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Inaccurate Dosage Claims Plague Amazon Hemp Products; A Majority Lack Actual Hemp or CBD

Despite Amazon's policies that technically prohibit the sale of CBD products, vendors continue to list them, leading to widespread consumer deception. A recent analytical study has unveiled a disturbing trend: the vast majority of purchasers are not receiving the goods they believe they're paying for. According to Brandup, this prevalent issue deceives consumers into placing their trust in products simply because they are listed on a reputable platform like Amazon, often resulting in financial loss without any real benefit.

Echoing this sentiment, Mike Sill, CEO of Sunday Scaries, highlighted the credibility and quality concerns of Amazon-listed products due to the platform's regulatory stance. Sill pointed out that searches for "CBD gummies" on Amazon fail to return products from recognized brands such as Sunday Scaries, Charlotte’s Web, and cbdMD, as these brands cannot sell on Amazon without facing prohibition. Instead, companies resort to "brand burning" by rebranding and repackaging banned products to circumvent Amazon's restrictions, prioritizing quick sales over brand reputation and product quality.

Examination of Amazon's Hemp Offerings

A targeted investigation into the nature of hemp products sold on Amazon involved the purchase and analysis of 56 popular hemp items, primarily gummies, alongside tinctures, topical creams, and a packet of mints. A significant 89% of these products made specific dosage claims. Surprisingly, only about 30% (17 out of 56) contained CBD, with a wide variance in CBD content. While this indicates some level of honesty about the presence of hemp and its compounds, it still contravenes Amazon's policy and potentially legal standards.

The study also found that a small percentage of products contained THC, including delta-8 THC, albeit within legal limits. However, a majority (62.5%) had no cannabinoids whatsoever, and nearly half (43%) lacked any hemp content. This misleading representation suggests consumers might be purchasing overpriced gummy bears with no therapeutic value, underlining the misleading nature of these product listings.

A staggering 96% of the analyzed products falsely advertised their dosage, with only a couple matching their label claims within a 10% margin. This discrepancy often resulted in significantly lower dosages than promised, though one delta-8 THC product contained double the advertised amount. Moreover, over half made unapproved medical claims, and nearly all lacked essential Certificates of Analysis (COA), raising serious concerns about the integrity and safety of these products.

Broader Implications and Proposed Resolutions

The issue extends beyond Amazon, affecting other major platforms like eBay, Walmart, and Alibaba, which also host similar misleading products. This situation threatens to undermine the hemp and cannabis industries, slowing progress toward reform. Critics argue that Amazon's failure to distinguish between non-cannabinoid hemp seed oil and cannabinoid-rich hemp extract exacerbates consumer confusion and harms the industry.

Proposed solutions focus on Amazon implementing stricter verification processes and demanding current lab reports to weed out deceitful sellers. However, this requires Amazon to acknowledge the presence of CBD products on its platform and ensure that customers receive safe, accurately described products. This approach could represent a significant step toward transparency and safety in online CBD sales, aligning consumer experience with expectations.


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