Why does CBD oil cost so much? It's because CBD is an incredibly expensive supplement to produce. Here's why. CBD is a growing phenomenon, with sales tripling in the last three years. But manufacturers are forbidden to make medical claims on its effectiveness. why is cbd so expensive? is it getting cheaper? cbd is popular, we get it. in our opinion, it deserves the recognition it’s finally getting. it’s a whole trend right now, though, and with that
Why Is CBD Oil So Expensive?
If you’re a regular user of CBD oil, you’re well aware of the fact that CBD isn’t exactly the most affordable supplement on the market. A box of supplements from the local health food store has never been cheap, but with some bottles of concentrated CBD oil costing upwards of $100 or more, CBD is truly in a class by itself.
There are plenty of ways to save money on CBD. The first way is by buying it right here at VapeJuice.com, because we’re committed to introducing the vaping community to this great herbal supplement by offering it for the lowest prices possible. The second way is by buying the strongest CBD oil you can afford. The more total milligrams of CBD that there are in the bottle, the less you’ll pay per milligram.
Those pieces of advice, however, don’t address the primary question that brought you here. Why is CBD oil so expensive? As it turns out, there are a great many steps involved in making a high-quality CBD oil product. CBD is very cost intensive, both in terms of labor and in terms of the equipment and raw materials required to make the product. Although consumers have been very fortunate in that CBD has become less expensive in recent years, there’s a limit to how far the price cuts can go before CBD is no longer profitable to produce.
To understand why that’s the case, you need to know more about how CBD oil is made. So, why does CBD cost so much? Let’s find out.
CBD Hemp Is One of the Most Expensive Cash Crops
Before a processing company can extract CBD from hemp, it needs to buy the hemp – and hemp flowers with high CBD content are extremely expensive. As of 2020, a report from the University of Connecticut suggests that hemp processors spend an average of $24,375 per acre when buying hemp flower – so before a hemp processor can obtain enough CBD for a substantial production run, it’s necessary to spend tens of thousands of dollars – perhaps hundreds of thousands – on the raw plant materials.
There’s little room for the price of CBD hemp flower to decrease because it’s also an extremely expensive crop to cultivate. According to the report cited above, CBD hemp costs an average of $19,289 per acre to grow. That leaves the farmer with an average profit of just $5,086 per acre. Although it’s certainly possible for farmers to cut their prices a little, they won’t want to sacrifice their profits after investing many thousands of dollars. For any company that wants to enter the CBD industry, the raw plant material represents one of the biggest investments. It’s very expensive, and there’s no way to produce CBD oil without it.
CBD Oil Extraction Requires Costly Equipment
Once a hemp processor has secured the hemp biomass necessary for producing CBD oil, the work has only just begun. The next step is to extract the essential oil from the plant material – and that requires yet another enormous investment. To produce hemp distillate, the processor needs to grind the hemp flowers and combine them with a solvent that breaks up the hemp’s cell walls and causes it to release its oils.
It’s possible to extract the cannabinoids and terpenes from hemp using an inexpensive solvent like ethanol or butane. The challenge of hemp extraction, though, is that people don’t want to use CBD oil containing residual solvents. They want their CBD oil to be as pure and untainted as the original plant. Solvent-based extraction simply won’t work because it’s nearly impossible to completely remove all residual solvents from the final product.
Consumers want solvent-free CBD oil – and as it turns out, there’s a way to make that happen. Unfortunately, though, it’s also very expensive. The answer is supercritical extraction, which uses carbon dioxide as a solvent. Since carbon dioxide isn’t a chemical solvent, it’s a harmless way to obtain hemp distillate. It also evaporates completely after the extraction process, leaving no trace in the final product.
As you’ve probably guessed, though, supercritical CBD extraction does have a catch: The equipment required to perform the extraction is extremely expensive. A single CO2 extraction machine costs somewhere in the neighborhood of $100,000, and the amount of hemp that you can process with just one machine is quite limited. Major hemp processors have multiple CO2 extraction machines running simultaneously, so they’re trying recoup investments of hundreds of thousands of dollars – and that’s before factoring in the cost of the hemp itself.
Post-Processing Adds to the Production Cost of CBD Oil
Hemp distillate isn’t a finished product – it’s just a raw ingredient, and you wouldn’t want to use it directly out of the extraction machine. That’s partially because it’s far too potent and partially because raw hemp extract tastes horrible. At minimum, the hemp processor needs to blend the extract with a carrier oil such as hemp oil or MCT oil in order to make a usable product.
Although it’s possible to make a viable CBD oil product by simply blending a CBD extract with a carrier oil, most hemp processors don’t do that because hemp extract has some undesirable compounds that can negatively impact flavor quality. Those compounds include chlorophyll and plant waxes, which can make the resulting CBD oil taste bitter and affect its mouth feel. The typical way to remove those compounds is by winterizing the hemp extract, which involves mixing it with alcohol and freezing it. The undesirable compounds float to the top of the alcohol and freeze for easy removal. Winterization adds to the expense of producing CBD oil – and for many CBD oil products, the post-processing expenses don’t end there.
