In many ways, the past several years have turned into a CBD renaissance. Choosing the right CBD product is easier than ever, with such a huge selection available online and in stores. 

Whether you prefer gummies, topical creams, or vapes, there’s something for everybody. However, you could be shocked by some of the price tags you’ve seen along the way.

If you’ve ever purchased a bottle of CBD oil, you might have done a double-take when you realized how much you had to pay. While that tiny bottle of oil may seem overpriced, there are several reasons the current cost of CBD is relatively high.

We also have some good news; as the market stabilizes, the price of CBD will likely fall over time. However, it will probably not drop significantly in the next week or even year. 

Keep reading to discover what makes CBD so expensive to produce and why those costs aren’t changing anytime soon.

Why Does CBD Cost So Much?

The answer is complicated if you’re wondering what makes CBD so expensive. Due to several factors, the industry that CBD relies on is new and relatively unregulated, which makes pricing inconsistent.

In some cases, manufacturers will overprice their products because they know they’re in high demand. In others, the cost of CBD will reflect the effort put into harvesting and refining hemp, not to mention the testing required to ensure the final product is safe and effective. 

Let’s dive into the CBD industry and determine where all the money is going.

Legalization of Hemp

To understand CBD's current price, you must remember that the United States only legalized hemp a few years ago. In December 2018, the Agricultural Improvement Act made industrial hemp farming legal. However, the growing season didn’t start until 2019.

“Industrial hemp” describes all hemp with less than 0.3 percent THC, the psychoactive cannabinoid. While hemp farming has swiftly turned into a billion-dollar industry, it’s still relatively new.

In short, CBD is expensive because the demand for CBD products is far greater than the supply. Hemp farming has just begun to take off, and it’s facing some growing pains. 

For one thing, farmers must constantly monitor their crops' THC content. Any plant with more THC than the 0.3 percent limit has to be destroyed. This added risk means that CBD production isn’t always smooth; the amount of hemp available for processing can vary heavily.

We might see a stabilization of CBD prices when the supply finally catches up with the demand. As hemp production continues to grow, these issues will likely be ironed out.

Extraction and Purification

Besides getting the hemp needed to make CBD oil, extracting CBD from hemp can be expensive, depending on the manufacturer's method.

The priciest method is CO2 extraction. It’s also one of the most effective and popular ways of creating CBD oil because it’s the safest and most benefit-preserving method of extraction.

In CO2 extraction, liquid carbon dioxide goes into a sealed chamber that contains the hemp plant. When it comes in contact with the plant, the CO2 absorbs the oils and cannabinoids, including CBD.

When the CO2 returns to room temperature, it evaporates into a gas, leaving a concentrated oil behind. The equipment needed for this method can cost a lot, but the result is worth it.

Other common methods include oil infusion and liquid solvent extraction. These both involve using a liquid to extract CBD oil from hemp plants. 

Oil infusions use another carrier oil, such as olive oil, in the final product. Meanwhile, liquid solvents rely on solvents such as ethanol or isopropyl alcohol.

After the CBD oil is extracted, it’s typically winterized to remove impurities. In winterization, manufacturers add alcohol to the oil and freeze it solid. This makes it easier to remove unwanted ingredients, such as THC. The alcohol then boils off, leaving pure CBD oil behind.

As you can see, creating CBD oil can be lengthy and expensive. This doesn’t include the steps required to add CBD oil to other products, such as edibles or topicals.

Testing

Creating a pure CBD oil might seem like the end of the manufacturing process, but there’s still one more step before any product can reach the market.

CBD oil relies on third-party testing to determine final THC content and to check that potentially harmful ingredients like pesticides didn’t make it into the batch. More thorough testing often means a higher price tag.

When you buy anything containing CBD, you’re not just paying for the cost of the hemp but also the lengthy process of extracting CBD oil and testing it for impurities and toxins.

Final Product

Along with the CBD extraction process, you have to account for the cost of the final product. If you prefer edibles, you’re paying for the CBD oil and the price of the food.

Ultimately, these dollars quickly add up, making CBD one of the most expensive wellness products on the market.

Will CBD Become Less Expensive in the Future?

Thankfully, we have a few reasons to believe that CBD products will become less expensive over time.

One of the biggest bottlenecks in CBD production is oil extraction from hemp biomass. Currently, there aren’t enough facilities with the right equipment to extract CBD from hemp.

However, as the extraction process is streamlined, CBD will become cheaper and easier to manufacture. Besides, more and more farmers are planting hemp crops as CBD grows in popularity.

We may see a wave of low-priced and safe CBD products in the future. On average, CBD prices decreased by 11 percent from 2020 to 2021. We have no reason to believe this trend will change, especially as more and more states get on board with new and updated hemp laws.

Which CBD Products Aren’t Worth the Price?

Now that you know why CBD is so expensive, you might wonder how you can get the most bang for your buck.

Currently, some CBD products are well worth the price, but it may be best to avoid others. We’ve devised a few easy ways to figure out where to spend your hard-earned cash.

No CBD Content

The number one thing to look out for is products that don’t contain CBD.

Hemp seed oil is a popular addition to many CBD products, but it can also be sold on its own as a cooking or baking ingredient since it’s basically pressed hemp seeds. 

While it’s nutritious and perfectly safe (think of it akin to olive oil as a healthy source of good fats), some manufacturers will misrepresent hemp seed extract as CBD extract, even though it doesn’t offer the same benefits. 

Always double-check the ingredients before buying, and make sure the CBD content is listed. 

Low CBD Content

Another thing to look out for is an extremely low CBD content.

We recommend checking the total milligrams of a product and comparing it to the milligrams of CBD in each dose. You won't feel the effects if the average dose contains only one or two milligrams of CBD.

The best way to avoid low CBD is to choose a product with clearly labeled doses. For example, our Daytime Watermelon Gummies contain 25 milligrams of CBD per gummy, and you can easily find this information on the front of the package.

If a manufacturer tries to obscure or hide the amount of CBD in every dose, we recommend you steer clear.

Inaccurate Labels

Keep in mind that CBD is a largely unregulated industry, and some products are shadier than others. In the UK, several lab tests discovered that 62 percent of CBD products did not have the CBD content their labels claimed.

It’s important to buy CBD from trusted brands and locations rather than choosing the cheapest option you can find. Look for companies with good reviews and an established customer base — an available certificate of analysis (COA) will show you the cannabinoid potency of each batch, and reputable companies will often make this available to customers as needed.

The Value of CBD

You don’t have to break the bank for CBD, but the prices we currently see are definitely on the higher end. Whether you use CBD to soothe feelings of stress, support your health, or just get a good night’s sleep, you’re probably looking for the best value CBD products you can find.

The good news is that plenty of excellent CBD edibles, oils, and topicals are available today. As costs continue to drop, you’ll see your favorite CBD products become more and more accessible.

If you’re looking for high-quality CBD edibles and topicals at a great price, you can shop the Pure Relief collection here.

Sources:

FDA Regulation of Cannabis and Cannabis-Derived Products, Including Cannabidiol (CBD) | FDA

Quality Traits of “Cannabidiol Oils”: Cannabinoids Content, Terpene Fingerprint and Oxidation Stability of European Commercially Available Preparations | PMC

CBD Hemp: Research, Production, Harvest, and Processing | PSU

August 24, 2022