Why is CBD oil so expensive?
You likely got sticker shock the first time you looked at CBD oil prices, I know I did. There is a lot of confusion over the wide range of prices on the market, and prices of CBD vary widely from brand to brand. Prices typically range from $50 to $200 per bottle, or more. So why is CBD oil so expensive?
How the CBD is manufactured plays into CBD pricing
It helps to know a bit about the manufacturing process to get an idea of what goes into making the product, which is the main reason why the product price is so high (or in some cases low). The producer that Hemp Daddy’s partners with is vertically integrated, which means they grow their own hemp, as well as extract the oil. Some lower priced brands are buying imported hemp from overseas, which in some cases can be laden with heavy metals from the soil it was grown in.
Some CBD producers do purchase their hemp in the USA, but only control the extraction portion of the production process. These brands still might have a high quality product, but because they don’t also control the growing process they will actually be priced higher. A high quality CBD oil at a reasonable price will be from a vertically integrated operation. Low cost, poor quality CBD is likely produced from hemp grown overseas with an inferior extraction method.
CBD Extraction also factors into why CBD oil is so expensive
There are two basic extraction techniques, both are mentioned in my article on, what to look for when selecting a CBD product. Co2 extraction is the most expensive technique (used by Hemp Daddy’s), and the only way to get a clean solvent free product. Some brands use ethanol extraction techniques, where there is no way to completely remove traces of solvents in the final product. The hemp is soaked in ethanol or another solvent to strip it of cannabinoids, the liquid is then evaporated away.
An added benefit of the Co2 extraction process is the ability to control the temperature of the process, and therefore target specific cannabinoids, which is why some Co2 extracted products will contain higher concentrations CBD yet still contain a full spectrum of cannabinoids, there is also minimal risk of contaminants in the finished product.
Don’t forget about the labor intensive process
The labor is another component people don’t really think about. Having visited our extraction lab, I can personally attest to how labor intensive and time consuming the process is. There are several steps to the extraction process, each taking a specific amount of time, and yet the end product is minuscule compared to the amount of raw plant matter put into the extraction machine. In addition to the extraction component in the lab, there is a full growing season and 10 days of harvesting that occur, and after the harvest the plants are hung to dry, and hand harvested to remove the aerial plant components from the stalk.
Let price be your guide when shopping for quality CBD
So, when selecting a CBD product, remember that price is probably the last thing you should look at, aside from giving you an idea of the quality of the product. In other words, don’t buy the cheapest CBD product you can find, because chances are it was soaked in alcohol or grown overseas, where the quality of the plant can’t be guaranteed.
Look for manufacturers, like Hemp Daddy’s, that use a vertically integrated process, Co2 extraction, and locally grown hemp. Most hemp in the USA is grown organically, but it’s important to look for that as well. Make sure the product you are purchasing is organically grown. Currently there are not a lot of certified organic operations, but it’s starting to occur. Hemp Daddy’s uses one of the few USDA Organic hemp crops in the USA.
All of these things play into the price of a high quality CBD product. If you stumble across a brand selling their CBD oil for half or a quarter cost of the competition, chances are the product is inferior…maybe even “snake oil.” You are better off paying for a high quality product from the start, versus purchasing an inferior product that will not yield the results you are looking for.
Another thing to look out for is products that are NOT even CBD oil. Just search for CBD on Amazon, and you will see loads of products masquerading as CBD, when in truth they are nothing more than hemp seed oil. Currently, Amazon does not allow the sale of CBD oil on their website, but there are predatory companies taking advantage of the keyword. So, stay away from Amazon when purchasing CBD oil. (you can read more about CBD on Amazon, right here on my blog)
One more thing to consider…your own health! Sure CBD is going to be more expensive that prescription drugs, but how have those worked for you? What side effects are there associated with Big Pharma options? There is no denying the price is higher than you are used to, but I would venture to say that replacing your prescription drugs, or traditional options are a better option for your overall health (but please consult a physician before changing from any medications you might be taking).
As the industry continues to grow prices will start to fall. Increased demand for CBD will help CBD producers implement greater efficiencies in the production process, and in the end drive down the cost to consumers. For example, a smaller operation like Hemp Daddy’s can go from paying several people to hand fill bottles to a more automated process.
You might also enjoy the following blog posts written by Hemp Daddy’s Therapeutics:
Update as of February 25, 2020
With the influx of hemp farming in the United States prices are finally starting to come down a little, but not too much. The reason being is the market is still a bit uncertain in terms of how long the supply will stay how it is. Many manufacturers are hesitant to drop their prices yet and are playing the, “wait and see game.” However Hemp Daddy’s is in the process of lowering prices as well as adding to our product line.
We have also introduced a financial assistance program for those that qualify.CBD oil is expensive for many reasons, ranging from: extraction technique, to the quality of the hemp used in the product.
What is CBD oil, and why is it so expensive?
Following is a transcript of the video.
Narrator: Depending on who you ask, CBD oil can be a miracle cure, a snake-oil placebo, or something vague in between. This poorly regulated industry, which has boomed over the last three years, is a minefield for newcomers. Considering that manufacturers are unauthorized to make medical claims, how can one CBD oil cost $50, while another of the same volume costs $390? And are premium CBD oils justified for being so expensive?
