Fact checkedFact Checked

This article is reviewed by a team of registered dietitians and medical doctors with extensive, practical clinical and public health experience.


5 CBD Oil Scams You Should Stay Away In 2022


Updated on - Written by
Medically reviewed by Kathy Shattler, MS, RDN

All articles are produced independently. When you click our links for purchasing products, we earn an affiliate commission. Learn more about how we earn revenue by reading our advertise disclaimer.

CBD Oil Scams

Just a few years back, marijuana and CBD products were illegal. So, there weren’t many options in terms of products available for the masses. But then came the wave of legalization and research on the benefits they provide people.

Today, it’s a very different picture since thousands of quality products are available and weed dispensaries are all over. However, not every product you come across is worth your time and money. There has been a sharp increase in CBD oil selling products that have no benefits.

Therefore, before you start taking any product, look at CBD oil scams in this article. Having this knowledge will save you in many ways.

Top CBD Oil Scams & How They Work

From the time CBD became legal in many places, there’s been an increasing number of tricks. Some of the top 5 scams to take note of include:

Hemp Seed Oil Or Hemp Oil

One scam that is quite popular in the CBD market is selling hemp seed oil as hemp oil. A manufacturer gets hemp seed oil after cold-pressing hemp seeds. The results are quality oil with many health benefits to the human body.

However, the hemp seed oil is not a CBD product. This is for the simple fact that it does not contain[1] any trace of cannabidiol. Cold-pressing hemp seed oil is an easy process, so manufacturers are scamming people by passing the oil off as hemp oil. You’ll notice that this oil is much cheaper than the actual hemp oil that has cannabidiol compounds.

It’s not easy to spot the difference between the two oils because of scam manufacturers. They use labels that mislead consumers into believing the hemp seed oil is a CBD product.  But only the hemp leaves contain over 100 cannabinoids. It’s worth noting that hemp oil is quite potent as this is a full-spectrum CBD product.

A full-spectrum CBD product contains THC in addition to other cannabinoids. So, it’s not only more expensive but can also make you high. Hemp seed oil is cheap and won’t have the same effect. 

Free CBD Offers

As more people find out about CBD products, there’s an increase in demand. This increase had manufacturers taking advantage and hiking prices of different items like CBD oil. There’s a sense of desperation among consumers, leading to a rise in free trial offers[2]. While the offers claim to give you some relief, you might end up spending hundreds of dollars more than you intended to spend.

The blatant truth is the bottle of CBD oil is not free at all. These are all CBD frauds, and it’s spreading so fast across the country. The seller advertises that the CBD product is free and even uses public figures to endorse it. However, to access the product, you must provide them with your credit card number. The credit cards will cover the cost of shipping the products to consumers. This is an outright red flag to keep you off such sellers.

While paying for shipping is not a big issue, the problem comes when you sign up for a trial membership. By giving out your credit card details, you have given consent for this membership unknowingly. While you can cancel this in 14 days, you realize the charges on your credit card included more than just the cost of transport.

This is a bold scam that many manufacturers and sellers are using since you might not even be aware you’ve signed up for the subscription. If you aren’t keen on your finances, the fraudsters might use the details to increase your membership since you missed the cancellation date. 

Copycat CBD Brands & Multilevel Companies

Here is where all caution is required. The copycat scam is the most audacious of them all and most rampant in the thriving CBD industry. Copycats have a known strategy where they take the brand and name of a top CBD company and brand their products. Buyers will purchase them thinking they are getting top-quality products from the trusted manufacturer.

Little do you know, the websites you access are not the original! Copycats depend on people using word of mouth to speak about the products. Since many get the spelling wrong, they end up purchasing imitations from these sites. These sellers also engage in the credit card charge scam where you unknowingly sign up for a trial subscription.

They sell you fake products and keep charging your card until you catch on and cancel. By then, they’ve made quite a killing and move on in search of the next victim. Be sure to know the exact name of the manufacturer before purchasing if you want to avoid this scam. Even most multilevel products are not legit, and they don’t sell you the quality CBD products you need.

You get on their web pages, add some products to your cart and place an order. You have to wait a few days or a week for shipping. However, the products never arrive when reality hits that you just got scammed. Every effort you make to reach out to the company in question bears no fruit. 

