Remember Theresa, this friend of mine responsible for a bunch of articles I wrote?
Well, she is the source of inspiration for this one, as well!
(If you are planning to thank her by sending her a gift, dark chocolate would be a great idea. She loves it!)
She texted me the other day:
“CBD has become so popular and easy to get to, I wonder if there are companies or brands that should be avoided either because they are scams or very poor or misleading quality?”
The photo on the right describes my reaction.
Thanks to Theresa, I’m in the position to proudly present you an extensive and detailed review of the CBD oil brands to avoid like hell.
(At least for the time being. Who knows how many there will be out there tomorrow…)
Things to Know Before Buying CBD Oil
Even though I feel that I’m repeating myself, I want to remind you that there are some rules an informed and “CBD-educated” buyer should always bear in mind. These rules will help you avoid poor or bad quality CBD oil products.
- Sourcing. Hemp is a hyperaccumulator. This means it sucks up everything it finds in the soil. Choose CBD oil which has been extracted from organically grown hemp. You don’t want to use a product packed with toxins, heavy metals or pesticides, do you?
- Extraction method that not involves dangerous chemical solvents
- The amount of THC contained in the product should be 0.3% or lower
- Publicly published third-party lab tests results. For the above reason, a trustworthy company always make these results available to customers or potential buyers publishing them on their website. Avoid brands that don’t comply with this rule.
- Full-Spectrum. Choose a Full Spectrum/Broad Spectrum/Whole Plant CBD oil product because it shows more therapeutic promises than CBD isolates.
Now that you remember the rules, let’s see how to avoid brands that don’t respect them and learn about the scams regarding CBD oil.
CBD Oil on Amazon
Perhaps my phrase “avoid like hell” is a bit exaggerated in this case, but still, if you plan to buy CBD oil on Amazon I would advise you not to.
Even though CBD extracted from hemp was exempted from the controlled substances act and made legal at the federal level, Amazon doesn’t permit its sellers to use their platform to sell it.
Why do you get results when searching for CBD oil on Amazon?
Amazon will never direct you to a blank page.
Try searching any of the products on their prohibited list (CBD oil is on it). I searched for Ephedrine and I got results about weight loss pills, energy pills, diet pills even tea powder. Not at all relative to my search but still results.
My search for CBD oil brought several items.
None of the proposed products was a genuine CBD oil product except for a CBD oil cartridge of a company named UMO remedies. They sell only two different flavors of vape cartridges and their site is empty.
No active chat, no third-party lab test results published, no information regarding their sourcing or their extraction methods, nothing at all. Yet, their cartridges have two excellent (five stars) reviews on the Amazon platform. I, personally wouldn’t trust this company.
The rest of the products were just hemp oil or hemp extracts, not even a trace of CBD in them. The excellent reviews of the customers impressed me. The placebo effect in all its glory!
Sellers intentionally choose vague labeling to avoid getting kicked out of the platform. If you want to avoid paying for CBD oil and getting hemp oil or hemp extract, think twice before placing an order for CBD oil products on Amazon.
CBD Oil on eBay
I searched for CBD on eBay and I got results. Some of the items were genuine CBD products some others weren’t.
I was informed that eBay has allowed only a handful of sellers to sell CBD oil. They are not approving anyone else. A lot of vendors see their products getting flagged and removed though others continue to sell without a problem. There are rumors that the eBay staff are controlling all the listings of CBD oil products but I couldn’t verify this claim.
IMHO, any CBD oil you buy on websites like eBay isn’t truly going to be a high-quality product.
Furthermore, I don’t think a kind of CBD “monopoly” on eBay is ethical. My sense of justice obliges me to warn you about eBay policies and actual practices on CBD oil listings.
CBD Oil on Facebook and Google
There is a paradox with Google and Facebook. They both prohibit advertisements for CBD.
Google treats CBD websites as they would do to any other site indexing and ranking them. But they treat them as drug promoting websites.
My application to Adsense was turned down because, according to them, I promote an illegal drug. Adwords don’t accept advertisements for CBD.
Facebook also treats CBD and hemp as marijuana products. Even though it permits pages and posts that promote the sales of CBD products, it prohibits direct advertising of CBD.
So if you happen to see an advertisement regarding a CBD oil product, dig it up a little bit. Vendors use all kinds of tricks to bypass these regulations (remember Amazon) and you should be sure that you don’t bite the bait of false labeling and purchase a product different from what you look for.
The “CBD Free Trial” Scam
Avoid any company that emails you and offers you a free CBD bottle to try the product. Avoid any pop-up with similar messages.
Perhaps you are already familiar with this scam because it’s one of the oldest in the health and supplements market.
How does it work? Exactly, in the same way, the Trojan horse worked for Troy!
You are offered a free trial bottle in return for a monthly subscription. Other companies just ask you to pay for shipping and handling. Soon, you find out that your credit or debit card got charged with subscription amounts, you think, you never agreed to pay.
