As with any popular product CBD is prone to scams and misinformation.
And that’s not all.
As a range of products that are relatively new and unknown for many people, it is easy for misinformation to spread. For the same reason, there is also a risk of CBD-related scams.
The good news?
By arming yourself with the proper information, you can avoid scams and misinformation and make sure that you only buy quality products that will allow you to promote better health and wellbeing.
Let’s take a look at what you need to know to avoid some common CBD-related deceptions.
Why do CBD-Related Scams and Misinformation Exist?
Before we get into the common CBD-related scams and how to avoid them, let’s take a look at why these scams exist. Scams and fraud are unfortunately common when it comes to wellness products. Customers looking for a product like CBD to promote better health and wellbeing, this unfortunately presents opportunities for unethical operators to deliberately deceive customers for their own financial benefit.
There is also a fair amount of misinformation surrounding CBD. A lot of people don’t fully understand what CBD is, sometimes confusing it with marijuana. Few people fully understand the chemical composition, benefits and legal status of CBD. Misinformation may be circulated unknowingly by people who believe it to be true. It can also be deliberately misused by fraudsters to pass off an inferior product.
This makes it relatively easy for false and misleading information to spread. This is further exacerbated in the digital age, which easily allows the flow of unverified claims over social media and the internet in general.
Next, let’s take a look at why this is a problem and why reliable information about CBD is important.
Why Reliable Information is Important
It is important that you are armed with the correct information when you buy a CBD product. Buying an inferior CBD product, at best, means that you will waste your hard-earned cash. It will also likely mean that you will miss out on the improvements and benefits that you would have received had you bought a more effective, quality CBD product.
The worst kinds of products will not only fail to deliver the benefits you’re looking for, but could actually be harmful for your health. A product that is incorrectly labeled may contain potentially harmful compounds and ingredients, including toxic solvents.
Furthermore, a fraudster who tells you that CBD offers a medical solution could even deter you from pursuing proper treatment for a health condition, which could be extremely dangerous for your health.
Another risk or CBD-related scams is you may end up taking a product that has a higher THC content. Quality CBD products contain a negligible amount of THC, the cannabinoid in marijuana that produces its famous “high”. In the UK, CBD products must have a THC content of not more than 0.2% in order to be sold legally. However, some fraudulent and mislabeled products may have a much higher THC content.
In particular, this can happen when producers break the rules set by governments in countries like the UK and the US, and extract CBD from marijuana rather than hemp plants. Not only does this leave you at risk of unknowingly consuming a psychoactive and potentially addictive compound, but this could also put you at risk of failing a drug test.
Common CBD Scams
CBD scams are not exactly common, but they do happen. As mentioned, you will sometimes see products that have been mislabeled. These may have a lower CBD content than advertised, meaning that you are unlikely to receive the same benefits as you would with a quality, more concentrated CBD product. In the worst cases, these diluted products may have virtually no CBD in them, or even none at all!
Any label that indicates an inaccurate concentration, whether too high or too low, makes it impossible for you to make sure that you take the right dose. Mislabeling can also mean that there are other cannabinoids and compounds present in the product, including THC.
Another more subtle scam can be seen in the claims made by some CBD companies, who oversell the advantages of CBD, or claim it to be a medical solution. It is important for CBD brands and retailers to clearly communicate the benefits of CBD without claiming that they have specific medicinal uses or are some kind of miracle cure. Not only is this unethical, but these types of false claims are also illegal in the UK.
How to Avoid CBD Scams
As we’ve seen, misinformation and CBD-related scams can be a problem. If you are not savvy enough, you could risk buying a product that is harmful to your health, or at least does not deliver the benefits you’re looking for.
So let’s look at what you can do about it:
Understand the Terminology
Firstly, before you can buy CBD products and be confident in what you are getting, it is essential that you understand the terminology. There are a number of specific terms when it comes to CBD and other cannabis-related products, and you need to know what they mean in order to understand product information.
Of course, this won’t protect you from scammers who are deliberately trying to mislead you: we’ll cover how to deal with that later in this post. However, being across the terminology does help to make sure you are not confusing the different types of products and ingredients.
CBD terms can be confusing for many people because this is a relatively new area. Although hemp has been used for centuries, CBD products only really hit the market a few years ago. To further confuse matters, terms like hemp, marijuana and CBD are often thrown around interchangeably, even though these are each very different things.
