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Real CBD – How to Tell if CBD Oil is Real or Fake

In our last few articles we looked at several large CannaBiDioL (CBD) companies – Elixinol and Charlotte’s Web – which present investors with a couple of pure plays on the CBD theme and have the financials to prove it. (Both of these companies produce real CBD oil extract taken from the cannabis plant.) While writing these pieces, we spent some time talking with industry experts and realized there’s a real problem out there when it comes to fake CBD oil being sold. Before we get into that, we’re going to talk about why fake CBD tincture is so problematic.

The Effects of CBD

Throughout our time researching CBD, we’ve observed a few common themes. The first is that people will respond variably to CBD at differing doses. In other words, CBD affects everyone a bit differently. What CBD will not do is get you high. That’s the problem here. If you’ve ever bought fake weed, you know that the first time you tried to blaze up with it, the taste wasn’t there and there was no high. You knew immediately that what you bought was fake. The difference with CBD is that it does not make you high and you can’t actually feel the effects of it. Instead, people will say things like “I feel less anxiety” or “I’m able to sleep better at night” or “I feel less pain” which are all great benefits but also could result from other factors. One reason you could experience an improvement is because of something called “the placebo effect” which seems to be more powerful the more you spend. An $80 bottle of real CBD tincture better do something, otherwise you wasted your money. Nobody wants to feel like they wasted money.

Here is what it all comes down to. If you do take CBD, you want to be absolutely sure you’re taking real CBD. As you can probably guess, not all CBD tinctures are created the same. It is, however, all pretty pricey stuff. Weed smokers know that smoking a 20-sack of Mexican brick weed isn’t worth the chronic cough and the fact you need to smoke half an eight for a head change. Pony up a bit more and get some Beasters for 35 a sack or just pay the 50 bones and get some of the stuff that killed Elvis. Same thing holds true for CBD products. People want to find the best brand and stick with it which is what the numbers tell us. The key takeaway here is that you can avoid the fakes by finding a legitimate brand that works for you and stick with it. If the best brand doesn’t give you any positive effects, then CBD isn’t for you and you can stop wasting money on it.

Testing for Fake CBD

There’s a way that anyone can find out if CBD oil is real or fake, but most don’t want to go through the hassle. The people that do want to get CBD products tested are the producers, at least responsible producers. Nobody wants to suddenly find out from a third-party source that their CBD gummies have pesticides in them. That’s exactly what happened in January of last year when a website called Remedy Review tested 29 CBD brands and 4 failed with 1 product recall already issued. That was over a year ago, and there’s no point in dragging these brands through the muck. What we do want to know more about is how they tested these products. Like many of the producers do, they used an objective third-party testing laboratory.

We first learned about ProVerde while talking with Charlotte’s Web about the prevalence of fake CDB oils on Amazon. (In one case, a CBD oil on Amazon was tested and found to be olive oil. And probably bottom-shelf olive oil at that.) Founded in 2013, Massachusetts startup ProVerde Laboratories has taken in $2.8 million in funding to offer “analytical testing and consulting services in the marijuana and hemp segment.” They offer a sophisticated suite of testing services that’s accredited and used by some of the world’s leading cannabis firms to test their cannabis and hemp products for harmful contaminants such as mold, mildew, bacteria, heavy metals, and pesticides in an effort to ensure product sold or processed is safe to consume. The lab does not offer, sell, or broker CBD products so they can remain purely objective.

A sample report from ProVerde – Source: ProVerde

ProVerde is the lab used by Remedy Review to test various CBD brands, but one would expect the top brands are already doing this. According to Remedy Review, a firm like Elixinol will actually send in their own products along with other “duds” in order to keep themselves honest and make sure the quality check is working as expected. Anyone who wants to get a CBD product tested can avail themselves of this service, but most consumers would never go through the hassle. Also, a one-time test doesn’t cut it. Today’s brands that don’t have quality issues can easily become tomorrow’s brands that do have quality issues. That’s why you want to look for brands that emphasize quality as a competitive differentiator and go to great lengths to make sure their products are of the highest quality through constant and consistent testing. One entity that wants to provide some structure around the whole of this is the U.S. Hemp Authority.

