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How to Spot Fake CBD?

With cannabidiol (CBD)’s safe and therapeutic potential gaining popularity among the masses, the risk of falling prey to fake products has also increased. This is due to the lack of proper regulations and adequate implementation and enforcement of those regulations.

Most reputed brands grow their hemp under the direct supervision of the state regulatory authorities. But not all follow the same rule!

That’s why, despite the numerous products, and the advancements in extraction and manufacturing technologies, it’s still difficult to identify the best-quality hemp products.

In this $22-billion-and-still-growing industry, companies often cut corners (and go unnoticed) for producing and selling counterfeit CBD products.

Any self-respecting brand will tell you that there’s no way to prove whether the extracts come from regulated sources. This means that you could, very well, be buying “impure, low-quality, not-organic CBD”.

Why Is Counterfeit CBD Dangerous?

The adage, ‘What you don’t know can’t hurt you’ is no longer true, at least not in this industry. Here, knowledge is power, freedom, health, and money!

When even fresh foods are no longer reliable, you can only imagine what counterfeit chemicals, like synthetic CBD, can do to your body.

Remember how 52 people fell ill after consuming synthetic products, falsely labeled as cannabidiol (CBD), in Utah a couple of years ago?

So, how do you know if the brands are authentic, and that they are using the best quality raw materials?

How can you be sure that the formulations used will work for you?

How To Spot Fake CBD? How To Tell If It’s Genuine?

While black marketers still keep using synthetic components to make their products, there are several other, more responsible and conscientious, brands that use only “all-natural” and “organic ingredients”, developed to be safe and effective.

Here are some simple techniques to protect yourself (and your family) from the dangers of using fake CBD products:

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Cheap is Cheap, Real is Expensive

Don’t get fooled by brands wooing you with “genuine CBD oils at cheap prices”. Any brands claiming to sell CBD cheap is engaging in shady marketing stunts to push fake CBD oil.

Some brands may also market cheap knockoffs at higher prices. They are the more cunning scammers, who believe in ‘robbing the customer while you’re at it”.

The Synthetic & The Toxic

Both the FDA and the CDC have, from time and again, warned citizens against buying CBD products from unregulated sources. Reputed brands always make sure to give their customers “proof of authenticity” through certifications, verifications, lab-testing, and money-back policy.

These ensure the products’ authenticity, as well as testify to their actual ingredients and give clean chits to those that don’t contain any harmful substances, like heavy metals, pesticides, residual solvents (post-extraction), or high levels of the psychotropic component of cannabis – THC.

Earlier, we had mentioned the Utah case, in which 52 people died from using some spurious substance, they thought was CBD. These are synthetic substances that have toxic effects on the body. Originally designed for research, K2, Spice, Mr. Happy, Scooby Snax, or Kronic is a drug made from dried plant materials, sprayed with hallucinogenic chemicals. Its hallucinatory effects are up to 100 times more potent than natural THC.

Nothing Comes Free! Definitely, not CBD!

Owing to the complex procedures, expensive equipment needed, the cost of farming, extracting, and manufacturing as per compliance, the overall price of a single bottle of good-quality CBD oil becomes expensive. Beware of brands offering free-trials and free CBD goodies. Any “One-Time-Only Limited Offers” for free CBD oil is a scam. To avail of such deals, one must provide his/her credit card details to place the order. This is a typical ploy to force you into buying a monthly subscription of poor-quality or fake products in place of genuine CBD oil. These oils may be useless or can even prove lethal.

Hempseed Oil is NOT CBD Oil

Some scammers deceive customers in a very benign manner. However, you still end up paying through your nose for something that is NOT CBD. In case you don’t know the difference, hemp oil is hemp-derived CBD oil, whereas hemp seed oil is derived from only the seeds (and not the aerial parts) of the plant. The seeds contain almost no cannabinoids. They do, however, have some nutritious value, like minerals and vitamins, that have mild anti-inflammatory and moisturizing properties. It is often used as a carrier base for CBD oils, besides making cooking oils, natural paint, and skincare products.

