How To Spot Fake CBD
Table of contents
- Spotting fake CBD
- High numbers
- Hemp seed oil
- Fake full spectrum
- Clear oil
- Amazons snake oil
Fake CBD everywhere on online marketplaces
When trying something new, the first thing many consumers will do is browse through an online marketplace, like Amazon — it’s an easy way to learn more information and compare products, as well as find the best deal. Now that the spotlight has been shed on CBD and hemp, there is a plethora of related products that are available on Amazon, making the choices seem overwhelming. What a lot of people don’t know is that Amazon has very strict policies when it comes to retailers that want to sell CBD, leaving many consumers unaware of what they are actually purchasing when they search for CBD products.
Amazon bans its sellers from mentioning CBD in their listings — however, search results for CBD will bring up over half a dozen pages of hemp products. There are typically two types of products: genuine CBD sellers who skirt around the wording in order to make their products available, and outright scammers who use blatant medical claims and deceptive advertising to sell fake CBD products.
The FDA is currently in the process of deciding exactly what regulations will be implemented regarding the inclusion of hemp derived CBD as a dietary supplement in a variety of products. The legal grey area concerning CBD has been a source of frustration for both consumers and retailers alike as the demand for it has reached an all-time high, and regulators are struggling to catch up. The issue lies primarily in the fact that hemp is a type of cannabis — the prohibition of cannabis has caused a huge gap in consumer knowledge, and these fake CBD retailers take full advantage of that. Many people don’t know how to spot fake CBD or that it even exists.
Look out for these 4 Fake CBD signs on Amazon
1. High number of hemp extract
When you see a product on Amazon that is advertising
“140 000mg” of hemp oil in a 30mL bottle, there are several red flags to alert you that the product isn’t everything that it is presenting itself to be. The worst part is, these are some of the highest selling products on Amazon for that category.
A big giveaway is the lack of a comma or a period in the numbers, like putting “140 000mg” or “140.000mg” instead of “140,000mg”. It is also important to pay attention to the size of a product, because a lot of claims are outright impossible: How do you fit 140,000mg, or 140mL, of a substance into a 30mL bottle?
Typically, these products are usually priced extremely low, so like most things, if the price seems too good to be true, it probably is.
2. Hemp seed oil
Although both can be considered hemp oil, there is a huge difference between hemp seed oil and full spectrum hemp extract. This is a technicality that many Amazon retailers use to get away with marketing their products as “hemp oil” or “hemp extract”, because they are aware that most people don’t know the difference.
Hemp seeds do not contain any phytocannabinoids, so if a person is looking to buy a product that contains CBD, they would not be getting that with only hemp seed oil. Again, hemp seed oil products are typically much cheaper than a true full spectrum hemp extract product that contains CBD, so when in doubt, look at the price. If a 60mL hemp oil product only costs $15, it most likely does not have any CBD.
3. Fake Full Spectrum
If a product says that it is full spectrum but zero THC, it is a fake. Full spectrum indicates that there are at least trace amounts of THC, as well as other phytocannabinoids; if it does not have THC, then it cannot be a full spectrum hemp extract.
This could mean that the product uses either a distillate hemp extract, which only contains a few different phytocannabinoids, or an isolate CBD, which has been stripped of everything but the singular CBD compound. A company who would advertise isolate or distillate CBD as “full spectrum” is obviously not an honest company to be purchasing from.
4. Clear Full Spectrum Oil
There is no such thing as clear full spectrum extract. If it is clear, there is no way for it to be full spectrum, because full spectrum hemp extract has undergone the least amount of processing, which means it retains a majority of the natural plant materials and therefore has a naturally darker hue.
Amazon allows fake CBD snake oil
Amazon does not allow retailers to advertise CBD in their products, but they are more than willing to allow scam retailers to continue selling snake oil products touting the “medicinal properties” of hemp seed oil without so much as a sanction. It would seem that Amazon is perfectly happy to have their customers be swindled and ripped off as long as there is no CBD in the product. Until they start allowing legitimate CBD retailers to advertise accordingly, Amazon customers who are searching for the genuine thing will always be vulnerable to these con artists.
