5 Ways to Spot Cannabis Oil Hucksters and Frauds

Snake Oil Salesman

As more and more people have been learning about the medical properties of cannabis, the quasi-legal fraudsters have been coming out of the woodwork. I hate them, because they’re trying to con sick people, and they’re doing it with bogus “medicine” that at best will waste their money and at worst might make them sicker. They tirelessly attempt to post spam here (which they’re never going to get past me and my three bots), but the real problem is that not everyone can spot a huckster a mile away. So here are some easy ways to figure out whether a vendor is pushing nonsense:

  1. All claims, no specifics.

    “Get this amazing new barely-legal 420 miracle oil you’ve been hearing about that could be the cure for cancer, bad breath, and old age! Contains a full 50 ml…don’t accept anything less! Regularly $295, special introductory price of $49 if you act now!”

    What do you think is in that bottle? Well, based on the description, it could be anything from 3+ tablespoons of castor oil to motor oil! After all, it doesn’t say what kind of oil it is, though the rest of the text will strongly imply that it’s cannabis.

    Some vendors actually say “cannabis oil”, and most people will expect to get Rick Simpson Oil for the $250/gram they will charge…but hempseed oil, just like you get in a health food store for $12/liter, also meets the legal definition of being “cannabis oil”. And speaking of legal, it’s certainly not legal to sell Rick Simpson Oil through the mail, so anyone who orders this stuff and expects the real thing is basically conning themselves.

  2. No third-party testing. 

    All real high-quality medical marijuana dispensaries test their products constantly for mold and pesticides and other contaminants, and most of them also test and report THC and CBD percentages by weight. The best ones use third-party lab tests, to assure you that they’re not just making the numbers up.
    When you see people selling “legal CBD oil” and they’re talking about how their product is made from hemp, this means almost nothing. All legally-shippable CBD products in the U.S. have to be made from hemp, but this hemp could be grown, extracted, and bottled in China for all you know (and plenty of it has been, apparently). Hemp is legally grown in Canada, Europe (especially Eastern Europe), and other places as well, so you’d really have to know the history of the vendor’s supply chain.


    But your decision will be easier once you realize that most of these places only claim to have “X mg of CBD per dropper (or bottle)”. If they’ve actually gone to the trouble of having their stuff tested, and report the results, you have a much better chance of getting “the real thing”.

  3. Placebo-level dosing. 

    This is a relatively new thing I’ve found. There are certain vendors jumping on the CBD bandwagon with products that might even have legitimate CBD in them, but the amounts per “serving” are literally too low to do anything. They’re counting on the current hype about CBD to make people want it, without really letting them know much about it, but often implying slyly that it’s a “legal high” (which it isn’t, because you will not get high on CBD).


    For instance, at a recent “marijuana trade show” I ran across someone selling CBD-infused water. Upon inquiring as to “how much CBD is in a bottle?”, they proudly told me 5 milligrams (an amount which would probably have an imperceptible effect on the average person). Another vendor was selling CBD-infused e-juice, marketing to smoke shops. I believe this product had 15 mg. of CBD in the entire (expensive) e-juice cartridge. Now, 15 mg. is a more reasonable dose of CBD, but I’d hate to have to puff on an e-cig for 24 hours to get that amount!

  4. Sneaky disclaimers.

    Believe me, if a vendor puts a label on their product that says “not for human consumption”, that’s not a clever way to tell you that their stuff is “real marijuana, but we’re labeling it this way so the Feds don’t catch on, wink wink”, but it’s an actual warning that you should run away. Fast.

  5. Fake doctors.

    As far as I’m concerned, there’s a special place in Hell for the dirty spammers who pretend to be cancer patients who were “magically cured by this wonderful oil provided to me by Doctor So-and-So, who you can reach at doctor-so-and-so@hotmail.com or call this number because operators are standing by”. The worst of this lot actually pretend to be Rick Simpson, and they’re always frauds because the real Rick Simpson doesn’t sell oil and gives away his recipes!


Old Hippie is a father of two boys and thankfully living in California where all this kind of thing is legal. He started smoking marijuana in 1967 in high school, experimented with mind-expanding drugs of all kinds, and then straightened out 15 or so years later to become an airplane pilot. After being diagnosed with depression in 2000, he lost his job and most of the following decade to prescription medications (such as antidepressants) which sapped his energy and will. Finally, a chance conversation with a friend led to a doctor’s recommendation for medical marijuana (MMJ). This changed his entire life, health, and outlook for the better. BeyondChronic.com is his continuing story. It’s also his way to provide experienced advice on using medical marijuana effectively and responsibly, as well as advocacy, activism, and support for others. Old Hippie teaches about safe use of cannabis edibles, Canna Caps, vaporizers, dosing, and even microdosing.


The CPC in Seattle WA is awesome! They’ve been working with me for almost a year. I use very small amounts of oil. They mix oils for me based on what I need. They understand that my goal is pain and mood management without getting high. They’ve completely changed my life. I’m sure you’ve already heard of them, but I wanted to share anyway 🙂 fyi I appreciate everything I’ve learned from your posts.

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