Real CBD – How to Tell if CBD Oil is Real or Fake

March 30. 2019. 6 mins read

In our last few articles we looked at several large CannaBiDioL (CBD) companies – Elixinol and Charlotte’s Web – which present investors with a couple of pure plays on the CBD theme and have the financials to prove it. (Both of these companies produce real CBD oil extract taken from the cannabis plant.) While writing these pieces, we spent some time talking with industry experts and realized there’s a real problem out there when it comes to fake CBD oil being sold. Before we get into that, we’re going to talk about why fake CBD tincture is so problematic.

The Effects of CBD

Throughout our time researching CBD, we’ve observed a few common themes. The first is that people will respond variably to CBD at differing doses. In other words, CBD affects everyone a bit differently. What CBD will not do is get you high. That’s the problem here. If you’ve ever bought fake weed, you know that the first time you tried to blaze up with it, the taste wasn’t there and there was no high. You knew immediately that what you bought was fake. The difference with CBD is that it does not make you high and you can’t actually feel the effects of it. Instead, people will say things like “I feel less anxiety” or “I’m able to sleep better at night” or “I feel less pain” which are all great benefits but also could result from other factors. One reason you could experience an improvement is because of something called “the placebo effect” which seems to be more powerful the more you spend. An $80 bottle of real CBD tincture better do something, otherwise you wasted your money. Nobody wants to feel like they wasted money.

Here is what it all comes down to. If you do take CBD, you want to be absolutely sure you’re taking real CBD. As you can probably guess, not all CBD tinctures are created the same. It is, however, all pretty pricey stuff. Weed smokers know that smoking a 20-sack of Mexican brick weed isn’t worth the chronic cough and the fact you need to smoke half an eight for a head change. Pony up a bit more and get some Beasters for 35 a sack or just pay the 50 bones and get some of the stuff that killed Elvis. Same thing holds true for CBD products. People want to find the best brand and stick with it which is what the numbers tell us. The key takeaway here is that you can avoid the fakes by finding a legitimate brand that works for you and stick with it. If the best brand doesn’t give you any positive effects, then CBD isn’t for you and you can stop wasting money on it.

Testing for Fake CBD

There’s a way that anyone can find out if CBD oil is real or fake, but most don’t want to go through the hassle. The people that do want to get CBD products tested are the producers, at least responsible producers. Nobody wants to suddenly find out from a third-party source that their CBD gummies have pesticides in them. That’s exactly what happened in January of last year when a website called Remedy Review tested 29 CBD brands and 4 failed with 1 product recall already issued. That was over a year ago, and there’s no point in dragging these brands through the muck. What we do want to know more about is how they tested these products. Like many of the producers do, they used an objective third-party testing laboratory.

Click for company websiteWe first learned about ProVerde while talking with Charlotte’s Web about the prevalence of fake CDB oils on Amazon. (In one case, a CBD oil on Amazon was tested and found to be olive oil. And probably bottom-shelf olive oil at that.) Founded in 2013, Massachusetts startup ProVerde Laboratories has taken in $2.8 million in funding to offer “analytical testing and consulting services in the marijuana and hemp segment.” They offer a sophisticated suite of testing services that’s accredited and used by some of the world’s leading cannabis firms to test their cannabis and hemp products for harmful contaminants such as mold, mildew, bacteria, heavy metals, and pesticides in an effort to ensure product sold or processed is safe to consume. The lab does not offer, sell, or broker CBD products so they can remain purely objective.

A sample report from ProVerde
A sample report from ProVerde – Source: ProVerde

ProVerde is the lab used by Remedy Review to test various CBD brands, but one would expect the top brands are already doing this. According to Remedy Review, a firm like Elixinol will actually send in their own products along with other “duds” in order to keep themselves honest and make sure the quality check is working as expected. Anyone who wants to get a CBD product tested can avail themselves of this service, but most consumers would never go through the hassle. Also, a one-time test doesn’t cut it. Today’s brands that don’t have quality issues can easily become tomorrow’s brands that do have quality issues. That’s why you want to look for brands that emphasize quality as a competitive differentiator and go to great lengths to make sure their products are of the highest quality through constant and consistent testing. One entity that wants to provide some structure around the whole of this is the U.S. Hemp Authority.

