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While Amazon might seem like the one-stop virtual shop for everything these days, it simply doesn’t know CBD. What’s more, Amazon, as per its regulations, can’t sell CBD products. Since the Agricultural Improvement Act of 2018, more hemp products are popping up all over the internet. However, just because a product is available on Amazon does not mean it has been tested or can be trusted.
Understanding Cannabis Sativa
Before diving into the murky legal world surrounding cannabidiol, or CBD, Amazon, and the Agricultural Improvement Act of 2018, it’s important to understand the confusion surrounding the cannabis sativa plant.
Cannabis sativa is a plant both famous and infamous for its medicinal and psychoactive properties, though not every cannabis sativa plant contains the same levels of psychoactive cannabinoids. The male cannabis sativa plants are called hemp, and only contain trace amounts of tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, which is the cannabinoid responsible for the infamous euphoric high. Instead, the hemp plant contains high levels of CBD.
Female cannabis sativa plants produce the flowering buds that contain high levels of THC; however, the female plant contains very negligible levels of CBD.
Until recent legislation, there has been no legal “line in the sand” between varieties of cannabis sativa, which induce a “high” and cannabis sativa plants with purely medicinal or functional properties. While there are combination CBD/THC products on the market, pure CBD is legal in all 50 states.
Amazon, Schedule 1 “Drugs,” and CBD
Amazon’s regulations prohibit the sale of CBD. This is because CBD technically falls under Amazon’s definition of a Schedule 1 controlled substance or “drug.”
More broadly, Amazon prohibits the sale of “drugs or drug paraphernalia.” CBD still falls under this category for Amazon sellers. Although the Agricultural Improvement Act of 2018 legalized hemp, which the bill defines as any cannabis sativa plant with less than 0.3% THC content, CBD itself is still a controlled substance. Here’s what Amazon Seller Central says cannot be sold on the site:
“Products containing cannabidiol (CBD), a Schedule I Controlled Substance, including but not limited to: rich Hemp Oil containing CBD, full-spectrum hemp oil containing CBD, [or] products that have been identified as containing CBD by LegitScript.”
Cannabis, on the other hand, though botanically the same plant, is still considered a Schedule I drug by the DEA. While CBD is no longer a Schedule I drug, controlled substances are ineligible for sale on Amazon.
Shifting Perceptions of CBD
Amazon’s stance on CBD may seem strict, as hemp has been legalized nationwide as part of the Agricultural Improvement Act of 2018. While CBD is derived from hemp, many still wonder why it’s considered a controlled substance.
To make matters more confusing, the DEA has placed certain FDA-approved drugs containing CBD in the Schedule V category. This is a good thing: Many people rely on CBD-based FDA-approved drugs like Epidiolex for their treatment of epilepsy.
The FDA does not regulate the content of CBD products, but it does control the sale. This means that lower-quality CBD products may contain higher levels of THC, while high-quality, lab-tested CBD products ensure their levels are at 0.03% and below. The FDA does not regulate the levels of components in dietary supplements.
If CBD is marketed as a substance for medicinal use, it is regulated as a Schedule V drug. While the FDA is continuing to research and learn about the science behind the effects of CBD, many consumers already know the benefits. However, Amazon’s stance seems to be waiting for the final verdict before allowing sales of CBD products on their site.
CBD, the FDA, and the Agricultural Improvement Act
While the Agricultural Improvement Act of 2018 removes hemp from the Schedule 1 list, it does not remove CBD as an extracted substance from the Schedule 1 list. It creates clear rules and regulations for the production of hemp and the extraction of cannabinoids.
The legalization of hemp and continued suppression of cannabis at the federal level is designed to promote hemp research and production while sidestepping the intense nationwide debate surrounding the legalization of THC.