Wrong! You agreed to pay when you accepted their terms and conditions -without reading the 14 pages – and didn’t cancel your “subscription” asap!
The product is of low quality for sure. When you realize your credit card is charged you try to contact them just to find out that customer service does not exist.
Brands that consumers have reported using this scam are Miracle CBD, Pure CBD, Sky CBD, CBD Optical, True CBD, Assure CBD, Pure Med CBD, Divine CBD, Isolate Direct CBD, My Health, Botanical Life, Organix CBD, Optimal Choice CBD, CBD XRP, Zen Labs CBD, Star CBD, Serene CBD, Serenity CBD.
There is no use trying to memorize all these names. Brand names change, brands vanish and reappear with new names. Remember to pay a visit to websites like ripoffreport or reportscam every now and then, to be informed of the latest scam trends (!!) regarding CBD oil.
Beware of Greeks bearing gifts 🙂 (my friends know why I’m smiling)
Avoid CBD Oil Brands the FDA doesn’t Trust
When it comes to choosing a CBD oil product you should know that not all CBD oil products are what the brands claim. The FDA checks CBD products that are sold online and make public the results of these tests by publishing warning letters to the brands that have failed to meet their claims.
Check the following
You will be amazed by the list of brands that sold products that didn’t contain the amount of cannabidiol they claimed. I don’t know if things are different today-I couldn’t find the 2018 letter. I would avoid any brand on these lists.
Synthetic Cannabidiol or The Yolo CBD Oil Case
From October 2017 through January 2018, 52 people were sickened by a synthetic compound that was falsely labeled as CBD in Utah.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that a product sold under the brand name Yolo CBD Oil was responsible for the illnesses. Yolo CBD oil was found to contain 4-CCB (a very dangerous synthetic cannabinoid) instead of CBD.
The symptoms that users reported were altered mental state, nausea, vomiting, shaking, seizures, confusion, loss of consciousness, and hallucinations.
Thirty-four suspected cases were reclassified as confirmed if the person reported use of a Yolo product or laboratory testing found 4-CCB. Approximately one-quarter of persons were aged <18 years, nearly three-fourths had vaped the CBD product, and approximately 60% were seen at an emergency department.
All the efforts to find the company that manufactures Yolo CBD oil were vain. They never found the brand behind the product.
In 2017, a Diamond CBD product named Chill Gummies was found to contain 5-fluoro-ADB (5F-ADB) a dangerous cannabimimetic. (See the lab test results here )
Furthermore, a lot of people that used the e-liquids of the same company reported on Reddit that they experienced the psychoactive effects of THC while vaping CBD. I know you are thinking: impossible!
Recently, a concerned customer of the Diamond CBD brand sent a tip and two samples of their vaping products to researchers at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU). 7 more vaping products from Diamond CBD were bought by the researchers. A total of 9 vaping liquids were tested.
All the e-liquids were found to contain CBD.
Two of the nine contained THC (the ones sent by the brand’s client) .
5F-ADB, one of the most dangerous synthetic cannabinoids often known as K2 or Spice, was found in four of the nine .
One contained dextromethorphan (DXM ) a cough medicine with abuse potential.
The study (which was contacted in 2018 and published in January 2019) reports:
The website where these e-liquids were purchased stated that these products were “100% natural CBD extracts” and provided no indication that these products contained any other active substances. The detection of THC in two products was expected as CBD products may contain up to 0.3% THC, and both naturally occur in cannabis plant material. However, the detection of 5F-ADB and DXM was unexpected. The addition of 5F-ADB and DXM compounds to the CBD products may lead to unexpected psychoactive effects. Uninformed users may mistakenly associate these effects with CBD. The inclusion of these drugs in e-liquids can lead to dangerous consequences; particularly when the users are unaware, and the product is used for therapeutic reasons. 5F-ADB was a Schedule I drug when both the Liquid Gold and Diamond CBD Vape Additive products were purchased. The formulation for Diamond CBD Vape Additive had changed from the time the original sample was purchased, resulting in the detection of DXM rather than 5F-ADB.
You can read the full study here.
These are two examples of brands that were found selling products containing unexpected and dangerous or addictive substances. Unfortunately, only one of them is known. We don’t know who the manufacturer of Yolo CBD oil is.
- Make your purchases directly from a reputable brand. All established brands sell thousands of CBD products every day earning millions of dollars. They wouldn’t add synthetic cannabinoids in their products. This would ruin their reputation and could put them out of business in a jiffy.
- Avoid buying a no-name CBD product in stores and purchase online directly from a company you trust. The Yolo product was bought in a smoke shop. Don’t make the same mistake as those people. There is no way of telling what ingredients the product contains if you can’t see the lab-test results. Examine the website of the company you are interested in, navigate through its pages, check the lab tests results
- Avoid purchasing products you don’t know who they were manufactured by. Remember the Yolo product.
