Why Not to Buy CBD Products from Amazon
Written by Justine Lopez
Everybody loves the convenience and safety that comes with shopping online through major e-commerce companies. So, it’s no surprise that many people head straight to Amazon to buy CBD oil, not realizing those products are fake or sketchy.
Here’s the problem:
Amazon doesn’t allow the sale of CBD oil products, so you will not find established brands on Amazon. What you will find are fake products sold by individuals who see that “CBD” is a highly searched keyword with zero competition —because it’s not allowed— and jump at the opportunity to make a quick buck. This unfortunate scam leaves thousands of people every month believing that CBD doesn’t work. However, in most cases CBD products have shown great benefits not only for human consumption but also for pets.
Amazon Prohibits CBD Oil -
It’s abundantly clear that Amazon doesn’t allow CBD oil supplements in their restricted product list, which includes: “Products containing cannabidiol (CBD), a Schedule I Controlled Substance, including but not limited to: Rich Hemp Oil containing cannabidiol (CBD)”.
Why Does Amazon Ban CBD? -
Amazon is behind the times when it comes to this topic. Admittedly, CBD’s legality was in a weird gray area for many years during which time it had to be sourced specifically from imported industrial hemp oil extracted from the stalks of the plant. That was cleared up, however, when the 2018 Farm Bill passed. The bill separated hemp from marijuana to end the mistake of lumping hemp into marijuana’s schedule I drug status.
Why Does Amazon Ban CBD? -
Most likely, Amazon is maintaining this stance because they don’t want to be responsible for babysitting their market to ensure people are selling CBD oil derived from hemp, not marijuana. After all, it’s impossible to tell the difference between hemp and marijuana oil by looking.
Hemp oil vs marijuana oil -
The only way to truly tell if a CBD oil product contains what it claims is to lab test the product in question to confirm its cannabinoid content. By legal definition, hemp is a cannabis plant containing 0.3% or less of the intoxicating compound, THC. At that extremely low amount, there’s no possibility of getting “high.” However, even a lab test could leave one suspicious. In theory, someone could make marijuana oil test like hemp oil by removing the THC compounds or, more likely, watering it way down.
Amazon has the right to ban CBD from their website, but hopefully, they revise their terms and conditions to accurately reflect what CBD hemp oil is: an agriculture commodity, not a drug.
But… I Found “CBD Oil” on Amazon.
CBD oil tags on Amazon -
Search “CBD oil” on Amazon and you’ll find 20+ pages of results. This is because of the “tags” the seller is using in the back-end of their product listing. It’s a clever tactic to target popular search terms, without tipping off Amazon that they’re selling a prohibited product. Even if the word “CBD” isn’t in the product listing’s title, if it’s set up as a tag, it will still show up when someone searches for it. If a product listing does say “CBD oil”, that just means they slipped through the cracks and Amazon hasn’t caught them yet. It’s always a matter of time before they’re discovered and removed.
We Put Amazon’s Top CBD Products to the (Lab) Test -
Most people do not get their CBD oil tested, for various reasons:
1) Unaware of the importance of lab testing
2) No access to a lab
3) Unsure how to do it
4) Unable to pay for a lab test
So, we purchased the top three recommended “CBD oil products” on Amazon and sent them to an accredited third-party cannabis testing facility in our home state of Michigan.
#1: Hemp Works -
When we searched “CBD oil”, this tincture by Hemp Works was the first thing to pop up. They have an impressive 309 reviews —so it must be good, right? Buying Hemp Works from Amazon - Well, it does contain CBD…but not even remotely close to the advertised amount. The “1,000mg” text on the label boldly suggests there is 1,000mg CBD. However, the test came back at just 8.7mg CBD in the entire bottle. Hemp Works lab test COA - The lab report above shows that there’s 0.3mg CBD per gram. This product is in a 1oz (30ml) bottle, with the total liquid inside weighing 29 grams. So, if we multiply 29 by 0.3, we get the total CBD in the product —8.7mg.
