CBD Product Scams Claiming to Be Featured on Doctor Oz and Dr. Phil Are on the Rise: Here's What to Know
The CBD boom is buzzing and this hemp cannabidiol extract mania has brought its fair share of snake oil salesmen to the forefront of making outrageous claims and statements.
Likely you found this review on Dr. Oz and Dr. Phil's CBD claims due to an ‘As Seen on TV' advertisement that claimed a branded-supplement was featured as either doctor-approved or recommended product of choice. Take a break from the search and hear this guide first.
Cannabidiol (CBD) has become a popular alternative to prescription drugs. It is also the number one selling herbal supplement ingredient in 2019, topping turmeric, elderberry and wheatgrass. With the number of successful cases in treating joint and inflammation-related concerns, restlessness and anxiety increasing by the second, it comes of no surprise that one’s curiosity about CBD-rich cannabis oil will have been stimulated. But, here’s the thing, not all products are what they claim to be nor are they created equally.
Unfortunately, this is the case with the CBD industry just like any other popularly trending niche within the multi-billion dollar dietary supplement industry. When a good or service makes it to the spotlight, there will be some bad players who use it to their advantage only to make gains. That said, some are easy to catch, but others, not so much.
The problem that stems from falling into the traps of said scammers and schemers, especially when it comes to purchasing CBD, is that one’s health is potentially on the line. Given the industry lacks regulation, the risk of falling for a CBD scam becomes highly likely.
An Example of a CBD Scam Caught Red-handed
When it comes to deciding whether or not a CBD product should be purchased, consumers tend to seek for factors that boost their confidence. The make and break factor normally lies in other people’s experiences with such products, aka peer reviews and results. The moment one person says it was horrible, new products are sought out for and usually seek a review from someone they know, like and trust.
Most of all, if a health professional recommends the use of CBD, why would anyone question that? This one factor has recently been taken advantage of by scammers, making the average consumer their prey. This is where a falsified advertisement including an alliance between Dr. Phillip McGraw and Dr. Mehmet Oz flourished into existence. While this is dominated by Doctor Oz over Dr. Phil, both prominent TV show personalities are used in marketing gimmicks and promotional materials trying to edify and gloat their specific brand.
What are Dr. Phil’s and Dr. Oz’s Standing on CBD and cannabis?
Before getting into the specs of the scam, it is best to have an understanding of what both experts have previously shared regarding cannabis and cannabinoids with their viewers. On one of Dr. Phil’s previous episodes, the expert spoke primarily of marijuana use, not even precisely CBD. In the episode, brothers Jonas and Tristan were accused of abusing their father with their drug use. However, Jonas claims that his marijuana intake has made him, “feel a different way than feeling anxious,” adding that, “it’s better than feeling anxious or depressed.”
This is what Dr. Phil had to say about marijuana use:
“When you continue to use marijuana on a regular basis, your motivational level goes down, your initiation levels go down, your ability to get yourself started – and making plans and moving forward goes down.”
While this is not the same for CBD uses, it is clear that Dr. Phil would not onboard the CBD train without really educating his viewers.
Then we have Dr. Oz, who has had a number of episodes on CBD and has even interviewed Dr. Sanjay Gupta regarding said matters. For instance, Dr. Oz partnered with FOX 11 to see what is truly in unregulated CBD products. In their investigation, they found that a product had E. coli bacteria, others had dangerous levels of ethanol and some even had less CBD than advertised. You can watch the Dr Oz As Seen on TV episode about CBD here, but will notice there is not one brand name mentioned or remotely recommended by the doctor.
Dr. Oz has investigated CBD and marijuana on a number of occasions; however, he has never advertised CBD gummies like the falsified advertisement claims nor has he given his audience samples of the supposed CBD gummies. Here was his second big episode on CBD.
There are a few quotable soundbites worth pasting here for those that did not watch the videos on Doctor Oz's CBD episodes:
“Just make sure you’re working with legitimate producers,” […] “If you buy products and they don’t tell you specifically what’s in it, that’s a bad sign.”
“Shockingly little work and research has been done, probably because of the regulatory environment,” […] “But that’s all changed…. With the Farm Bill that passed [in December 2018] and other things that are occurring nationwide, the ability to do research in medical marijuana and CBD is dramatically eased. So you’re going to see more of it, and we’re going to be able to figure out the answer to the question: What works where?”
Next, Dr. Oz, who is 59 years old, said:
“So unless a friend of yours is using it with success or you can look on their label and see very precise information about what’s in it, you should be worried that it’s not made by a reputable person.” […] “Get as little as you can. Try it and see if it works. If it doesn’t, move on. If it does, keep going.”
The Dr. Phil and Dr. Oz Scam Itself
An advertisement found on these ‘free trial' websites claimed that Dr. Phil and Dr. Oz joined forces in an effort to release CBD gummies with an abnormally high price range of over $70. The advertisements didn’t simply stop at mentioning the duo as having to do something with the project but went as far as having both doctors describing their supposed endeavor.