Stick to brands that are reputable and trustworthy. Always. Be informed to avoid being sorry.
The Medical Marijuana Inc. Case
On November 20, 2013, Tamara Wise blue the whistle on her former company Dixie Botanicals with the following Facebook post:
“I’m tired of so-called CBD companies claiming that what they provide is medicine. Anyone using a CBD from hemp product please be aware of what you’re actually getting b/c it is not what you think. These formulations start with a crude and dirty hemp paste (contaminated with microbial life! I have seen this and these organisms decompose the paste. The paste perhaps even contains residual solvent and other toxins as the extraction is done in China) made in a process that actually renders it unfit for human consumption. What these companies are doing is criminal and dangerous. In fact, MJNA’s RSHO is literally just this hemp paste diluted in hemp seed oil. No refinement at all!!! And what Dixie Botanicals is offering is beyond disturbing. I cannot keep quiet any more. And since I formulated most of these products as head of Dixie science, I feel responsible for spreading the truth. I left Dixie for ethical reasons but it is not enough to just walk away. These frauds need to be exposed for what they are. Look out for my tell-all article coming soon and feel free to contact me directly with questions as it is time to blow the whistle. Let’s keep this industry pure and safe.” — Tamar Wise, formerly head of Dixie Science.
Medical Marijuana Inc.(MJNA), is an umbrella company that markets CBD infused “hemp oil” products.
Project CBD- a non-profit organization focusing on cannabidiol research and education- decided to investigate the company when they heard complaints of people getting sick or even “violently ill,” after consuming “Real Scientific Hemp Oil,” (RSHO), which is Medical Marijuana Inc.’s flagship product.
The result was a 33-page report I strongly advise you to read.
I hope that, after reading this report, you will agree with my personal decision to avoid the products of this company and all its subbsidiaries.
I agree that this story is a bit old. But my granny used to say “once a crook, always a crook”. I choose to follow her advice.
Medical Marijuana Inc. also owns Kannaway (!!!), KannaLife, HempMedsPX, Cibdex, Wellness Managed Services, Phyto Animal Health, MPS International, Real Scientific Hemp Oil, Dixie Botanicals, Cannabis Beauty Defined, Revive, CanChew, HempVap, and KannaKick.
If you decide to purchase any of the products these brands market, PLEASE do thorough research and study their recent lab tests results. In case they aren’t published on the company’s website, insist that they send them to you before placing an order.
Avoid MLM/Pyramid CBD Oil Brands
I was hanging out in one of the hemp groups I follow when a guy PM me: “hi hun…” ( I bet the word “hun” was part of his training :-))
He had read some of my comments and wanted to know me and my blog.
But the real truth was that he wanted to recruit me-to convince me to become a Kannaway ambassador (yes, the same Kannaway of MJNA ). I, truly regret that 3-minute chat I had with him because he turned out to be a real pain in the a**.
He left comments on my blog promoting his brand and his business model (I didn’t authorize them, sorry) and trying to get me under him to sell his products. He followed my social accounts, he texted, he called. For two entire weeks I couldn’t get rid of him.
I am not saying that MLM brands’ products are bad. They can be safe, excellent, top, high-quality, the best of the best. Or not.
I don’t trust them because their products’ potency reports rarely match what they advertise.
There are tons of inflated testimonials and confusing information regarding them.
It’s logical: the nature of this business model is kind of “predatory”: the sellers choose an aggressive approach to market their products and increase sales and profit.
I, personally, avoid MLM/pyramid brands for two simple reasons
I’ve always been an anti-MLM person. It’s against my personal ethics to exploit other people’s hard work to earn money. (This is perhaps the reason why I’ll never become a millionaire 🙂 )
The prices of the products these brands sell are much higher than any other trustworthy CBD brands due to the MLM business model. Why should I pay a higher price when I have a lot of better or similar alternatives at a lower price?
Here is a list of MLM/Pyramid brands.
- Hempworx/MyDaily Choice,
- Zilis UltraCell/Pur 7
- Country Naturals
- Wakaya / Cibi Gold
- Gemini – DynaMAXX International
- Natures Ultra (Young Living)
Trusting or not MLM/pyramid brands is a personal choice. I have made mine. It’s up to you to make yours.
Wrapping it Up
I have done my best to give you information regarding the risks your health and your wallet are in when purchasing CBD oil.
IMHO, an informed client is a safe client.
Remember my advice: stick to reputable CBD oil brands with good reviews.
(I hope I won’t end up in jail after this article. Promise you will visit every now and then!)
If you have any questions, want to share any personal experience with any of the brands mentioned, or add a brand to the list leave a comment below
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DISCLAIMER: The content of this article is for informational purposes only. It is not meant to substitute professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. The information provided is not meant to alleviate or cure any disease or disorder. Always seek the advice of a qualified health provider for any medical condition.