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.

Here are some things to look out for when researching CBD products on Amazon:

1 ) Extravagantly high numbers for the amount 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 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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