How to Tell if CBD Oil is Real or Fake

Search for CBD Oil on Amazon and you’ll get over 1,000 results. It’s not a good idea to try and sift through these and find a winner. Instead of spending time and money trying to validate the legitimacy of the many CBD brands out there coming out of the woodwork, why not let someone else handle this? Turns out the U.S. Hemp Authority was put together for that purpose. While the name sounds legitimate, we don’t just assume they are. A look at their website shows their leadership team and their history which we’ll try and paraphrase here.

Founded in 2016, the U.S. Hemp Authority is a tax-exempt organization, legally independent of other hemp organizations and companies, and is not a governmental body or regulatory agency. The effort is presently being funded by the U.S. Hemp Roundtable – a coalition of dozens of hemp companies – that represent every link of the product chain, from seed to sale. They’ve developed a 43-page Guidance Plan which provides some set procedures for growers and producers to follow which the industry has collectively agreed upon. Those companies that adopt these guidelines are then considered to be “certified” and will then presumably adorn their product labels with a stamp of approval. The first Guidance Plan – Version 1.0 – has resulted in 13 companies receiving certification and they’re currently working on Guidance Plan 2.0.

13 companies received certification – Credit: U.S. Hemp Roundtable

It’s important to note that just because a company isn’t on this list, that doesn’t mean they’re not legitimate. One company not on the list is Elixinol, although their Regulatory Officer & Industry Liaison sits on the board of the U.S. Hemp Authority. We would assume that’s because this is a list of U.S. companies only. In addition to Charlotte’s Web (listed as CW Hemp above), there are 10 other companies above we haven’t covered yet. Stay tuned for our coming CBD articles in which we’ll take a closer look at some of these companies.

Conclusion

In the cannabis world, the quality of a product begins speaking for itself immediately after you take that first green hit. In the world of CBD, you need to play around with dosages to see what works for you. If you have no problems sleeping, no pain, or no anxiety, then you need to be self-aware enough to gauge what – if anything – you stand to gain from using CBD products. Companies will work harder and harder to differentiate themselves. For example, Charlotte’s Web talks about how their full spectrum CBD products contain a more complete spectrum of the 113 identified cannabinoids in cannabis plants which – as we keep saying – will affect everyone differently based on everything from dosage size to brand of product. You can’t go wrong with Charlotte’s Web, but if you’re looking at using other brands, it wouldn’t hurt to make sure that they’re validated by the U.S. Hemp Authority or regularly subject their products to third-party quality tests to ensure a consistent level of quality.

Interested to try cannabidiol (CBD) out for yourself? Then try the number one CBD brand out there, Charlotte’s Web. It’s a family run by seven siblings who believe in selling only the finest CBD products from liquid and capsule products to topical creams and balms. Give them a try and see for yourself why CBD has become so popular.

Fake CBD is a real problem because it's not so obvious. How can you tell if CBD oil is real or fake? We look at some legitimate brands and quality testing.

How to spot fake CBD brands

Cannabidiol — the wonder supplement of the decade — has many consumers due to its popularity as a wellness and health-related supplement. Its immense benefits in helping people get rid of chronic pain issues, treating anxiety and depression, and also helping people sleep better is being researched and documented across the world.

Adding to its popularity is the fact that it is available in many different forms that can easily be consumed by people as per their preference. Not only is CBD available as an oil, that one can consume directly or add to one’s food and beverage preparations, but is also available in the form of tinctures, that one can just place under one’s tongue to get immediate benefits.

The other forms of CBD are capsules that people who don’t like the earthy and natural taste of CBD can use, without any worries about swallowing it like oil or placing it under the tongue like tinctures.