Firstly, what is CBD?
Dani Gordon: CBD stands for cannabidiol. That’s the chemical name for one of the chemicals in the cannabis plant. The CBD oil that you’re seeing on shelves that consumers can buy without a prescription is actually from low-THC, the stuff that makes you high, varieties of the cannabis plant.
Narrator: CBD is a new and rapidly growing phenomenon, with sales tripling in the last three years. But the line between what consumers are using it for and what manufacturers can say to attract them is increasingly blurred.
Gordon: It can be used for a variety of purposes, things like inflammation, anxiety, stress, and it can also be used just to support general wellness. Now, the differentiating criteria between a medicine and a supplement is you cannot make a claim that it treats or cures a specific medically diagnosed disease. And that’s really important for companies to understand, because they can get their products pulled off the shelves, and they can also potentially sometimes unintentionally mislead consumers.
Narrator: But in the age of anxiety, it’s no surprise that CBD has become a hot ticket for manufacturers, who infuse all sorts of products with cannabidiol, shrewdly tapping into its perceived wellness benefits and bumping up the price of otherwise standard items, like gummies, sportswear, tampons, and even dog treats. But how do we assess the value of CBD oil, which is actually produced in two different ways?
Gordon: A full- or broad-spectrum product is made from the whole plant extract. They take the flower and they process it, and they come up with an extract that not only has CBD, but it has other plant chemicals, other cannabinoids, other terpenoids, other things in the plant that work together in this, what’s called this herbal synergy, this entourage effect. And what you get is greater than the sum of its parts.
Narrator: But some manufacturers process the extract even further into CBD isolate, a substance devoid of all other plant chemicals and labeled as “pure CBD.” But this isolate, which often features in expensive products, is generally considered to be less effective and cheaper to make.
Gordon: Some brands and some companies will put CBD isolate into a product and then brand it as a premium product, even though the cost of actually making it, because the cost of the isolate, is quite a lot lower than the cost of a full- or broad-spectrum CBD.
Narrator: But because of lax regulations in the industry, this fundamental difference in CBD oils is often disguised by manufacturers. The front of this premium $300 bottle, for example, does not display that it is, in fact, made from isolate.
Gordon: Sometimes you have to dig into the nitty-gritty of the ingredients. And sometimes you even have to, you might have to call the company and see what they’ve actually used. But in general, the labeling criteria are becoming a little bit stricter, so more and more consumers will be able to know what is a CBD isolate product and what comes from a full- or broad-spectrum source.
Narrator: These products can also be measured by the amount of cannabidiol in each bottle.
Gordon: What you really need to look for is the number of milligrams in the entire bottle, and then the number of milligrams of CBD per dose. And that’s really gonna tell you the bang for buck.
Narrator: But even high-dosage, full-spectrum CBD doesn’t have the approval from the Food and Drug Administration. The FDA says it “recognizes the significant public interest in cannabis and cannabis-derived compounds, particularly CBD. However, there are many unanswered questions about the science, safety, and quality of products containing CBD.”
More worryingly, lab tests conducted by the Centre for Medicinal Cannabis found that 62% of CBD products tested in the UK didn’t contain the cannabidiol content promised on the label. One product actually contained no CBD whatsoever.
CBD is shrouded in mystery and confusion for the consumer. On the one hand, a 2018 cross-sectional study of CBD users found that almost 62% “reported using CBD to treat a medical condition,” stating that CBD has “broad therapeutic value. But on the other hand, manufacturers cannot use the research data to make medical claims, leaving spokespeople in the unenviable position of having to promote their products to a certain demographic while avoiding endorsing the public’s perception of CBD.
Brett Heaps: So, what we’re not allowed to do with our products is make any medicinal claims, ’cause they’re not medical products. All our products that we sell are wellness products to improve sleeps and moods. We see CBD as a homeostasis product, which balances the levels in your body to get you into a normal state and balanced mind.
Narrator: Thankfully, despite the misconceptions, no matter what you use it for, there is a way to get a snapshot of the quality of CBD oil.
Gordon: You wanna look for a certificate of analysis. That means that that is a third-party-tested lab report. They test their product to make sure that it’s not contaminated, make sure it doesn’t have accidental THC levels above the allowed limit. Make sure it doesn’t have heavy metals in it. Make sure there’s no microbials, so, bacteria or fungus that can grow in these plants. No herbicides, pesticides, things you don’t want in it.
Narrator: So, why is it so expensive? The cost of producing CBD oil isn’t particularly high in relation to other large-scale crops. But there appears to be a premium on all cannabidiol, as revealed in this comparison of full-spec CBD, which shows that its prices grow pretty uniformly, according to the price per milligram in each bottle. With any wellness product with a global hype, high demand means high prices. Statistics show that sales of CBD will likely reach $1.8 billion in the next two years. But without regulation, medical research, and clear consumer knowledge, the human value of CBD oil will, for now, remain a matter of opinion.CBD is a growing phenomenon, with sales tripling in the last three years. But manufacturers are forbidden to make medical claims on its effectiveness. ]]>