Health & Wellness

Why is CBD So Expensive?

By Kyra Heenan

When someone first ventures into the world of CBD, they might be shocked by the higher prices of the products. While it might seem strange that a one-ounce bottle of oil could be so costly, there is often good reason behind the price tag. There is a lot that goes into creating that bottle, and the processes can be both labor intensive and pricey. While not all CBD products are created equally, this will give you an idea of why some of the highest-regarded brands are charging top dollar for their products.

Agriculture Practices and Regulations

The high prices begin with the agriculture process necessary to grow hemp and marijuana. In addition to the seeds, labor costs for cultivation and harvesting, and farming equipment, farms will have to handle certain licensing procedures. The circumstances and prices vary based on state, but companies growing and distributing these plants will have to go through certain reporting, testing, and licensing requirements, which can be pricey.

High Quality Hemp

The quality of hemp used can play a huge role in the pricing of CBD. Brands with higher quality CBD products will often grow their own hemp, or purchase it locally. This way, they know exactly what processes are used to grow the plant, and ensure it is the best quality possible. Other brands may be able to lower their product prices by importing plants from out of the country. However, this can result in lower quality hemp, as it may be coming from an area with less regulations on agriculture.

Labor Intensive Process

The high-cost procedures don’t end at the farm. Once material is procured to make into a CBD product like an oil or salve, in needs to go through a lengthy process to reach its final form. There are multiple steps to the extraction process (more on that below), which each take time and require monitoring. On top of that, at the end of the extraction process, batches are seemingly small compared to the amount of hemp or marijuana required. The process needs to be repeated multiple times to create a large quantity of product.

Expensive Extraction Methods

When it comes to making a CBD product, there are two main extraction processes most commonly used. One is an ethanol extraction. This process, which is on the more inexpensive side, mixes the plant with alcohol, and then it is distilled and strained until the ethanol is evaporated. This method can be used to create larger batches, so CBD products made from this process is generally less expensive. However, the CBD tends to be less potent, and there may still be traces of solvent in the finished product. 

The other popular (and more expensive) method is a CO2 extraction. Through this process, machinery uses pressurized carbon dioxide to extract the oil from the hemp. Oils extracted through this method are generally higher quality since there isn’t a risk of leftover solvents (like through ethanol extraction), and the oil is more potent. However, it is done in smaller batches, so CBD products that are made with this process tend to be more expensive.

Testing for Purity and Concentration

Once a CBD product is completed, it needs to be tested for purity and concentration. Just as in the agriculture phase, testing can add yet another layer of expenses to the CBD creation process. After testing is complete, the product is finally ready to be bottled and distributed.

The processes and quality of material used often justify the higher prices of CBD products. That being said, some brands may be able to get away with higher prices with to smart marketing, even if the product isn’t as high-quality as possible. As you are looking into CBD products, research the processes (like extraction methods) and quality of hemp used to decide if the price accurately reflects the quality.

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