How to Tell if CBD Oil is Real or Fake

Click for company websiteSearch for CBD Oil on Amazon and you’ll get over 1,000 results. It’s not a good idea to try and sift through these and find a winner. Instead of spending time and money trying to validate the legitimacy of the many CBD brands out there coming out of the woodwork, why not let someone else handle this? Turns out the U.S. Hemp Authority was put together for that purpose. While the name sounds legitimate, we don’t just assume they are. A look at their website shows their leadership team and their history which we’ll try and paraphrase here.

Founded in 2016, the U.S. Hemp Authority is a tax-exempt organization, legally independent of other hemp organizations and companies, and is not a governmental body or regulatory agency. The effort is presently being funded by the U.S. Hemp Roundtable – a coalition of dozens of hemp companies – that represent every link of the product chain, from seed to sale. They’ve developed a 43-page Guidance Plan which provides some set procedures for growers and producers to follow which the industry has collectively agreed upon. Those companies that adopt these guidelines are then considered to be “certified” and will then presumably adorn their product labels with a stamp of approval. The first Guidance Plan – Version 1.0 – has resulted in 13 companies receiving certification and they’re currently working on Guidance Plan 2.0.

13 companies received certification
13 companies received certification – Credit: U.S. Hemp Roundtable

It’s important to note that just because a company isn’t on this list, that doesn’t mean they’re not legitimate. One company not on the list is Elixinol, although their Regulatory Officer & Industry Liaison sits on the board of the U.S. Hemp Authority. We would assume that’s because this is a list of U.S. companies only. In addition to Charlotte’s Web (listed as CW Hemp above), there are 10 other companies above we haven’t covered yet. Stay tuned for our coming CBD articles in which we’ll take a closer look at some of these companies.


In the cannabis world, the quality of a product begins speaking for itself immediately after you take that first green hit. In the world of CBD, you need to play around with dosages to see what works for you. If you have no problems sleeping, no pain, or no anxiety, then you need to be self-aware enough to gauge what – if anything – you stand to gain from using CBD products. Companies will work harder and harder to differentiate themselves. For example, Charlotte’s Web talks about how their full spectrum CBD products contain a more complete spectrum of the 113 identified cannabinoids in cannabis plants which – as we keep saying – will affect everyone differently based on everything from dosage size to brand of product. You can’t go wrong with Charlotte’s Web, but if you’re looking at using other brands, it wouldn’t hurt to make sure that they’re validated by the U.S. Hemp Authority or regularly subject their products to third-party quality tests to ensure a consistent level of quality.


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  1. So a quick question I checked many websites and many resources info on the top CBD oil companies 2019, I’m having major questions about this/these companies particularly. They have me all confused and I can’t find them listed on any of the top oil companies. I haven’t figured it out yet I know where the company is located in Denver I Google Map the address that I had to find you a bank statement something ### Enterprises blah blah, anyway it took forever for my package to arrive getting a hold of them was kind of like a game of tag my Order documents and receipts and my emails all disappeared and that’s not the case I received something in the mail from 4 Corners Cannabis, come to find out that 4 corners is legit just not the best plus they were my first journey into the CBD oil world,..the first company I tried pet CBD oil. in this case??? But I didn’t order it twice that order was last year. It’s my own fault I’m usually seriously OCD about my orders who I bought it from their background blah blah blah and I lost all my information about that order and I seriously think it was for CannazALL?!? If I’m making any sense I’m surprised I just found this out today kind of late so I emailed Hemp Life today, so I’m still in investigation. The culprits below..
    Any information will help.

    HempLife Today™/CannazALL™

    1. Just stick with the names given in this article that have been validated as legitimate. Be careful as this whole space is rife with snake oil.

  2. Yes, this article is great to hear. Unfortunately, it’s not simply a situation where Amazon only attracts low quality products. The bigger issue is that legitimate, larger brands in the CBD space can’t put their higher-end products on Amazon because Amazon still bans inclusion of the word “CBD” in the name or description, and these big brands aren’t going to bother changing their branding and marketing just to capture a niche in Amazon, but fly-by-night companies with no real established brand to protect can do that for quick money, and mask how much (or little) is in their product because Amazon doesn’t let any merchant post that anyways. If you ask Amazon, they will tell you that, even since passage of the Farm Bill, they still explicitly exclude (their catch-all term for CBD) from listing on their platform, so the only ones that show up are the ones that are purposely vague.

    1. This was a quality comment Huuaini which you then spoiled by interjecting links to some website – which we promptly removed. At least you put some genuine effort into adding value to our readers unlike all the other morons out there that just ejaculate links all over in the comments section thinking that we’ll let them advertise on this site for free.

      That’s a very interesting point you raise as to why Amazon is rife with fake CBD oils.