Look for terms, like CBD, cannabidiol, full-spectrum CBD oil, PCR (phyto-cannabinoid-rich) hemp extracts, on the label. Additionally, CBD-rich hemp oil content will be marked in milligrams (mg), and not liters like in the case of hemp seed oil.

Look for tell-tale signs

  • Information/instructions on the label:

Phrases, like hemp-derived, pure cannabidiol, certified CBD, full-spectrum, CBD isolate, or broad-spectrum CBD, suggest a genuine brand. The label should also tell you about the contents and concentrations of the ingredients. TSA-approved CBD oil is naturally derived, and hence safe.

  • Writing style:

Don’t forget to visit their websites. If the English language used on the websites sounds outsourced (like from China or Bangladesh), or you notice too many spelling errors, odd phrases, out-of-context use of words, or intimidating tone, you can be sure that the brand is shady or at least not reliable. Information given on such websites can’t be trusted. There’s no way to know the locations of their farming, extraction, and manufacturing processes.

  • Transparency:

Don’t buy from brands that don’t/refuse to disclose/declare certain information, like technologies used to extract and manufacture, farming practices, and third-party lab reports – even when asked for them.

  • Responsible & Conscientious Marketing Policy:

How a company promotes its brand has a lot to say about the company. For this, you must know the law of the land. CBD can’t be sold as a medication or a food item in the US. Consumers must support conscientious and reputable brands to drive the bad eggs out of the market.

Besides, note the location of the company. Most reliable brands have offices in the US and the EU.

Buy Only Certified & Verified CBD

Trust brands that are validated by the US Hemp Authority and verified by a reputable and independent third-party lab. If you buy from genuine CBD manufacturers, you’ll get products that have been lab-tested for purity and contents. You’ll also find the test results on most brand websites. Alternatively, reach out and ask for them.

Do a Thorough Research

  • Farming Practices:

To be on the safe side, make sure that the CBD extract is sourced from regulated farmlands, like those in the US and the EU. Legal CBD is derived from hemp, which, when dried, doesn’t contain any more than 0.3% THC. However, marijuana contains a higher THC-content and is illegal. THC has psychotropic effects on the body. Most reputable and reliable brands share their hemp source (for instance, Colorado farms) on their website, where they also mention certain details about their farming practices.

  • Extraction & Manufacturing Technology:

Most big brands choose an alcohol-based solvent or CO2 to extract CBD. If any brand doesn’t declare its extraction process, skip the brand. Apart from the extraction process, you’ll notice most big brands boast about the “advanced technologies” employed in the manufacturing of their CBD products. That’s because good manufacturing practices ensure clean, safe, and reliable products.

  • Look into the Company:

You also must look deeper into the company’s reputation and policies. Check to see if their name pops up in any negative news story. You may also consider calling them to assess how much information they’re willing to give up. If you don’t find them adequately responsive, there’s your red flag.

Customer Reviews:

CBD reviews can give other users an idea of the performance of the brand’s products. Satisfied customers will leave behind good reviews. You can also read reviews by industry professionals to know which products are good, for example, Fab CBD is reviewed on our site, you can just check it’s review here.

Lastly, be careful of dubious brands that claim to cure cancer or severe mental disorders, such as schizophrenia. CBD is not a magic cure-all potion.

It can only help ease your symptoms to a certain extent – not heal you completely. Only your body’s natural defenses and healing mechanisms can do that!

Beyond all those tell-tale signs and fine prints – is your gut! You must let your gut guide you. The moment you sense suspicion creeping into your mind, take a step back, and review.

Parting Thoughts:

With a wide range of products entering the market every year, consumers must be extra-cautious about the brands they trust and learn how to spot genuine products. They must be wary of the scammers and their counterfeit products.

As conscientious consumers you should take the initiative to make the brands work harder to ensure only the best quality products for the consumers – products that are natural, organically sourced, safe, pure, and made with potent formulations.

Ivan writes about Cannabis at The Cannabis Radar. He has a degree in Nutrition Sciences from University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Centre. He likes to spend his spare time reading to his daughter or spending time with his wife.

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