CBD Products Are Still Being Sold on Amazon Despite Platform’s Ban
CBD products have flooded the market, but Amazon insists it doesn’t “allow” their sales. Matthew Horwood/Getty Images
Amazon can’t seem to control the prohibited sales of CBD-infused products on its website. The platform, which has a policy against the hemp-derived substance being sold by any merchants, is marred with the trendy items.
According to a new investigation by The Washington Post, a testing of 13 products purchased from Amazon showed 11 of them containing CBD, despite none outwardly advertising cannabidiol on the label. The lack of listings’ information is, of course, to get around Amazon’s drugs policy, which states: “Listings for products containing cannabidiol (CBD) are prohibited.”
Indeed a quick search of “CBD” on Amazon pulls up over 10,000 product results, ranging from CBD-infused oils and creams to gummies and nutritional powders.
Just a few of the thousands of CBD products listed on Amazon. Amazon
The results are especially surprising, considering one product even showed a small trace of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the psychoactive compound of cannabis. As the report noted, buyers can usually figure out which brands and products sold on Amazon contain CBD by doing a simple Google search. Not to mention, the countless user reviews mentioning the infusion of hemp are also a pretty good indicator.
Amazon’s merchant rules indicate the prohibition of essentially all CBD, including “but not limited to” spectrum hemp oil, rich hemp oil and “products that have been identified as containing CBD by LegitScript.”
At the moment, the cross-border (and really, all) sales of CBD is controversial due to safety regulations, so it’s no surprise Amazon has avoided encouraging it on its platform. However, the e-commerce giant hasn’t exactly stopped it either, a common pattern for the company’s listing vetting process.
Most recently, Amazon was found to be allowing the sales of expired food items, including baby formula. Despite Amazon’s claims that merchants are required to provide all of their listed items’ expiration dates, the headline-making incident showed it’s not enforcing its own rules well.
The marketplace currently relies on artificial intelligence (AI) tools to moderate the limitless amount of products sellers list on the site, but evidently many “banned” items, with the latest being CBD, still make it to customers’ homes.
Amazon has a policy that doesn’t allow CBD products, but that hasn’t stopped third-party merchants from selling them.
Why Can’t You Buy CBD Oil on Amazon?
By Op-Ed Blogger David Kranker
If you’re like most Americans, when you need something, you hop onto Amazon. The retail giant accounts for 37.7% of all online sales in the United States, and has rapidly expanded 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 controlled substances. Although 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.
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. According to Amazon, “Controlled substances are drugs that are illegal, such as cocaine or heroin. Products used with controlled substances may be considered drug paraphernalia.” CBD is specifically listed by Amazon as a “known prohibited product.”
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 Does Amazon Forbid the Sale of CBD Oil 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 products like CBD oil.
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.
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 used for the treatment of a specific type of seizures. 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 Products on Amazon Is a Bad Idea
Although Amazon strictly forbids the selling of CBD products on its site, 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. If your goal is to purchase CBD oil for its beneficial effects, then buying it in this way is not a good option.
Hemp oil products are often listed for relatively high prices 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.
At Green Wellness Life, 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 the THC level is below 0.3%. 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.
Ready to buy? Shop our selection of CBD products at any time. If you would like more information, you can contact us via email or by calling (888) 772-7875.
About David Kranker
David Kranker is the digital marketing manager at Green Wellness Life. David is passionate about CBD and making well-sourced CBD information/research accessible to all. David likes to keep his finger on the pulse of the CBD industry to report the latest studies, statistics, and findings from the community.
You can buy just about anything off of Amazon, but CBD is nowhere to be found on the e-commerce site. Allow us to explain why…