Dangers of Fake CBD Oil & Safety Guidelines

Cannabidiol (CBD) and medical marijuana (MM) have indeed been proven – both scientifically and through users’ experience – to be substances of immense therapeutic benefits, useful for treating numerous ailments and disorders. 

CBD has also been sufficiently proven to be a safe drug, safe even for children with severe health issues. 

However, not all CBD products are true to their word. Natural CBD is certainly safe, but what with synthetic lab-produced cannabinoids and presence of contaminants, high levels of hallucinatory cannabinoids like Tetracannabinol (THC) and other harmful substances, you could not only fail a drug test but also end up horribly sick or even, dead! 

In the absence of effective regulations and their stringent execution, as well as irregular testing by the authorities, a lot of unscrupulous cannabis growers and CBD oil producers have taken the advantage of the loopholes in the law and started their business with the least bit of care for people’s health. 

Sometimes, producers of natural CBD extracts also don’t care enough to be honest about the composition of products!

Dangers of some CBD products

Let’s face it. Good quality CBD oil is expensive. Period. Those companies that try to push low-priced CBD products are ACTUALLY doing you more harm than good. Most of them aren’t even real cannabidiol. 

Some may contain many chemical additives that are harmful to our body; others are composed of compounds that will not only make you sick but even kill you – none of which will be mentioned labels. 

Here are some of the reasons why such unscrupulous activities continue to go unchecked: 

#1 Weak Regulations & Lapses in Lab Testing

Growing cannabis (no matter which strain it is) can be quite tricky. A lot of care needs to be taken to ensure the soil it is grown in, the vegetation surrounding it and the products used in its cultivation are safe, as cannabis has a unique quality of absorbing everything in.

Hemp, which is grown industrially, often fail to abide by all the regulations and end up absorbing a lot of harmful chemical contaminants, sucked directly from the soil or the fertilizers used or even from surrounding areas (vegetation, chemical waste, etc.).

Although many reputed brands allow third-party laboratory tests for their CBD products, quite a few lapses have been found in recent times [1, 2]. Shockingly, a lot of lab tests have been falsified, and apparently doing so isn’t that difficult either! Not only are there unscrupulous companies, but there is also a major dearth of well-equipped labs meant for testing cannabis products. 

#2 Fake Products Sold in Guise of Genuine One

The immense popularity of cannabis products has made way for counterfeit products to gain firm roots in the market, most of which are dangerously harmful for human consumption. K2 or spice – a synthetic cannabinoid, i.e. an artificial, lab-created cannabinoid – have been the cause for poisoning among thousands of people in the US in the past few years.

At a time when even the reputable brands, selling natural CBD, encounter issues like limited shelf life for their products or difficulty in sourcing quality cannabis, it is only natural that some unscrupulous upstarts would swoop in to make hay while the sun shines on the booming CBD business. 

#3 Mislabeling & its Dangers

Dangers don’t lie in counterfeit products alone. Companies manufacturing CBD oil have also been found to misrepresent the composition of their products, thus misinforming the consumers about the real dangers lurking behind the guise of certified good quality and safe CBD products, like the presence of high levels of THC or even low levels of CBD, making products with no real health benefit. 

#4 The Lure of Cheap Products & its Impact

Not only are growing quality cannabis strains and manufacturing CBD oil expensive, anything therapeutic substance that has few to almost nil side effects will pinch your pockets – that is of course if you wish to buy a quality product made from natural CBD extract processed in a way that is not only safe for human consumption but also effective and highly bioavailable.

CBD products that are complete with all the good components of cannabis in the right proportion have a lot more to offer than CBD isolates. But, THC – a psychoactive component of cannabis – can have adverse side effects on your body, even countering the benefits of CBD.

Making the most effective CBD costs money. Anyone who promises you cheap CBD oil is simply trying to fool you. Don’t fall for such claims. 

So, do your homework diligently and don’t fall prey to unscrupulous manufacturers. Check the labels for information on the brands and their sourcing and ask for their most recent third-party lab test results, their Certificate of Analysis (CoA). 

Honest producers will gladly share all information about their products with their users. Find out what kind of extraction and manufacturing practices they follow. 

Understanding such information and being able to gauge the products based on this information will give you a satisfactory idea on which product contains good quality CBD.

Harmful Contents of CBD Products & How They Affect You

There is a wide range of harmful chemical compounds that may be present in CBD products. These may make you violently sick or even kill you. Some milder ones can give you an upset stomach or a panic attack. 