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CONSISTENCY: We work very hard to ensure quality and consistency for each batch of hemp extract that is used to create our products; however, due to the nature of the organic components in our hemp extract, we cannot always ensure a visual consistency with each batch — this means that some batches will have a lighter or darker color than others. Hemp is a commodity, so even batches from the same crop will have variances from each other. This does not affect the quality of the hemp extract — it is normal for there to be visual differences from each batch to the next. Unlike many others, we don’t synthetically process our hemp extract; this means that we don’t use harsh, toxic chemicals that strip the essential compounds from the plant so that our extract is able to retain the majority of its raw, natural components.
How to spot fake CBD? There are marketplaces like Amazon that allow fake CBD products to be sold. Learn how to weed out the fakes and find a good CBD product.
Real CBD – How to Tell if CBD Oil is Real or Fake
In our last few articles we looked at several large CannaBiDioL (CBD) companies – Elixinol and Charlotte’s Web – which present investors with a couple of pure plays on the CBD theme and have the financials to prove it. (Both of these companies produce real CBD oil extract taken from the cannabis plant.) While writing these pieces, we spent some time talking with industry experts and realized there’s a real problem out there when it comes to fake CBD oil being sold. Before we get into that, we’re going to talk about why fake CBD tincture is so problematic.
The Effects of CBD
Throughout our time researching CBD, we’ve observed a few common themes. The first is that people will respond variably to CBD at differing doses. In other words, CBD affects everyone a bit differently. What CBD will not do is get you high. That’s the problem here. If you’ve ever bought fake weed, you know that the first time you tried to blaze up with it, the taste wasn’t there and there was no high. You knew immediately that what you bought was fake. The difference with CBD is that it does not make you high and you can’t actually feel the effects of it. Instead, people will say things like “I feel less anxiety” or “I’m able to sleep better at night” or “I feel less pain” which are all great benefits but also could result from other factors. One reason you could experience an improvement is because of something called “the placebo effect” which seems to be more powerful the more you spend. An $80 bottle of real CBD tincture better do something, otherwise you wasted your money. Nobody wants to feel like they wasted money.
Here is what it all comes down to. If you do take CBD, you want to be absolutely sure you’re taking real CBD. As you can probably guess, not all CBD tinctures are created the same. It is, however, all pretty pricey stuff. Weed smokers know that smoking a 20-sack of Mexican brick weed isn’t worth the chronic cough and the fact you need to smoke half an eight for a head change. Pony up a bit more and get some Beasters for 35 a sack or just pay the 50 bones and get some of the stuff that killed Elvis. Same thing holds true for CBD products. People want to find the best brand and stick with it which is what the numbers tell us. The key takeaway here is that you can avoid the fakes by finding a legitimate brand that works for you and stick with it. If the best brand doesn’t give you any positive effects, then CBD isn’t for you and you can stop wasting money on it.
Testing for Fake CBD
There’s a way that anyone can find out if CBD oil is real or fake, but most don’t want to go through the hassle. The people that do want to get CBD products tested are the producers, at least responsible producers. Nobody wants to suddenly find out from a third-party source that their CBD gummies have pesticides in them. That’s exactly what happened in January of last year when a website called Remedy Review tested 29 CBD brands and 4 failed with 1 product recall already issued. That was over a year ago, and there’s no point in dragging these brands through the muck. What we do want to know more about is how they tested these products. Like many of the producers do, they used an objective third-party testing laboratory.
We first learned about ProVerde while talking with Charlotte’s Web about the prevalence of fake CDB oils on Amazon. (In one case, a CBD oil on Amazon was tested and found to be olive oil. And probably bottom-shelf olive oil at that.) Founded in 2013, Massachusetts startup ProVerde Laboratories has taken in $2.8 million in funding to offer “analytical testing and consulting services in the marijuana and hemp segment.” They offer a sophisticated suite of testing services that’s accredited and used by some of the world’s leading cannabis firms to test their cannabis and hemp products for harmful contaminants such as mold, mildew, bacteria, heavy metals, and pesticides in an effort to ensure product sold or processed is safe to consume. The lab does not offer, sell, or broker CBD products so they can remain purely objective.
