The CBD oil industry is one of the fastest-growing in North America and as such, it should come as no surprise that there are a number of ecommerce sellers on Amazon looking to cash in on the trend.
But before you make a purchase, it’s important to know what you’re buying, whether it’s a legitimate product, and whether or not you’re purchasing it legally.
In 2018 there were 101 million registered Amazon Prime subscribers in the U.S., and with each one spending an average of $1400 on the site annually, that’s an incredibly valuable market.
Because of this large and loyal audience, many suppliers are trying to get around Amazon’s stringent selling rules, which include the following clause:
Drug listings must not be for controlled substances or products containing controlled substances, such as:
So, as long as you’re buying from a legitimate seller on Amazon, you will not be able to buy CBD oil. It’s yet to be seen if/when Amazon will allow the sale of CBD products, but as of this article’s publishing (June 2019), there should be zero products containing any amount of cannabidiol (CBD) for sale.
Still, a search for ‘CBD oil’ brings up thousands of results, mostly for hemp oils and other hemp-derived products.
With the differences between CBD oil and hemp oil largely unclear to most people, some may consider the convenience of expedited shipping to outweigh the potential risks of buying a low-quality or misleading product.
Here’s what you need to know about buying hemp oil on Amazon.
As with any relatively new industry, the terminology hasn’t yet found common use amongst all producers and consumers. That being said, there are some marked differences between hemp oil and CBD oil.
CBD oil is created by extracting cannabidiol from the flowers of the hemp plant. CBD oil can be full-spectrum, broad spectrum, or an isolate. A full-spectrum CBD oil contains all of the cannabinoids in the hemp plant, including tetrahydrocannabinol (THC); a broad spectrum CBD oil contains all the cannabinoids except THC; a CBD oil isolate is just cannabidiol, usually in crystal or powder form, without any other cannabinoids or compounds found naturally in hemp.
Hemp oil is the result of cold-pressing the hemp stems, stalks, and seeds. Hemp seed oil is the result of cold-pressing hemp seeds. Unlike CBD oil, there are no flowers involved in the process which means that the final product is free of cannabinoids. Instead, hemp oil is used for its own beneficial qualities including its ideal 3:1 ratio of Omega-6 to Omega-3 fatty acids, which lends itself well to hair, skin, and heart health.
Clearly, hemp oil and CBD oil are different products. So why is there so much confusion around buying CBD oil and hemp oil on Amazon?
It all comes down to Amazon's selling policies. Amazon adheres to the DEA guidelines in which it states that any product containing CBD that has not been FDA approved is considered a Schedule 1 Controlled Substance. Other than the pharmaceutical drug Epidiolex, no CBD product has been granted this approval. Based on this fact, Amazon does not allow any CBD oils to be sold on their site.
To get around Amazon’s policy, some sellers are listing their CBD oil as “hemp oil” and avoiding the use of terms like CBD and cannabinoids. While Amazon says they are doing their best to remove these listings, it may be near impossible to keep up with the influx of CBD producers out to make a quick buck off the largest marketplace in the world.
If a CBD oil vendor is willing to bend the truth to get around Amazon’s selling policies, what else are they willing to be dishonest about? For now, it’s wisest to go elsewhere to buy your CBD oil products.
But, if you really are in search of hemp oil, which contains no CBD, Amazon could be a great place to find your ideal product. Before proceeding with your hemp oil purchase, there are a few factors to consider.
Trying to get around Amazon’s rules is one thing, intentionally misleading potential customers is another. It can be dangerous to misrepresent CBD oil. Someone looking to buy a mild tasting hemp cooking oil may not be happy to receive a product high in cannabinoids!
This is why it’s important to read the ingredients on any hemp product you’re considering buying. The fewer the better, especially when choosing hemp oils.
The ingredients should be listed in the product details or in an image of the product. If you can’t find the ingredients, contact the seller. By researching exactly what is in your hemp product, you can easily weed out the legitimate sellers from those who aren’t looking out for the consumer’s best interest.
Research the Seller and Product
Check the internet to see if you can find your hemp product elsewhere. If the brand has its own site, you can further investigate their practices, the way they source their hemp, the CBD and THC content, and the Certificates of Analysis, which are lab reports performed on cannabis products to verify potency and safety.
Reputable brands are likely to organically source their hemp and third-party lab test all extractions to ensure purity. By looking at Certificates of Analysis, you will be able to determine what’s in your hemp and CBD products.
When it comes to buying hemp oils on Amazon, asking for these lab reports will reveal whether there are harmful pesticides, heavy metals, or insecticides present in the product you’re buying. If you are not able to find this information in an online search, reach out to the seller. It is important that you have these details before you make a purchase. If a seller can’t answer you properly, it’s best to move on.
If you are unsure about a particular product, read through the Amazon reviews and questions.
Reading through the reviews will help you narrow down what people are using the hemp oil for, and give you a good indication of whether it’s a legitimate product and/or seller. Depending on the hemp oil producer, you may find some products are better suited for managing certain ailments than others.
The ‘Customer questions & answers’ section on Amazon listings can be a useful tool for you, too. You can search the questions and answers by keyword to find the information you’re looking for. If nothing comes up, you can ask a question of your own and typically expect an answer back in a day or two. Just remember to take the answers you receive with a grain of salt. There’s a lot of misinformation and confusion around CBD, hemp, and cannabis in general, meaning even the most well-intending answer providers could unknowingly be misleading you.
Before you make a purchase of any product, it is important that you understand what is and is not legal in your state. While hemp and CBD oil that contains 0.3% or less THC is legal federally, states still have the final say.
Even if CBD oil is fully legal in your state, you won’t be able to buy your supply on Amazon. Again, Amazon’s selling policies forbid the sale of CBD because of its vague legality in the U.S. Hemp oil containing 0% CBD, on the other hand, is completely fair game for purchase.
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