With so many CBD products available in high street shops and online stores, you may also expect to find some on Amazon or eBay.
Surprisingly, CBD products are banned by both platforms, creating the perfect environment for scammers. In the absence of genuine CBD, snake oil salespeople have flooded these sites with products that look like CBD oil, are priced like CBD oil but contain no CBD.
Online retailers ‘For the Ageless’ investigated these products to find out if CBD could be bought from either site. Their findings gave them a unique insight into avoiding a scam and selecting quality oils.
CBD products on Amazon
On Amazon’s UK site, the sellers’ guidelines ban the sale of all products containing; “Cannabinoids including Cannabidiol (CBD) and Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC)”. However, if you do search for CBD on Amazon, you will find hundreds of products that look remarkably like CBD oil.
As with genuine CBD oils, they show a value in mg like 1000mg, or a percentage like 5%, but when you look closer it doesn’t refer to anything. Most call themselves things like ‘Hemp oil drops’ or ‘Enriched Hemp Oil Extract’.
In their research, For the Ageless discovered that on the first results page for the term ‘CBD oil’:
- 70% of the products cost more than £10 for between 10 and 30mls.
- None of them mentioned containing any CBD and appeared to be consisting mainly of hemp seed oil or blend of an unspecified hemp extract.
- 42% of these products were listed with strong implications of health benefits like ‘for anxiety’ and ‘for chronic pain’.
It is likely that most of these oils contain little more than hemp seed oil. This, while having several nutritional benefits, contains no CBD and can be bought for about £7 for 500mls.
When they investigated further, they found that several of these products had rave reviews. Although, below those they found the true story:
“Please don’t be misled as I was – this is not CBD oil, as the listing and answers to questions imply.”
“Falsely advertised as being close to CBD oil but is, in fact, hemp oil.”
“NOT CBD, I REPEAT, NOT CBD”
CBD products on eBay
eBay’s approach to CBD is slightly more complicated. They also ban all CBD products, but they seem confused when asked why. When they were questioned by their customers they responded:
“We do acknowledge your point about the product being legal; however, we haven’t received any such information from the government bodies, including the same.”
The same search term, ‘CBD oil’, yielded 46 results on the first page, 91% of which displayed an amount in mg that, on inspection, didn’t relate to anything. These were predominantly 10ml to 30ml bottles of oil labelled as ‘hemp extract’, ‘hemp oil’ or ‘hemp oil extract’.
Unlike Amazon, on eBay there were some products that did display mentions of CBD. One product labelled as hemp oil included a description of ‘CBD oil solution’ but showed no evidence to indicate that it contained any CBD at all. It is likely that most of these products are mostly hemp seed oil or something similar.
How can I find genuine CBD oil?
Many people assume that eBay and Amazon are trusted sites, and while most of these items aren’t illegal, they are definitely scams. To find out if it is possible to identify genuine CBD oils, we spoke to Daniel, co-founder of for the Ageless:
Following your research, do you think it is ever advisable to purchase CBD oil from Amazon or eBay?
No, unless either site makes significant changes to their guidelines, it is unlikely that you will find good-quality CBD oil there.
What should you look out for to identify a scam?
Look carefully at the label and product description. The scams often have very vague descriptions and don’t call themselves ‘CBD oil’ but use phrases like ‘hemp drops’. CBD oils usually explicitly say how much CBD they contain like ‘300mg CBD’ but scams show a generic amount such as ‘300mg’ with no indication as to what it refers to.
How can you be sure that you’re buying genuine, high-quality CBD products?
Always start with a retailer who has a good reputation. This might be a recommendation from a friend, good reviews on Trustpilot or they could be a member of an industry body like CannaPro or the Cannabis Trades Association.
Once you’ve found a retailer, look for third-party certificates of analysis. These are documents that display the results of lab tests carried out by an independent company. They should be easy to find on the seller’s site and will show you how much of each cannabinoid, including CBD and THC, was detected in the sample.
This will help you verify that any claims on the label of the product are true. We strongly advise that if a company doesn’t let you see the certificates, don’t buy from them.
Another thing to look out for is that every claim like ‘0% THC’ or ‘farmed organically’ should be backed up with evidence. You should expect to see the organic certification or corresponding lab results.
Finally, ask them if there’s anything you’re unsure about. Companies selling genuine, high-quality products will be happy to prove this to you.
Scams are a continuing issue on Amazon, eBay, high street shops and other online stores. To buy genuine CBD products online, follow these simple steps:
- Only buy from recommended retailers.
- Check that the amount of CBD is clearly labelled. For example, ‘500mg CBD’.
- Check the certificates of analysis to verify that it matches the details advertised with the product.
- Don’t buy products that are advertised with specific medical claims or contain more than UK legal limit of THC, which is 1mg per container.
- Determine that any claims like ‘organically farmed’ are backed up with organic certification from a recognised authority.
- Contact the retailer and ask them any remaining questions you have.