Too-Good-To-Be-True Claims

One of the most significant ways CBD manufacturers and sellers capture a consumer’s attention is through marketing claims. Many imply that CBD oil and other products are the answer for people suffering from diseases. 

Truthfully, while CBD offers some relief, there is no scientific evidence that marijuana or cannabis has healing capabilities. So, take caution and stay away from any person claiming unrealistic benefits for their products.

One medical fraud to note is how CBD oil can boost your immune system. Sellers advertise that taking a few drops of CBD oil each day or twice a day can help boost your immunity. Today, this is a dangerous claim because people have taken it a step further to mean you can use such oils to protect yourself from the Coronavirus.

There’s the claim that certain hand sanitizers that contain CBD can boost your immunity and protect you from the dreaded disease. So many misleading products are popping up, including hand sanitizers and washing soap, but there is no scientific evidence[3] to support their claim.

Here are some other unfounded claims:

  • Immune boosting CBD sanitizer and soap protects against Covid19
  • Our CBD is 100% natural
  • No side effects
  • The purest CBD in the world
  • CBD oil has a 100% absorption rate

Tons of Fake CBD On Amazon & Similars

Fake products are sold everywhere, including the famous Amazon website. All you have to do is read the reviews. So many people come back to the pages to state the products are fake, smell different, and even come in plastic products.

Therefore, it’s pretty crucial to do your homework on the pure CBD products in the market. If possible, read the reviews on Amazon and double-check with other similar sellers. There have been lots of claims about fake reviews posted on Amazon lately.

In 2019, Amazon prohibited the selling of CBD products on its site as per its policy. Despite this ban, some sellers still find ways to use the online retail giant to peddle their products.

A recent search on the site by the Washington Post turned up 6000 CBD products[3] that are labeled as hemp oil. Hemp oil contains cannabinoids making it a CBD product. Such mislabelling and lack of proper product scrutiny make it easy for impostors to continue using the online retailer to sell CBD. 

Trusted Brands & Unqualified Brands

From all this information, it’s clear every person using CBD oil and other products needs to be vigilant. Here are well-known brands whose products come from the best organic hemp plants grown in farms that underwent continuous soil testing. In addition, the companies comply with third-party testing requirements and dozens of products with coupons.

CBDfx CBD + CBN Oil Tincture


CBDfx Review

25% Off Coupon: HEALTHCANAL

Take Spruce CBD

Spruce CBD

Spruce CBD Review

Free Shipping and 15% Off Coupon: HEALTHCANAL

royal cbd official

Royal CBD

Royal CBD Review

20% Off Coupon: HC20

cbdistillery (2)


CBDistillery Review

15% Off Coupon: HEALTHCANAL

The following brands have been issued warning letters[4] from FDA for selling unapproved CBD products.

  • Sunflora Inc. 
  • Noli Oil
  • Whole Leaf Organics LLC
  • Infinite Product Company LLLP
  • Healthy Hemp Strategies LLC
  • Red Pill Medical Inc.

Why Are CBD Oil Scams A Big Problem?

Since the legalization of CBD in many states, a growing issue has come up. There’s an explosion of scammers with outrageous claims. These claims are rising due to the lack of regulation of the industry.

Still, the government is taking measures to curb this. For instance, in 2020[5], the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) took its first step to hold manufacturers and sellers with such claims accountable. The organization started a crackdown and charged all the entities involved.

From that announcement, six sellers were nabbed who sell products that contain CBD. The reason for this is stating claims that aren’t scientifically proven and put users at great risk. The sellers claimed CBD could cure cancer, hypertension, heart disease, Alzheimer’s, and other chronic ailments.

As good as CBD is, its reputation is pretty fragile. The ugly truth is this is an industry that is entirely on its own. There are no governmental organizations that regulate it, which is a huge problem. Such a lack of regulation has some companies seeking third parties to authenticate their products.

However, others head in the opposite direction and release pointless products. The number of CBD scams is on the rise every day. There has been a sharp increase in the number of CBD products that don’t go through third-party testing.

Almost 26% of all CBD products[6] aren’t worth it since they even contain less CBD than the information indicated on the label. To make matters worse, in 2018, a study done on 84 products[7] revealed that almost 21% of them contained THC, and 69% were mislabelled.