It is important, for example to know the differences between hemp and marijuana, as well as understand the different cannabinoids found in these plants. These are including, but not limited to, CBD and THC. In the UK, the US, and many other countries, CBD must be extracted from hemp plants, and contain very limited quantities of THC. To appreciate what these rules mean and assess products you need to understand this terminology.
To read up about CBD terms, check our CBD Terminology Guide & Glossary.
Check the Source and Ingredients
Once you’re armed with a least a basic understanding of CBD terminology, the next step is to apply this knowledge and check the ingredients of the CBD products you’re considering buying. Carefully read the label or the ingredients list on the product’s website. If these aren’t clearly listed, ask the retailer or manufacturer for more details – they should have no issue in sharing this information.
You want to check this data for the CBD content, the concentration of THC and other cannabinoids, as well as any other ingredients that may be present.
At the same time, you should verify the source of the CBD. In other words, the type of plant that the CBD is extracted from. In the UK, legally-sold CBD should only be derived from EU-certified hemp plants. These plants are specifically selected from their high concentration of CBD and low concentration of THC. Furthermore, buying CBD extracted from organic hemp means that there are no pesticides or chemical fertilisers involved that may make their way into the final product.
Beware of “Bargains”
As with so many things, if you see a CBD product that seems too good to be true, it probably is. If you see a seller that is offering an incredible deal on a CBD product, this may be because their product is diluted or substandard in other ways.
In particular, be wary of large bottles of CBD oil. Unscrupulous sellers may advertise a large bottle at a bargain price, trying to trick customers who don’t know that there is actually the same amount of CBD as in a small bottle sold elsewhere. Always check the concentration and calculate the price for the amount of CBD, rather than the total volume of the product. Disregard vague terms like “high potency” or “strongest” and look for the concentration in a percentage or mg amount.
Even if a company is selling a concentrated product for a low price, there must be a reason for this. Most often, this is because they have cut corners in the production process and/or are selling an inferior product.
This brings us to our next tip:
Check the Product’s Quality
Reputable CBD retailers will also post the lab test results for the products they sell on their website, or at the very least will have this information available upon request. These tests can be conducted in-house or a professional third-party lab.
You should always check this information before buying an CBD product. This will tell you vital information such as the actual concentration of CBD, which you can use to verify the information on the product label. They will also indicate what other compounds, ingredients and chemicals are present in the product.
Although not a guarantee, choosing an organic product will usually mean that it does not contain harmful solvents or trace chemicals from the growing process. Checking the lab results will allow you to double check this, and make sure there are no harmful chemicals or toxins in the product.
Buy from a Reputable Seller
Checking the information given to you by the seller can go a long way to making sure you’re buying a solid product. It doesn’t, however, protect you from a fraudster who is lying to you outright. This is a pitfall of the modern age, when there are online retailers across all industries who will try to dupe and deceive their customers for profit.
The best way to avoid this is to online buy from a reputable seller. Be very wary of unprofessional or shoddy-looking sites pushing cheap CBD products. Check the site information and contact details to see if they look like a real company and call the contact phone number if you’re unsure.
Equally, avoid individual sellers on online marketplaces – buying CBD on Amazon or EBay is not a good idea. Generally, “CBD” products on these sites are extremely dilute because these platforms do not allow the sale of true CBD products under their terms and conditions. Try to look for companies that have gained a reputation for the quality of their product. Check the reviews to see what their previous customers say.
You should also look at how a company markets its products to gauge how trustworthy they are. Any seller who makes absurd or outlandish claims about CBD either doesn’t know what they’re talking about or is deliberately trying to mislead you in order to make a sale. Either way, this is not someone that you want to buy from.
There is a great deal of misinformation around when it comes to CBD and CBD products. Equally, there are unfortunately some unscrupulous sellers who will try to scam their customers to a greater or lesser degree.
CBD is not alone in this respect, but this does mean that you should educate yourself on the basics of CBD and take certain steps to make sure that you are not taken for a ride.
The key things you can do to avoid CBD-related scams and misinformation are:
- Educate yourself about CBD, in particular the terminology
- Check the source, ingredients and quality assurance information before buying a product
- Beware of excessively cheap products or brands that make absurd claims, and only buy from a reputable seller