Industry Insights

Can you buy & sell CBD on Amazon

Anyone searching for a new product to buy online does one thing-check Amazon. The global online retailer boasts an impressive inventory of millions of products that are usually cheaper than what you can find elsewhere. In the UK alone in the past year, Amazon’s sales amounted to a staggering record of £19.4bn. However, there are some items that you just can’t buy from Amazon or sell either. This brings us to a popular question: Can you sell CBD on Amazon?

The short answer is no, you can’t. Go ahead and look it up. If you type ‘CBD’ into Amazon’s search bar, CBD hemp oil will be the only product that shows up. Although hemp seed oil is obtained from the same plant as cannabidiol (CBD), it is a completely different product used for other purposes. So why can’t you buy CBD products on Amazon? Why does this retail giant that sells virtually everything not sell CBD oil? Let’s explore why this is so and what to watch out for if you do attempt to buy it.

Selling CBD products on Amazon: what’s the issue?

To put it simply, Amazon has strict limitations on selling regulated products and substances. The company describes that the products sold on its online retail platform must legally comply with all the requisite laws and regulations. It further states that supplements sold must not contain any controlled substances. Amazon’s terms clearly explain that “Controlled substances are drugs that are illegal, such as cocaine or heroin. Products used with controlled substances may be considered drug paraphernalia…Drug listings must not be for controlled substances or products containing controlled substances, such as products containing cannabidiol (CBD), a Schedule I Controlled Substance”.

Amazon has thus made it quite clear that the sale of any CBD products (be it tinctures, CBD oil, capsules, topicals, edibles or vapes) is prohibited. Although CBD extracted from industrial hemp is legal in the US under the 2018 Farm Bill, there are states that have their own regulations. This makes selling CBD a big no for Amazon.

Moreover, with over 600,000 products being sold by the e-commerce giant, it is difficult to police that the CBD oil is derived from hemp and not marijuana, for it to be legal for sale in both the US and UK. Thus, to prevent breaking any local or global laws, cannabis oil Amazon is banned for sale.

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Now some might question why CBD products are restricted on the Amazon UK website, even though CBD products are legal for sale in the UK. The simple reason is that Amazon globally is subject to Amazon US rules and regulations. The Amazon UK website has to follow all the terms and conditions set out by Amazon US.

What’s the deal with hemp oil products on Amazon?

As discussed previously, there are a variety of hemp seed oil products available on Amazon. There are also plenty of products that are labelled as ‘hemp oil’. This term is often used interchangeably with CBD oil. This is where these Amazon merchants can be quite crafty. Hemp oil, as well as hemp extract and hemp oil extract, are all products that can carry the cannabinoids you’re looking for.

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According to a recent investigation from the Washington Post, it was quite easy to buy the forbidden cannabinoid on Amazon. 11 of the 13 hemp oil items that were purchased contained CBD. One even contained a small amount of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the psychoactive compound in the cannabis plant that gets people high.

Therefore, under the guise of hemp, CBD oil can be easily bought and sold on Amazon unnoticed. A reason why this practice is flourishing is because CBD oil is derived from industrial hemp. CBD product companies selling on Amazon under the hemp ‘extract’ and ‘oil’ moniker are technically selling what they are promoting. However, the problem is that these may not be the most authentic CBD products in the market.

Buying CBD products on Amazon: what are the problems?

Since CBD is being sold through a workaround method, these retailers don’t disclose the full ingredients list of their products. This opens the doors to potential fraud. When no one is regulating the products, how do you ascertain whether the item you have purchased is rich in cannabinoids? This leaves you to take a pricey gamble, as the prices of some of these oils on Amazon is quite steep.

Moreover, there is also the possibility of harmful contaminants being present in hemp oils. Unscrupulous manufacturers may falsify the ingredients lists or sell untested products. There are also reports of harmful compounds such as melatonin and dextromethorphan being present in unregulated products.

Honesty and transparency are the core values of any reputable CBD company. Customers should therefore purchase only from such companies, which can give full access to the ingredients list and lab reports (Certificate of Analysis) of any hemp products purchased. The fact that Amazon merchants are conducting business in such a dubious manner raises a huge red flag.

