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Don't Buy CBD Oil From Amazon: Here's Why

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If you live in the USA, there is no doubt that Amazon is likely part of your daily life. Business Insider reports that over 100 million people are Amazon Prime members. This means that nearly 1/3rd of the US population utilizes this low priced, convenience eCommerce giant on a regular basis. You may love Amazon, you may hate it, but one thing is for sure - Amazon is NOT the place to be shopping for CBD oil.

Does Amazon Sell CBD Oil?

CBD Oil Search Results page on Amazon.com

At the time of writing, a search for CBD oil on Amazon returns "over 5,000 results". Viewing the results, you're met with a wealth of products labeled as "Hemp Oil". Verbiage matches that across the wider industry - CO2 extracted, lab tests, whole plant, etc. Many products even offer insanely low price points - 240,000mg of CBD for $25.99? Great, right?! Not so fast...

A closer look and we quickly begin to see what is going on here. None of these products are labeled "CBD oil". Instead they are all "Hemp oil" which is a term that is often used to describe either hemp seed oil or CBD oil - two very different products.

Amazon's Seller Policies Disallow the Sale of CBD Oil

If we take a quick look at Amazon's seller policies, we find that they explicitly prohibit the sale of CBD products:

Amazons seller policy prohibiting CBD sales in September 2019

So if CBD sales are prohibited on Amazon, what the heck is going on here?

The short answer is that all the products that appear here do not actually contain CBD, or they do but are labeled in such a way as to not violate Amazon's policies. In either case, this situation is not one you want to be in when shopping for CBD oil.

Let's take a deeper look at what's going on and arm you with the tools you need to identify and purchase effective high-value CBD products.

Why Does Amazon Prohibit CBD Sales, Yet Show Search Results for CBD Oil?

No matter how you look at this question, the motivation behind what is going on here always points back to money.

As CBD explodes into the mainstream, the amount of attention in the space is swelling. Amazon recognizes this and wants in on the profits - even if they can't actually sell what people are looking for.

Despite their clear policy against selling CBD on their marketplace, Amazon is happy to show what could be called "related" products for a CBD oil search. What this effectively does is captures the attention and directs customers into the eCommerce giant's selection of "CBD-looking" products.

Google trends graph showing CBD oil search popularity

Google trends graph showing CBD oil search popularity.

You and I might argue that if a policy outlines that a specific type of product can't be sold on your website then a search for that product might return no results or a page that clearly says "we prohibit the sale of this product type, but here are some related products" or another type of clear solution.

It seems, however, is that there is no legal issue showing alternatives that are indistinguishable from the real thing to the untrained eye in order to capture profits. The unfortunate truth is that this is simple deception at the cost of consumers. This unfortunate situation needs to be addressed which is why we chose to write this article - to educate and inform you, our readers, to see through this veil until and unless things change.

Breaking Down the Hemp Oil Products on Amazon

Even though buy now you're armed with plenty of information to avoid purchasing CBD oil via Amazon - and recommend to your friends and family do the same - let's take a look at some of the results to help you identify the nuanced issue at hand.

At first glance, every product on Amazon is labeled hemp oil which is a universal blanket term. As we stated above, taking a closer look, these products generally fall into two categories:

  1. The products contain hemp seed oil,
  2. or they might contain CBD, but they are labeled in a way where this can't be verified in order to skirt disapproval.

On the surface, these products look like the real thing, but there are many universal signs to look out for. These signals apply not just to the products on Amazon, but can be applied when shopping for CBD anywhere:

Misleading hemp oil example on Amazon with highlighted issues

  • Hemp Seed Oil is not CBD oil. Through this whole situation, this is the most important point to understand as it is at the core of the issue here. Hemp seed oil is an oil that is extracted from hemp seeds. It is rich in Omega 3 & 6 fatty acids, amino acids, fiber and more. This edible oil is a fantastic super-food with a wide variety of uses, but it DOES NOT contain CBD. CBD is sourced from the flowering tops of the female hemp plant and requires a different, more expensive type of processing to be extracted. Most of the oil for sale on Amazon is hemp seed oil designed to look like CBD oil. This article further breaks down the differences between the two.
  • Products are labeled in mg but are not referencing mg of CBD content. Real CBD products are labeled by calling out the mg of CBD content per bottle or serving. The products on Amazon are labeling in a similar way, yet instead, they call out the mg of hemp seed oil in a bottle. Remember that this oil does not contain CBD - this is simple misdirection. This seed oil is cheap to produce when compared to a CBD-rich oil which is why the mg content compared to the cost of these products are too good to be true. Check out this article for more information on determining high-value dollar per milligram of CBD products.
  • Look out for related industry terms that don't clearly indicate CBD content. Terms like extract, CO2 extracted, lab-tested, and whole-plant are often used, but these do not prove CBD content.
  • Missing of verifiable information. When shopping for a product, there are many points you should check into (covered below in our buyers guide). Things like verifying CBD content via the lab reports, hemp sourcing information and more. These pieces of information will be missing on Amazon because they break the rules that would have the products caught for violating the no-CBD selling rules.
  • Beware of medical claims. Always beware of any company or seller making medical claims. This practice is not employed by top companies as it violates FDA guidelines. Many sellers on Amazon use medical claims commonly cited across CBD-specific research.
  • Look to the reviews. A real 5-star product usually contains a normal distribution of ratings. Most people are happy and only a few might have 1-star feedback. Review faking/buying is a big problem for Amazon and that is clear here. Many hemp oil products on Amazon carry a heavy load of one-star reviews. This feedback often includes "No CBD" comments which points to the underlying problem at hand.

How to Find High-Value, Effective CBD Products

This way to great CBD sign

It's unfortunate that when advising potential CBD users "lookout for fakes" and "beware of marketplaces that sell misleading products" is even part of the conversation, but as of today, it is.

We are committed to producing education that helps inform all users. Specific to the topic of finding a quality, safe product, we've produced a guide which acts as the perfect next step for this article. Please visit our CBD Buyers Guide for in-depth information that will empower you to find high-value CBD suppliers.

Don't hesitate to leave any questions or comments below, and be sure to share this article with your friends and family - especially those who are avid Amazon shoppers!



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