Can You Buy CBD on Amazon?
If you type in “cbd oil” into the Amazon search bar, you’ll be presented with a long list of search results for “hemp oils.” Many of these claim to provide the various health benefits CBD is known for, like relief for pain, anxiety, inflammation, and more.
However, CBD can’t be sold on Amazon, according to the site’s seller policies. So, what gives? Are these hemp oils the same as CBD?
In most cases, they’re not. While some CBD oil companies will relabel their CBD oils as “hemp oils” in order to get away with selling them on Amazon, they’re technically violating Amazon seller policies. Worse, as a consumer, it’s very difficult to impossible to know whether the “hemp oil” you’re purchasing on Amazon is true CBD oil just relabeled as “hemp oil,” or plain old hemp seed oil that contains barely any CBD.
As you can see, buying CBD on Amazon is more complicated than you think. Below we’ll review exactly what Amazon’s policies around CBD products are, along with how to know whether you’re buying legitimate CBD oil on Amazon or other websites.
Can You Buy CBD on Amazon?
No. Technically, you cannot buy CBD on Amazon, because you cannot sell CBD on Amazon. Under the “Drugs & drug paraphernalia” section of their seller policies, Amazon specifically prohibits the sale of any products containing CBD:
“Drug listings must not be for controlled substances or products containing controlled substances, such as:
- Products containing cannabidiol (CBD), a Schedule I Controlled Substance, including but not limited to:
- Rich Hemp Oil containing cannabidiol (CBD)
- Products that have been identified as containing CBD by LegitScript”
It’s surprising, then, to type “cbd oil” into the Amazon search bar and be presented with a list of products that look a lot like CBD, but are called “hemp oil”:
Are these products CBD oil in disguise? Maybe. But it’s much more likely that they’re hemp oil, which, while good for you as a nutritional supplement, contains very little CBD.
What’s the Difference Between Hemp Oil vs. CBD Oil?
The hemp plant is involved in many commercial products, including CBD oil. Hemp shows up as an ingredient in paper, clothing, building materials, and much more. Because hemp has such wide-ranging commercial applications, many hemp products are sold (and allowed to be sold) on Amazon.
Hemp seed oil (or hemp oil) is one of those products. Because both hemp seed oil and CBD oil come from the hemp plant, many people assume they are the same thing. However, they come from different parts of the hemp plant, and one contains significantly more CBD than the other.
Hemp seed oil, unsurprisingly, comes from the seeds of the hemp plant. Hemp seeds are very nutritious and protein-rich, so you’ll often find them in health food stores, as an ingredient in hemp milk, ground up into protein powder, or pressed into hemp seed oil. Hemp seed oil contains beneficial fatty acids, which make it a heart-healthy food supplement as well as a natural skin moisturizer.
While hemp seed oil is good for your heart and skin, it does not contain the uniquely beneficial properties of CBD oil, including anti-anxiety, anti-inflammatory, and analgesic effects. Unfortunately, that doesn’t stop some Amazon hemp seed oil sellers from claiming their product’s ability to treat anxiety, insomnia, pain, and more.
To enjoy the benefits of CBD, you need to be using CBD oil, not hemp oil. Unlike hemp oil, CBD oil is sourced from the entire hemp plant, but particularly from the flower and buds. These areas of the plant contain significantly higher amounts of CBD than the seeds.
How to Buy CBD Oil on Amazon
When you see hemp oil on Amazon, it’s very difficult to know whether you are buying hemp seed oil, or CBD disguised with a “hemp oil” label.
If you want to buy CBD oil on Amazon, it is possible, but you need to know exactly what to look for. We’ve put together a list of tips for buying CBD oil on Amazon below.
1. Look for “hemp extract” in the label.
CBD oil is extracted from the hemp plant using carbon dioxide or another solvent, like olive oil, that is then evaporated away. Often, CBD companies will refer to their CBD oil as a “hemp extract,” because that’s what it is.
Fortunately, on Amazon, this may allow them to sell their product without getting banned, since it’s labeled “hemp extract” and not “CBD oil.” However, just as CBD oil companies disguise their products as “hemp extract” to stay under Amazon’s radar, companies selling simple hemp seed oil will call it “hemp extract” to encourage shoppers to mistakenly believe it is CBD oil.
In other words, just because it says “hemp extract,” that only means the product came from the hemp plant. It’s not a guarantee that it came from the flowers and buds, or that it’s true CBD oil.
Even so, seeing the words “hemp extract” on the label, as well as in the ingredients on the back, is a good first step in verifying that the product is CBD oil. However, if you see the words “hemp seed” anywhere, you’re looking at hemp seed oil, not CBD oil.
2. Look for a milligram count.
The hemp extract should also be expressed in milligrams, which equates to the amount of CBD in the bottle. You should be able to find the milligrams on the front label, as well as on the back under ingredients.