A sample report from ProVerde – Source: ProVerde
ProVerde is the lab used by Remedy Review to test various CBD brands, but one would expect the top brands are already doing this. According to Remedy Review, a firm like Elixinol will actually send in their own products along with other “duds” in order to keep themselves honest and make sure the quality check is working as expected. Anyone who wants to get a CBD product tested can avail themselves of this service, but most consumers would never go through the hassle. Also, a one-time test doesn’t cut it. Today’s brands that don’t have quality issues can easily become tomorrow’s brands that do have quality issues. That’s why you want to look for brands that emphasize quality as a competitive differentiator and go to great lengths to make sure their products are of the highest quality through constant and consistent testing. One entity that wants to provide some structure around the whole of this is the U.S. Hemp Authority.
How to Tell if CBD Oil is Real or Fake
Search for CBD Oil on Amazon and you’ll get over 1,000 results. It’s not a good idea to try and sift through these and find a winner. Instead of spending time and money trying to validate the legitimacy of the many CBD brands out there coming out of the woodwork, why not let someone else handle this? Turns out the U.S. Hemp Authority was put together for that purpose. While the name sounds legitimate, we don’t just assume they are. A look at their website shows their leadership team and their history which we’ll try and paraphrase here.
Founded in 2016, the U.S. Hemp Authority is a tax-exempt organization, legally independent of other hemp organizations and companies, and is not a governmental body or regulatory agency. The effort is presently being funded by the U.S. Hemp Roundtable – a coalition of dozens of hemp companies – that represent every link of the product chain, from seed to sale. They’ve developed a 43-page Guidance Plan which provides some set procedures for growers and producers to follow which the industry has collectively agreed upon. Those companies that adopt these guidelines are then considered to be “certified” and will then presumably adorn their product labels with a stamp of approval. The first Guidance Plan – Version 1.0 – has resulted in 13 companies receiving certification and they’re currently working on Guidance Plan 2.0.
13 companies received certification – Credit: U.S. Hemp Roundtable
It’s important to note that just because a company isn’t on this list, that doesn’t mean they’re not legitimate. One company not on the list is Elixinol, although their Regulatory Officer & Industry Liaison sits on the board of the U.S. Hemp Authority. We would assume that’s because this is a list of U.S. companies only. In addition to Charlotte’s Web (listed as CW Hemp above), there are 10 other companies above we haven’t covered yet. Stay tuned for our coming CBD articles in which we’ll take a closer look at some of these companies.
In the cannabis world, the quality of a product begins speaking for itself immediately after you take that first green hit. In the world of CBD, you need to play around with dosages to see what works for you. If you have no problems sleeping, no pain, or no anxiety, then you need to be self-aware enough to gauge what – if anything – you stand to gain from using CBD products. Companies will work harder and harder to differentiate themselves. For example, Charlotte’s Web talks about how their full spectrum CBD products contain a more complete spectrum of the 113 identified cannabinoids in cannabis plants which – as we keep saying – will affect everyone differently based on everything from dosage size to brand of product. You can’t go wrong with Charlotte’s Web, but if you’re looking at using other brands, it wouldn’t hurt to make sure that they’re validated by the U.S. Hemp Authority or regularly subject their products to third-party quality tests to ensure a consistent level of quality.
Interested to try cannabidiol (CBD) out for yourself? Then try the number one CBD brand out there, Charlotte’s Web. It’s a family run by seven siblings who believe in selling only the finest CBD products from liquid and capsule products to topical creams and balms. Give them a try and see for yourself why CBD has become so popular.
Fake CBD is a real problem because it's not so obvious. How can you tell if CBD oil is real or fake? We look at some legitimate brands and quality testing.