Fake CBD: Migraine Sufferers Beware
I’ve received many emails from readers asking which brand of CBD they should purchase. I wrote the book Hemp for Migraine, so why wouldn’t I have a long list of hemp companies that provide real CBD products at a reasonable price? As you will soon read, finding real CBD products is a big problem. This article discusses why most CBD products on the market are lying and what you can do about it, and what I’m doing about it.
8 Real Concerns About Fake CBD
The best CBD products for migrainesLook inside
8. CBD and the Wild West
Hemp and CBD products became legal under the Federal Farm Bill of 2018. Under the new bill, Congress gave the FDA the authority to regulate CBD. The CBD market has, for the most part, been a chaotic mess. It’s basically like the Wild West, and unfortunately, you can’t expect much from the FDA—they are not exactly scaring companies as the new law in town.
The FDA regulates supplements, and even though mislabeling a supplement is illegal, the FDA doesn’t test supplements before they go on the market. In fact, the FDA doesn’t even have the capacity to effectively regulate supplements. At least, that was the official FDA response to a shocking discovery in 2013 that found that many supplements are fake and that the FDA has both hands tied behind its back.
A study published in 2013 found that as many as a third of supplements tested by researchers did not contain the compound listed on their labels. They were fake! The New York State attorney’s general’s office investigated these allegations and tested products on the shelves of GNC, Target, Walgreens, and Walmart. You would expect to find real products in these stores, but four out of five products did NOT contain any of the herbs on their labels. Some contained cheap fillers like rice or houseplants, while others included potentially dangerous allergens.
The FDA has had over a century to perfect the regulation of supplements, and today you are more likely to buy a rice pill than accurate amounts of an herbal supplement. Supplements present a risk and CBD products are no different.
7. CBD Tested by the FDA
The FDA tested 24 CBD products in 2017. Only 2 out of 24 products tested had the amounts of CBD on the label. Most products contained little-to-no CBD or high levels of THC. A follow-up study published in the journal JAMA tested 84 products from 31 companies and found that nearly 70 percent were mislabeled. Some contained more CBD, while others contained less CBD or substances not listed on the label. Like I said, it’s the Wild West, and you can’t trust the average CBD company.
The FDA sent out a few notices, but hundreds of new CBD companies have sprung up since, and the FDA doesn’t have the capacity to regulate them. A mislabeled CBD product can cause a lot of problems, and the risk of buying mislabeled hemp is extraordinary.
6. The Problem with Mislabeled Hemp
We can’t expect people to find relief if the CBD dose that provides that relief is inconsistent or contains harmful substances. For example, a product that includes too much THC could cause side effects. Cannabis and migraine researchers caution that only treatments without disruptive side effects will help prevent migraines in the long run.
The whole purpose of a CBD product is to provide you with CBD, and if they can’t get that right, what else are they screwing up? The flower of both hemp and marijuana plants are susceptible to toxins from pesticides, mold, and heavy metals. Heavy metals such as lead and pesticides cause oxidative stress and may play a role in triggering migraines. A company that can’t produce precise levels of CBD is more likely to have poor manufacturing processes that result in contamination.
Accurate dosing for any migraine treatment is critical. A fake product could cause a migraine sufferer to avoid CBD and possibly lose out on a better quality of life. Many people use CBD instead of opiates for pain relief, including migraine relief, according to researchers from the University of California.  These companies that mislabel CBD should be held accountable because many of their customers are facing unimaginable pain, including migraines.
5. The Fake Entourage Effect
You can buy pure CBD or you can buy a hemp extract that contains other cannabinoids, terpenes, and nutrients. The combination is referred to as the “entourage effect” and is often labeled as “full-spectrum hemp.” The entourage effect may improve the medicinal benefits of CBD, according to migraine researchers. You can read all about it here.
Many CBD products are fake. I believe that most of the products that claim to be “full spectrum” are really full of B.S. It is expensive to produce a full-spectrum extract from a hemp strain that is loaded with other cannabinoids and terpenes. These extra cannabinoids (CBC, CBG, CBN, etc.) are found in low levels in specific hemp or marijuana strains. They are harder to extract and cost significantly more than isolated CBD.
According to a ConsumerLab report, most products that claim to have these extra cannabinoids contain low levels or none at all. Most companies don’t produce accurate levels of CBD, which is abundant in some hemp strains. This suggests that the majority of companies out there are not providing accurate levels of the rarer and costlier cannabinoids. Be skeptical of CBD products and be even more skeptical when CBD products claim to have the entourage effect. That’s not to say there aren’t great products out there with the entourage effect: they are just harder to find.
I recently sent a “full-spectrum” CBD to a lab for testing from a company that I thought would be trustworthy. Did they lie? You can see the lab results here.
