April 7, 2021


Written by - Mallory Milne

minute read

The spotlight has been on CBD oil for quite some time now, and it’s popularity among many, young and old, is increasing.

The dietary supplement industry is expected to hit over 210 billion by 2026, and CBD oil is fast carving itself a giant chunk out of that market. Despite legal issues everywhere surrounding CBD, it seems like everyone and their dog want a piece of it.

Enter the multi-level marketing(MLM) CBD companies.

What Does MLM Mean?

For those of you who are unfamiliar with the term, let’s break it down.

MLM stands for multi-level marketing. It may also be referred to as pyramid selling, network marketing, or referral marketing.

In these types of companies, you have multiple levels of people who promote and sell a product that is being offered. There are the people at the top, the people underneath them, and the people underneath those people, and so on.

You generally have to pay to sign up for the “opportunity” to promote this product, and you earn money by sharing the product with other people using a referral link.

In most of these, you also have to pay a certain amount every month to earn bonuses or recruit so many people before you can even begin to earn. They are incentivized in a way as to pressure people to attempt to recruit more people into the business continually.

When these people purchase something through your link, you earn a percentage of the amount sold, called a commission. If anyone decides to sign up under you and they sell through their link, they make a commission, and you also make a smaller commission. And on and on the wheel rolls. Sounds great, right?

Wrong. And for more than a few reasons.

According to a report done on 350 MLM companies, 99% of people who enter into these companies will lose money, not earn. That’s a ridiculous number even to consider.

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So why do so many people continue to sign up? Well, the claims that you are going to make huge amounts of money are one. The ever-popular idea that you are going into business for yourself is another.

Everyone wants the chance to be able to do something that will enable them to quit their full-time jobs and work from home, and what better way to do so than spamming your friends and family and harassing them to buy from you?

In the age that we live in now, it’s not just your friends and family that are the targets anymore. With the number of people using social media and other online sources as the base for their “business,” these companies are popping up everywhere and can be found on almost every social media platform, in every group, no matter how big or small.

Unfortunately for many, these reps will say anything and everything under the sun to convince you that their product is the best out there because the only way they make a profit is if you buy. Of course, they are going to say whatever it takes. It’s a vicious cycle that is hard to break, and for some, morals go way down when money is at stake.

The mindset of MLM companies has been called cult-like, and the culture within them is strong. I’ve seen some absolutely absurd claims now regarding CBD oil, which I will go into depth on a little further down.

These companies target people who are struggling to make ends meet by promising something only a very small few ever get a taste of. Statements like “Join the hottest and fastest-growing market out there today,” “Be your own boss,” “Tired of living paycheck to paycheck, sign up today,” “Unlimited earning potential,” etc., are just some of the common phrases you’ll see across the board on these sites.

Long Live The Pyramid Scheme…

If you’ve been around awhile, you’ll likely have heard the term “pyramid scheme” once or twice in your life.

The pyramid scheme worked by sucking you in and making you pay to join a program, whatever that might have been. You then earn money by recruiting others into paying for the program, which often has no actual product at the center of the business. All of the commissions you earn in a pyramid scheme come from recruiting new people, who then sign others up.

You generally have to pay to stay active in the program or stay at a certain level, which is how people end up losing so much money from them. Only a few at the top levels of the pyramid make any money off of it.

The money keeps being funneled up to the top, with more and more people joining the bottom of the pyramid, each level larger than the one before it.

Statistics and logic have proved time and time again that these types of businesses will ultimately collapse on themselves. After all, the world is only so big, and the number of people who can join is finite.

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Here’s a graphic to show just how unsustainable a pyramid scheme really is:

The pyramid scheme, as we used to know it, has changed a bit and is now illegal. For these businesses to run legally now, there has to be an actual product for sale. In some places in the world, this type of business is illegal, no matter if they are selling a legit product or not.

It’s also not technically referred to as a pyramid scheme anymore; rather, we call it MLM. Regardless of the name and the fact that there is now a product to be had from it, the fundamentals remain the same.

When it comes to MLM and CBD companies, it is particularly dangerous…

As CBD oil has gained popularity, the number of claims about it has grown far beyond what anyone has expected. A quick Google search on the subject brings up articles claiming that it can quite literally cure every ailment known to man.

In fact, it is a fairly new development in the medical industry, and the alarming lack of actual research on the subject needs to be addressed. All around the globe, studies are being conducted, which is awesome, but what is happening right now is these MLM CBD companies are promoting misinformation that doesn’t have a lot of actual research to back it up.