Nonetheless, all of these compounds are enough to counter the beneficial effects of the highly potent and therapeutic cannabinoid, CBD. 

Harmful contents in “CBD products” may include: 

  • Contaminants like pesticides, metal particles, etc., that can make you violently sick and even kill you if these substances are present in high enough volume in the CBD oil or product.  
  • Heavy metals, molds and bacteria, and aflatoxins are substances that can have the same effect on the human body as pesticides.  
  • 5F-ADB, usually found in illegal synthetic marijuana like ‘K2’ or ‘Spice’ is a serious cause for concern. They can cause anxiety, paranoia, hallucinations, high blood pressure, chest pain, seizures, vomiting. In high enough proportions, these substances can cause organ failure and even kill you. 
  • High levels of THC in CBD extracts can cause hallucinations and anxiety pangs. 
  • Alcohol-based solvent residue from the extraction process can prove to be a serious health hazard too. CBD oil with butane, isopropyl alcohol, hexane, or ethanol residue is not suitable for human consumption. 
  • Over-the-counter cough medication ingredients like dextromethorphan that give people a high, make them sleepy or drowsy, have also been found in some CBD products. 

Possibility of Failing Drug Tests

The presence of artificial cannabinoids and detectable levels of THC are enough to make you fail a drug test.

A lot of people who need to take these tests regularly for their job or training need to remember that sometimes even 0.3% THC out of the total weight of the cannabidiol extract can be detected in a drug test. 

Artificial cannabinoids like K2 can have awful effects on our body, as we have mentioned earlier. That is why drug tests are designed to look for both substances.  

If you are among those who need to often take drug tests, it is imperative for you to stick to CBD isolates rather than full-spectrum or broad-spectrum extracts. This means none of the goodness of the terpenes and flavonoids. But, it is still better safe than sorry!

Recent Study On Certain CBD Products Reveals

A study published in November last year in the Forensic Science International [2] revealed that several products by Diamond CBD, a reputed brand of CBD vaping liquids, contained 5F-ADB, the substance found in K2, and dextromethorphan (DXM), a cough drug component. 

5F-ADB, a substance categorized as Schedule I drug by the DEA, was found in three of their products – Liquid Gold Strawberry, Liquid Gold Jungle Juice, and Diamond CBD Vape Additive. This means that this is currently considered illegal, intoxicating, and has no medical use. 

Meanwhile, DXM, which are found in some cough medications, can have some adverse effects, like rapid heart rate, drowsiness, feeling of euphoria and even hallucinations. 

Michelle Peace, Ph.D., who co-authored the study and is an associate professor of forensic sciences at Virginia Commonwealth University, said that the study that conducted tests on some hemp-based CBD products has thrown light on how far the booming CBD market is being abused by companies tapping it into the loopholes in the weakly enforced regulations in this country. 

How To Avoid Getting Sick From CBD Products

While CBD can be a miracle cure for many, quite a few dangers are lurking in the darkness of this booming business. One must be aware and alert about the factors discussed in this article. To be sure about the quality of CBD products, you need to know how to spot the telltale signs

Look for them, do your research and don’t fall prey to products making tall claims and offering you CBD products at a cheap rate. Find out everything you can about the product:

  • How they are sourced
  • How they are extracted (the extraction process)
  • How they are processed and purified
  • What are the actual ingredients of the end product
  • Whether they have a CoA and if the company is open to queries by users
  • How well the cannabinoids are activated and how much of the goodness of terpenes are available in the products

Like we always say: It’s better to be safe than sorry. 


  1. Falsified California testing lab data may result in major marijuana product recall; Published December 3, 2018 | By John Schroyer; https://mjbizdaily.com/falsified-california-testing-lab-data-may-result-in-major-marijuana-product-recall/ 
  2. The Unexpected Identification of the Cannabimimetic, 5F-ADB, and Dextromethorphan in Commercially Available Cannabidiol E-liquids;  Forensic Science International; November 2018  Justin L. Poklis, Haley A. Mulder, Michelle R Peace; https://www.researchgate.net/publication/328677772_The_Unexpected_Identification_of_the_Cannabimimetic_5F-ADB_and_Dextromethorphan_in_Commercially_Available_Cannabidiol_E-liquids 
Author Details
Senior Editor & Researcher , Greenthevoteok
Matt Hansel is a Medical Practitioner, who has been writing and researching about cannabis since 2014.  His popular quotes which we like are: \"Don\'t use CBD oil for a cure, use it as a precaution\"  \"CBD should be considered as any other vitamin supplement and your body needs it!\"