The best CBD products for migrainesLook inside
4. Why Are So Many CBD Companies Faking It?
Tests from the FDA, research published in the journal JAMA, and consumerlabs.com have confirmed that many companies have inaccurate levels of CBD. A large problem is that there is no standard for accurate testing of cannabinoids. A company may try to produce accurate levels of CBD in good faith, and fall short because their testing procedures are not accurate.
According to a panel of cannabinoid scientists at the 2018 CBD Expo (Anaheim, CA), even many of the third-party testing facilities do not meet the rigorous testing standards that a pharmaceutical company must adhere to. Any company that you purchase from should have a third-party testing certificate to verify that they have the correct levels of cannabinoids and don’t contain toxic levels of metals and pesticides.
I wish I could tell you this is enough, but the third-party testing facility also needs to be reputable. A study published in the journal Nature found that many of the third-party testing facilities in the state of Washington provided unreliable testing results. They were inaccurate. Even if they were accurate, a company could simply send a correct dose of CBD for testing and then dilute the CBD that they are selling. They’ll have a piece of paper that says it’s been tested, but they will send out products that are mislabeled.
Both your CBD manufacturer and the facility testing that CBD needs to be reliable and trustworthy. The CBD market is a giant mess.
3. CBD Rip-offs
You’re hit with immediate confusion when you try to compare the prices of CBD products. They come in various sizes and potencies that include different cannabinoids. Many don’t specify what cannabinoids they contain. And what are milligrams on the front of the bottle referring to? Is the 100 mg on the label the amount of CBD or total cannabinoids? Or something else. Or are they lying altogether?
ConsumerLab.com found a price range of 80 cents to $4.54 per 10 mg dose of CBD on the products that they tested. I’ve seen prices for pure CBD for less than 23 cents per 10 mg dose from a reliable company.
The prices add up. Some people benefit from doses as low as 5 mg of full-spectrum CBD per day. However, clinical trials have used 100 mg to 600 mg of isolated (pure) CBD per day for conditions associated with migraine. A dose of 100 mg per day could cost you $2.30 or a whopping $45.40 per day. Companies that overcharge this much for CBD might not be faking it, but they are screwing people over.
Don’t worry too much about the additional cost of full-spectrum hemp because it provides more medicinal benefits compared to isolate CBD. You can read more about dosing and the entourage effect here.
A couple of bucks per day for pure CBD adds up too. A high-quality CBD isolate might cost $69 per month, which is a lot for some folks. However, this high cost is temporary. Pure CBD is about to get a whole lot cheaper for everyone now that hemp is legal in the United States. For example, Canada’s largest cannabis producer currently has hundreds of thousands of farmers working on 100,000 hectares of land in the Congo. They’re making pure CBD and have cut the cost of CBD by 96.34%.
That reduced price would take your CBD bill from $69 a month down to $2.53 per month. There is a reason that pharmaceutical companies didn’t want CBD to become legal and that is because it is dirt cheap. You might pay a premium price for CBD today in the United States, but tomorrow looks a lot brighter.
2. How Can You Make Sure Your CBD is Legit?
You can do what I’m doing. Send your CBD to a reliable third-party testing facility to measure it for all of its cannabinoids and terpenes as well as safe levels of pesticides and toxins. Check out ProVerde Laboratories or SC labs. It’s expensive but it’s worth it. Finding real CBD is a problem for migraine sufferers and I’m going to help change that. I’ll be sharing the test results and reviews of dozens of CBD companies: good or bad. Check out my new review page here .
1. CBD Companies and Reviews
Just as many CBD companies suck, so do many of the CBD review companies. I’m talking about the places you go online to see what CBD companies are legit. Some review websites even claim that they do their own independent testing of cannabinoids. Yet they don’t post the lab results.
I’ve noticed that the top review companies that show up on google don’t mention some of the largest and most reputable CBD manufacturers. I also noticed that most of the review companies are using affiliate links and making money off the CBD products that they send you to. Some make a commission as high as 40 percent of every dollar sold. They are making money by sending you to “reliable companies.” It’s easy for a company to give away 40 percent commission when a product is fake.
It’s a common practice to have ads or referral links on a review site. I participate in the Amazon Affiliate Program and make a small commission on some of the products that I link to. That helps fund the free research on this site. However, I believe most CBD review companies are focusing on making money and not looking out for your best interest (shocker, I know). The lack of reliable information is why I’m testing CBD products at a third-party facility and sharing the lab-certified results directly on my review. You can check out my first review here. I want to provide my readers with what they have been asking for: reliable help.
I suggest that you look at multiple reviews of a company, make sure they have third-party testing from a reputable company, and when in doubt, send the product to a trustworthy lab for testing.