You can order almost anything on Amazon. Search for ‘CBD’ & you’ll be met with over 1,000 results for seemingly legit products.
The problem is: CBD is explicitly banned on the website. Sounds confusing, I know. So, what are you actually getting when you buy CBD from Amazon?
‘CBD’ products found on Amazon are usually nothing more than Hemp Seed Oil which contains little to no CBD.
True CBD products use ‘whole plant’ Hemp Extract. Which utilizes the plant’s buds, flowers, & sometimes stems to extract Cannabinoids like CBD, THC, & more.
Amazon’s Stance on CBD
Let’s first take a look at Amazon Seller Central‘s policy regarding CBD:
Under the “Drugs & Drug Paraphernalia” section of their guidelines you’ll find this line which specifically prohibits CBD products.
They extend the ban from Full Spectrum Hemp Oil to ‘Rich Hemp Oil’ & lastly “products that have been identified containing CBD by LegitScript.”
What’s LegitScript? It’s a service company which monitors over 10 million websites to ‘disrupt illegal activity.’ Seemingly put in place to prevent prohibited substances such as CBD being sold on websites.
We can assume this company is very good at what they do. As they have one of the largest companies in the U.S. as a client.
So, let’s see how effective this system is at cleaning up results for the search term ‘cbd.’
Misleading Search Results
As of this writing, a search for ‘cbd’ on Amazon returns over 1,000 results. That’s a good amount for a product that is explicitly prohibited on the platform!
LegitScript?! Where are you! Should we write to Amazon to let them know they’re being cheated out of money?! Hold on, let’s look at page 2 before getting out of hand!
Wait a minute…Is it strange that all of these search results say ‘Hemp Oil’ & not ‘CBD Oil’?
Not a single one of these search results has “CBD” on it’s label, besides the books. All of the oils, gummies, & even dog treats say “Hemp” everywhere.
Hemp is where CBD comes from..isn’t it?? Well yes it is, but that doesn’t tell the whole story. If you want to know the truth you’ve got to look at the nutrition label or ingredient list.
What Are These Products Made Of?
So, I clicked on the first search result that came up because surely it’d be the best, right? “Colorado Medicinals Hemp Oil 5000mg of Pure Extract.” Clicking through every image I was waiting for a nutrition label or ingredient list but guess what? None to be found.
Scrolling down to the full description finally revealed what I was looking for. A section called ‘ingredients’. What I found was this: “oil, omega 3, omega 6, omega 9, vitamin c, vitamin”. The first ingredient? ‘Oil’. Not any specific kind oil, just oil. That’s a bit vague isn’t it? Motor oil, crude oil, canola oil I mean the list goes on!
So, what kind of oil are these ‘Hemp’ products filled with? It turns out these products are usually nothing more than ‘Hemp Seed Oil.’
Hemp Seed Oil vs. Whole Plant Extract
The problem with ‘CBD’ found on Amazon is that’s it’s not CBD at all. Unfortunately, due to the ‘hands-off’ nature of the CBD industry the market is flooded with misleading products. Because Hemp Seed Oil comes from the same plant as CBD, companies can print ‘Hemp Oil’ on labels & get away with the deception.
Hemp Seed Oil refers to an oil extracted from Hemp, but only using it’s seeds. Not the flowers/buds of the plant. An important caveat, as CBD along with other cannabinoids exist not in the seeds of the plant but in the actual buds.
For one, Hemp Seed Oil is much cheaper so you probably won’t even bother returning it or making a complaint! But, the effect it does have is making people believe CBD doesn’t work. Rightfully so as you purchase a product that comes up for the search result ‘CBD’ & trust Amazon.
Parts of Plant Used
Hemp Seed Oil
Very little to none
$0.75 – $1 per Oz.
Whole Plant Extract
$35 – $50 per Oz.
See the difference? Hemp Seed Oil is much cheaper to produce & obtain. Which explains the incredible prices you see for CBD on Amazon. It’s also why we caution people when buying CBD based solely on price.
Producing a quality, whole-plant CBD extract isn’t necessarily cheap. Add in lab-testing, marketing, and other costs & you’re talking about an expensive endeavor. So, when you see incredibly cheap CBD it’s more than likely filled with Hemp Seed Oil & not Whole Plant Hemp Extract.
Why Amazon Allows This
The question remains: why doesn’t Amazon remove these products? Remember: Amazon’s CBD policy bans Full Spectrum Hemp Oil, Rich Hemp Oil, & products identified by LegitScript as containing CBD.
The problem isn’t LegitScript failing to do its job of removing CBD listings; Because as explained these products don’t contain CBD at all!
These products are essentially using a loophole & taking advantage of uninformed consumers while making thousands of dollars. Hemp Seed Oil is, and should be, perfectly legal to possess & purchase just like any other oil on the market.
The issue falls on Amazon’s search results/filtering.
What Amazon Should Do
Amazon should essentially block searches for CBD on their platform. Meaning when you type in ‘CBD’ on Amazon they shouldn’t return any results. Even better would be a warning about the misleading products that can pose as CBD.
But, the simplest solution would be to disable those listings from showing up under ‘CBD’. Users should have to specifically type in ‘Hemp Seed Oil’ or ‘Hemp Oil’ in order for these products to come up in search results.
This would limit the amount of misleading results as customers would know exactly what they are/aren’t searching for.
How To Identify True CBD
When you’re trying to shop for CBD that will help you physically &/or mentally you must be careful & research products before making your decision. Here are some tips to help you narrow your search:
Check The Label
One of the most telltale ways to ensure a product actually contains CBD is by checking the nutrition label. Look for the ingredients list & expect to see something along the lines of ‘Whole Plant Hemp Extract’ or ‘Hemp Oil (Aerial Parts)’ .
If you only see ‘Hemp Seed Oil’ listed, then you’re looking at a phony product. However, some true CBD products also contain Hemp Seed Oil as a carrier to help absorption, since it’s high in fats. So, there are some legit products that also contain seed oil alongside ‘whole plant’ oil. But, these should be listed as two separate ingredients.
Another way to make sure you’re actually looking at a CBD product is through third-party lab tests. Which should be easily available through a QR Code &/or Batch Database with batch numbers printed on the product.
Reports should be readily available on the product page. If there are no lab results to be found anywhere that’s a huge red flag in itself. If there is a lab test, look for the Cannabinoid Analysis/Content section.
This section details CBD, THC, & other cannabinoid levels. It should have a row for each Cannabinoid & a ‘results’ column. On the ‘CBD’ row you should see a milligram per gram (mg/g) & or a percentage value showing CBD content. If results are extremely low or nonexistent, you should avoid this product!