CBD is rapidly getting popular, so it’s no surprise to see Canada’s entrepreneurs starting companies up to grab a piece of the proverbial CBD pie. However with so many companies popping up and offering products, it’s sometimes hard to tell what’s what. Which claims are true? Who’s product is safe and reliable? Though the majority of companies offer quality, lab-tested CBD oil products in Canada, there are a few scammers out there. Some companies take shortcuts and offer false information as they try to lure people into making purchases using questionable tactics. In this article we’ll look at 5 things consumers can do to avoid the pitfalls of this new market.
Scam #1 – Fake Celebrity Endorsements
This one can be touch to spot. There are quite a few celebrities out there that have given CBD glowing reviews including boxing legend Mike Tyson, former UFC Lightweight Champion Anthony Pettis, Olympic gold-medalist Megan Rapinoe, supermodel Alessandra Ambrosio, Grammy award winner Tony Braxton, Kim Kardashian and many, many more.
Sadly, there are some unscrupulous operations out there trying to take advantage of the trend and creating fake celebrity endorsements where none exist. Take for example the case of Tom Hanks. As if poor Tom didn’t have it bad enough—first he was diagnosed with COVID-19 and then quarantined in Australia, then he’s being falsely quoted along with Dr. Oz as endorsing CannaPro and Cali Naturals CBD. Both of these companies were lying about these endorsements, and they soon heard from Tom himself on Instagram where he called them out for lying about their relationship.
Tom Hanks wasn’t the only one to be victimized this way. TV celebrity Montel Williams—who has been trying to launch his own cannabis medicine line himself—was interviewed about this new venture by Forbes Magazine. Once the interview went public, sleazy online companies started using his name to promote their own CBD brands.
The lesson here: Be wary of fake endorsements. If someone you admire is endorsing a product, best double check to make sure it was really them!
Scam #2 – Fake CBD “Shark Tank” Claims
You may have come across this paid ad on the internet lately. It usually appears as a headline for another story on popular magazine and newspaper websites. It poses as a “true story,” with a tagline like “Toronto, Read THIS Before You Try CBD!” or a variation thereof. In fact, it’s a paid, sales-funnel type advertorial. Once you click, you come through to this “article”:
The article is a litany of deceits. It’s full of fake testimonials, sometimes adopts the voice of a fake news agency called “News Channel,” and professes to have been subjected to FDA trials overseen by Harvard scientists (no link provided of course). It’s most notable fiction is the idea that it was “seen on Shark Tank.” It’s an illusion created using some nifty Adobe Photoshop work, fake quotes from Shark Tank investors, and a fictional company founder named “Dr. Jamie Richardson.”
Ultimately, the point of the ad is to get people to agree to a “free trial” and surrender their credit card info. The trial is a trap, created to lock people into a contract to buy overpriced hemp oil from a brand that calls itself “Plant Pure CBD Oil,” among other names.
The lesson here: If the article is labelled “Advertorial” and is a paid ad, be extra cautious and spend a little time researching their claims. If any FDA studies have been conducted on their products, there should be valid links to those studies. Do a Google search on the personalities and organizations identified. Make sure the people, organizations and claims being made are real. For example, if you do a Google search for “Shark Tank CBD” you’ll find a host of articles debunking this false Shark Tank connection. You’ll also see articles by real news and magazine sites that have interviewed Shark Tank investors about the future of the cannabis market.
Scam #3 – Overstating CBD’s curative effects
Reputable CBD companies are always careful when talking about the benefits of CBD. There hasn’t been enough research done to prove most of the claims being made conclusively. Most evidence that CBD helps with conditions like arthritis, anxiety, eczema, dementia and more comes from animal studies or anecdotal evidence. There have been a few studies done on humans and the result are promising, but there’s a long way to go before we fully understand how CBD works for each individual condition, or how to use it most effectively.
There is a tremendous amount of anecdotal evidence out there from people trying CBD and evaluating CBD’s effects on them, as well as from doctors supervising their patients’ CBD use. However, companies selling CBD products should not make claims to “diagnose, treat or cure any disease.”
Certainly, there have been numerous studies with very promising results, and most medical professionals agree that CBD and cannabis medicine shows tremendous potential for treating many conditions. But the fact remains, if you see a company claiming its products can actually treat or cure a disease—that’s a red flag.
