Warning Signs of a Fake CBD Product

The CBD hype had gotten so big in previous years, especially during the late 2010s, that fake CBD products started to flood the market. There was an alarming number of CBD products that were failing lab tests for safety and efficacy, and it’s becoming a big cause for concern.

CBD was being marketed as a panacea of sorts for various ailments, from arthritis to insomnia. That’s why the hype train got so big and the claims became quite ridiculous, and that set the stage for fake CBD products to become an actual thing. As long as there’s profit to be had, there will always be unscrupulous characters who will look to profit from consumer’s naivete.

Since the US Food and Drug Administration does not regulate CBD like it does most pharmaceuticals, you’ll have to rely more on reputable brands and your own judgment to avoid buying fake CBD products. The FDA does monitor the marketing of such problems, especially those that claim to cure illnesses and bolster health, so it’s not like they’re complete hands-off.

Let’s learn what to look for to know whether a CBD product is real or fake.

How Common Are Fake CBD Products?

SC Laboratories completed a study in July 2020 in cooperation with the United Cannabis Business Association (UCBA), wherein they tested 17 samples that were bought from unlicensed CBD retailers around Los Angeles.

They found that more than 70% of those samples failed their tests, either from excessive contamination or just not even being hemp in the first place. That says a lot about how much you can trust stuff being sold in most head shops and gas stations.

Meanwhile, 42% of the samples failed safety testing, while 1.5% of them outright failed in testing for contaminants on the regulated market, with a level of contamination several hundred times more than the allowable limit. They’re actually toxic, and they’re being sold to consumers.

Around 53% of them that are labeled as hemp or hemp-based are actually not hemp. The 2018 Farm Bill classifies hemp as cannabis that contains no more than 0.3% THC.

This study has shown that fake CBD products are rampant in today’s market, and it’s imperative for consumers to be able to tell the difference between the fake stuff from the genuine article for their safety and to truly get their money’s worth.

Fake CBD Products Have the Following

“CBD Oil” on Amazon

Do you buy CBD products on Amazon? You’re likely buying fake CBD products the whole time. Amazon does not give permission to sell CBD products, but they’re allowed to sell hemp products. The company’s policy on the banning of the sale of drugs and drug paraphernalia also covers full spectrum hemp oil, rich hemp oil, and any product that contains CBD.

Amazon is doing this to prevent scammers from selling their fake wares on their site. But of course, some still slip through the cracks and sell their fake or mislabeled CBD or hemp products on Amazon, bypassing Amazon’s monitoring system unethically.

The hemp oil that does get sold on Amazon tends to use some fuzzy terminology. For instance, there’s no such thing as CBD-rich hemp oil; that “rich” term denotes the oil being phytocannabinoid-rich. Since most hemp oil is cold-pressed from hemp seeds that contain little to no CBD, you’re certainly not getting a significant amount of CBD from these products.

Just understand that “CBD hemp oil” or “CBD hemp seed oil” are products that actually don’t exist in the real world. They only exist in the fuzzy policy-run world of Amazon, and they don’t really mean anything.

Clear Bottles

Heaven forbid that you buy anything supposedly containing CBD in a clear bottle. Not only is it cheaper to have clear bottles, but that also means whatever is inside will likely break down due to light and heat. Those brown glass bottles that contain stuff like medicine and such are designed to keep the contents from decaying due to light, and they’re required for real CBD oil.

Therefore, if you see products purported to contain CBD, yet they’re being sold in clear bottles, that’s definitely a red flag. Even if they do contain CBD, it’ll likely break down and become useless over a short period of time.

Low Prices

Beware of really cheap CBD products as it can mean that whatever they’re selling doesn’t actually have CBD in them. Making CBD products is not a cheap process, so you have to be willing to spend some good money in order to get the good stuff. After all, you get what you pay for, and that’s certainly the case for anything you intend to put into your body.

Companies selling CBD tend to have discounts and sales to sell more of their goods, but your spider senses need to perk up whenever the price becomes too good to be true. If they’re selling it practically for pennies on the dollar, then that stuff is likely fake CBD.

Legitimate CBD brands invest a whole lot of money for the quality of their products, so they have to sell their stuff at prices above that. Be willing to pay good money for reputable brands and you will be rewarded.

Unusually High CBD Amounts

CBD products tend to indicate the total amount of CBD in it right on the package, and it’s rare to see more than 6,000mg per package. There are some legitimate products that carry more, like 10,000mg, but those products tend to have a lot more product in it as well.

Usually, what you’ll see are 300mg, 1000mg, 1200mg, and 3000mg. More than that, like 7000mg or even 12000mg, then you’ll have to check the total quantity of the product and see if the math checks out.

Unrealistic Health Claims

It’s illegal for CBD brands to make medical claims in the US, whether it’s for treating illnesses, aiding health conditions, alleviating disorders, or so on. The Food and Drug Administration has ruled that no CBD product can claim to have any therapeutic claims.

Therefore, if there’s a CBD product that actually claims that it can relieve pain, help with sleep, or so on, even if it seems reasonable to do so, do take note that it’s being done as a marketing ploy. If the CBD product is from a legit brand, they likely don’t have to do that and risk breaking the law in the first place.


Buy real CBD oil only from retailers you can trust, whether it’s a brick-and-mortar store or an online store dedicated to CBD. Don’t buy CBD products from gas stations or convenience stores as they may not have gone through the same stringent regulations that CBD products have to go through. It does mean you have to do some extra homework in order to guarantee that the CBD tincture or gummies you’re purchasing are for real, but it’s for your health and safety.

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