With such popularity and lack of regulations, it comes as no surprise there are a number of CBD scams hitting the market.
Paul JamesUpdated on January 4, 2023
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Back in 2018, cannabidiol (CBD) was federally legalized, making way for a bubble of businesses trying to sell you CBD products. Since that time, the bubble has burst and we’ve found more stability with brands currently in this industry.
Still, that’s not to say there still aren’t CBD scams to be aware of. And more often than not, these scammers are targeting newcomers who don’t know exactly what to look for.
Throughout this article, we’re going to take a deeper look at CBD scams to be aware of and teach you tips on how to differentiate high-quality products from low-quality. At the end, we’ll share with you some of our favorite vendors to buy CBD from.
Scam #1: Unsupported Health Claims
Currently, the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) does NOT regulate the CBD market. Furthermore, they have not approved any CBD products for medical use – with the exception of Epidiolex which can only be obtained through prescription.
With that said, CBD brands are not allowed to make any health claims when it comes to their products. So, if you see a brand claiming that their products will help alleviate pain, provide you with a better night’s sleep, or ease anxiety, consider these red flags.
Admittedly, there’s some workaround to this rule that companies apply. For example, a product made for pain relief may say something along the lines of “our product holds the potential to relieve pain.” A company may further this statement by providing scientific research in support of their comments.
Currently, the FDA has been reviewing CBD companies to determine whether or not they’re making health claims or suggestions.
Being that the rules currently sit in a grey area, it may be difficult for some newcomers to determine whether or not a brand is making a “claim” rather than a “suggestion.” Due to this, if you are new to CBD, we only recommend sticking with top-trusted brands.
Scam #2: Products Are NOT Backed By a Certificate of Analysis
Since the CBD industry is unregulated, all trustworthy brands have taken it under their own belt to ensure safety and quality to customers. They do so by testing their products in a third-party laboratory and being transparent with the results on their website.
These results are known as a Certificate of Analysis (CoA). They help to provide a variety of information concerning CBD, including cannabinoid profiles and whether or not a product contains contaminants, such as heavy metals or pesticides.
As you shop for CBD online, it’s important to check products for a CoA. Furthermore, it’s even more beneficial to check when the CoA was produced – ensuring all tests are up-to-date. It’s fairly common to run across brands that provide outdated CoAs.
A recent study has found that a number of CBD products are mislabeled. In most cases, the amount of CBD advertised isn’t what’s in the bottle. However, there are other aspects of CBD labeling to keep in mind.
First, you should keep an eye out for health claims. Beyond touting a product’s medical application on its website, a brand may also try to get these messages across on the label.
Secondly, before buying a product, you’ll want to check out the ingredient list. A reputable company will reveal this by showing off the backend of the bottle’s label and listing ingredients on individual product pages.
While safer products tend to have fewer ingredients, you should also check to ensure ingredients match what you expect in a CBD product. On a side note, ingredients are worth checking to make sure they meet any dietary restrictions you may have.
Furthermore, we highly recommend browsing through a brand’s website and seeking out information about their extraction and manufacturing process. These details can give insight into the safety of the product, and whether or not they’re made in an organic manner. If you find a brand doesn’t advertise its manufacturing process, it may be worth switching stores.
Scam #4: False Endorsements
Throughout the lifetime of the CBD market, we’ve seen a number of brands claim celebrity endorsements that are simply false. For example, one company was sued by Clint Eastwood when they used his name as a means to reel in more customers.
False endorsements aren’t new to the supplemental space. Diet pills and gummies also find themselves in lawsuits due to phony claims of celebrities using their products.
So, with that in mind, the next time you see a brand claiming a celebrity uses CBD, be skeptical. Do a bit of research to see whether or not these claims are granted. If not, stay away from that brand!
What to Look for in a CBD Product/Brand
If you plan on shopping for CBD online, we’ve laid out some criteria to consider before purchasing a product:
1.) Certificate of Analysis
As mentioned, a Certificate of Analysis (CoA) is a good starting point to determine the safety and quality of a brand. Beyond checking to see if a brand offers a CoA, make sure these CoAs are up to date. We also prefer companies that test by batch of products.
2.) Hemp Source
All CBD products are made from hemp extractions. It’s important to consider where a brand sources its hemp plant. We prefer brands that only source from organic, local farms within the United States. Due to the U.S.’s agricultural standards, we can ensure the safety of these products.
We’ve already gone into detail about the importance of checking an ingredient list. Beyond ensuring this is safe, we also recommend checking to make sure they meet any dietary restrictions you may have. The CBD industry has plenty of vegan-friendly and gluten-free options.
