Hemp Oil Mislabeling: What to Look for Before Buying

Quality is never an accident.  It is always the result of intelligent effort. ~John Ruskin

Due to the recent boom in the CBD industry, we are seeing record high numbers of new companies offering CBD products. But a word of caution is advised when looking to purchase CBD from many of these companies, according to the FDA, who has advised the public that many of them are mislabeling their products. What exactly does this mean?

A study was carried out in which researchers purchased 84 CBD products from online retailers (1).  These products included tinctures, oils, and vaporized liquids.  After replacing all of the labels with their own to avoid bias, they were then rigorously tested for potency and composition.  Unfortunately, what they discovered was not reassuring.  Many of the products were incorrectly labeled, were well below the listed potency, and some were even over the maximum legal limit of 0.3% THC.  In fact, the FDA found that of nearly 150 CBD products tested for cannabinoid content, less than half of the contained the amount of CBD on the label (2).

To the consumer this could mean the therapeutic value of the product you are buying is diminished, that you are not getting a high-quality product, or that the level of THC is higher than the legal threshold.  In short, you are not getting your monies worth and the product will more than likely not work as intended.  While none of this sounds good, there is something that you, the consumer, can do before purchasing your CBD products. 

Full transparency: Lab testing and what to look for

With so many companies popping up every day (3), it goes without saying that many of them just want to make a quick buck.  This means they are not paying attention to the quality of the hemp or to the amount of CBD they put into their products.  Companies like this will not even mention lab testing since they don’t have it. 

Conducting lab tests for CBD is a way of ensuring some valuable information: 

  • Potency
  • Quality
  • THC levels

Quality: part of what makes hemp so powerful to help the planet regenerate, is the fact that it absorbs toxins and radiation from the soil.  This means that if the hemp is not grown with high standards, a lot of these toxins will be in the final product.  Common unwanted pollutants are arsenic, cadmium, lead, and mercury.  If any of these show up on a test, this means the levels are dangerous to your health and that product should be avoided. During the extraction process to separate the CBD from the hemp plant, some companies are also using harsh chemicals and solvents to increase the amount of CBD they extract, thus making even more money.  Again, look at the test results to make sure that none of these present. 

Potency: we all want to make sure that we are getting what we pay for, no matter what it is, and the same applies to your CBD purchase.  Potency needs to be clearly posted on the label of each bottle. Typically it will be posted at milligrams. At Hummingbird Botanicals we carry 350mg, 750mg, or 1500mg. Each bottle will then have a batch number that can be matched up with the proper testing to verify that the potency listed on the bottle is indeed what is stated.  

THC levels: part of the appeal to purchase CBD products is the fact that they will not give you the “high” that THC gives you.  Legally, it is acceptable to have 0.3% of THC, or less, in CBD products.  This helps improve the therapeutic effect that many are seeking when making a purchase.  But if this amount is exceeded you might not be getting the intended therapeutic benefit and you could be more likely to get the “high” feeling, even when taking the recommended daily dose. 

Carrier Oils: Why do they Matter? 

Without carrier oils in CBD products, it would be very difficult to accurately dose the right amount of CBD needed and for your body to process the majority of said CBD when ingested.  Since CBD is fat soluble, not water soluble, a carrier oil makes for the perfect solution to dilute the right amount of CBD into each bottle and increase its bioavailability in the body. 

Common carrier oils used are MCT oil, hemp seed oil, olive oil, and grape seed oil.  Some of these oils are considered better than others because of their shelf life, anti-inflammatory benefits, mineral content, and bioavailability in the body. 

At Hummingbird Botanicals CBD we prefer to use Organic MCT oil for the following reasons:

  • It is pleasant to the palate due to its lack of flavor
  • It has known anti-fungal/anti-bacterial/anti-inflammatory properties
  • For its abundance of medium chain triglycerides (MCT) which makes it more bioavailable in the body
  • For its longer shelf life and higher temperature resistance

For these reasons, MCT oil is one of the best and most popular used carrier oils for most high quality CBD products.  

Only Buy from a Trusted Source

Most of us take care when it comes to buying our food, knowing that what we put into our body can either contribute to health or dis-ease.  CBD, naturally found in the hemp plant, is no different.  Buying from a company that cares about sustainable and organic farming practices and growing their hemp in the sunny USA will help you get the intended results from your CBD, without any adverse side effects.

It goes without saying at this point, that many companies do not source their material from a trusted source.  What does this mean to the buyer?  That you might be getting a product that was sourced from overseas, you could be ingesting pesticides and other harmful chemicals, and you might be getting the cheaper less effective CBD isolate instead of the more effective Full Spectrum CBD.  

In conclusion: 

Learn to read the labels and the testing for the product you are buying.  If it looks cheap, chances are it is not what they say.  Look for a reputable company that knows what they are doing and cares about offering high quality products.  Take a look at their tests results to ensure that you are getting what you are paying for.

Hummingbird Botanicals we are not just a company, we have a background in herbal medicine and plant studies.  We put extensive research into all of our products based on our knowledge and experience treating more than 1000 patients.  We hope you love our CBD as much as we do! 


  1. https://www.instantgmp.com/the-cbd-industry-mislabeling-crisis-how-to-overcome-it/
  2. https://www.hempgrower.com/article/fda-report-congress-cbd-marketplace-july-products-mislabeled/
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6100014/


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