3. Inferior CBD is an issue. Given the shortage of domestically produced CBD, much of the CBD in the US has been sourced from overseas markets, such as China. Hemp is a bio accumulator, meaning it absorbs everything in the soil in which it is planted. If the soil is not properly tested, soil contamination from prior crops is quite likely. This could include herbicides, pesticides and metals.
CBD oil is the most popular ingredient on the block this year. If this is news to you, let's quickly clear up what it is: CBD is one of the many naturally occurring chemical compounds present in the flowers and leaves of cannabis plants, found in both marijuana and industrial hemp. Unlike THC (the psychoactive element of cannabis), CBD cannot get you high, no matter how much you take.
Good news: “The cost of CBD will absolutely drop over time,” says Baum. One of the main drivers for legalizing hemp farming was the potential for farmers to have a new cash crop to replace tobacco. As a result of hemp legalization, the transition to hemp is occurring in states across the country. “We will see the first full yield of a hemp crop in 2020 in states that have implemented farming regulations,” he says.
How can we tell if we’re overpaying or underpaying for CBD?
“Within the next two to three years we should begin to see the CBD market supply and demand come into balance and result in lower priced CBD products,” Baum says.
According to Baum, there are several factors driving the price of CBD. The most significant is the limited supply vs. the overwhelming demand.
Thanks to all of the above, CBD is sneaking its way into snacks, drinks, beauty products, even dog food. And understandably so—who wouldn’t want to sleep soundly, reduce chronic pain, and feel more relaxed? However, there’s one key complaint we hear time and again regarding CBD products: the price.
2. Some products contain quality CBD but their concentrations are so low that they offer no therapeutic benefit. "For example, a 30 milliliter (1 ounce) full-spectrum CBD tincture listed with 50 milligrams of CBD. An average dose of 0.75 milliliters would contain about 1.1 milligrams of CBD. At that level, consumers would not see any CBD benefits."
Narrator: These products can also be measured by the amount of cannabidiol in each bottle.
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: 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 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?
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.
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.
The price of CBD oil can vary dramatically from product to product. When you get started, you’re likely to want a low strength oil so you can get used to how it affects you. A 10ml bottle of good quality oil containing between 400mg to 500mg CBD is likely to cost you £30 to £35. However, they can be as low as £20 or as expensive as £45.
One 10ml bottle of CBD can cost anything from £20 to £200 depending on its strength. While it’s definitely expensive, these high prices are not chosen at random.
The high price of CBD reflects the processes, equipment and legal requirements necessary to produce it. Other factors like marketing and packaging do play a role but don’t have as significant an effect on the final price point.
How to decide if a product is genuine
When a company sets out to make a CBD product there are several things that add to its cost:
Some labs just investigate the cannabinoids but now many more include a terpene profile and a screening of contaminants. Because the tests must be repeated with a sample from every batch of every product, it adds an extra ongoing cost.
Another major factor in the high price is the legal process surrounding the farming of hemp. Because hemp is in the same family as illegal cannabis strains, it must be closely monitored and meet strict legal requirements at every point, from seed to sale.
The costly processes involved in production drive up the price. To make a high-quality CBD oil takes specialist equipment, expertise and top-grade hemp plants.