The FDA sees CBD as more of a dietary supplement and not a drug. There’s increasing enforcement of this as the FDA cracks down on manufacturers with such unfounded claims.

Recently, Curaleaf Inc got a warning letter[8] from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to cease all claims that CBD offers a cure for ailments. This is after the organization scoured the company’s website and social media sites. These CBD products are not drugs and should never be marketed as such.

How To Spot High-Quality CBD Oil

Processed from Organic Hemp Plants

The hemp plant comes with numerous benefits, but there’s one point to note. This is a plant that takes in everything it can find in the soil. So, if the growers use chemicals, fertilizers, and pesticides, all these go into the plant and, consequently, the CBD oil.

One vital sign of high-quality CBD oil is being manufactured from organic[9] or natural hemp. Most farmers who grow such hemp require government certification and have their fields tested regularly. 

Brands that provide high-quality CBD oil source their CBD from reputable farms.

Colour Testing

When it comes to color, CBD oil doesn’t have just one. Instead, you find three CBD oil varieties. They include Raw CBD oil that seems like a black liquid or, at times, dark green. The dark color means this is pure hemp oil that’s not undergone any filtration after extraction from the hemp leaf.

The next is decarboxylated CBD oil that’s also dark green or black. The only difference it has with the raw CBD oil is going through the decarboxylation process[10]. During this process, the acidic molecules in the oil are dropped, leaving other cannabinoids intact.

Lastly, the filtered CBD oil has a light golden color. It’s the most popular in the market, and most people use it for numerous reasons.  

Third-Party Testing

The CBD industry is not regulated in any way. This is why there are so many scammers cropping up from everywhere. One way to spot good oil from others is through third-party testing results from an ISO 17025-accredited[11] laboratory.

You can go on the website of the manufacturer to read the results. In addition, visit the testing facility to see if the results match or not.

THC Content

THC is a potent cannabinoid that many CBD users want to avoid. So, they actively search for products with less or no THC content in them.

However, many manufacturers are not truthful about the amount of THC in the products. Instead, they choose to mislabel the CBD oil, which puts many buyers at life risk. Remember, since THC makes you high, you aren’t to operate any heavy machinery or do strenuous tasks.

A study[12] done by the FDA in 2020 on 102 CBD products claiming not to contain THC was quite revealing. Out of all of them, 49% contained THC, and 18% contained less CBD than was on the label.

Final Thoughts

CBD oil scams are widespread. The lack of regulation for the CBD provides the perfect breeding ground for these and many more cons. It’s essential to be prudent and alert as you search for the best products to use. 

The hoaxes provided in this article are only the tip of the iceberg as many more crop up every day. This is why it’s crucial to know how to spot fake CBD oil.

Quality CBD oils have specific colors depending on the level of processing. In addition, they come in a brownish glass bottle and not a plastic one. And lastly, they always provide third-party test results in detail on their websites. Do careful research to make sure the CBD oil and manufacturer meet all these criteria before purchasing.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the benefits of CBD oil?

Some of the health benefits of CBD oil include relief from skin inflammation,  chronic pain, and reducing anxiety. It also helps to counter the effects of chemotherapy like nausea and vomiting.

How to tell if CBD Oil is real or fake?

Not every CBD product you come across in online marketplaces is real. Some of the best ways to spot fakes include using a plastic bottle instead of glass. The oil doesn’t come from organically grown hemp and is marketed as a miracle cure drug. Lastly, the manufacturer doesn’t provide any third-party test results.

Does CBD oil have side effects?

While CBD oil has benefits, it’s worth noting there are also side effects. Some of the side effects to look out for as you use the oil include diarrhea, dry mouth, nausea, vomiting, fatigue, drowsiness, and even loss of appetite.