If the product does not mention milligrams of hemp extract or CBD anywhere, this is likely hemp seed oil and not CBD. For you to use CBD oil, you need to know how many milligrams it contains so you can measure the appropriate dose.
Since hemp seed oil is a food supplement, the amount of milligrams is not important, so you won’t find it emphasized in the product packaging.
3. Check the size of the bottle.
CBD oil is a concentrated amount of CBD that comes in a pretty small bottle (usually 1 to 2 ounces). Usually, this bottle will have a dropper so you can easily measure out a specific dose. CBD oil bottles look similar to essential oils.
Hemp seed oil, on the other hand, is available in a larger bottle, like olive oil and other food supplements. The bottle may contain anywhere from 4 to 24 ounces, and it may not have a dropper, because dosing isn’t important with this type of food supplement.
4. When in doubt, ask the seller.
If you think you’ve found a legitimate bottle of CBD oil, double-check by contacting the seller. You’ll want to ask them if the product contains CBD, and if so, how many milligrams. Also ask if they use a third-party lab to test their products (more on this later), and ask them to send you a lab report. (This may sound like a big ask, but it’s really not. Any reputable CBD manufacturer uses third-party labs, and they will include the safety certificate either on their website or in the product packaging.)
Can You Legally Buy CBD Oil Online?
Since a retail giant like Amazon does not allow the sale of CBD oil, it may make you wonder whether you can purchase CBD legally online. You can.
As of December 2018, CBD oil (and any other CBD products sourced from hemp) became legal nationwide. In the 2018 Farm Bill, the federal government removed CBD from the list of Schedule I controlled substances, and many states followed suit thereafter, updating their own drug laws to reclassify CBD.
Why Amazon has not updated their policies in accordance with federal law is a mystery only they can answer. Until they do, however, any manufacturer selling CBD oil through Amazon is violating their seller policies.
Fortunately, you can buy CBD oil legally in many other places online. In fact, it’s often easier to purchase CBD oil online, direct from the manufacturer, because you can ensure the product you’re buying is really CBD.
Where to Buy CBD Oil Online
CBD is very trendy right now—and for good reason—but unfortunately, that means there are a lot of people out there trying to make money and taking advantage of the lack of regulation. That’s why you see so many hemp seed oils on Amazon advertised as anxiety and pain relievers, when they’re just a food supplement.
Because CBD is still an unregulated industry, you will have to do a bit of research no matter where you buy it from. However, buying directly from the manufacturer requires you to jump through significantly less hoops than on Amazon. Just follow these three tips to assess the legitimacy of any CBD company you’re considering:
1. Check for third-party testing.
Any reputable CBD manufacturer will use third-party labs to test the safety of their products and the amount of CBD they contain. They’ll also make this information easily available to consumers, either by displaying the latest safety certificates on their website or by including it with the product packaging.
2. Review the ingredients.
True CBD oil products will specify the amount of CBD, in milligrams, clearly on the bottle and in the list of ingredients. Beyond CBD, some CBD products will contain other ingredients. In the case of CBD gummies, for instance, there may be natural flavoring. Because CBD oil is designed to provide health benefits, creditable manufacturers will take pains to ensure their other ingredients are natural and organic.
3. Confirm that they use locally grown hemp.
CBD oils should be sourced from organic industrial hemp grown locally in the USA. Trusted manufacturers will detail the source of their hemp on their website, and they’ll take pride in the fact that it is locally grown and 100% pesticide-free.
Should You Buy CBD on Amazon?
The best place to buy CBD oil online is straight from the manufacturer. This is the best way to ensure that what you’re buying is actual CBD oil.
But, if you’re intent on buying CBD oil on Amazon, it is possible—although Amazon doesn’t make it easy. To be sure you’re buying CBD oil on Amazon, you’ll want to look for a small bottle that contains a dropper, includes the words “hemp extract” in the label, and states the amount of milligrams of “hemp extract” or CBD it contains.
If it looks like it’s a food supplement, comes in a larger bottle, and does not specify milligrams anywhere on the label, it’s plain old hemp seed oil.
You can also read the reviews or contact the seller directly for additional information. Keep in mind, though, that because selling CBD oil is against Amazon’s policies, the manufacturer you buy from today, may not be on Amazon the next time you go to buy.
Or, you can just save yourself the trouble and buy CBD oil directly from the manufacturers. This way, you know what you’re purchasing is true CBD oil (since they’re allowed to use the correct language on their website), and you’ll likely enjoy a better price, too—since they don’t have to worry about the seller fees on Amazon.
We recommend the following brands: CBDistillery, NuLeaf Naturals, Populum, FabCBD, Plus CBD Oil, Charlotte’s Web, cbdMD, Nature’s Script, and Rosebud CBD. All of these brands source their CBD from locally grown hemp, and are transparent about their third-party testing.