As research uncovers more therapeutic properties of CBD, the user base has hit an all-time peak. But with numerous manufacturers jostling in a cut-throat CBD market to get consumers' attention, it's hard to know what might be best for you, or even how to spot fake CBD from the real deal.
From about half a billion in 2018, the US CBD consumer sales of CBD is set to hit 1.8 billion USD by 2022, says Statista. This leaves potential consumers with a confusing lot of products from different brands. Among them, a number engage questionable practices to slash production costs and maximize profit so when navigating through the overwhelming options, it becomes difficult to spot fake CBD from quality.
Here, we'll list all the ways in which a manufacturer may be deceptive in their descriptions or marketing and how to tell good quality CBD from products best avoided.
CBD On Amazon
Although online platforms like Amazon help you get more information and discover the best deals, the truckloads of options on their search results can leave an average CBD buyer even more confused.
Worse, marketing platforms through Amazon have strict rules, making it difficult for consumers to tell what they are buying. For instance, vendors are not allowed to mention CBD on their products.
Amazon restricts businesses from selling CBD or anything containing CBD on their platform, so expect to see a confusing number of "hemp" products when you search for CBD products.
While CBD is extracted from hemp, they are not the same thing. Don't be too quick to make a purchase decision from listings. You'll find these listings to belong to one of two categories of products:
- Quality products with genuine claims
- Fake CBD products with bogus medical claims to swindle unsuspecting buyers
Some sellers list their genuine CBD products as hemp to get past Amazon's restrictions, so double check by visiting the seller's website or contacting them to be sure of what you're purchasing.
Why should you watch out for fake CBD?
When scouting for CBD oil, purity and safety are chief factors to note. Should either of these elements be compromised, the effect could be dangerous. Sadly, many CBD products contain often superfluous ingredients which make them potentially harmful.
Such compromised products may contain:
Some CBD products feature different health-threatening additives. For instance, Vitamin E acetate is a dangerous additive common in CBD e-liquids. For oral products, sweeteners, propylene glycol, and artificial colorings are typical ingredients.
When ingested, these additives can cause a range of health concerns in users.
- Heavy metals
Scientific evidence establishes hemp as a known bio-accumulator. That is, it quickly absorbs compounds, including high-toxicity ones like heavy metals, from its growing environment.
Therefore, many experienced growers prefer farming under controlled temperatures indoors to reduce their herbs' exposure level.
To bypass such additional expenses, unscrupulous growers expose their yields to dangerous chemicals lurking in the typical outdoor grow environment including potentially toxic atmospheric interferences and poor soil conditions. Of course, unsuspecting customers are at the receiving end of such consequences.
For a safe buy, let's discuss how to spot fake CBD or poor quality CBD.
5 Ways To Spot Fake CBD
- Bogus content claims
Currently, Amazon lists a disturbing lot of hemp products with bogus claims. Click away from a 30mL-sized hemp bottle with a 140000 mg (140 g) content label. This is unrealistic and most surely inaccurate.
You can also find some distortions and inaccuracies on the labels themselves.
Some products use names similar to popular brands as well as mimic the packaging of top sellers to confuse consumers. Such differences may be tricky to spot, except with close and detailed inspection.
- Third-Party Lab-Test Result Is A Must
Here's arguably the single most accurate way to spot a fake CBD oil. To tell fake from genuine, the CBD industry adopts the third-party lab test.
The test produces a result known as the Certificate of Analysis (or COA), which itemizes a CBD product's actual ingredients (and concentration).
Basically, COAs investigate a CBD product's chemical profiles and compares them to what the label says, thereby verifying the label's accuracy – or inaccuracy.
Every top brand knows the importance of a COA. The certificate is a thing of pride among reputable manufactures so it's never hidden. You should find them on products or their website.
If you find none, feel free to ask, but don't be strung along. If they can't provide it, or list excuses as to why it's unavailable, move on to another brand.
Pro tip - Ensure the COA is one issued no older than 1 year and has the batch number of the product you're buying.
- What's on the ingredient list?
From mere visuals, you may flop trying to distinguish CBD oil from hemp seed oil.
Remember, CBD oil and hemp seed oil are not the same things – they offer unique benefits and are extracted from different hemp plant parts.
That is, while CBD oil is an extract isolated from the stalk, leaves, and buds of the hemp plant, hemp seed oil is extracted from hemp seeds and is more nutritional than therapeutic or medicinal.
While quality products usually mention just carrier oil as ingredient, "fake" products may print a long list of compounds with bogus promises to charm unsuspecting users.
- CBD isn't cheap
From preventing environmental contaminants by maintaining best growing practices to the rigorous extraction process and then third-party lab testing, packaging, and marketing, there's nothing really cheap about the CBD oil production process.
In the world of CBD, cheap and quality rarely meet.
If an offer looks too good to be true, it probably is.
- Check for product reviews
Users' reviews hint at what to expect from a product. Being a collection of users' experiences on a particular product, you can make a more well-informed decision by browsing through product reviews.
When scrolling down the list of "CBD products" on online platforms like Amazon, remember there are as many fake products as genuine.
A fake CBD oil will ruin your CBD expectations and, too often, leave more health concerns – from mild to severe – then health benefits.
Thankfully, the tips above should guide you from the fakes and help you make a worth-while purchase.
If you still don't feel safe surfing the internet for a product, feel free to check out our store at Envy Hemp where we provide 3rd party COAs for each product.
We produce only FDA-approved, lab-tested, and American-sourced hemp products –including CBD capsules, tinctures, topicals, and everything in between.
As we anticipate the FDA's regulations, let's stay enlightened and sanitize the CBD community.