Amazon’s Hemp Pet Products Are Even Worse Than You’d Expect

Amazon’s hemp products are generally low quality, but the ones intended for pets are even worse than the ones for humans.

Written by

Lee Johnson

Lee Johnson is the senior editor at CBD Oracle, and has been covering science, vaping and cannabis for over 10 years. He has a MS in Theoretical Physics from Uppsala...

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Giving hemp oil product to a dog
Illustration: Layla Selestrini / CBD Oracle
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Amazon’s hemp market is a disaster, but one thing we didn’t devote much time to in the post about our lab study is the fact that the products for pets are even worse in many ways.

While hemp products for people at least attempted to avoid unapproved medical claims, the pet products we covered in the study proudly proclaimed things like “reduces seizures” in flagrant defiance of FDA rules.

Likewise, both pet products we covered in the study contained no cannabinoids at all, just hemp seed oil that could never produce the claimed benefits alone.

Following the release of our report, we continued digging into the “hemp for pets” market on Amazon and spoke to veterinary doctors and product experts in detail about the problem.

Here’s what we learned.


  • Our lab study confirmed that two Amazon pet hemp products contained no cannabinoids at all.
  • 83% of hemp products for pets on Amazon make illegal, unapproved medical claims.
  • There are many ways for Amazon to address the issue, including allowing NASC-certified pet CBD products to be sold on the platform.

The Benefits of CBD for Pets

Before we discuss the Amazon market, it’s important to understand why people may be looking for CBD products for their pets. 

We asked veterinary cannabis expert Dr. Trina Hazzah, founder of Green Nile and co-founder of the Veterinary Cannabis Society, about the benefits of CBD for pets. She explained that: 

“Based on both human and veterinary literature, CBD-based products may also help pets in the following ways:

  • Anti-inflammatory (i.e. hypersensitivity, dermatitis)
  • Reduction in pain
  • Reduction in seizures and convulsions
  • Immune system support (i.e. autoimmune disease, cancer)
  • Nervous system support
  • Cardiovascular system support 
  • Reduction in anxiety
  • Gastrointestinal support”

So for pet owners, there are many potential benefits to finding a high-quality CBD product tailored to the needs of their pets.

However, when you start to put Amazon’s market under the microscope, it looks a lot more like sellers are using these very real benefits to sell products that are not likely to actually provide them. 

The Problems With Amazon’s Pet Hemp Market

Amazon is walking on both sides of the street with hemp. They say that CBD is banned (aside from some rare exceptions), but simultaneously do very little monitoring and enforcement, effectively allowing CBD to be sold so long as the seller isn’t honest about their products’ contents. This problem feeds through into the pet hemp market too.

We spoke to Dr. Sarah Brandon, an experienced veterinarian and CEO of Canna Companion, who commented, “I see two main problems with Amazon’s pet hemp market: their cannabis policies aren’t current with their customer demands and what cannabis products are allowed on their platform aren’t properly regulated in a number of ways.”

In terms of consumer demand, she points out that “Customers want safe and effective CBD products for their pets primarily to address joint and emotional imbalances.” However, the “outdated” policies on the platform mean that these products aren’t available.

On the topic of regulation, she added, “Amazon prohibits all CBD products, even those that are 3rd party tested to ensure products are free from harmful pesticides, heavy metals and residual solvents. They allow hemp-based non-CBD products but don’t require 3rd party testing to confirm safety from harmful chemicals and company claims like oil base type (e.g. coconut vs. hemp seed) and fatty acid content.”

We also asked Dr. Trina Hazzah about the risks of inaccurate dosages for the pet hemp products on the platform: 

“There is a risk whenever there is a large variability in product content. For instance, if a product works and the next batch is completely different, it may no longer work well in that pet. Without a Certificate of analysis (CoA), an evaluation of a cannabis product, there is no objective measurement of its contents.”

In short, the current policies don’t allow for products consumers want, and yet the “hemp” alternatives they do offer provide no assurances for consumers on either safety or effectiveness.  

The Lab Study: Hemp Products for Pets on Amazon Don’t Contain Cannabinoids

Although we only covered two products intended for pets, the results of our lab analysis clearly showed that the oils contained no cannabinoids at all.

The lab study on Amazon hemp included two products: “Hemp Oil for Pet Joint Health” from MaxHemp and “Hemp Extract Oil” from Wachray” (still available, but relisted since the publication of our report).

