Don’t Ask; Don’t Tell: Study Reveals Amazon’s Hidden Market for THC Gummies

CBD Oracle's analysis of hemp products available on Amazon found that 11% of products contain THC and three of them had huge undeclared doses of delta-8 THC.

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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Cannabis leaf covering the face of Amazon's founder Jeff Bezos
Illustration: Layla Selestrini / CBD Oracle
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If you believe Amazon, THC is totally banned on their marketplace and they monitor storefronts carefully to identify and remove offending products.

But a new CBD Oracle lab study put that to the test, and found that it is not only possible to find THC products on Amazon, but it’s possible to find gummies that are more potent than cannabis edibles in legal states. Something is rotten with Amazon’s hemp market.

Here’s what the lab study revealed about buying THC on Amazon.


  • 11% of hemp products on Amazon were found to contain THC by a lab analysis.
  • 3 products contained high doses of delta-8 THC, a cannabinoid banned by many states.
  • One product contained 76 mg of THC per gummy, and it was mainly delta-8.
  • Amazon removed the 3 high-THC products, but the lack of transparency from sellers and poor enforcement from Amazon makes it likely more are hiding in plain sight.

The Sorry State of Amazon’s Hemp Market

The hemp market on Amazon is thriving, but is simultaneously held back by short-sighted policy and lackluster enforcement.

Amazon’s policy forbids the sale of both CBD and THC, but “hemp” gummies flood the marketplace regardless. Theoretically, this is just because “hemp” can mean hemp seed oil or other products that don’t contain banned cannabinoids. However, in practice, the market operates on the simple principle of “don’t ask; don’t tell.”

For example, Amazon says “we don’t allow consumable CBD” but their site is stuffed full of gummies promising high doses of “hemp extract” and listing benefits associated with CBD, such as reducing anxiety and pain. A savvy consumer can see the tell-tale fingerprints of CBD, but as long as they don’t explicitly say “contains CBD,” products remain on the shelves.

We spoke to Kelly Lombard, founder of Forge Hemp, about her experience on Amazon, and she commented that:

“Amazon has demonstrated that they don’t understand the difference between hemp seed oil and hemp extract that contains cannabinoids. As long as sellers are vague about a product’s contents, Amazon doesn’t seem to care. This is problematic because U.S. consumers need more information about hemp and CBD, not less.”

It is important to note, though, that these same products are also sold at other retailers like Walmart or eBay.

The Lab Results: 11% Contain THC, and Some Have a Lot of Delta-8

Out of the 56 products purchased by CBD Oracle for the lab study, InfiniteCAL found that 11% contained THC.

In all cases, the amount of delta-9 THC was well below the 0.3% limit established by the 2018 Farm Bill, but this doesn’t tell the whole story. In fact, three products had huge amounts of delta-8 THC, with 641, 2,507 and 3,028 mg per package.

Delta-8 THC is slightly different from the ordinary delta-9 THC found in cannabis, but it is still intoxicating and the main difference is that it’s only 50 to 75% as potent. At 32, 50 and 76 mg delta-8 THC per gummy, every one of these products would be more potent than legal cannabis edibles even accounting for the differences between delta-8 and delta-9. In other words: these products would get you really high.

RELATED: Delta-8 vs. Delta-9 THC: Benefits, Effects, and Legality

The fact that CBD Oracle was able to buy high-THC products from Amazon raises both legal and moral issues.

Firstly, delta-8 THC is illegal in many states. Amazon’s decision to not request lab testing of hemp products sold on their platform means that they are unwittingly breaking the law. You might even argue that allowing “hemp” which – by definition – can include up to 0.3% delta-9 THC without requiring proof it is under the limit is outright negligent on the part of Amazon.

But it’s arguably even worse from a moral perspective. Given that these high-THC products had no indication whatsoever that they contained THC, a customer purchasing some “hemp” would have absolutely no warning that they were about to be intoxicated. What if they took a “hemp” gummy and then took off for a long drive? What if they thought they were getting CBD to help with anxiety but it was actually THC that made the problem much worse?

There are so many situations like this that hammer home a very straightforward point: giving people drugs without their consent is immoral and dangerous.

Amazon might not take all the blame for this – after all, they aren’t the ones being deceptive – but they did allow this market to flourish and have profited from the sale of these products. Their policy doesn’t mean anything if they don’t go beyond the bare minimum for enforcement.

They’ve Taken These Three Products Down – But Are Others Hiding in Plain Sight?

The good news is that in the time between the lab study and the publication of this article, Amazon has removed the listings for two of the three high-THC products. The third is still listed but marked as currently unavailable.

Hemp product on Amazon with hidden amounts of THC
Source: Amazon

This small action represents the biggest step Amazon took over the whole course of our investigation, which revealed many problems beyond just THC-containing products. So while this is good news, our experience reporting offending products doesn’t inspire confidence – most of them still remain on the storefront months later.

The issue isn’t with these products as much as it’s about the structural problems that allowed these products to go up for sale in the first place. If we were able to identify three incredibly high-THC products from a relatively small sample, how many more are still being sold today?

The true cost of Amazon’s hemp policy is that crucial information is simply not provided to the consumers who need it, and until that starts to happen, you can never really be sure if you’re getting hemp seed oil, CBD, or a mega-dose of delta-8 THC. 

Amazon did not respond to multiple requests for comment on the findings in this report.

Data Availability

The full dataset from the analysis is available in this spreadsheet. You can download a summary of the report in PDF here.

If you have any questions or feedback about the data, contact us at [email protected].