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Another problem with buying CBD products on Amazon is that people, especially those new to CBD, tend to confuse hemp seed oil with CBD oil. However, hemp seed oil is a completely different product. It contains high levels of micronutrients, proteins, and vital fatty acids. What it does not contain is CBD.

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As the name suggests, hemp seed oil is made from the seeds of the plant, which contains no cannabinoids. It’s the leaves and flowers of the hemp plant that contain high concentrations of cannabidiol.

Thus, people looking to buy CBD oil Amazon may unknowingly be buying products completely devoid of any cannabinoids.

This brings up an interesting conundrum; why do buyers continue to purchase unverified Amazon CBD hemp oil and other CBD products? The potential reasons for this activity are discussed below.

Top reasons why unverified CBD products are purchased on Amazon

Many people are unaware that Amazon has strictly prohibited the sale of CBD products. They go on the website expecting to buy a product that is otherwise perfectly legal in their country.
This doesn’t just apply to CBD oil but to other forms of CBD products such as gummies, capsules, balms and so on, that are illegally posted on the website. There are two main reasons for this:

  1. Consumers are used to the convenience of shopping online on Amazon

Online shoppers frequently buy unverified products because they are accustomed to searching the Amazon website, clicking ‘add to cart’ and having their orders speedily shipped to them. However, since most of these products have been posted illegally, the buyers have no way of knowing what is actually in the product.

Consumers don’t realise that many of the CBD products listed on Amazon are by fly-by-night operators, who are taking a risky chance that Amazon might overlook their listings. With CBD banned from the website, there are no established and verified brands selling their products on the platform. Buyers thus face the prospect of buying low quality and often fake CBD products from such unscrupulous sellers looking to make quick cash.

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Moreover, there is a chance that such CBD product listings could be removed at any time. Customers may have already placed an order and with Amazon taking down the listing, they would have no contact or help from the seller.

2.  Vague and misleading wording

In response to the question ‘can you sell CBD on Amazon’, the company’s officials have released statements time and again confirming the ban of CBD and clearly stating that no CBD products can be listed for sale. However, many sellers ignore these regulations. They rely on misleading advertising and vague wordings to distribute their products on the Amazon platform.

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To get around Amazon’s security scan and take advantage of unsuspecting customers, scammers use a variety of vague terms in place of CBD oil, such as ‘hemp products’. Hemp products are permitted for sale on Amazon and cannot be flagged for removal. While Amazon’s Al scanning system is renowned for its efficiency, CBD sellers get around it using deceptive tactics to sell and market their products. This means that customers end up buying poor quality CBD products, without even knowing that it is banned on Amazon in the first place.

Such scams leave many buyers disappointed every month, thinking they had ordered good quality products from a reputable website. When they don’t see expected results, this leaves many to mistakenly believe that cannabidiol doesn’t work, while actually, the issue lies with the shady brand they have chosen.

Therefore, people looking to buy authentic CBD products should look elsewhere, even though the security and convenience of online shopping on Amazon is quite tempting.

CBD products: will they ever be legally available on Amazon?

There could be a possibility in the not-so-distant future. The path towards legal CBD on Amazon seems to be in the works. In the UK, CBD products are available for sale, under an ‘invite only’ pilot program.

Amazon is currently not disclosing any information about the future of CBD on its platform, so there are no solid details. However, there is always the possibility in the future that this pilot program could lead to the widespread availability of credible CBD brands on the online retail giant’s website.

Conclusion

Now that you know the answer to ‘can you sell CBD on Amazon’ is a definite no, you would be wise not to risk it. If you do get caught doing so, your account will be banned. You will also do lasting damage to your brand, as all reputable and credible CBD companies steer clear of listing their products on this giant online retail platform. Rather than choosing Amazon, such companies use other channels to market and sell their products.

If you are thinking of buying CBD on Amazon, you now know all the risks and potential problems of buying a product that is officially banned on the website. As long as this ban stays in place, and with sellers getting around it by using alternative terms such as ‘hemp’, there is no guarantee that you will be able to order and receive high-quality CBD products from Amazon.

Aamna Wasim

Aamna Wasim is a creative content writer with a background in Economics and Political Science. Her wanderlust has taken her all around the world, and in her spare time, she loves planning her next adventure with her husband. She’s passionate about ABBA, shopping, a good plate of Chicken Biryani, and Outlander- not necessarily in that order.

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