This note intends to offer clarification on what the Measurement of Uncertainty (MU) is, and why it is required of certified laboratories. MU is required per the standard of the ISO/IEC 17025:2017 accreditation, which is the international standard that all quality labs follow. MU is an estimate of the possible error that can happen when performing analytical testing. Each analytical instrument (pipette, scale, HPLC, etc.) used during a testing process for a single sample has a margin of error in regards to accuracy. The margin of error for each instrument used throughout the testing process is carefully calculated, recorded and combined to form a Total Measurement of Uncertainty. This Total Measurement of Uncertainty represents the total possibility for error in your final testing results. The MU is displayed on your COA for each type of testing performed. MU is displayed as a +/- of a percentage. A total MU of +/- 5% of a final test result of 70% would mean that your final test result of 70% could truly lie anywhere between 66.5% to 73.5%. Potentially if you had a final result of 100% with an MU of +/- 5% your test result of 100% could “scientifically speaking” lie anywhere between 95% to 105%.

MU is set at a 95% Confidence Level per the ISO/IEC 17025:2017 accreditation standard. What is a Confidence Level? The Confidence Level is a statistical function used when calculating the MU for each individual analytical instrument used in the testing process and then used to calculate the Total Measurement of Uncertainty.

MU can be helpful when dealing with regulatory action limits set by government agencies. The USDA factors in the MU for final lab testing results. If you have a hemp sample that is .31% d9-THC (over the legal limit) with a MU of +/- 5%, the final test result of .31% could truly lie anywhere between .295% to .323% and therefore would be compliant.

From the Laboratory Testing Guidelines U.S. Domestic Hemp Production Program:

“Laboratories shall calculate and include the Measurement of Uncertainty (MU) when they report THC concentration test results. “Measurement of uncertainty” is defined as “the parameter, associated with the result of a measurement, that characterizes the dispersion of the values that could reasonably be attributed to the particular quantity subject to measurement.” USDA does not establish or standardize an upper or lower boundary for general use by laboratories to calculate a measurement of uncertainty. MoU is typically not standardized, but rather is controlled using test methods controlled by performance standards (e.g., AOAC Standard Method Performance Requirements 2019.003 that can be found at https://www.aoac.org/resources/smpr-2019003/).”

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Follow the instructions in this video:

Sample Size Requirements Document attached

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Not to worry, we’ve got you covered and offer a FREE Chromatogram & COA educational course for you and your team so you can effectively read a raw chromatogram directly from an instrument. This allows you to make your own informed decisions regarding your testing results with PharmLabs or any other lab you may decide to use. Whether it’s going over terminology on a COA, or examining a raw chromatogram report, a live human science nerd will be available to you to answer your questions!

“COC” is short for “Chain of Custody”. This form is required for every batch of samples that are submitted to the lab. This is similar to a work order; it tells us important information such as your sample name, what specific type of testing you want performed and how you would like your final results formatted. Please watch this video for details on how to fill out a COC:

Each testing service has its own time frame which starts once a payment is received and the sample is placed into queue of the lab. Our typical Turnaround Time (TAT) is 48 hours for Potency Analysis and 72 hours for Full Panels.

Rush Services ensures priority placement of your samples ahead of any non-rush samples. Rush services are available and the TAT is dependent on current sample load. Potency Analysis is typically returned the same day (COB) when samples are received by or before 11am that day. For current estimated TAT for Rush Services please contact the lab.

*Please note that any combination of testing services that includes microbial testing will take a minimum of 3 business days.

Individual states determine action limits for safe levels for residual solvents, heavy metals, pesticides and other required testing for consumer products. Most often, municipalities base these action limits on FDA recommendations.

Consumer products that are hemp derived including D8 fall under the 2018 Farm Bill which requires industrial hemp and hemp products contain no more than 0.3% D9-THC. The only way to ensure your products are compliant is to test your products and obtain a COA from an accredited lab. States continue to increase regulations regarding lab testing requirements along with how hemp/CBD products are manufactured and sold.

Per the USDA, all hemp testing laboratories must be registered with the DEA to test hemp for compliance by December 31, 2023. PharmLabs has been licensed with the DEA since 2021

It is recommended that you purchase credits ahead of submitting samples to the lab to ensure the fastest TAT, as the testing process begins once full payment is received. Please contact us at (619) 356-0898 to make payment over the phone, and/or fill out and return the Credit Card Authorization form which can be found in your Client Portal account.

No. Unfortunately, due to ISO:IEC 17025:2017 guidelines we must collect payment prior to starting the testing process.

No. We’re currently working on providing an online payment option

If you’d like the “Analyzed For” section to show a specific name, please make a clear note on the front of your Chain of Custody form.

PharmLabs can provide sample photos for finished packaging on your COA but if you prefer a specific photo or graphic please email them to Care@SDPharmlabs.com. Please note, these should be with a plain white background and are only allowed for QA COAs (no compliance testing).

Please email your concerns to Care@SDPharmlabs.com – be sure to include test ID number / sample ID number (located in the top left corner of the COA), the company name / email address associated with the test, and as many details as you can about the concern regarding that sample. This may include results vs expectations, formulation information, ingredients, the test ID of the starting material (if we tested it), or other tests in the same batch that came out differently. We will work diligently to investigate, and get you answers as quickly as possible. We will be here, by your side, before, during, and after the testing process.


PharmLabs has been a pioneer in testing since 2011 for cannabinoid, psychedelic and select nutraceutical testing.  We ensure product quality, safety, and compliance for both regulated and non-regulated industries.  Our white glove service guarantees that you will always be able to contact live assistance before, during and after the testing process.  Our extremely competitive pricing is personalized for your business to make sure you keep your operating costs low, but also have the opportunity to grow without compromising your ability to test your products for quality and safety.  Fast turnaround times, including same-day testing when available, means you get your results, and can conduct business in a timely manner.  Accuracy is everything to us, and we work diligently to continuously verify all processes and results before they ever reach you.  If ever there are concerns with your results, our Client Care Team is here to help you address and find resolution in a timely manner. Experience excellence with us at PharmLabs!