Fake CBD products

All these features and benefits have unfortunately led to a growth in spurious and fake CBD products that use inferior ingredients or worse no CBD at all as a part of the product and instead rely on cheap alternatives to replicate the taste of CBD but without any health benefits.

These fake alternatives, which offer no health benefits, have led people to doubt the health and wellness claims of CBD products and their overall effectiveness in treating different types of ailments. This is a bad practice and could affect the entire working of the CBD industry and the people associated with it.

In worse case scenarios these fake CBD products could also lead to harmful side effects for the people who use them and be detrimental to their health in the long run.

Being a new supplement, people are just getting accustomed to buying CBD as a health and wellness supplement. This lack of awareness makes it easy for counterfeiters to replicate CBD products and pass them on as the real thing.

Given the pricing of CBD products and how easy it is to make money from marketing duplicate products, many small time manufacturers and counterfeiters have started indulging in the unethical practice of producing products of low quality and even with CBD that is not sourced from the US (US CBD is considered of the best quality) and selling it as a genuine product.

The whole process of manufacturing and selling products that don’t have original and pure CBD in them is completely illegal and invites criminal prosecution under different statues of law.

Different types of fake CBD products

While some products are outright copies of popular and genuine brands, without the natural and pure ingredients the original products use, one can also find other types of products which are passed on as being CBD products, while what they may actually contain is the oil of plants similar to the hemp plant.

How to spot fake CBD products

To know the difference between an original CBD product and a fake product, you need to have a thorough understanding of CBD and the different types of CBD manufacturers use in their products. This information will also help you decide which form of CBD you should use and how it can benefit you.

While these factors are not important for one to enjoy the benefits of CBD, better awareness about them will help us easily differentiate between a fake CBD and an original one.

To help people differentiate between a fake and original product we share a few helpful tips so that you are easily able to distinguish between them and enjoy the benefits of using only original CBD products.

  1. What type of CBD is in the product

The CBD used in CBD based products can be classified into 3 different categories based on their extraction and the types of compounds they contain. It is very important to know the type of CBD being used in the product you are using since your overall wellness and health benefits depend on the same.

Any product claiming to be another form of CBD definitely needs a closer look, before you start using it. The different types of CBD produced can be classified as;

    CBD Isolate: The purest form of CBD, it does not contain any of the other compounds, present in the hemp plant. It is usually extracted using the CO2 extraction process and also known as 99% Pure CBD.CBD Isolate is a white crystal powder form that is mixed with coconut oil, to create CBD Oils that are easy to digest. CBD Isolate is preferred by people who want to experience the benefits of pure CBD only and want to increase or decrease their CBD dosage as per their specific needs.

The neutral taste of CBD isolate is also a favorite among people since they can easily add it to their favorite foods and beverages.

When checking for the originality of the CBD Isolate product, see if there are any other compounds or additives present in it, as their presence will indicate that this is not a genuine product.
Broad Spectrum CBD: This form of CBD is favored by some manufacturers, due to the immense health and wellness benefits it offers as compared to CBD Isolate.Broad Spectrum CBD is prepared using all the natural compounds present in the hemp plant, through a careful extraction process under the strictest hygiene conditions.

All the compounds except THC are present in this CBD form to promote the “Entourage effect” wherein all of them work together for a cumulative better benefit to the user.

In case the product you are considering to buy is labeled as broad-spectrum CBD but also has THC present in it, you need to avoid buying the same. One can find broad-spectrum CBD being used in Oils, Gummies, etc.

  • Full-Spectrum CBD: Similar to broad-spectrum CBD, full-spectrum CBD also contains THC in legally permissible limits, i.e. less than 0.3%. Some people prefer this form of CBD as it provides better relief against pain, anxiety depression, etc. Fab CBD is one of the best brands that produces full spectrum oils.The usage of this form of CBD needs to be carefully monitored to avoid an overdose, which could lead to harmful side effects and even lead to nausea, vomiting, headache, etc.
    1. Ask for third-party lab reports

    The foremost and best way to know if the product you are using is not an original but a fake product is to ask the brand manufacturer or the store you are buying it from, for a lab report of the product.

