With CBD increasingly becoming the “it” buzzword for health and wellness supplements, so too are more and more companies jumping onto the CBD bandwagon. But, as with all things popular, there are always those who will take advantage of the hype to sell products of subpar quality, or as seen by recent Utah cases, products that are downright dangerous. Add to that the complexity of the laws surrounding CBD, and you will see why the market is ripe for misinformation, false advertising, and a rise in the manufacturing of fake CBD products.
Two Main Issues with CBD Products
Although many clinical and scientific studies support the assumption that CBD has a host of different health benefits, CBD unfortunately still exists in a legal gray area. With more and more people starting to use it, not only as a dietary supplement, but also as a therapeutic agent to help relieve a variety of symptoms, this legal gray area has resulted in some unscrupulous companies taking advantage of trusting consumers who often don’t have the resources to verify claims or product ingredients.
Fake CBD Reporting: Products Containing Low or No CBD
One of the reasons why so many people are turning to CBD to relieve their symptoms is because CBD is natural and doesn’t cause any adverse reactions. Unfortunately, it is also this quality of CBD that makes it so incredibly easy for companies to falsely report a product’s CBD content. In the end, absent honestly reported third-party lab results, there is no real way for a consumer to tell how much they are getting. And because there are almost no regulations in place for CBD products, there is very little to stop unscrupulous companies from overpromising and underdelivering on the quality and consistency of their CBD products. Furthermore, many companies add harmful additives and use non-organic carrier oils.
This issue is highlighted by 2015 and 2016 reports from the FDA where the testing of 40 different products from 13 different companies yielded some staggering results. They found that none – yes, you read that right – NONE of the reported products contained the amount of CBD they claimed to. What’s more, not only did the labelling falsely report the amount of CBD contained within the product, nine of the samples tested contained no CBD at all with an additional 11 products containing less than 1 mg of CBD.
Unfortunately though, the FDA won’t release any information on how testing was conducted, how many products were tested in total, or how pervasive the problem really is. Forty out of forty tests turning out to have misleading labels is a completely different situation than forty out of thousands. Either way though, it is clear that there is a problem and that consumers need to do their homework before purchasing CBD products (more about that later).
Fake CBD: Poisonous Effects of Synthetic CBD
Fake reporting is bad enough, but when people’s lives are put at risk because of fake CBD, the situation becomes a lot more nefarious.
The most well-known and shocking case of fake CBD entering the market happened in December 2017 in Utah, where 52 people reportedly became ill, experiencing various adverse reactions (including altered mental states, seizures, confusion, hallucinations and even loss of consciousness), after using a CBD oil called Yolo CBD oil.
According to The Center for Disease Control and Prevention CDC report, these symptoms were so inconsistent with the known effects of real CBD that it tipped government officials off to the possibility of the product being adulterated. Testing confirmed their suspicions and showed that despite the product being labelled as containing CBD, in reality it consisted of a synthetic form of CBD called 4-CCB.
What makes this case so terribly sad and disturbing is that these consumers didn’t go out to knowingly buy a synthetic form of cannabis in an attempt to “get high”. Instead, and in good faith, they purchased what they thought to be a legitimate CBD product from reputable retailers and health shops with the intention to improve their health and wellbeing.
How to Know You Are Really Getting Pure CBD Oil
Luckily there are some things you can do to make sure that you are getting top quality, pure and REAL CBD oil. Some of these are obvious, some will require a bit more due diligence, but in the end your health and peace of mind are well worth the effort.
One current reality about CBD products is that the good stuff doesn’t come cheap. Resist the urge to save money by buying cut-price CBD – chances are that you will get what you pay for. And if you’re lucky, that will only be substandard CBD at very low concentrations.
3rd-Party Lab Results
Always. No compromise. Third-party test results from a reputable lab is really the only way you can genuinely know what you are getting. Check to make sure the CBD you are buying is free of pesticides and harmful additives. If those lab results are not freely and easily available to you upon request, walk away. Walk away as fast as you can.
CBD sourcing and manufacturing
This is probably the easiest step you can take to avoid fake or low-quality CBD products. Checking where the product comes from, who the suppliers are, and how the product is manufactured can easily be done by checking out the company online. Does the company website state where they source their CBD from (you want it to be from the US or Europe)? Is there a blog or social media content? Are their real people you can contact? Are their manufacturing plants GMP compliant? These are all signs that the company is transparent and their products trustworthy.
Research company reviews
Still not sure? Check out the company’s reviews. Chances are if you find an overwhelming majority of reviews swinging one way or the other, your experience will be similar.
Take Home Message
While we here at Geovana are dedicated to delivering only premium quality, GMP compliant products containing only 100% pure, organic and GMO-free CBD oils and all-natural ingredients, not all companies maintain our level of integrity. CBD regulations and enforcement are likely to improve as time goes by, but until then you have to be cautious about which CBD brands you trust.
And while buying CBD products can feel somewhat intimidating at first, following the guidelines we set out here will point you in the right direction when making your purchasing decisions.