Some claims that I have heard from CBD reps, and these are just the ones I’ve come across personally.

  • CBD will cure every medical issue you have – So not true. CBD has a lot of different uses because of the way it works within our Endocannabinoid System. CBD and THC bind to receptors that are located throughout us, and is why it works on several issues, but by no means does this make it a cure-all for everything.
  • CBD won’t cause a fail on a drug test – So legally, in many places around the world, CBD can only contain 0.3% THC. This is a meager amount and won’t cause a “high,” but it could very well cause you to lose your job. THC builds up in your system in your fat stores, and Full Spectrum oil CAN cause a fail on a test, don’t listen to anyone who tries to tell you differently. If you are tested, you need to go with Broad Spectrum or CBD Isolate, both of which contain non-detectable levels of THC.
  • Human grade CBD can be used on your pets – WRONG! There are some that are safe, then there are many products out there made for humans that can be seriously harmful to your pets, and many of the essential oils in them can be highly toxic. If you choose to go this route for your furry friends, please do your research beforehand, and ONLY purchase pet safe products with extensive 3rd party testing done on them.
  • The company has the absolute best product on the market, and all others are inferior – There is no one best CBD oil, and whenever I see this claim from CBD reps, it really irks me. There are many really awesome companies out there right now, with more being established every day. Over the past year, I’ve had the opportunity to try out many different products, and I’m still hard-pressed to pick a favorite because there have been so many effective ones. When they tell you their CBD is the only one to consider, back away!
  • Hemp oil is better than CBD – One persistent rep is going around trying to tell everyone that hemp oil is better than CBD oil. Here is the difference between the two, and despite multiple attempts to educate, they are sticking with it.
  • Breast milk contains more THC than hemp – Ugh. So this is from the same rep that is trying to claim hemp oil is better than CBD oil. I shouldn’t have to explain this one, but the ONLY way that THC is getting into breast milk is if the mother consumes it. The industrial hemp plant, which most of the world’s CBD comes from, does contain THC, just in very low amounts.
  • CBD oil has no side effects – Yes, it does!!! Like any other substance you put in your body, there are a few side effects to watch out for. Check out this post for more information on the subject.
  • CBD oil won’t interact with any medications you are on – This one especially, people need to pay attention to. CBD works in much the same way as grapefruit does when it comes to your medications and can have serious consequences if taken with certain ones. Drugs.com is a great place to check for any interactions and ALWAYS check with a doctor before starting CBD if you are currently on any medications.
  • Full Spectrum is the only way to go – While the “Entourage Effect” is real and shows that whole plant extracts can be more effective, Full Spectrum contains THC and can not be taken by everyone, especially those who are drug tested.
  • CBD must contain only 2-3 ingredients; anything else is “junk” or “fillers” – This claim is everywhere. And it absolutely false. Different products contain ingredients specifically targeting energy levels, some that are designed for better sleep, some with added ingredients to help with pain, etc. There are also claims that hemp seed oil is the ONLY carrier oil to be used to be effective, but there are plenty of other suitable carrier oils used for CBD, including MCT or coconut oil. As long as the company is providing up to date, accurate 3rd party testing on their products, it will contain CBD and might have some extra added benefits in there.

These are just a few. There are many other outlandish claims that I’ve seen floating around, but we would be here all day if I tried to list them all.

The people who join these companies rarely take the time to do their own research and instead choose to share information that their up lines have spoon-fed them. I see it time and time again from the reps, all sharing the same bogus information.

Take the time to do your research on anything that you will be putting into your body, especially with something that contains a substance that is still highly illegal in many parts of the world. Here is a list of guidelines that you absolutely need to be following when you are looking to buy CBD oil, and having accurate 3rd party testing is a MUST!

So how do I know if a CBD company is an MLM or not?

MLM CBD companies can be hard to spot sometimes. Some dead giveaways include:

  • Any phrasing along the lines of – Side gig, opportunity, join our team, financial freedom, work for yourself/be your own boss, get paid to promote, etc., will likely be an MLM.
  • PM me for more info – Anyone who asks you to PM(private message) them in a group about a product and won’t directly share it with the rest of the group is likely part of an MLM company and trying to sell to you. This is rampant in almost every Facebook group that I am a part of and is becoming more and more frustrating, especially when it comes to CBD products.
  • Referral required – You shouldn’t need a referral to sign up for any company to purchase their products. This information and access should be readily available on the site.

You can also Google the company name and MLM, the information will pop up right away on whether or not it is one.