Some Consumers Prefer to Buy THC-Free CBD Oil
A full-spectrum hemp extract contains all of the cannabinoids and terpenes found in the original plant. Although that’ll obviously mean that the extract will contain plenty of CBD, it may also contain trace amounts of another cannabinoid that some people consider undesirable: THC. Although CBD won’t get you high, some people prefer to avoid consuming THC even in trace amounts due to the slight possibility of failing a drug test.
It is possible to selectively remove cannabinoids from hemp extract, and the method for doing that is called fractional distillation. This process involves heating the hemp extract to the temperature at which the unwanted cannabinoid turns to vapor. The vaporized cannabinoid is removed from the extract, and it can be collected separately and used for another purpose.
Every post-processing step adds to the cost of CBD oil – and for some consumers, even selective removal of the THC isn’t enough. Some people want to buy CBD oil containing only CBD and absolutely no traces of any other cannabinoid. For those people, hemp processors subject hemp distillate to the ultimate form of purification by combining the distillate with a solvent that causes the CBD to crystallize for separate collection. CBD oil made from CBD isolate contains no detectable cannabinoids except CBD.
Other Types of CBD Products Require Additional Processing and Production Lines
There are many different types of CBD products, and CBD oil is just one of them. When you look at the CBD section here at VapeJuice.com, you’ll see a wide sampling of what’s available. There are CBD capsules, CBD gummies, CBD lotions, CBD rollers – and that’s just the beginning.
In the previous subsection of this article, we explained the process of producing CBD isolate. CBD isolate is expensive to produce, but it’s not just used for CBD oil; it’s also used for many other types of CBD products because it’s extremely pure and mixes easily with any oil. Making different types of CBD products, however, greatly increases the scope and expense of running a hemp processing company. Suddenly, it’s not just a matter of having one production line for CBD oil. Producing multiple types of CBD products means having the necessary equipment and production lines for all of those products. While producing CBD oil from scratch requires an investment of potentially hundreds of thousands of dollars, producing a full range of CBD products can easily cost millions of dollars.
Consumers Demand Lab-Tested CBD Products
From reading this article, we hope you’ve gained a better understanding of why CBD oil costs as much as it does. The price of CBD oil has dropped rapidly over the past couple of years, and that’s a great thing for consumers. Given the reality of how expensive it is to produce top-quality CBD oil, though, it’s unlikely that prices can drop much further from where they already are. That’s simply the reality of producing a top-quality supplement from a plant that’s expensive to grow and even more costly to process.
By the way, when a CBD brand finishes creating its product range, the work still isn’t done. From hemp growing to extraction and processing, there are many steps – and many people – involved in the creation of a CBD product. It’s very rare for a CBD brand to have full control over all of those steps, and that means there are going to be outside partners somewhere in the supply chain.
Whether a CBD brand works with outside suppliers or not, though, it is crucially important to be absolutely certain of what’s in the finished product. That’s why every good CBD brand sends samples of each product batch to an outside laboratory for testing. Third-party labs test CBD products for their cannabinoid and terpene content, and they also verify that CBD products contain no undesirable contaminants such as solvents, pesticides, molds and heavy metals.
Laboratory testing is extremely expensive, and it’s a process that’s never truly done because it has to be repeated with each new product batch. Although that does add to the cost of CBD oil, we think the added cost is very worthwhile because nothing is more important than knowing exactly what’s in the bottle.
What is CBD oil, and why is it so expensive?
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is a new and rapidly growing phenomenon, with sales tripling in the last three years.
- Manufacturers are unauthorized to make medical claims about the effectiveness of CBD oil.
- 62% of CBD products tested in the UK didn’t contain the cannabidiol content promised on the label.
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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.
why is cbd so expensive? is it getting cheaper?
cbd is popular, we get it. in our opinion, it deserves the recognition it’s finally getting. it’s a whole trend right now, though, and with that comes an expensive price tag. but for real, why is cbd so dang expensive? and is it going to get cheaper anytime soon?
the truth is, cbd oil is not as expensive as the biggest players in the industry want you to think it is. because cbd is so versatile and the cbd industry is booming, demand for the product is at an all-time high and companies of all kinds are taking full advantage of the hype.
surely, there must be some reason why legit cbd is so expensive. after all, higher quality vitamins and supplements usually cost more than their cheaper counterparts. the same goes for organic produce in a lot of cases. since cbd is a natural health product, it would make sense for the same logic to follow. however, we’ve found that’s not the case, even though prices across the entire cbd world are reflecting said logic.
dispelling the myths of expensive cbd
we think cbd is too expensive, period. of course there are your cheapo gas station cbd products and fly-by-night companies who make no claim to their product’s potency or cleanliness of ingredients, and sure, these companies can offer “cbd products” for a low price. but we trust that if you’re reading this, you probably care enough about your body to not even consider putting that garbage in it. we also trust that we’re not alone in thinking that high quality cbd from reputable sources is quite costly. after all, there are tinctures out there that can run you $100, $200, or even more!
