Black market CBD oil poses a health risk to consumers

Published Nov 8, 2019 10:00 a.m. ET
iStock / NewGig86

CBD oil is one of the hottest products on the market today, but there is a potential danger lurking behind this new and exciting trend.

CBD products are quickly becoming an acceptable method of self-treatment of a variety of different symptoms and conditions, but the lack of accessibility to CBD oil and products through legal dispensaries due to cost or lack of availability has a substantial number of consumers turning to the black-market suppliers.

Some of the most popular selling CBD oil options on the black market are coming from sources that cannot be verified and do not submit to the rigorous testing standards set out in Canada. While some may believe that the only potential contaminants in these kinds of products are natural and plant-based, they would be wrong.

Contaminants found in samples of black-market CBD oil

Recent research conducted by LegitScript revealed s dark secret hidden behind the guise of an all-natural CBD oil, chemical contaminants in dangerously high levels. The worst contender tested at 18.5 times the maximum allowable level of lead, and this number came from a CBD oil product that was shipped out of China by an unknown source and sold on Amazon.

The trend of contamination held consistent across most of the tested 300 CBD oil products, which were chosen based on popularity and availability only on the black market, many of which contain levels of toxins comparable to the tainted waters that made hundreds of people ill in Flint, Michigan.

Such significant quantities are enough to pose a serious hazard to healthy consumers, but even more at risk are those who are using CBD oil to treat medical conditions, many of which already have a lowered immune system or an overall weakened state.

Ontario Cannabis Store warns consumers to steer clear of unregulated CBD oil

With such a massive demand for these fast-selling products that are highly marketed for their ability to improve health and overall wellness, legal dispensaries like the Ontario Cannabis Store are warning consumers to avoid black market and third-party sources like Amazon. Particularly if they already have a pre-existing medical condition that may leave them susceptible to harm. While customers might believe that their budtender is trustworthy, over 98% of CBD oils tested have failed current Canadian standards, which isn’t very good odds, and not a risk worth taking when it comes to your health.


Fraudulent claims

Over 80% of the 300 CBD oils tested made some sort of unsubstantiated claim for health, including pain relief, cancer cures, sleep aids, and more. Meaning that most of these black-market vendors are targeting an audience with pre-existing medical conditions who are looking for a remedy. While pure CBD oil may offer some of these benefits and more, consuming contaminated product could just as easily lead to a worsening of the condition and the appearance of new symptoms, rather than helping.

CBD oil products affected

If you are a consumer of CBD products and are wondering which ones to avoid, the recommendation is all of them, as the contaminants have been found in everything, including CBD vape juice, CBD tincture, CBD edibles, CBD creams, and CBD beauty products. Any CBD infused option could be a potential risk if it is obtained by a third-party black-market dispensary or vendor.

Where to buy the best CBD oil products?

There may not be a dispensary yet in the world that holds the title of the very best, however, if you are seeking the best CBD oil from the most trusted sources, then you will want to visit your local licensed cannabis dispensary. If you do not live near one or aren’t sure how to find one, you also have the option of making a direct purchase through government-run dispensaries online in provinces that offer this service.

Those who are unable to buy CBD oil for whatever reason may want to consider growing hemp, as all of your favorite CBD goods can be made in the comfort of your own home at a fraction of the price. As long as you avoid CBD oil or infused products that come from online and illegal dispensaries, you won’t have to worry about the quality or reliability of the label attached, which is an essential component to any successful self-treatment with CBD oil.

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