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Why You Can't & Shouldn't Buy CBD Oil on Amazon

Written By Ellese Symons Jan 23rd 2023
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In a complex economy punctuated with rapidly increasing prices, it's only natural to want assurances that you're getting the best return on your investment, the biggest bang for your buck. As the purse strings tighten, it's important to shop around to ensure you're getting the products you need for a reasonable price, an amount you're willing to pay. It's also quite natural to stick with trusted retailers that make it easy to compare prices, read product reviews, and make reasonably informed decisions about the products you select. 

Whether you've been shopping for CBD online or comparing your options locally, you've likely noticed that prices can vary significantly from one brand to the next. If you're one of the millions of people who regularly shop on Amazon.com®, you've likely considered purchasing one of the many low-cost hemp oil tinctures, topicals, or gummies you'll find. But should you? While there's no denying you could pay a lot less for hemp products on the world's largest eCommerce site, you're unlikely to get a bargain. Whether you're looking for a way to reduce the price of daily use or trying CBD for the first time, it's important to understand why you can't (and shouldn't) purchase CBD oil on Amazon. 

Can You Buy Hemp-Derived CBD Oil on Amazon.com®?  

You can certainly search for CBD oil on Amazon. With just a few keystrokes and a click on the toolbar, your efforts will pull up images of more than a thousand items awaiting your approval and prices that seem just a bit too good to be true. But this is Amazon, after all. Everyone expects to find ultra-competitive pricing. But look again. Upon further investigation, you'll soon realize you're not viewing a single jar, bottle, or product description suggesting you've found a great price on CBD. Instead, you'll find natural hemp tincture drops, "high potency" hemp supplements, and hemp extract capsules. While you might initially consider your search results a clear sign that you're on the right track, most products that make their way through the Amazon "CBD" search algorithms are made with hemp seed oil. Hemp seed oil is not a source of CBD (Mead, 2016). CBD (cannabidiol) is the most abundant of more than 100 cannabinoids extracted from the plant's stalks, stems, and flowers (Kleinhenz et al., 2020).  

Does Amazon Allow Marketplace Vendors to Sell CBD?  

While it may seem as if just about anything can be sold or purchased on Amazon, the company has an extensive list of products that are prohibited or restricted. Posting products that violate Amazon policies can result in (but are not limited to) account suspension, termination of seller privileges, the destruction (or return) of products stored at an Amazon fulfillment center, or the permanent withholding of payments. Listings for products made with CBD, including references to "full spectrum hemp oil," "rich hemp oil," and products identified as containing CBD by LegitScript, are strictly prohibited. 

Although the company "does not have plans at this time to allow the sale of CBD products on Amazon.com," the company does allow the sale of a select number of CBD topicals sold through Amazon Fresh and Whole Foods Market. According to details posted in Amazon Seller Central, an exception was made for these products because they were "verified to be compliant" with applicable laws (Amazon, 2022). However, the approved topicals do not appear to be eligible for shipment in many (if any) areas. But the "allowance" made for the few CBD products listed on Amazon is of little consolation for CBD brands interested in selling their high-quality products on the site. Amazon Fresh and Whole Foods Market are subsidiaries of Amazon.com® (Casey, 2022). 

How to Spot Misrepresentation and Sales Scams  

Wherever there are rules, there will always be people trying to find ways around them. That likely explains why so many people shopping on Amazon, even CBD users with years of purchasing experience, assume most Amazon sellers simply eliminate references to CBD from their labels and avoid using potentially problematic language in their product descriptions. The reality is far more concerning. The products that pop up when searching for CBD on Amazon are presented in a way that blurs the distinctions between hemp seed oil and hemp extracts. 

Unlike cannabinoid-rich hemp extract, hemp seed oil is quite inexpensive and easily accessible. It can add a somewhat nutty flavor to your salad, is a great addition to skin care products, and is an ideal carrier oil for CBD pet tinctures. It also shows promise as a dietary supplement (Vahanvaty, 2009). As you're browsing some of the many hemp oil tinctures, capsules, topicals, and gummies sold on Amazon, you'll find numerous references to an impressive list of nutrients, including several omega fatty acids, antioxidant vitamins, and essential minerals. But if you're goal is to find high-quality CBD products for a reasonable price, it's important to know how to spot some of the many misrepresentations and sales scams. 

