The internet is a wonderful thing, but there are hidden (and not so hidden) dangers lurking. Once you've decided to try CBD or medical cannabis for what ails you, you'll very likely turn to Google to find out where to buy it. That's where the trouble can start.
You see, pretty much anyone can set up a website these days and start selling stuff. That includes black market cannabis products such as illegal CBD oil.
So how do you figure out if what you're looking at is legitimate and legal? Read on.
First, let's clarify what the legal sources are for cannabis products, including CBD oil. Canada has legalized cannabis for two uses: 1) adult recreational, and 2) medical.
People buying cannabis for recreational purposes can get it from a licensed retail store, or from a website run by their provincial government (usually the liquor control branch). On the medical side, you get a prescription and then order on-line or by phone directly from a licensed producer.
From Health Canada:
"CBD and products containing CBD, such as cannabis oil, may only be sold by a:
- provincially or territorially-authorized cannabis retailer
- federally-licensed seller of cannabis for medical purposes"
Illegal CBD oil and edibles are often sold on-line only, although you might find some sold in retail stores and illegal dispensaries. So here are some clues that you might be looking at black market products:
- You aren't required to register and send a prescription/medical document (required when ordering directly from a licensed producer).
- It is not clear that the site is operated by a provincial regulatory body, e.g. liquor control branch.
- The products aren't labelled with Health Canada's THC label. Most legal products in Canada have at least trace amounts of THC and require this label if there is any THC present. (Note: we have seen counterfeit versions of this label in the wild).
- There is no excise tax label on the packaging.
- There is often no phone number on the website.
Does it really matter?
YES! CBD is a phytocannabinoid and does affect the brain. That is why the production and distribution of it, along with all other phytocannabinoids including THC, is regulated by Health Canada. CBD is a controlled substance, NOT a natural health supplement.
This regulation ensures quality control practices in terms of mould, fungicide and pesticide use as well.
Here's another reason to avoid illegal CBD products: they may contain more or less CBD than advertised, and some may not contain any CBD at all!
Don't take chances with your health. Buy legal CBD products from licensed sources, and avoid black market CBD oil.