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cbd oil scam

Patients often ask me  what I think about Cannabidiol (CBD) purchased online. While these products may be less expensive than products purchased in a dispensary they may come at a cost such as being mislabeled, illegal or dangerous to consume.

Online CBD oil are often mislabeled

One reason to stay away from CBD sold online is they are usually, more often than not, mislabeled. A recent publication in November 2017 in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) reported on the labeling inaccuracy of CBD products purchased online. They tested 84 samples of oral and vaping products obtained from 31 online retailers that claimed to be “pure CBD.” They found that 43% had less CBD than advertised, 26% had more than advertised and only 31% of products were accurately labeled. The inaccuracy was greatest in vaping oils, where close to 90% were mislabeled.

Is buying CBD oil online a big deal?

So what’s the big deal? After all, CBD is the non-psychoactive, relatively safe cannabinoid. CBD is known for having medical benefits but being much safer than the more toxic, psychoactive and addicting sibling THC. Is it really so bad if you get 30 milligrams of CBD instead of the 15 milligrams you were expecting?  Actually, it is a big deal.

Buying online CBD oil is a rip-off

Stay far away from online CBD oil. For one, you might be receiving less CBD than you are expecting. Legitimate products sold in regulated dispensaries in New York may have as much as 100 mg/ML. That is what you’re paying for, the high concentration of CBD and the reliability of the company. If you buy something online that advertises 15 mg but you are receiving less than that you’re getting ripped off. It’s like going to the gas station and paying $3.50 for a gallon of gas when the advertised price is $3.25. Even if you don’t realize it someone is getting rich off of your back. This scam has landed a bunch of gas station owners in big trouble.

Online CBD oil may contain large amounts of THC

Second, you might receiving more than you bargained for. The online CBD products might contain THC in them that could have worse side effects or even get you arrested. Imagine you are driving, get pulled over and they test you and discover THC in your system. That is a criminal offense. In the JAMA study, 20% of the “pure CBD” products had up to 6mg of THC in them. That is more than enough THC to get you stoned and enough to get you arrested for using or just possessing.

Can you trust online CBD retailers?

Third, can you trust a company that can’t label their products correctly? Studies have shown (though I won’t go into detail in this article) that cannabinoid oils are sometimes contaminated with carcinogens and other harmful ingredients. If they can’t even label the product correctly for CBD content can you trust that the product is actually safe to put in your body?

If you are interested in using CBD oil to obtain a therapeutic benefit, try to obtain it under the supervision of an expert who can guide you on the right product and also the best location to obtain a clean and safe product. Numerous reports, including the latest in JAMA, have shown that online CBD oils are usually mislabeled, unsafe and should be avoided at all costs.


Michael Morgenstern, MD Dr. Michael Morgenstern is a double board certified neurologist who is also certified to treat addiction. He treats patients with medical marijuana at Morgenstern Medical at locations in Manhattan, New Hyde Park and Hicksville. He is the founder of the NY Medical Marijuana Association. He can be reached at [email protected]