Here is a list of SOME of the MLM CBD companies operating right now:

  • Hempworx
  • Kannaway
  • Hemp Herbals
  • Dose of Nature
  • Bocannaco
  • Zilis
  • Prime My Body
  • Isodiol
  • First Fitness Nutrition
  • CTFO
  • Nutritional High
  • Biocare
  • Hemplavate
  • Young Living

All of the products in companies like these are generally overpriced and can be found elsewhere for much cheaper. They are priced this way to reflect affiliate payouts.

Many legit CBD companies who don’t follow the MLM business model regularly run promotions and deals that can save you some serious cash. A number of them offer assistance programs for veterans, first responders, and people on long-term disability and low-income households. These discounts can go up to 60% off, so make sure to shop around and see if you are eligible!

There are all sorts of different price points to CBD oil, and there are products available for every budget.

Ready to check out some awesome non-MLM CBD companies?

All of the companies on our recommended list are 100% MLM free, organic, 3rd party tested, and come backed by thousands upon thousands of positive reviews. They have been chosen for their quality, commitment to the community, and providing only the safest products, they have the interest of the consumer at heart, and they don’t mess around when it comes to CBD.

Check out our recommended list here.

About the author 

Mallory Milne

Mallory is a mom of two, as well as the main content writer and owner of CBD Handle. She has been a consumer advocate and CBD user since 2018, and strives to relay accurate, easy to understand information and to educate others on the health benefits of CBD.


CBD Oil, mlm and cbd, mlm and cbd oil

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  • Hi
    Thank you so much for this amazingly informative article.
    The internet needs more people like you who are going to say how it is with regard to the scams and misinformation out there.

    I have seen the advertisments for these sort of companies, and I must admit that I’ve been tempted. I’m so pleased to have found your article before I signed up!
    As I have an interest in CBD, I’m finding this whole site very interesting. I’ve bookmarked it now, so I’ll be coming back!
    Best wishes,

    • Glad I caught you before you did! I wasn’t so lucky unfortunately, and did get caught up in an MLM company quite some time back now. It was not a pleasant experience, and I’m happy to report that I made it out in one piece! I’ll continue to share this with others, in hopes that I can prevent anyone from joining an extremely predatory business situation. Thanks for reading!

  • I am a user of cbd, it is my pain go to many days after multiple back issues. I have spent HUNDREDS to find real true cbd products, finally found a couple and I stick with those. I just wish I found this website long ago, but hey, better late than never:) Now I will read as much as I can here and come back for more, I just had to comment on this awesome info and thank you!!!

  • Hi Mallory
    This article is fantastic, loads of valuable information in here to watch out for so not to get caught up in those nasty MLM scams. I’ve seen these scams being promoted on social media and too have been tempted to ask for more information through a PM, always resisted and now glad I did. I’m sure the information in your article will save a number of people from getting caught up in these horrible scams.

    Thanks for sharing, very well written article.

    • These types of businesses say so many false things to suck you in, itís so shady. Hopefully this gets spread far and wide, and helps more people make informed decisions. Thanks for reading!

  • My husband was dying of cancer, when my neighbors (who I hated) approached him outside with fake concerns of his health. I return home from work to him beaming with excitement,something I had not seen in some a long time. I said “You look very happy today”. He then proceeds to tell me that the neighbors, who sell Hempworx, told him that there was some videos on their Facebook page of people who’s cancer was cured using their CBD oil and that he ought to check them out. He’s got this smile as he asks me to find their page on Facebook. My heart literally sank and the rage I felt inside was nothing I ever felt before..For real, I wanted to physically hurt them… Still to this day, a year later, I flip them off every single time I see them outside!

    He watches the videos and low and behold the two that were “cured” sold it as well. Imagine that ? How do you tell a guy who’s 52 and who has ran out of all options this this is bullshit? I told him he should absolutely try CBD but let’s find a reputable place to get it from because it’s an MLM and they’ll say anything to make a sale. In the short time of them speaking to him, they literally had him convinced that there’s was the purest on the market, so of course he didn’t want to try any other kind.

    He bought it, he tried it, he died 4 months later!!!!! They’re disgusting vultures and I let everyone and anyone in my town just know how disgustingly low these people are! Please don’t fall prey to any of these vile people!

    • I have no words for the emotions that your comment brought on. I am so, so sorry about your husband, and that he was taken advantage of in such a vulnerable state. I can’t even imagine what that must have been like to go through. After so many encounters with these people I have nothing but bad things to say about the way they operate, it is literally anything and everything to make a buck. Thank you for taking the time to comment, I hope it really resonates with some people who are considering any company like this.

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