Both of these products did contain some hemp oil, but in both cases, this was hemp seed oil. This contains no cannabinoids at all, and despite being valuable as nutritional oil, has limited medical applications and cannot produce relaxation or the various other effects promised by the sellers.

We asked Dr. Brandon if there was a danger in the way companies blur the distinction between hemp seed oil and CBD-containing hemp products, and she said there were two reasons it could be risky:

“Hemp seed oil only companies often make claims regarding joint comfort based on potential fatty acid content. While it’s true omega 3 fatty acids are found in hemp seed oil and can assist joint health, pets taking just hemp seed oil simply aren’t going to get the compounds like CBD needed to provide true joint support – seen as a better gait, easier time getting up/down, and generally acts happier because they feel better.”

And secondly, “You can give extremely large amounts of hemp seed oil and have no or mild side effects ([gastrointestinal] GI upset usually). But if you gave that much CBD, the pet would show significant side effects ranging from somnolence to hyperexcitation, often with significant GI upset.”

By selling hemp seed oil while promising the benefits of CBD, these companies are inviting this type of misunderstanding: either they expect CBD and don’t get it – leading to a lack of support – or they expect hemp seed oil and get CBD – leading to side effects from overconsumption. All of this could be easily solved with some transparency from the companies and Amazon themselves.  

We also interviewed licensed veterinary technician Lisa Anderson, Chief Operating Officer at Canna Companion, about the issues stemming from Amazon’s questionable hemp. She commented that sometimes people resort to using products intended for humans for their pets, and we followed up about the risks of doing this. 

She explained that one issue is with potency: “many human products are ‘high potency’ or extracts by where there is 900 mg in a 1 mL syringe and the pet parent is advised to give 1 drop or ‘grain of rice’ size dollop of the very thick concentrates of RSO or BHO (Rick Simpson Oil or Butane Hash Oil). This might be fine if you have a 100-150 lb dog but is still likely far too much for that animal’s needs. 1 drop of something that concentrated has the potential to be 30 milligrams or more of CBD alone. For a 100 lb dog that is roughly 3-5 times the average need for that pet to respond appropriately. And if the dog is a 50 lb dog that is more than 7-9 times what is needed.”

Lisa also pointed to issues with impurities, “Many human products are chemical extractions and contain residual solvents, mostly commonly hydrocarbons. This can be a real problem for our dog and cat friends’ liver, immune system and potentially neurological system. Humans seem to be able to tolerate higher levels of residual solvents, even pesticides, herbicides, heavy metals and even mycotoxins than our beloved furry and feathered friends.”

Lisa stressed that there are high-quality CBD brands that don’t have these issues with impurities, but pointed out that plants need to grow in soil with minimal heavy metals present and not be chemically treated.

She continued “Too many people in the cannabis industry say ‘we burn off all the residual solvents’ before selling. The reality is this is virtually impossible and what seems like a small amount for a human, is not a small amount for your furry or feathered friend.”

As a professional in the industry, though, Lisa also hears more horror stories than most of us, telling us that, “I’ve had people call me after giving some concentrated human product and their dog or cat is so sleepy they can’t get up, wobbly or hugging the walls when walking, twitching or excessively vomiting or drooling. The good news is most are fine with supportive care at home but I have also had to refer some people to the animal ER to have their pet be monitored and given fluids to help everything flush out faster.”

83% of Hemp Products for Pets Make Unapproved Medical Claims

CBD Oracle’s original lab study only had two hemp products for pets – and both made unapproved medical claims – but an additional analysis of 30 Amazon products found that 83% illegally claim to treat a disease.

There is a fine line between making what the FDA calls a “structure/function” claim and making an unapproved medical claim.

If you say “calcium builds strong bones,” you’re making a well-known factual statement about the function of calcium in the body – this is an allowed structure/function claim. However, if you say “vitamin C treats and prevents colds and flu” you have identified specific disease states (colds and flu) and are specifically saying that the active ingredient (vitamin C) has a beneficial effect on that state.

For our original lab study, when looking over the claims made, we noticed that products intended for human consumption often tried (not always successfully) to walk the right side of this line.

Products claimed to “promote calm” instead of “fight anxiety,” for instance, or “support recovery from exercise” instead of “alleviate joint pain.”

While about 50% stepped over this line and made unapproved claims, it was often hidden in implications or sloppy wording rather than just said outright, and the others tended to hedge their statements just enough to avoid legal trouble.

This was not the case for the pet products. Both of the pet products in the original study made explicit medical claims that they help with anxiety and arthritis – naming the conditions and explicitly claiming to treat them. We commented in the original study about how flagrantly this was done relative to the other medical claims.