    Government authorities have made it mandatory for all CBD manufacturers to get their products tested by third-party labs for the authenticity of the CBD used in the product and whether it has any contaminants in it.

    Known as the Certificate of Analysis (COA), it is a documented proof that certifies the purity and quality of the CBD, while giving you an in-depth review of the ingredients used in making that product.

    The absence of a proper and updated lab report signifies that there is something wrong with the product, making it non-suitable for your use. Another thing that you need to note is that the lab report should not be more than 6 months old and is for the batch of CBD you are considering buying.

    1. Check the ingredients list

    While looking at the packaging of the product, do check whether the CBD has been made from the hemp plant or hemp seeds, as both are different and don’t offer the same benefits.

    Pure and original CBD is made from the hemp plant and has immense wellness benefits. Hemp seed oil, on the other hand, does not have enough CBD in it to be of beneficial use and is mostly used in beauty and industrial applications.

    While pure and good quality CBD oil may have coconut oil, which acts as a carrier for the CBD and also aids your digestion listed, there will be no other ingredients. Fake products may have a list of chemicals and compounds listed to prove their authenticity.

    1. Check pricing & available offers

    If the pricing of the particular brand you are considering to buy, has a very low price then the chances are that it is a fake product and not made using real natural CBD.

    This is because the entire CBD manufacturing process right from planting and harvesting the hemp plants, to its extraction, testing, packaging, and marketing is very costly and makes it viable to sell their products at low prices.

    Any brand that offers the CBD product at a price that is too good to be true or has hard to believe offers, when compared to other brands will definitely not be the genuine stuff. Do try and ascertain if the price or offer is genuine and the company has used the best quality CBD and process before you buy such products.

    1. Names sounding similar to popular brands

    Do look out for products that have names which seem very similar to genuine and original products, so that they may pass off as an extension of that brand. Sometimes the packaging too may look very similar with just a little color difference between both the original and fake.

    A closer inspection of the name on the packaging will show very subtle differences, with the brand name being spelt incorrectly with just a single letter, to add to your confusion. It is best to buy CBD oil online from trusted brands.

    1. The reputation of the store

    Do consider the reputation of the store you are buying the products from and whether it is recognized for stocking only original branded products. One can always check the reviews of the stores, from previous customers to determine whether the online or offline store has been implicated for selling fake stuff.

    The pricing and offers the store offers, would also give you an idea about the products the store sells and whether it stocks products that are not up to the mark.

    1. Speak to other CBD users

    According to Dr Green of The Cannabis Radar: The best way to check which products are good and which are fake or of inferior quality is to speak to other CBD users, who will be more than willing to share their experiences in using CBD products.

    CBD users are always proud of the health benefits they have received from CBD products and are always willing to help others have the same enjoyable, health-related experience.

    Not only can they guide you on the different benefits CBD products offer, but also how to use them, the recommended dosage per day, and the brands that should be avoided at all costs, since they are fake and not of the best quality.

    Do remember though, that what may be suitable for them, may not suit you while buying a CBD product based on their recommendation.

    Conclusion: Buyer beware, and fact check

    The health benefits related to CBD products are many, provided one is using the original and high-quality stuff. If you happen to use a fake or low-quality product unintentionally it will hamper your entire CBD experience and even cause harmful side effects,

    Being well informed of the best, original brands in the market, what is a good price to pay for CBD products and the current offers the companies offer, will help you avoid buying a fake product. Once you are aware of a fake product, make sure that you share your experience with other CBD users, so that they too may gain from this knowledge.

    How to spot fake CBD brands Cannabidiol — the wonder supplement of the decade — has many consumers due to its popularity as a wellness and health-related supplement. Its immense benefits in