CBD, more formally regarded as cannabidiol, is the natural health compound people can’t seem to get enough of. Derived from the cannabis plant, CBD is non-psychoactive (meaning, it will not get you high, ever, no matter how much you take), it has proven to relieve common conditions like anxiety, inflammation, arthritis, and endometriosis, and now, people want to know why the cannabinoid wavers so much in price.
If you’re immersed in the CBD world, you probably have noticed some brands are much more costly than others.
Why the vast disparity in price?
In some cases, market prices may be all over the place simply because this is a new market. Introducing new product into an unregulated market in and of itself is grounds for inconsistent price points, but many other factors come into play in attempting to explain the high price of CBD products, including inefficient farming and production methods, insufficient consumer information, and limited patient access.
Some CBD-based companies are producing high-quality, locally sourced, lab-tested and toxin-free CBD. All good things. Others, though, may be importing cheap hemp oil of unknown quality, slapping a CBD label on the bottle, calling it CBD and selling it to consumers. That isn’t just illegal and unethical, it could be harmful to the consumer.
Fortunately, we know what we’re talking about when it comes to CBD standards, and have gathered street cred from cannabis researchers’ insight on why one bottle of CBD capsules cost $45, and another costs $300.
Here are four very real reasons CBD products cost a pretty penny.
Pricey extraction processes
Making CBD isn’t an easy process, which means it’s not a cheap one either. Three of the most common extraction methods include liquid solvents, oil extraction, and carbon dioxide (CO2) extraction. The last of these three methods is the priciest (due to expensive equipment), which causes CBD products that use it to be a lot more expensive than those who go with other methods.
But, it is also the highest quality method to produce the cleanest CBD. Reputable companies favor the CO2 extraction methods because it results in the purest, highest quality CBD product, leaving minimal to no impurities.
On this same note of extracting processes, people are also making it harder on themselves by overspending on farming something (hemp) that grows quite naturally and simply. Many growers are implementing techniques not suitable for scalable, cost-effective hemp farming.
And, by using overpriced extraction machines, these companies are increasing their production costs further due to additional out-processing (or removal) of harsh solvents. This, then, is passed over to consumers who are paying the price of their inefficiency.
How many milligrams of CBD
One of the main contributing factors to varying CBD prices is how many actual milligrams of CBD there are in a product. For example, you might find two bottles of CBD cream that are exactly the same size, but one way more expensive than the other. Check to see how the CBD content varies and that will likely answer why. One may have 100 mg, and the other 500 gm, wherein the 500 mg would be more potent and therefore more expensive. Since CBD is expensive to extract, the more of it you put in a product, the higher the price.
CBD dosing is a delicate balance, but a typical CBD supplement in pill or capsule form will contain anywhere from 10-40 mg CBD in each. Compare that to a bottle of oil, and break down how much CBD you should be taking per day based on your need and size, and then you can determine how much CBD bang you are getting for your buck.
Are you attracted to shiny, colorful packaging of products? Even going so far as to trust what’s inside the aesthetically-pleasing package based solely off the appearance? If so, you’re a marketer’s dream target.
This is another way CBD retailers can command a high price — by creating sophisticated materials and packaging them perfectly, they are able to sell products at a premium price point — all because their packaging looks great, it (most likely) has nothing to do with the quality of the actual CBD product.
An excellent comparison to this way of selling products is looking at the beauty industry. The beauty industry was built on the pretty packaging formula. Those expensive face creams and lipsticks you see on shelves at Sephora? A lot of them cost about $2 or less to make.
Hemp source vs. marijuana source
Another way of judging the value of hemp-derived CBD is to compare it to the CBD extracted from more expensive cannabis flowers.
For example, CBD companies that create tinctures and balms extracting CBD from cannabis flowers rather than hemp stalks can up-charge because the CBD from the flower bud part of cannabis typically costs around two to four times as much as CBD from hemp stalks.
In addition, if a brand’s CBD oils or products are blended with THC (the psychoactive compound of cannabis responsible for getting users high), that costs 2.25 cents per mg to manufacture. And that cost includes other factors necessary to make a quality product like lab testing, tinted bottles, labor, rent, and utilities. Keep in mind these THC and CBD combo products are only sold in states where medical or recreational marijuana is legal.
On that note, some CBD companies spend a lot of money double-testing every batch of imported CBD oil for heavy metals, pesticides, microbes, and solvents, and does the whole thing over again after the final product has been assembled. This is a wonderful method to ensure consumers are getting quality product that will be effective and safe, but it comes at a price.
Additionally, the craze over CBD has led to somewhat of a gold rush. Some CBD companies are taking ill-intentioned advantage of the hype surrounding CBD, swooping in to make a quick profit and then getting out as soon as they’re satisfied with the dollar amount accumulated.
Again, this is due to the fact the CBD market is unregulated at the moment. This should change in the near future as we see advancements in medicine, technology and other factors that are positively contributing to the CBD as a holistic alternative to modern medicine.
Manufacturers are rushing in with products and throwing all-over-the-place prices out there to see what sticks. As time goes on and the market becomes better regulated, a middle prize zone will presumably emerge.
This will only happen when today’s massive myths and inefficiencies surrounding the industry subside. Credible companies will learn how to increase the quality of their products while still being able to turn a profit, and the scam-artist sellers will be weeded out.
Cannabis researchers believe the promise of this “theoretically affordable plant-based medicine” will have its due when the scam-artists and low-quality manufacturers are driven out.
- The varying costs of CBD are largely due to extraction methods, CBD milligram count, packaging, and the source where the CBD was derived
- The most important thing to keep in mind when purchasing a CBD product the quality that that product upholds
- As the CBD market becomes better regulated, it will be much easier to distinguish reputable brands from the rest