Dr. Trina Hazzah explained, “Cannabis products claiming that they’re intended for use in the diagnosis, cure, mitigation, treatment, or prevention of diseases must go through the FDA drug approval process for human or animal use before they are legally marketed. Selling unapproved products with unsubstantiated therapeutic claims is not only a violation of the law but also can put patients at risk, as these products have not been proven to be safe or effective. Owners should look for published clinical trials to support such claims.”

Dr. Brandon agreed that “It’s extremely frustrating to see such claims.” Adding:

“While they are often medically true, the FDA clearly prohibits such claims unless a product is an actual drug which has undergone extensive FDA testing protocols. The danger with making such claims is that customers have medical expectations which are unrealistic and can harm their pet in a number of ways. At the very least, the product may simply not meet labeled claims because it doesn’t work. The worst case scenario involves a customer who purchases a product claiming to treat seizures rather than seeking proper medical – and the pet suffers from worsened seizures. Somewhere in the middle is where most lie, where the pet doesn’t really improve and eventually they seek medical care.”

It’s clear that while most pet owners will just be disappointed with the results, these types of claims do create very real risks. However, two products do not necessarily represent the whole market. So we searched Amazon for “hemp oil for pets” and looked at the first 30 listings that were not simply multipacks of products already analyzed or duplicates.

Based on this analysis, we estimate that 83% of hemp products intended for pets on Amazon make unapproved medical claims.

As in this example, many cases had medical claims in the product listing title, “Helps Pets with Anxiety, Pain, Stress, Sleep, Arthritis, Seizures Relief.”

Pet hemp oil sold on Amazon with unapproved medical claim
Source: Amazon

These specific conditions were widely mentioned – for example, 60% of products mentioned arthritis relief specifically – and in our interview, Dr. Brandon referred to them as “ranking terms,” essentially there to catch common keywords used in searches.  

One Third of Pet Products on Amazon Promise Impossible Doses

We also looked for another common problem in the 30 pet hemp products: promising doses that are simply not possible. Exactly one-third of products made an impossible claim.

For example, this Charlie & Buddy product claims to contain 15,000,000 mg of hemp seed oil extract, but the total mass of the product is listed as 2.9 ounces, i.e. 82 grams or 82,000 mg.

Despite this obvious false advertising, Amazon is apparently happy to promote this to pet owners and profit from the sale of deceptive products.

Canna Companion’s Story and the Challenge of Selling Real CBD on Amazon

Like the wider hemp market on the platform, the problem with pet hemp on Amazon persists because of the extreme challenge faced by honest operators on the platform.

Lisa Anderson from Canna Companion told us their story about attempting to get their products listed on Amazon.

“In Feb 2019 we signed up for and were approved to sell on Amazon then were shut down as soon as the items started getting listed for being in violation of their CBD in products rule. We were completely transparent about being a hemp supplement that contains phytocannabinoids, including CBD and uploaded the COA’s as requested by Amazon to be a seller. (note: at the time, Hemp My Pet was selling “hemp oil” that contained CBD as were at least 2 other brands we recognized).”

“They charged us the ‘professional seller’ fee to start and again after telling us the store was shut down for being in violation of their policy. Amazon had the COAs for several weeks and somehow missed CBD in the testing? We are and have always been as transparent as possible with the public about our products as long as it does not break our NDA or quite literally give our formula out. Our COAs always contain phytocannabinoid potency (as many as our lab has the ability to test), terpene potency, microbial, mycotoxin, heavy metal and pesticide testing results.”

As in our main report, Lisa saw the inconsistent and seemingly arbitrary way in which Amazon enforces their policies. Unfortunately, their efforts to rectify the issue ultimately fell on deaf ears: 

“Sarah [Brandon] was the person to contact Amazon and our attorney about them violating their own rules and allowing the other brands, known to have CBD, being sold on their site. Nothing came of it other than what seemed like auto-responses. I got involved and demanded a refund of the seller account fee and was refunded and the account closed.”

This is the experience of essentially every honest CBD company that tries to sell on Amazon. As things stand, they are not permitted to sell if they say explicitly that their products contain CBD, but if you don’t say anything Amazon is likely to (intentionally or not) look the other way and allow sales. This creates a perverse incentive to hide information from your customers and being required to do this pushes away companies that believe in transparency and honesty.

As a result, the pet hemp product market is dominated by companies willing to hide the truth about their products from customers or make implicit suggestions that their products contain cannabinoids (e.g. by listing benefits of CBD) when they actually do not.

