Updated on September 17, 2021.
Medical content reviewed by Dr. Joseph Rosado, MD, M.B.A, Chief Medical Officer
The Snake River Solace dispensary, in Idaho Falls, has moved the production of high-quality CBD oil entirely in-house for quality control. Visitors are now able to see the process firsthand. Through glass windows, they can witness the extraction process as the Snake River Solace CBD oil is manufactured right in the dispensary.
If you currently purchase CBD oil for therapeutic benefit, you may already know that it can take some time to find a product that has authentic ingredients. There is a growing problem with fake CBD oil products. These problems exist in both domestically-produced and imported products. This makes it difficult for consumers to differentiate real CBD oil—which is derived from whole plant hemp—and a fake product with little to no medicinal value.
Recently, Idaho reversed its ban on CBD products. The state requires a 0.0% THC level in CBD oil products for consumers, while federal law mandates a maximum content of 0.3%.
The American CBD Industry is Plagued by Low-Quality Products and Imports
Why do CBD vendors want to specialize in the production of their own wellness products? It is a quality control solution to a growing problem in the United States. Over-the-counter cannabinol products may not contain active ingredients to promote health benefits, which threatens to tarnish the reputation of the CBD industry.
The only way to tell if a CBD oil product is authentic is to test the product for cannabinoid content. Organic CBD oil is derived from hemp, which is a cannabis plant that contains 0.3% or less of Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). True CBD oil does not contain enough THC to produce an intoxicating effect.
Cannabinoid oil can be used for a variety of wellness treatments. One of the most common uses is to promote relief from anxiety. Another popular use of CBD oil is to stimulate appetite for cancer patients undergoing treatment. Chemotherapy treatments can impact the flavor and smell of food, leading to health risks from poor nutrition for cancer patients. The same appetite stimulant effect is helpful for hospice patients experiencing similar symptoms.
How Can You Spot a Fake CBD Product Online or In-Store?
The online marketplace on Amazon is one of the places that consumers report fraudulent CBD oil products. Amazon has a strict no-CBD oil policy, however, the volume of listings makes it difficult to monitor millions of private shops on the site. When a CBD oil product is found by Amazon, the store is deleted for being in violation of the site’s terms and conditions. The vendor can then be suspended or banned from selling on Amazon.
Unfortunately, these vendors will subsequently create a new identity and put the products back up on the site. It is an endless battle for Amazon to remove these kinds of products. Private vendors have learned how to list them without triggering the algorithms that would immediately report a banned product on the site. There are literally hundreds of millions of product listings on Amazon alone, making it nearly impossible to constantly police them all.
In December of 2019, the Washington Post published an article about the growing problem of fake CBD products on Amazon and other consumer shopping websites. Furthermore, some imported and domestically produced products have been found to contain harmful additives and carcinogenic (cancer-causing) compounds.
There are, however, some warning signs that consumers can watch out for when they are shopping for authentic, high-quality CBD products. Consumers should avoid products that are labeled with the following misleading and inaccurate content labels:
1) Very High Content of Hemp Extract
One example of a 30mL bottle of CBD oil for sale on Amazon advertised a 140,000 mg level of hemp oil. The product labeling is misleading. For instance, 140,000 mg of hemp oil would require at least 129mL, which would not fit into a 30mL bottle.
2) Full Spectrum CBD Oil with 0% THC
There are many fake products that are promoted as a “full-spectrum” CBD oil, with 0% THC content. However, in an authentic full-spectrum oil, there would be traces of THC and other phytocannabinoids. To achieve this, the product would have to be manufactured from a distillate hemp extract, which contains extremely low levels of beneficial cannabinoids, and wellness benefits.
3) Hemp Seed Oil
There is a big difference between hemp seed oil and a full-spectrum hemp extract. It is one of the ways that disreputable manufacturers produce fake CBD oil products for consumers. They make sales because consumers are not educated on the difference in quality between the two types of extracts.
Hemp seed oil products are less expensive to produce because there are almost no cannabinoids extracted from the hemp seed. They are also marketed in larger bottles to attract consumers with ‘more CBD for a lower cost’. Unfortunately, for the consumer, the product provides almost no medicinal value.
4) Clear CBD Oil Products
This is one of the easiest ways to spot a fake CBD oil product online. If you are shopping for authentic CBD oil, and you see a product that is clear and labeled as full-spectrum hemp extract, you should know that the product is fraudulent. When CBD oil is derived as a full spectrum product, the natural raw plant materials give it a natural, dark hue.
For manufacturers and distributors of organic, full-spectrum CBD oil products, sourcing raw materials can also be difficult, as suppliers can pass off low-quality oils to manufacturers with the same issues. To ensure that consumers are getting the full therapeutic benefits of CBD oils, we anticipate that more dispensaries will be bringing production in-house, for safety and quality control.