+ 12 sources

Health Canal avoids using tertiary references. We have strict sourcing guidelines and rely on peer-reviewed studies, academic researches from medical associations and institutions. To ensure the accuracy of articles in Health Canal, you can read more about the editorial process here

  1. VanDolah, H.J., Bauer, B.A. and Mauck, K.F. (2019). Clinicians’ Guide to Cannabidiol and Hemp Oils. Mayo Clinic Proceedings, [online] 94(9), pp.1840–1851. Available at: https://www.mayoclinicproceedings.org/article/S0025-6196(19)30007-2/fulltext [Accessed 15 Sep. 2021].
  2. ‌www.bbb.org. (n.d.). BBB Scam Alert: Trying CBD? Watch out for tricky free trial offers. [online] Available at: https://www.bbb.org/article/scams/24164-bbb-scam-alert-trying-cbd-watch-out-for-tricky-free-trial-offers [Accessed 15 Sep. 2021].
  3. ‌Grinspoon, P. (2018). Cannabidiol (CBD) — what we know and what we don’t – Harvard Health. [online] Harvard Health. Available at: https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/cannabidiol-cbd-what-we-know-and-what-we-dont-2018082414476 [Accessed 15 Sep. 2021].
  4. ‌Greene, J. (2019). Amazon prohibits CBD sales, but it’s still easy to buy on the site. [online] Washington Post. Available at: https://www.washingtonpost.com/technology/2019/12/19/amazon-prohibits-cbd-sales-its-still-easy-buy-site/ [Accessed 15 Sep. 2021].
  5. ‌Office of the Commissioner (2020). FDA warns 15 companies for illegally selling various products containing cannabidiol as agency details safety concerns. [online] U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Available at: https://www.fda.gov/news-events/press-announcements/fda-warns-15-companies-illegally-selling-various-products-containing-cannabidiol-agency-details [Accessed 15 Sep. 2021].
  6. ‌Federal Trade Commission. (2020). Epichouse LLC, (First Class Herbalist CBD), In the Matter of. [online] Available at: https://www.ftc.gov/enforcement/cases-proceedings/202-3094/epichouse-llc-first-class-herbalist-cbd-matter [Accessed 15 Sep. 2021].
  7. ‌Freedman, D.A. and Patel, A.D. (2018). Inadequate Regulation Contributes to Mislabeled Online Cannabidiol Products. Pediatric Neurology Briefs, [online] 32(0), p.3. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6024459/ [Accessed 15 Sep. 2021].
  8. ‌Center for Drug Evaluation and Research (2019). Curaleaf, Inc – 579289 – 07/22/2019. [online] U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Available at: https://web.archive.org/web/20200716192617/https:/www.fda.gov/inspections-compliance-enforcement-and-criminal-investigations/warning-letters/curaleaf-inc-579289-07222019 [Accessed 15 Sep. 2021].
  9. ‌Usda.gov. (2021). USDA Organic. [online] Available at: https://www.usda.gov/topics/organic [Accessed 15 Sep. 2021].
  10. ‌Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research. (2017). Affinity and Efficacy Studies of Tetrahydrocannabinolic Acid A at Cannabinoid Receptor Types One and Two | Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research. [online] Available at: https://www.liebertpub.com/doi/10.1089/can.2016.0032 [Accessed 15 Sep. 2021].
  11. ‌ISO. (2019). ISO/IEC 17025 — Testing and calibration laboratories. [online] Available at: https://www.iso.org/ISO-IEC-17025-testing-and-calibration-laboratories.html [Accessed 15 Sep. 2021].
  12. ‌Stephen M. Hahn, M.D,Further Consolidated Appropriations Act, (2020 ),[online] Available at:https://hempindustrydaily.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/CBD-Marketplace-Sampling_RTC_FY20_Final.pdf

Medically reviewed by:

Mitchelle Morgan is a health and wellness writer with over 10 years of experience. She holds a Master's in Communication. Her mission is to provide readers with information that helps them live a better lifestyle. All her work is backed by scientific evidence to ensure readers get valuable and actionable content.

Medically reviewed by:

Harvard Health Publishing

Database from Health Information and Medical Information

Harvard Medical School
Go to source

Trusted Source

Database From Cleveland Clinic Foundation

Go to source

Trusted Source

Database From U.S. Department of Health & Human Services

Governmental Authority
Go to source


Database from World Health Organization

Go to source

Neurology Journals

American Academy of Neurology Journals

American Academy of Neurology
Go to source


United Nations Global Compact
Go to source

Trusted Source

Database From National Institute for Occupational Safety & Health

U.S. Department of Health & Human Services
Go to source

Trusted Source

Database from U.S. National Library of Medicine

U.S. Federal Government
Go to source

Trusted Source

Database From Department of Health and Human Services

Governmental Authority
Go to source

PubMed Central

Database From National Institute Of Health

U.S National Library of Medicine
Go to source