#2: Elite Hemp Gummies -
CBD edibles are very popular despite their higher price points. We decided to grab the top suggested product when we searched “CBD gummies”, which was Elite Hemp Gummies. Buying Elite Hemp Gummies from Amazon - Right off the bat, the awkwardly Photoshopped featured image for this product made us very skeptical. But, at 556 reviews, we gave it a chance and sent it to a third-party lab. As it turns out, each gummy contains just 0.3mg of CBD. That’s a far cry from the advertised 30mg CBD. Elite Hemp Gummies lab test COA - The lab test shows that there’s 0.1mg CBD per gram. Each gummy weighs 3.05 grams, so we multiplied 0.1 by 3.05 to get that result.
#3: Nature Driven -
Another top recommended “CBD oil” product was this tincture by Nature Driven. It has 632 reviews, however, at this point, we should take a positive rating with a grain of salt. Buying Nature Driven from Amazon - Everything about this product listing seemed promising, so we sent a sample to a third-party lab. This particular product came back at 255mg of CBD, which meets their advertised 250mg CBD. While it’s nice to see a product finally test with the amount of CBD they advertise, there is no other record of the Nature Driven hemp brand online. It seems to solely exist on this Amazon listing, so we don’t know anything else about the company. The results show it contains 8.8mg of CBD per gram. This product is 1oz (30ml) and weighs 29 grams, so we multiplied 29 by 8.8 to get that result.
It’s worth mentioning these lab tests were ONLY looking at the cannabinoid profile, the next step would be to test them for heavy metals, pesticides, and other contaminants. Just because a CBD oil product has the amount of CBD in it the label suggests, doesn’t mean it’s not full of other harmful contaminants. Hemp itself is a soil remediator, meaning it can pull harmful toxins out of the soil. This is good if you are trying to clean up your soil, but not if you are making products which will be ingested by humans.
So we can see that while there are some good CBD products on Amazon, there are no checks to ensure each product contains the CBD quantity advertised, thus making it difficult for consumers to choose.
Reputable CBD Companies Don’t Sell on Amazon -
It’s possible that there are people selling good CBD products on Amazon, risking the rules (and themselves) to better mankind by offering the power of CBD oil to everyone through a trusted platform. It’s also possible that people sell alleged “CBD oil” on Amazon because it’s an extremely popular search term with no competition —because it’s not allowed. The only competition is from the other people doing the same sketchy maneuver, so they’re guaranteed to make money if they can successfully evade the watchful eyes of Amazon’s legal team.
Always remember that anybody can sell on Amazon.
What Makes it “Fake” CBD Oil? -
There are two main ways in which CBD oil products on Amazon are found to be fake. The most common is when bottles of hemp seed oil are labeled as “hemp oil” and therefore mistaken by the consumer as containing CBD. Even if a product says something like “100mg” on the front of the label, that doesn’t mean it contains 100mg of CBD. It can mean something else entirely or could be a marketing gimmick.
The second way is when a seller deliberately designs a product label to look like CBD oil but contains no traces of hemp or CBD. In this case, it’s all about a con artist seeing an opportunity to make quick money by taking advantage of Amazon’s popularity and trustworthiness.
They’re also taking advantage of CBD’s growing popularity in the U.S. and Amazon’s ban.
How to Tell if a CBD Product is Fake -
None of the five basic human senses will tip off whether something contains CBD. Unless, of course, you’re a scientist with a microscope. The only way to verify how much CBD is in a product is by sending it to a laboratory to test for cannabinoids.
CBD oil lab test -
Lab tests are essential to the integrity of the CBD industry. Any reputable manufacturer will have a lab test, known as a Certificate of Analysis (COA), readily available upon request or by direct download on their website.
Beware of Bogus Reviews -
A big problem online is fake reviews, and Amazon is no exception. There are many ways for sellers to pay for reviews, so those should always be taken with a grain of salt as well.
Why Fake or Low-Quality CBD Oil is Bad for our Industry -
We decided to write about this topic because it hurts the entire CBD industry when these scams happen. When someone new to CBD oil buys on Amazon and gets a fake product, they’re not going to get the results they’re expecting based on what they’ve heard or read about CBD. It’s unlikely they’ll jump to the conclusion “Maybe this product isn’t real CBD oil.” No, they’re probably going to think CBD oil doesn’t work. And they’re likely to talk poorly about CBD to others. So, one person falling prey to a snake oil salesman on Amazon can potentially discourage hundreds from ever discovering the benefits of CBD.