Full-Spectrum – Contains all of the cannabinoids, terpenes, flavonoids, and other phytonutrients found in the hemp plant.
Broad-Spectrum – Contains all of the cannabinoids, terpenes, flavonoids, and other phytonutrients found in the hemp plant with the exception of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).
CBD Isolate – Purely CBD and no other cannabinoid.
The extract type that’s best for you ultimately comes down to preference. If you’re looking to garner the most out of your CBD experience, we recommend full-spectrum as it allows for the entourage effect. However, if you’re looking to avoid THC altogether – maybe due to drug testing – we recommend broad-spectrum or CBD isolate.
CBD’s potency is measured in milligrams (mg). Simply put, the higher this number, the more CBD you’re taking in per serving. If you’re new to CBD, we recommend low doses (between 10mg to 25mg per serving). However, if you’ve been in the market for some time, you can always opt for higher doses (between 50mg to 100mg per serving).
Not sure what the right CBD dose for you is? We invite you to check out our guide to learn more!
There’s no denying CBD products are expensive. Naturally, many of us are looking for deals and, with that, may come across more affordable products.
However, if a product is cheap, we recommend taking a deeper look into the brand. While it’s not always the case, there are many instances where cheaper products are offered by less reputable companies.
Looking for CBD deals? Feel free to check out our reviews page for the latest promos and coupons!
Where to Buy CBD Oil: Our Recommendations
If you’re new to CBD, the large number of products can feel overwhelming. For this reason, we’ve devised a list of our top 5 CBD brands to buy from. These brands ensure quality and safety with their products and meet the criteria laid out above.
If you’re looking for variety, look no further than CBDfx. Beyond their selection of product types (i.e. oils, gummies, capsules, etc.), they also have some of the most versatile formulas out there.
Personally, we’re big fans of their Calming Oil. Alongside a full-spectrum extract, this tincture also incorporates cannabinol (CBN) and a relaxing terpene complex.
Featured Brand: CBDfx
Still, we recommend checking out their website to find a product that’s perfect for you!
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If you’re looking for variety in extract types, look no further than CBDistillery. They’re one of the few brands on the market offering all 3 extraction types (full-spectrum, broad-spectrum, and isolate). And this is furthered by the fact that each extraction comes in varying product types and formulas.
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3.) NuLeaf Naturals
Looking for the most organic products on the market? It’s hard to find a brand more so than NuLeaf Naturals. Since 2014, they’ve been developing high-quality, full-spectrum CBD oils for you to enjoy. Since then, they’ve branched out into other product types, including CBD gummies, capsules, and topicals.
When it comes to their product selection, it’s hard to beat out the classic CBD oil they offer. These come in a standard serving of 30mg but can be purchased in a variety of bottle sizes, with total CBD ranges from 300mg to 6000mg.
FEATURED BRAND: NuLeaf Naturals
If you’re looking for products in other cannabinoids – such as cannabigerol (CBG), CBN, or cannabichromene (CBC), NuLeaf also has varieties in these types.
As one of the most trusted brands on the market, FAB CBD has developed a healthy selection of CBD products to choose from. We use the term “healthy” because while there’s plenty of variety here, it’s not too overwhelming – making this an ideal shop for newcomers.
We recently reviewed their Complete Cannabinoid Softgels and continue to recommend them to this day. These capsules are one of the few on the market that offer a balanced dosage of a variety of chemicals. In turn, this is one of the most effective products for the entourage effect.
FEATURED BRAND: FAB CBD
Still, if you’re looking for more traditional products, FAB has you covered. In fact, they offer one of the best flavor selections for CBD oils on the market!
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The last brand we recommend is Elixinol and it’s for one simple reason: liposomes. Through liposomal technology, you offer your body the opportunity to absorb more CBD than it normally would. As of right now, Elixinol offers two products made using this technology: their Everyday Rapid Reset and Sleep Rapid Rest.
Still, Elixinol has so much more on offer here – including one of the largest varieties of CBD capsules on the market. These are made using other all-natural ingredients to further effect. For example, their Calm Stress Support capsules incorporate ashwagandha to work alongside the CBD in relieving stress.
FEATURED BRAND: Elixinol
If you’re interested in gifting CBD to a loved one, we recommend checking out our Elixinol Gift Guide for more information.
Paul James is a seasoned cannabis and CBD writer and expert. He is a mental health blogger who advocates CBD as a natural alternative to prescription medications. You can read more about this and other natural alternatives on his blog: https://bedlamite.co/."