Simultaneously, the Farm Bill didn’t “create a system in which people can grow [hemp] as freely as they can grow tomatoes or basil,” according to Brookings. It also didn’t create a system that allows for a free-for-all cannabinoid extraction. Instead, the Farm Bill dictates that cannabinoid extraction is only legal if:
- The hemp is grown in a manner consistent with Farm Bill regulations
- The hemp is also grown in a manner consistent with state regulations
- The hemp is grown by a licensed grower
- The cannabinoids are extracted in a manner consistent with Farm Bill Regulations
Hemp is still a highly regulated crop, and cannabinoids are highly regulated substances. Only specific legal acts, like the FDA’s recategorization of some CBD-based drugs, can change the legal status of certain forms of CBD. And ultimately, there’s a lot of money that goes into how CBD is categorized and regulated.
Then What’s on Amazon?
CBD is found in both cannabis, the variety of cannabis sativa rich in THC, and hemp, the variety of cannabis with less than 0.3% THC content. While there is not much CBD in cannabis, some purveyors use the cannabis plant to produce “CBD oils,” which is not legal in all 50 states and can create a hypnotropic effect.
In the new and burgeoning CBD market, it’s difficult for a third-party seller to know or prove if their CBD oil is purely derived from hemp. Amazon, in all likelihood, doesn’t want to monitor the sale of CBD on its site or deal with legal hassles.
While CBD cannot be sold on Amazon, products still appear after you search for CBD in the Amazon search engine.
What appears, in short, are hemp products, usually derived from seeds or parts of the hemp plant which contain no CBD. These more generalized hemp products do not fall under any category of regulated substances.
For instance, the richest source of CBD can be found in the stems and stalks of the hemp plant. However, many Amazon sellers purvey hemp seed oil. While the name “hemp” makes it sound like the product should contain CBD, hemp seeds actually contain just trace amounts of CBD. This oil contains omega acids and makes excellent cooking oil, salad dressing, and beauty products, but you should not be paying CBD prices for culinary oil.
Sellers on Amazon, therefore, can’t sell actual CBD products. A quick search of CBD products brings up an extensive list, but this is because sellers can tag their products however they want on the “back end” of product listings. These aren’t tags that you see; they are the Amazon search engine that takes these back-end tags into account when you enter your search.
You may occasionally come across a product that directly markets itself as a CBD product. All this means is that Amazon hasn’t caught it yet.
Finding Products You Can Trust
One crucial step for finding products you can trust is looking for third-party laboratory testing. The FDA is only beginning to take a more active role in the regulation of CBD and CBD product claims; therefore, it’s up to each company to provide the consumer with proof of the quality and ethical transparency of their product. A trustworthy company can provide you with third-party proof of the sourcing and CBD percentage in their product.
What’s more, a trusted CBD product supplier like Kats Botanicals can give you more information, instead of keeping you in the dark. Not only can we tell you how our CBD is tested, but we can also describe their CBD extraction methods, where our hemp was grown, and detail our hemp-growing process. We are also happy to give you more information about our product when asked: as a trustworthy supplier Kats Botanicals cares about your education and well-being.
This kind of transparency and accessibility isn’t always possible or encouraged on Amazon.
Better Ways to Buy CBD Online
If you’re looking to buy CBD online, Amazon isn’t the place to go. You may find good hemp cooking oil on Amazon but look to other sites to find your CBD.
The best way to find CBD online is by searching for transparent, trustworthy suppliers who give you the information you want upfront. Kats Botanicals is dedicated to providing the public with high-quality, comprehensive information on CBD, terpenes, and all the ingredients of our hemp-based products.
CBD holds great promise for promoting recovery from activity-induced soreness, encouraging enhanced focus and cognition, and helping individuals navigate everyday stress. However, in an ever-changing market, it’s essential to know where you’re getting your CBD. Choose trusted suppliers like Kats Botanicals who provide you with comprehensive information about our tried-and-tested products including lab results.
Our all-natural and organic products are harvested by hand in Colorado. Our CBD supplier plants the seed, grows the seed and also extracts our quality hemp so we can provide you with high quality Full Spectrum CBD Oil. Every batch is third-party tested by a state-certified lab, so our customers always receive the purest product possible.
Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Disclosure