The lesson here: Be aware: The science behind CBD is still quite young. The results of clinical trials so far have been promising, but not conclusive. Any company making claims that CBD is a total cure is overstating it. As the old saying goes, if it sounds to good to be true…
Scam #4 – Misleading information about the “Entourage Effect”
The “Entourage Effect” is the theory that CBD actually works best when combined with the rest of the natural compounds in the cannabis plant. The idea is, rather than using pure CBD in isolate form, people who use Full Spectrum CBD—which includes all of the cannabis plant’s cannabinoids, flavonoids and terpenes—experience better results. Cannabis plants produce hundreds of phytocannabinoids including CBD, THC, CBG, CBN and dozens of others. On top of that, they produce flavonoids and aromatic terpenes—many of which may have therapeutic qualities of their own.
There are some studies that indicate the “Entourage Effect” may be real and shows potential for helping with various conditions and ailments. For example, A 2011 review of studies in the British Journal of Pharmacology found that taking terpenes and phytocannabinoids together may be beneficial for:
- Fungal infection
- Reducing the “high’ and anxiety from THC
Research from 2018 found that certain flavonoids and terpenes may provide neuroprotective and anti-inflammatory effects. According to those researchers, these compounds could potentially improve CBD’s therapeutic efficacy.
In a 2010 study in Journal of Pain and Symptom Management, patients experiencing pain from intractable cancer were given either a pure THC extract or an extract containing THC and CBD in near-equal proportions. Patients who received the THC/CBD combo reported experiencing less pain.
The “Entourage Effect” is a theory with a bit of research and quite a bit of anecdotal evidence behind it. However, like many of the claims being made by dishonest CBD brands, the efficacy of the “Entourage Effect” is often overstated. The proof is not yet conclusive, and we aren’t yet close to understanding what combinations of compounds works best for each condition.
The lesson here: Companies that state that Full Spectrum CBD Oil are a fool-proof cure are overstating it. Any statements about researchers concluding that the “Entourage Effect” leads to far better outcomes or a total cure should be taken with a grain a salt. Make sure there are links to the studies mentioned and that claims being made are real and not just a CBD company paraphrasing something they’ve read to make their products sound better than they really are.
Scam #5 – Mislabeled CBD Products
Some companies market products that appear to have CBD, but in fact have no CBD whatsover. For example, if the label says “Hemp Oil” or “Hemp Seed Oil” there’s a good chance there’s no CBD in it whatsoever. Sure, they’ll contain plenty of healthy fatty acids that are great for your skin, but hemp seeds contain little to no CBD.
Best practice? Check the label or website to make sure product ingredients are listed and make sure that products have been 3rd party lab-tested for quality. These lab tests should indicate that the product has the stated amount of CBD and is free of toxins, pesticides, heavy metals and other pollutants.
Here is a list of CBD companies who have falsely claimed their products can cure diseases, or used shady marketing tactics in the USA.
The lesson here: Check labels carefully, ask for 3rd party lab tests, check online for verified customer reviews, or check google reviews.
We hope this article equips readers with the information they need to avoid CBD scams online. Although the majority of CBD companies follow best practices, label their products honestly, and lab-test their products for consumer safety, there are a few bad apples out there using cheap tricks, fake claims, false endorsements and other methods to separate you from your cash. At CBD Oil Direct, we’ve curated a menu that includes a selection of brands with excellent reputations for quality, safety and reliability in Canada. All products on our shelves have been lab-tested for quality. Take a look:
- Read more about CBD, what we know and what we don’t, from Harvard Medical School.
- Find out about advances in cannabinoid research from Raphael Mechoulam at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
- Canada’s Dani Gordon specializes in Cannabis medicine. Her YouTube channel is highly informative for those seeking education about the benefits of CBD oil in Canada.
- Learn the ins and outs of CBD and its effects on pain, anxiety, sleep, women’s health and skin issues in our article CBD 101.
- Read an interview with cannabis medicine expert Dr. Julie Moltke.
- Read about CBD Oil Side Effects.
- Read about the difference between the different kinds of CBD: Full Spectrum, Broad Spectrum and Isolate.
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