For instance, Dr. Oz was “quoted” stating things like they’ve joined forces with 10 other experienced doctors, and how the CBD that typically circulates within the market isn’t potent enough. Hysterically, Dr. Sanjay Gupta was also quoted on the webpage due to him being one of the most famous celebrity TV doctors to break the news about CBD on his CNN WEED special. For a second, one would have gone along with the advertisement merely because so much research has clearly gone into selecting people to serve as the product’s image. If doctors believe in CBD, they must have a valid reason to, right?
Neither Dr. Phil nor Dr. Oz have anything to do with the CBD infused products. Not cannabidiol oil, gummies, drinks, skincare or pills. Both parties have either spoken of CBD or cannabis on their respective shows, but both have remained neutral on its uses.
This is due simply because (1) they cannot recommend CBD due to insufficient regulation, (2) there aren’t enough studies to conclude that CBD use can lead to statistically significant improvement in human health and three, to this day no one really knows how CBD works in the body in complete detail. While there are numerous studies showing the endocannabinoid system (ECS) and the CB1 and CB2 receptors impacts, most of these are largely focused on animals and not humans. While the legal limbo is slowly leaning in favor of hemp-derived CBD and medical marijuana around the United States, this regulatory world of cannabis still has many roadblocks to clear before the true influences of CBD are understood within the body.
What the Advertisement Claims in terms of the ‘Doctor-Formulated' or ‘Doctor-Approved' CBD Oil-Infused Products and Gummies?
Interestingly, some of the health claims that was found on these various websites (Shark Tank included) include the gummies ability to ease chronic pain, improve joint health, reduce blood sugar, headaches, and anxiety and ensuring that consumers attain cognitive and antioxidant support. While there is many websites who associate CBD with these health benefits, it largely depends on quality and potency, along with dosage and bioavailability.
Right off the bat, one can tell that the common CBD benefits have been mentioned, i.e. “chronic pain”, “anxiety”, and “joint health”. What about the rest? For a diabetic patient, anything related to sugar might be of interest. However, in the case of CBD’s support for diabetic patients, no clinical trials have been conducted to date. Other areas that have never been studied in terms of the benefits of CBD include HDL cholesterol and blood glucose.
As for headaches, this may have been included because CBD is widely known for delivering pain relief. That said, existing studies neither mention ridding one of headaches nor indicate that those who experience migraines will feel relief. Such gaps in information is truly indicative of whether a product is real or not!
Things to Be on a Lookout for When Choosing a CBD Product Brand
Overall, the truth is, scammers will prey on consumers if they know they can make a winning sale out of it. They can go as far as mentioning celebrities (aka Doctor Oz and Dr. Phil), health professionals, sports athletes and even experts within the CBD field to gain one’s trust, which in turn leaves consumers hurt.
The best way to avoid any CBD product scam that may come about is to involve oneself in research and proper due diligence. From knowing what CBD is, to how laws regarding its uses vary, what should be found in said products and studying actual clinical studies and their findings is a must. There is also the caveat of requesting or reviewing the certification of analysis (CoA) or looking over the independent third-party lab test results can make a world of a difference. Most reputable companies with trusted products will provide these openly.
In the meantime, here are some factors to consider when looking for a CBD product online:
1) Less in NOT More
The fact that the CBD market lacks regulation cannot be stressed enough. To make things worse, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has only approved one CBD product called Epidiolex, which has been formulated to treat seizures associated with Lennox-Gastaut or Dravet syndrome. This implies that health claims from other products have not been approved by the agency.
What does this mean for consumers? Less information is not more. Upon visiting a website, when consumers realize that the only pieces of information that have been made available include:
- Organically grown (pesticide-free, no fillers, binding agents or artificial flavors)
- Made in the USA (from a cGMP facility, no labeling inaccuracies, lab test analysis)
- Pure CBD, 0% THC (learning the difference between full spectrum and broad spectrum)
Then, consumers need to start questioning what they’ve come across. Most scams claim that their source of hemp has either been organically grown or made in the U.S. This is a preferred and common statement used because the country is known for strict regulations. That said, if the same product doesn’t give an ingredients list, a breakdown of the cannabinoids used or even the concentration level of CBD per bottle, this could be a potential scam. Nearly all of the biggest and most popular CBD companies in the US list their products testing analysis and lab results front and center for all to see as they are ‘proud' and know it is a ‘best practices' move to make to ensure quality control measures and user confidence.
2) Highly Priced Products with No Sound Argument
When it comes to purchasing a CBD product, price should be the last factor to consider because sometimes brands that strongly believe in accuracy and consistency of their products will take extreme testing measures. This however does not apply with scams.