a quick google search using this article’s very title will return heaps of information as to why cbd is so expensive. it should come at no surprise that many cbd companies are putting out information as to why cbd is expensive – it fulfills their narrative and continues to allow them to charge top dollar for their product. hey, we get it. there’s something to be said about charging a premium for a high-quality product or service that people are willing to pay for (again, we’re talking reputable sources only here, not those shady ones). but, does it have to be that way? why can’t the best quality cbd oil be both accessible and affordable to all?
to us, any answer to that question sounds more like an excuse. and there are excuses along every step of the supply chain, so let’s get started.
growing – the cannabis plant has many compounds found within it, with the two primary ones being thc and cbd. cannabis can be bred for different genetic traits (with regards to thc, you can think of different strains and their varied effects as an example of this), and thc percentage happens to be the one that is concerned for legal classifications of the plant. any cannabis with more than .3% thc is called “marijuana,” while everything below .3% is called hemp.
but in both “hemp” and “marijuana,” different strains of cannabis can be cultivated for high cbd levels. there is an argument that growing cannabis specifically for high levels of cbd is more expensive , and that is simply untrue. yes, there is a skill to growing, but that alone cannot explain the high price of cbd. a favorable legality landscape for cannabis as a whole will allow for more people to have access to cannabis as well as the ability to grow it. as more people are able to grow high-quality, cbd-rich hemp, the prices will go down accordingly. in other words, the forces of supply and demand will play a role as access to cannabis increases nationwide. this brings us to our next aspect.
legality and regulation – “marijuana” was effectively made illegal in the 1930s and the stigma associated with it throughout all of our lives is undeniable. this sent the plant to the black market, where prices were set high. the last 15 years have seen prices on medical cannabis – and now recreational cannabis – continue to fall as access to the product has expanded. for example, the same eighth we found at a dispensary for $60 in 2007 can now be acquired for roughly half that price.
today, that price is still being paid for in many ways with cannabis as a whole. after all, it was only in 2018 that the production of hemp was legalized. with that, cbd became legal nationwide as well. we are still in such early stages of this beautiful situation (yes, we’re biased lol), and there are a lot of moving parts and kinks to be worked out. in the meantime, the price is being passed on to the end-user.
the end-user is also slammed with other regulatory costs. despite being legal, there is tremendous governmental oversight over the growth of cannabis. this results in growers having to pay licensing fees in order to stay within the confines of the law. from there, the end product is also taxed higher than many other crops (this also contributes to lower supply, which we mentioned in the section on growing). farmers must stay in business, so that cost is conveniently passed down to the consumer at whatever arbitrary profit margin they are subjected to.
extraction, ingredients, and testing: a lot of companies are being cryptic at best, if not intentionally deceitful when it comes to these three areas. but knowledge is power, and we did our homework so we have some to share with you. let’s address each point, one at a time.
extraction: what method are they using to extract their cbd? co2 extraction is undeniably expensive (and worth it, so make sure your cbd is extracted in this manner!), but there are products out there using ethanol extraction or simply making infusions in order to cut corners (to the cost and final product), while still charging an arm and a leg.
what are you doing to lower the price of cbd?
another big component to price is how many times a product exchanges hands between the farm and you having it in your home. we think it’s important to have your finished product be as close to the source as possible throughout the entire process, and we also think it’s just as important to support farmers who share this belief. as such, we’ve gone the extra mile to develop relationships with small, organic and sustainable hemp farms in oregon, and that, in turn, allows us to work directly with them and know the source of where our hemp comes from.
their medicinal hemp genetics are grown to produce robust cannabinoid and terpene profiles, and we buy raw hemp extract directly from these farmers in order to cut out any middlemen that would result in further price increases. we also think it’s important to connect with you, the consumer, in a personal manner. this is why we have an active voice online and in the community, and we look to sell directly to you in order to remove any third-party retail markup from the price you end up paying.
perhaps the biggest thing we are doing to lower the price of cbd, however, is simply leading by example! as we’ve mentioned, there are “excuses” that companies can make for selling cbd oil at a prime price point. but at the end of the day that’s all they are, excuses. we keep coming back to the idea that everybody is selling cbd at an inflated price simply because everyone else is doing it . so we’ve slashed our already-low prices even further across the board, bringing our price per mg of cbd to as little as four cents per bottle.
this price is available to everybody, every day, because affordable access to cbd is in our dna. you can buy one bottle for that price – no need to increase your order like other companies do to drive the price down. we already value you plenty; we don’t need to make you buy more product to prove that value. that’s backwards thinking – it should be up to us to provide value to YOU, and we love our products and are certain you will as well. it’s also why we operate as transparently as possible – we have nothing to hide!
lastly, everything with zadaka’s name on it is done with the utmost integrity. this means we’ve found a way to bring you the highest quality, organic cbd we can find at the lowest prices possible. our products check all the boxes with regards to clean, lab-tested, co2 extracted, organic ingredients. and we’ve found a way to deliver that product to you at a price that is actually affordable and sustainable. if we can do it, why can’t everyone else?
with that, we ask you: why is cbd so expensive? hopefully you now understand it really isn’t as expensive as it is made out to be. you can also sign up for our newsletter below and receive a first-time discount and make sure you’re kept in the loop for future deals and other nice things. 🙂