Buyer beware: “Amazon’s quest for more, cheaper products has resulted in a flea market of fakes.”
That’s according to a recent Washington Post investigation. The Washington Post investigation focused primarily in counterfeit luxury goods, but the problem extends to anything from the site’s 2.5 million third-party sellers.
Amazon isn’t willing to vet the 500 million items sold through its platform to make sure that product claims are accurate.
So Amazon can’t guarantee that you’ll get what you think you ordered. This is just as true for a nutritional supplement as it is for a Louis Vuitton handbag.
When it comes to CBD oil, the situation is even worse.
Officially, Amazon prohibits CBD oil sales, but doesn’t stop merchants from advertising and tagging products as “CBD.”
CBD is usually produced from legal low-THC industrial hemp plants. But Amazon’s official policy is not to sell it for fear that merchants will use the “CBD oil” label to traffic in illegal, high-THC oils derived from marijuana.
If a company attempts to list a CBD/cannabinoid or full-spectrum hemp oil product on Amazon’s site, the product will get rejected and the buyer will be redirected to Amazon’s official drug and paraphernalia policy along with the following statement from Amazon: “This product has been identified as a prohibited CBD/cannabinoid product. Items containing CBD/cannabinoid or full-spectrum hemp oil, including topical products, are prohibited from listing or sale on Amazon.”
But Amazon encourages merchants to get around its official policy by leaving open a loophole that allows sellers to list their products as “hemp oil” and then advertise and tag them as “CBD.”
Amazon’s hands-off, look-the-other-way approach has resulted in legitimate, high-quality CBD brands being blocked from the site, even as the platform advertises—and shuttles consumers toward—fake ones.
Where CBD oil comes from and how it was produced matters. As Dr. Joseph Mercola explains:
Heavy metal testing is particularly important for hemp-based CBD products, as the plant is known to extract heavy metals from the soil. In fact, it’s frequently used for bioremediation purposes, which is great if the hemp is used for rope, fuel and other nonmedical uses.
When made into medicine, however, this soil-cleansing feature could pose significant problems, as it must be grown in clean soil. As a general rule, I recommend seeking out certified organic CBD products to ensure the least amount of contamination with pesticides and other harmful agricultural contaminants.
Until Amazon cleans up its act, dietary supplement purchases are just too important to leave to the reckless online retailer.