The Dr. Phil and Dr. Oz CBD oils and gummy edibles that have been advertised for $70 usually offer no breakdown as to why or how they arrived at this point. For example, some products offer 100mg, 300mg or 600mg servings and thus the price goes up reasonably. But when a one-page website who offers 1 product size and doesn't showcase all of their product line might be a red flag to begin with. It must break down the CBD concentration per serving mentioned. And as stated, was there any mention on third-party testing, or even certificates made available? If NO, run! Such scams are highly priced only to offer consumers a low-quality product, which may contain as little as 100mg or no CBD in a 30ml bottle.
3) The 14-Day Free Trial Scam
A common factor among all CBD scams is their free-trial offering, which in reality is not free. With a 14-day free trial, consumers are given the opportunity to sample the product of interest prior to paying the price in full. The only price they would have to pay initially is that of a small shipping charge. The problem with such an offer is that many consumers fail to read the terms and conditions. While the free trial sample offer may look and sound enticing, it can often result in a nightmarish effect given that in two weeks time you will be overcharged at full retail price AND even often difficult to cancel these auto-billing subscriptions without calling up your bank or credit card and having them manually stop pay.
Most often, if one scrolls to the bottom of the webpage, a “Terms and Conditions”, which can easily go missed, is found. Upon clicking it, consumers will come to find out that the 14-day trial isn’t really 14 days. For starters, it could take anywhere between two and four days before consumers receive the product. So, that leaves one with 10 days to try it out right? Not quite! Suppose returning takes another two to four days, then consumers really only have the product for under a week. Why are we returning it? Well, it’s a 14-day TRIAL, if one fails to return the product, a monthly charge will be applied to one’s credit card.
Besides not truly being able to test the product received, once consumers give personal information, it’s more or less gone. Many consumers who have fallen for such sales tactic found it really difficult to get in touch with said brands to cancel their subscription, forcing banks to get involved. So while the try before you buy is ideal most of the time, it is not practical to use this method of buying CBD unless you are completely confident in the company's billing cycles. This is a good time to note the infamous ‘buyer beware' statement.
4) If Contact Cannot Be Established, Don’t Bother!
That product looks great doesn’t it? But there are so many questions unanswered, who do you ask? When it comes to such scams, consumers will find it rather difficult to get in touch with someone who can provide reliable information. Given that any brand’s goal would be to establish a customer relation and to gain the latter’s trust, if those offering the products cannot answer questions confidently, it is best to avoid them altogether.
It should be relatively easy if not prominently pronounced on the website a visible contact form or supporting email address along with a phone number. Even to go as far as putting a physical address of business or location of operation just as a safety measure worth having.
At the end of the day, there are numerous factors to consider when buying a CBD oil or cannabidiol-infused product online. How much research is enough? When one feels confident about their decision to purchase a product and are able to answer every question that they originally had when starting on the hunt, then that could be a sign. Given the Dr. Phil and Dr. Oz examples, it is clear that going by the word of mouth isn’t the best way to approach CBD, as anyone can misuse anyone’s experiences (even when they don’t exist to begin with).
The following are some of the types of questions that consumers should be able to answer when they feel certain about the CBD product they’ve chosen. If any of the questions cannot be answered, then this implies that more research is needed:
- Where does the product’s source of hemp come from?
- What measures were taken to extract CBD? Are those measures effective for CBD extraction?
- Is it pure, full-spectrum or broad-spectrum CBD? What evidence is provided for justification purposes?
- What oil base are the cannabinoids infused in? Are there any allergies to consider?
- Is it actual CBD or merely hempseed oil?
- Has the product been third-party tested?
- Is the company able to provide lab tests or a Certificate of Analysis?
- Has the concentration of CBD been indicated? Is it mentioned for the entire bottle or per serving?
- What other ingredients have gone into the making of the CBD product?
- Are there certain ingredients that CBD does not effectively communicate with?
- Is the company able to answer questions in an effective manner?
Now, as a final closure on CBD and Doctor Oz (and Dr. Phil), here is a clip showing Dr. Oz's on Bravo about support for medical marijuana, calling it, ‘America's biggest hypocrisy today'.
As you can see from the video clip above, Dr. Oz has never been high before in his life – meaning he has never once consumed THC (botanical cousin to CBD). From playing sports in college to medical school after, from transitioning into becoming a surgeon, he didn't want to jeopardize being high while operating. Dr. Oz went on to say he spoke with the FDA and DEA directly, but talks about the huge crisis its created within the CBD industry because cannabis is illegal at a federal level. He also went on to talk about his TV episode on CBD where they tested 13 different CBD oil products and 10 of them did not measured out as far as dosage and quantities listed on the labels.
Take all of this information as the foundation of your hunt for knowledge when it comes to understanding CBD. Hopefully, we’ve covered with utmost detail the things you should look out for! And remember, Dr. Phil nor the Doctor Oz TV shows have ever endorsed or recommended any product with CBD in it by brand or company.