Listings That Don't Specify Hemp Oil Sources 

As CBD users learn to identify signs of misrepresentation, the number of hemp products posted for sale on Amazon seems to be declining. So has the number of sellers listing product ingredients. That alone is enough to raise an eyebrow or two. When purchasing nearly any other health and wellness product on Amazon, ingredient lists are relatively easy to find. If a seller, whether on Amazon or elsewhere, doesn't want you to know if their products are made with hemp-seed oil or plant extracts, there's probably a reason. Reputable CBD brands go to great lengths to earn your trust. Avoid any product manufacturer unwilling to specify the source of their oil (seed or plant) or list the ingredients in their products. 

Exceptionally High Number of Milligrams Per Bottle  

Now that more people shopping for CBD know to avoid vague terminology like "high potency" or "extra-strength" in favor of products specifying the number of milligrams of CBD in the bottle, companies selling hemp seed oil products have switched tactics. As you're browsing Amazon's selection, you may initially be impressed with the uncharacteristically large numbers on product labels. But you'll want to keep in mind that most hemp-derived CBD oil tinctures contain between 500 - 2500 mg of CBD per bottle. Their prices are set accordingly. The hemp products on Amazon can contain tens of thousands of mg of whatever it is in their bottles. Beware. Exceptionally high numbers are a clear sign that the product you're looking at is made with hemp seed oil, not hemp-derived CBD oil.   

Unverifiable Claims of Third-Party Testing  

As CBD users learn to differentiate between high-quality CBD and products made with questionable ingredients, more companies offering hemp oil products on Amazon are emphasizing lab testing in their descriptions, an indicator typically suggesting assurances of overall quality. What you are not likely to find are links to verify the manufacturer's batch test results. You have no way to confirm the product you select has been screened for heavy metals, microbial contamination, or pesticide residue. There's also no way to confirm the presence of CBD (Ashton, 2022). Without access to a Certificate of Analysis (COA), you have no way of knowing if every product is batch tested, if a company is occasionally submitting random samples, or if a single batch was tested years ago. 

Where to Buy Reasonably Priced CBD If Not on Amazon?   

Based on the results of an internal survey, adults of all ages report positive results using hemp-derived CBD products for relaxation, better sleep, pain, stiffness, and inflammation after physical activity, and more. Now that you know hemp oil sales on Amazon are highly restricted, and CBD is not allowed, it's much easier to understand just how detrimental misleading descriptions can be for a shopper looking for hemp-derived CBD products. Many people assume CBD is over-rated after purchasing products on Amazon that contain no CBD at all. Instead, shop around. Take a few minutes to ensure you're purchasing from a reputable CBD brand like CBDistillery®, a name you can trust. 

When CBDistillery® was founded, the fledgling CBD industry was overrun with over-priced, inferior products. From the start, we've been on an unwavering mission to be the premier source of high-quality, fairly priced CBD and the type of information people can rely on to make informed decisions about the products they select. That mission hasn't changed. Today, CBDistillery™ is a reputable industry leader with more than 2 million satisfied customers. Our products have more than 40,000 5-star reviews. Rather than trying to save a few dollars on Amazon, consider taking advantage of Subscribe and Save, a program that gives you a 30% discount and free shipping on pre-scheduled purchases. 

To Learn More, Visit CBDistillery®  

To learn more about some of the many potential benefits of adding CBD to your daily routine, visit CBDistillery® to browse our blog or find answers to frequently asked questions. When you're ready, consider stopping by to view our selection of high-quality CBD oil tinctures, topicals, softgels, gummies, and CBD pet products. If you're intrigued but not quite sure where to start, take our CBD Quiz or schedule a consultation with an expert. 

At CBDistillery®, you can shop with confidence. Our products are US Hemp Authority® certified, third-party batch tested, and made in a GMP-registered facility. You can access the Certificate of Analysis for every product we offer by clicking the links on our product pages or scanning the QR code you'll find on every label. 

References 

Amazon.com. (2022) Amazon Seller Central/Drugs & Drug Paraphernalia. 

Ashton L. (2022) CBD Lab Results: How to Read CBD Oil Third Party Lab Test Reports. CFAH. 

Kleinheinz M, Magnin G, et al. (2020) Nutrient Concentrations, Digestibility, and Cannabinoid Concentrations of Industrial Hemp Plant Components. 36(4) App Anim Sci 489-94.  https://doi.org/10.15232/aas.2020-02018 

Mead A. (2016) The Legal Status of Cannabis (Marijuana) and Cannabinoid (CBD) Under US Law. 70(B) Epilepsy Behav 288-91. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28169144/ 

NCESC. Casey R. (2022) Amazon Subsidiaries (2022 Guide).   

Vahabvaty U. (2009) Hemp Seed and Hemp Milk: The New Superfoods? 1(4) ICAN. PDF https://doi.org/10.1177/1941406409342121