you will have to go to their websites which then you will have their search bar to use. To use them, you will have the lab report saved.  This way you can upload the image to their search bar. 

Working as processors and consultants for farms and growers we’ve seen many scams come through, but the most concerning is the thievery of lab reports. Whether buying from a dispensary or online we always use these parameters to help us buy safe and legal hemp.  You have to be very diligent when dealing with cannabis companies or growers when purchasing or contracting buds.  We have to police ourselves because of the lack of regulation in this industry and the fact that the USDA seems to want to sit back and watch it implode. 

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Buy our book your crop depends on it!  Farming Industrial Hemp Not Your Daddy’s Tobacco. It’s the #1 release on Amazon in Soil Science and is the ultimate guide to fixing your soil and preventing toxins in your hemp and CBD oil. We are available for crop and business consulting in the cannabis industry. Email us at

About the Authors:

Dr. John O’Connor PhD:

 As an Industrial Hemp Psychologist, Dr. O’Connor has worked with the Virginia Universities in the pilot hemp programs since 2014. Prior to the hemp pilot programs, Dr. O’Connor consulted dozens of farms in upstate New York, helping them with soil science and agricultural management. Since the 2018 Farm Bill, he has worked with scores of farms throughout the southeast region in establishing productive industrial hemp farming systems. As an international consultant, he is currently helping farmers in Africa grow industrial hemp in their soil. An ardent observer of human behavior, Dr. O’Connor’s insightful knowledge has added volumes of helpful knowledge to understanding the agricultural industry’s ever-changing regulations, including the 2018 Farms Bill’s industrial hemp inclusion as a farm commodity. As a consultant, his understanding of agricultural regulations and organic farming techniques has help hundreds of farms. He serves as President of the American Emotional Wellness Organization and Books for Charity, Inc a 501 C 3 nonprofit charity, and Apex Literary Management as well as Reverend to the Chapel of Light and Spiritual Awareness church. Dr. O’Connor has over three decades of therapy experience working with individuals, groups, corporations, and small businesses. He has received recognition from Google for having set a record with over a of 30k views to his reviews. LinkedIn congratulated him for being in the top 10% most viewed profiles. He is also a Certified Master Photographer with credits in multiple newspapers and magazines through the US and Canada. What seems like a lifetime ago at the beginning of his career, he graduated from the New Hampshire Police academy with honors. Dr. O’Connor’s articles have been published in sports magazines such as Fighter, RPM, Concealed Carry Magazine, and Summit Racing, for his knowledge on developing an unbeatable mental game, endurance, human performance, and self-protection. He is an IDPA Winter Nationals event winner and a Certified NRA pistol instructor.

Shawn Valor: 

Shawn Valor is a seasoned copywriter, published content creator, and novel-writing entrepreneur with 6 novels under development. He is a Master Luthier at Brute Force guitars with over 100 guitars, basses, and mandolins crafted by him. He is a knowledgeable workaholic now with 5 years experience in working in the Hemp growing Industry as an expert adviser to help make a safe and profitable yield for his clients. He partnered with Dr. John O’Connor PhD. to create a book known as Farming Industrial Hemp: Not Your Daddy’s Tobacco to help growers avoid the common issues that plague fields from what we’ve seen. We have partnered again for a book on the ultimate guide for state laws on Hemp and CBD oil to help all understand what each laws means whether grower, processor, or traveler. He has wowed audiences at the Southern Hemp Expo as a speaker representing the national event. 

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