Reputable companies are punished while liars are left untouched.

How Can Amazon Make Things Better?

As with the rest of the hemp market on Amazon, hemp for pets on the platform often doesn’t contain cannabinoids but still promises the benefits of cannabinoids, making unapproved medical claims and misleading customers at every stage. But what can we do about it?

We asked Dr. Brandon about this, and she had several suggestions.

Firstly, and arguably most crucially, she suggested that Amazon “Update cannabis policies to include federally legal hemp-based CBD products that come with batch associated certificates of analyses (COAs) or carry a NASC Seal or similar.”

She points to the National Animal Supplement Council (NASC) Quality Seal. This organization works directly with the veterinary portion of the FDA and only certifies products that meet cGMP-level manufacturing standards, comply with regulatory requirements, and ensure any label claims fall within the law.

While this isn’t the same as being “FDA approved,” the FDA has not shown any concern or made statements about products bearing the seal. It’s as close as you can get to approval from the FDA for the time being.

COAs are helpful for consumers too, though, as Dr. Brandon points out: “Requiring at least a COA lets the customer know X mg CBD/portion and that the product lacks toxic chemicals. Requiring a 3rd party certification means Amazon can do less monitoring – which means they save money and provide better products for their customers.”

She also stresses that the presence or absence of CBD should be clearly marked on the label, and that COAs would only promote consumer confidence in these statements. Both Dr. Hazzah and Lisa Anderson also mentioned the importance of COAs, with Lisa making the crucial point that “Transparency is how the leaders in the pet CBD field have made it this far.”

Dr. Brandon argues that unapproved medical claims also need to be stopped and gives a good example of a structure/function claim that is permitted. She says Amazon should “require all companies to make FDA approved claims only (called structure function claims). For example, Canna Companion Neurological Support capsules combine CBD with small amounts of THC, CBN, linalool & humulene to help regulate normal brain & nerve development & functions and to stabilize the nervous system.”

Adding, “I cannot stress how important this is for the safety of pets, and how frustrating it is to see companies use ranking terms (e.g. seizure, pain, inflammation) just to increase sales. It’s misleading and can cause pets harm and should be prohibited.”

As well as suggesting that Amazon should regularly check that companies are adhering to guidelines, she suggests an incentive program to support those who do:

“For those companies who adhere to policies, offer something special to get their products seen first like reduced costs on sponsored slots, but perhaps more importantly, immediately remove those companies who don’t adhere. This is a bonus but helps offset some of the costs for 3rd party certification and increases sales for cannabis companies that adhere to Amazon policies.”

Overall, as we see it, the most important solution for Amazon is to actively allow CBD on the platform. Unfortunately, if the nearly six years of total legality of these products in the US has only convinced them to allow it in some topical products, it’s probably not that likely to happen.

However, there are many benefits to doing so:

  • Products would actually have some medical benefits
  • Customers would be getting what they’re paying for
  • Reputable companies would be able to do business without lying about their products
  • Companies could openly share COAs with customers to increase transparency

The downstream effect of this would be to level the playing field for reputable companies. Customers know that a product that says “contains 1,000,000 mg of hemp!” is less reliable than one that says “contains 800 mg of CBD, as proven by this lab report,” but right now the latter product would be removed from sale and the former would not. Current Amazon policy incentivizes deception, but this simple change would allow honest companies to thrive.

This ties in with Dr. Brandon’s suggestion about the value of the NASC Quality seal. Even if they only permitted CBD products with this seal, Amazon would open up their market to higher-quality products and attract customers from pet owners who are careful about what they buy.

It wouldn’t be the perfect solution – products for humans would still be in the same situation – but it would be an easy win for Amazon, consumers, and the wider pet hemp product industry.

Conclusion – Amazon Is Failing Pet Owners, But They Could Still Change Things

Dr. Brandon concluded, “It’s confounded me for years why Amazon hasn’t updated their cannabis policies to be more in line with their customers’ preferences. Right now, their lackadaisical attitude towards hemp seed oil companies making inappropriate claims and potentially not even having hemp seed oil in their product as advertised. This puts pets at a disadvantage and [makes] customers less trusting of Amazon and their policies.”

In their effort to “be compliant” and not get in legal trouble, Amazon has somehow allowed the vast majority of pet hemp products on their platform to make illegal medical claims and permitted products promising literally impossible quantities of hemp.

The only winners from the current system are Amazon and the companies that are willing to mislead consumers for financial gain. We deserve better, and our pets deserve better.