If you’re like most Americans, when you need something, you hop onto Amazon. The retail giant accounts for nearly 40% of all online sales in the United States, and is rapidly expanding its business, offering delivery of certain products within 2 hours in some areas. Yet there are products that Amazon doesn’t offer — such as CBD oil.
It may seem outrageous that something that is sold in stores across the United States can’t be purchased on Amazon. Yet, the reason why is relatively simple: Amazon forbids the sale of supplements that contain hemp-derived ingredients. Although most CBD oil contains only trace amounts of the psychoactive component of marijuana, THC, Amazon relies on a federal law that considers marijuana to be a controlled substance. So essentially, you shouldn’t be able to buy CBD oil on Amazon.
Fortunately, there are ways to obtain high quality CBD oil and related products beyond Amazon. This article explores the reasons behind Amazon’s ban on CBD products — and explains why you shouldn’t search for CBD products by a different name on Amazon.
How Amazon’s Rules Limit the Sale of Certain Products
Amazon has a lengthy list of “restricted” products that either cannot be sold on its site, or can only be sold in limited circumstances. This list incorporates many items that cannot be sold on Amazon for obvious reasons, such as alcohol, tobacco, and live animals. It also strictly limits how dietary supplements — such as CBD oil — can be sold.
There are a number of rules that must be followed in order for a seller to list dietary supplements for sale on Amazon. For example, supplements must be sealed in their original packaging, and cannot have the logo of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) or otherwise claim that the product is FDA approved. There are also restrictions on the ingredients contained in the supplement.
Under Amazon’s policy on supplements, these products “must not contain controlled substances, such as Cannabidiol (CBD), a Schedule I Controlled Substance.” This policy is based on the designation of marijuana as a Schedule I controlled substance under federal law. CBD is specifically listed by Amazon as a “known prohibited product.” So if you see CBD oil on amazon, it’s either being sold illegally or what’s in the bottle isn’t really CBD.
Is CBD Oil a Controlled Substance?
In 2019, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) clarified its rule regarding the classification of marijuana as a controlled substance. While marijuana remains a Schedule I controlled substance, the rule noted that materials or products that are excluded from the definition of marijuana are not controlled substances. In other words, if an extract is not considered marijuana under the Controlled Substances Act, then it isn’t a controlled substance.
So what does this mean for CBD oil and related products? The answer is relatively straightforward: if CBD oil is made from hemp, rather than marijuana, then it is not a controlled substance. Hemp is defined as “the plant Cannabis sativa L. and any part of that plant, including the seeds thereof…with a delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol [THC] concentration of not more than 0.3 percent on a dry weight basis.”
In other words, hemp is not marijuana — and so it is not a controlled substance. The key distinction between hemp and marijuana (which come from two different varieties of the Cannabis plant) is the level of THC. Hemp cannot get you high because of its incredibly low levels of THC. As a result, neither hemp nor CBD oil produced from hemp are considered controlled substances.
Why is CBD Oil on Amazon Forbidden If It Isn’t a Controlled Substance?
Amazon is a massive corporation that does business across the world, and in every U.S. state and territory. Complying with both federal and state law is incredibly important for a company like Amazon, which one reason why it may err on the side of caution when it comes to CBD oil on Amazon.
As discussed above, for a product to be considered hemp under federal law, it must contain extremely low (0.3% or less) levels of THC. Otherwise, it may be classified as marijuana and deemed a controlled substance. Most CBD oil on Amazon is listed as 0 THC, but as there are no lab reports nothing is certain.
However, even if a CBD product is derived from hemp, it is still regulated by the FDA. To date, the FDA has only approved one CBD product, which is manufactured by global biopharmaceutical company Jazz Pharmaceuticals. This doesn’t mean that all other CBD products are illegal; it simply means that they have not been approved by the FDA for the treatment of a particular disease or condition.
Amazon sells hundreds of thousands of products. It is far simpler for the company to ban all CBD products instead of attempting to determine, on a case-by-case basis, if a product complies with both the Controlled Substances Act and the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act. While this reality may change in the future, for now, retailers like Amazon won’t sell CBD products.
Why Buying CBD Oil on Amazon Is a Bad Idea
Although it is strictly forbiden to sell CBD oil on Amazon, some sellers have found a workaround: labeling and marketing their product as hemp oil, hemp extract, or hemp oil extract. Generally, these products are an oil or extract of the hemp plant — so the description is not inaccurate. But because the sellers who market these products cannot list the ingredients, buying them is a gamble.
In order to comply with Amazon’s rules, sellers of hemp oil products cannot disclose certain information, such as the presence of cannabinoids. This means that if you purchase a hemp oil product on Amazon, you may get some cannabinoids (CBD) — or you may not, and there is no guarantee either way. If your goal is to purchase CBD oil for its beneficial effects, then don’t buy your CBD oil on Amazon.
Hemp oil products are often listed for relatively higher prices as they market the product as CBD oil on Amazon. If you purchase hemp oil or hemp extract, you may end up spending a lot of money for a product that does not work. Similarly, if you buy hemp seed oil instead, it will not contain any CBD. Your better option is to purchase CBD oil from a company that verifies the level of CBD in its products through lab testing.
How to Buy CBD Oil from a Trusted Source
If you’re in the market for CBD oil, you need to make sure that you’re buying a quality product that is both legal and safe. There are a number of steps that you can take to make sure that you are buying from a reputable purveyor of CBD products. At a minimum, the company that is selling CBD oil should have their products independently tested to determine the CBD and THC (less than 0.3%) content, should list the ingredients and the origin of the CBD, and disclose how the CBD was extracted from the hemp plant. So PLEASE don’t buy CBD oil on Amazon, for your safety, even if you don’t want to purchase CBD from us.
However, at Green Valley Nutrition, we only sell CBD products that have been independently tested to verify that there are no contaminants, that the listed CBD level is accurate, and that there is no THC present. We also list all ingredients for each product, specify the origin of the CBD, and state how the CBD was extracted. Our buyers guide is a helpful tool that you can use to select the CBD product that is right for you.