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Inconvenient Truths

Don't buy CBD on Amazon, it's a scam!

Stop! Don't buy CBD on Amazon. At best, you'll be wasting your hard-earned money for a product that isn't what you think it is. At worst, you could be ingesting something potentially harmful.

Type in CBD on Amazon's search right now, and you'll find products like "Advanced Hemp Big Gummies (3000mg)", "Hemp Oil Capsule Pills (5000mg)", or "Hemp Oil Drops (50000mg)". The truth is that not a single one of these products contain CBD in any meaningful dosage. These so-called "Hemp oils" and "Hemp gummies" on amazon are nothing but an attempt to take advantage of the hype around CBD.

Amazon does not sell products containing CBD!

As of this writing, Amazon explicitly prohibits the selling of products containing CBD. These are the specific guidelines on their seller's central page:

"Products containing cannabidiol (CBD), a Schedule I Controlled Substance, including but not limited to: Rich Hemp Oil containing CBD, Full-spectrum hemp oil containing CBD, Products that have been identified as containing CBD by LegitScript" cannot be sold on the site."

At Athlos, we disagree with Amazon's position on this, as the farm bill made it legal in 2018 to produce and sell CBD federally. Unfortunately, many businesses have yet to catch up to the realities and demands of the CBD industry. And given Amazon's strong language–along with the challenges of transacting on CBD products–it doesn't seem likely they will be changing their rules any time soon. So you shouldn't expect to see the Athlos CBD Tincture or any other premium CBD brands on Amazon soon either.

Wait, so what exactly are these products on Amazon?

To understand what's being sold on Amazon, our first clue would be to look at the product titles themselves. Names like "Hemp Gummies," "Hemp Oil Capsules," and "Hemp Cream" fool customers into thinking that they contain CBD as an active ingredient by including hemp in the title. It certainly isn't false advertising to name their products this way, but we can't help but feel these product names are meant to mislead consumers, as most have become generally aware CBD comes from hemp (cannabis).

Next, the labels mimic the look and language of real CBD products. These labels include dosage values in milligrams, some of which have ludicrous dosage numbers like 240,000mg, making it seem like they are a great value buy over bona fide CBD products. Tip: if you see a label claiming any more than an 80mg/ml dosage, read the fine print on the product; it likely doesn't contain any CBD at all. Even the FDA approved drug Epidiolex–which is for prescription usage–maxes out at a concentration of 100mg/ml.

Put simply, the hemp oil these products use is not the full-spectrum/broad-spectrum hemp extract or CBD isolate distilled for genuine CBD products. Often these products just incorporate the oil coming from the seed of the hemp plant (which we think could be quite delicious in a salad dressing).

If we're being generous, perhaps they might contain traces of CBD, though not a single one of the products we surveyed on Amazon linked to a lab report that reflected any CBD content. Worse yet, they didn't include any lab analysis on pesticides, mycotoxins, or other dangerous compounds that can accompany plant-matter during processing, so you can't trust whether it is safe for you to consume.

How did this happen?

There's still a lot of confusion around the CBD space, so it's easy to understand why consumers could mistake these hemp-oil products with legitimate CBD products. With the labels resembling the look of real CBD products and the language on the description page making claims that are similar to the purported effects of CBD, these sellers are doing all they can to impersonate genuine sources of CBD.

This is further exacerbated by the fact that these products all pop up in the results when you search for CBD on Amazon. These sellers are gaming the Amazon search algorithm to appear when hopeful customers search for CBD on the site.

For their part in this, Amazon appears to be either unaware of these malicious practices or is turning a blind eye to this behavior. If you look at the reviews and questions on those products, they're filled with customers complaining about the lack of any actual CBD or experienced benefits. Despite these complaints, somehow, the products enjoy high ratings–and most of these products fail scans on reviewmeta and are likely boosted by fake reviews.

You can't trust these products on Amazon as a way to supplement your training or lifestyle with CBD.

What do I need to know to buy CBD?

When your purchasing CBD oil or any CBD-based product, make sure that the product description or title contains CBD. Look for a clear explanation of dosage–it should say (like on our label) that it contains a certain milligram dosage of full-spectrum hemp extract, broad-spectrum hemp extract, or CBD isolate. Concentrations on the product should range between 10-80mg/ml for tinctures or 1000mg-2000mg on typically sized creams/lotions. Any higher, and you're likely being misled on the contents of the product.

More importantly, look for linked lab test results–usually called COAs (certificate of analysis)–indicating the presence of cannabinoids. This analysis should have a copy of the original certifications from a lab and match up to the concentration on the label.

But of course, the most important takeaway is that you should not try to buy CBD from Amazon. Instead, consider purchasing your CBD products from a reputable producer, such as Athlos, where you can be guaranteed to find safe and potent CBD oils.

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