Updated on July 3, 2021

7 Warning Signs a CBD Product Is Fake

Fact Checked

As CBD continues to make headlines, attracting many thousands of new advocates and followers, including those looking to move away from conventional Western medicines, new businesses are cropping up both online and on Main St. USA. And while genuine competition is always welcome, some companies are selling and promoting CBD products that are not as authentic or pure as they claim to be. 

With an overwhelming amount of options on the market, it is essential to research the product you wish to purchase, not just for value for money but for purity and naturalness. 

So how do you spot fake CBD? Let’s look at some of the tell-tale signs.

How To Spot Fake Or Poor Quality CBD - Know The Signs

  • First of all, always read the label. If there’s no label - steer clear - as the product you are purchasing may contain unknown or harmful ingredients. Potency levels may also be high, with larger than trace amounts of THC and lower amounts of CBD.
  • If the bottle does have a label but contains outlandish or fantastical health benefits, or ‘cures’, then you should also be wary. Health claims are forbidden by the FDA and Federal Trade Commission unless the product is a prescription drug.
  • CBD can break down in UV light, so it should always be stored in a dark, usually brown, glass bottle. CBD that comes in a clear bottle will break down in daylight or direct sunlight and the product will lose its potency. Plastic bottles should be avoided as hormone-mimicking chemicals in plastic packaging can leach into the CBD. This may cause certain health issues. (1) 
  • Always purchase your CBD from a reputable supplier that knows the product, where it was grown and the process involved in creating that product. Be wary of buying from gas stations, chain stores, or even online  - unless directly from a respected manufacturer such as Nesas Hemp. 
  • Avoid ambiguous sales tactics that can be confusing. Products such as Hemp Seed oil are not the same as CBD oil. Although containing many benefits, seeds from hemp do not contain any CBD or THC, apart from trace amounts. Hemp oil and CBD oil are derived from cannabis plants rather than the seeds.
  • Look out for companies or sellers that offer CBD at ‘giveaway' prices. We all like a good deal, however, genuine CBD oil is not something that can be found in the ‘bargain bin’. At present, quality CBD products still command a premium price due to the labor-intensive process, cultivation, and equipment used. Third-party testing also adds to expenditure. You get what you pay for with cheap CBD. You may be buying a product that has virtually no benefits whatsoever. Don't compromise on quality, it may be more expensive in the long run.
  • Third-party testing is a process where CBD samples are sent to independent laboratories for chemical analysis. These tests are essential for manufacturers and vendors in the CBD industry to comply with regulations. It will also confirm the purity of the product and that the product does not exceed the legal limit of 0.3% total THC. Third-party testing may also test for contaminants such as pesticides, heavy metals, residual solvents, and microbials - these are not ingredients you want to ingest. 

    At present, third-party testing is not mandatory which is why poor quality or fake CBD products can seep into the marketplace. For peace of mind, always purchase your CBD from established manufacturers that third-party test their product.

    For a product to be considered full-spectrum, such as Nesas, test results should include several other cannabinoids such as CBG, CBN, CBDA. This means that no cannabinoids have been purposefully removed during the extracting process.

Nesas tests our CBDa extensively and deeply.  Our Certificates of Analysis are 11 pages long while many others are just 2-3.  We test for several things that are optional in order to ensure quality and safety. We also test, wherever possible, at the parts-per-billion level of accuracy which is 1000 times more precise than normal parts-per-million testing.

  • Always make sure every ingredient in your CBD product is organic and free from pesticides, additives, or preservatives that may alter taste or appearance. CBD should be 100% natural to be at its most effective.
  • If your CBD is clear, you have a problem, here's why: CBD is a plant-based product and should be green in color. If it is clear then it is likely to have been made in a laboratory. You’re consuming a plant, and should have all the chlorophyll of that plant… otherwise, your CBD will be compromised and you’re being cheated out of the nutrients contained within the natural organic product. Always purchase CBD that is green in color.

Fake Or Poor Quality CBD Is Widespread

SC Laboratories, an analytical testing laboratory, compiled a study in July 2020 in conjunction with the United Cannabis Business Association (UCBA). They tested 17 samples purchased from unlicensed retailers in and around Los Angeles. The results were stark and showed the level of fake or poor quality CBD on the marketplace. (2)

  • Over 70% of samples failed for excessive contamination or did not qualify as hemp.
  • 42% of samples failed safety testing. This is compared with under 2% of samples that fail for contaminants on the regulated market.
  • Some samples produced several hundred times more contamination levels than is permissible.
  • 53% of tested samples labeled as hemp or hemp-based did not qualify as hemp. (The 2018 Farm bill classifies hemp as cannabis that contains no more than 0.3 percent total THC.)
  • Many of the tested products contained levels of THC that could cause serious psychoactive effects if ingested.

Always Buy From Legitimate Suppliers

While the above sample is relatively small, the results show the high levels of inferior or counterfeit CBD products on the market. 

At Nesas every product is 100% natural, organic, and independently tested for quality and purity. It has gained the Tested Safe Seal, an exclusive award given only by medical-grade independent laboratories. These are highly respected laboratories, registered with the FDA and the DEA, and ISO-certified.

To earn the Safety Seal, products must pass tests for potency at the highest level, without even the smallest trace of harmful bacteria, molds, and mildew, pesticides, insecticides, or heavy metals. Nesas has surpassed these standards, and gone beyond what is necessary to create the highest quality product possible.  

Want to Learn More?

  1. How To Read A Certificate Of Analysis
  2. Can CBD Oil Help With Candida?
  3. Hemp Leaf And Marijuana: How They Differ


  1. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/what-is-bpa#heart-health 
  2. https://www.rd.com/article/warning-signs-cbd-product-is-fake/ 
The content on Nesa's Hemp blog is for educational purposes only. We meticulously research and cite our sources, but advise consulting a professional before making decisions based on our information. We derive our content from reputable studies and publications, but individual circumstances may vary. We cannot guarantee the accuracy or applicability of our content to every situation. Nesa's Hemp blog and its authors are not liable for any loss or inconvenience resulting from reliance on our information. By using our blog, you waive any claims against us regarding the accuracy or completeness of our content.

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