It’s a sad but common question among the countless thousands of people who take CBD daily. “Why is this CBD oil so DAMN expensive?!”
For those new to CBD, the price of CBD oil probably seems unnecessarily high – especially for such a small bottle. As you’re surely aware, some products that contain high levels of CBD cost well over a hundred dollars.
Are these prices justifiable?
Let’s take a look at some of the reasons why CBD oil is way more expensive than you think it should be.
Breeding CBD-Rich Strains
You probably see CBD oil as a convenient bottle of (hopefully) beneficial liquid. However, the process that goes into making that small bottle is long and expensive.
For starters, producers have to breed a quality CBD-rich strain of cannabis. This is difficult, in part because of various legalities that still exist around cannabis. Though hemp-derived CBD is now legal across the USA, it is still illegal to grow some varieties of the plant.
CBD-rich plants are permissible to grow in specific states. Still, the general process of growing cannabis – or hemp – is limited. Heavy taxes also accompany legal cannabis cultivation. This results in a huge amount of requisite oversight from state governments. If you knew the licensing fees that legal growers have to pay, the expensive pricesof CBD oil would make much more sense.
In other countries (for example in the United Kingdom) the problems are worse. In the UK, the government only allows a finite number of growers to obtain cannabis growing licenses. These licenses are hard to get, and they often go to friends and family of the UK government. It’s no secret, for example, that the husband of a UK minister tasked with discussing cannabis policy is the largest grower in the British isles.
The effect on hemp farmers
This is especially bad for hemp farmers, as other crops receive more favorable taxation. This means there is little incentive for farmers to grow cannabis – or hemp for that matter. Naturally, this reduces the supply of domestically-grown hemp. It also drives prices up even further.
Without even considering the legalities, the actual process of growing quality cannabis is expensive. It’s true that cannabis is a hardy plant – hence its common name of ‘weed.’ However, to obtain quality yields it still requires things like specific temperatures and moisture content. In some localities, these are impossible to provide without sophisticated (and very expensive) indoor grow operations.
You can imagine how expensive it is to grow CBD cananbis in a temperature controlled environment. Throw in things like artificial lights, ventilation systems, and feeding setups, and you’re in for a hefty bill.
As you can see, things can get quite expensive quickly. Overhead is not an insignificant reason for the expensive cost of the CBD oil.
Heavy taxation also exists in the sale of cannabis for the purpose of making CBD oil. And as we discuss above, even after harvest the actual process of making CBD oil has plenty of costs.
What it Takes to Manufacture CBD Oil
CBD oil might seem like a simple medicine at first glance. Inert oil with CBD inside it can’t possibly cost that much to make, right?
Well, the extraction process necessary to isolate the CBD (and other cannabinoids) requires significant setup. It also requires very expensive equipment, and high-paid workers that know how to use it.
Take CO2 extraction machines, for instance. These use absurd levels of heat and pressure to transform carbon dioxide into a supercritical state. Supercritical means the CO2 has properties of both a liquid and a gas. In this state, the CO2 can permeate solid plant matter and extract phytochemicals. In other words, it can “pull” things like cannabinoids, terpenes and other compounds right out of the plant.
Once this process is complete, the resulting extract needs further purification. This is especially the case if you’re trying to make CBD isolate. (CBD isolate is a form of CBD oil that contains only CBD and nothing else). All in all, there are a tremendous amount of steps that go into making a high-quality CBD oil. These steps require hi-tech machinery, as well as people who know how to operate them. In other words, they require a lot of money.
Let’s take a look at another step of the CBD extraction process that requires even more specialized equipment.
The importance of winterization
After CO2 extraction, the resulting mixture gets frozen and purifies in a process known as winterization. Winterization allows manufacturers to separate specific compounds prior to finalizing and bottling a tincture.
After compound separation, the final mix suspends in an inert oil for a period of time. Depending on the choice of oil for the CBD product, cost can increase dramatically during this step.
Coconut and hemp oil provide taste and texture, but quality ones are not cheap. These oils promote health benefits associated with using specific types of fatty oils. For example, coconut oil’s ability to encourage CBD intake in the body (via intestinal lymphatic drug delivery) is a unique quality of fatty oils. The CBD oil becomes ‘stuck’ in the intestines, and transfers more easily into the blood.
After winterization, the CBD oil is bottled and prepared for shipment and consumption. You might think that should be it. However, there are still other necessary steps prior to getting a high-quality CBD oil into a consumer’s hands.
What Goes in to Getting CBD Oil Ready for Market & CBD Legality
CBD, as well as cannabis in general, is in a very interesting position with regard to its legality.
Though it is well known that CBD is in no way psychoactive or at all addictive, many people still treat it with the same dubiousness and fear that they do regular cannabis. For this reason, many countries have extremely stringent rules regarding how CBD oil is to be tested, as well as numerous regulations that the product itself must conform to.
This essentially involves the CBD oil being tested extensively, both in laboratories and by governmental food and drug spot checks. These tests cost a huge amount of money, because the CBD oil is required to be tested against a great deal of different criteria, such as individual efficacy, THC content and more.
Certain organizations, such as Provacan in the UK, have even gone so far as to get their CBD oil certified as Kosher, a process that is as expensive as it is arduous.
Efficacy for the customer
Part of the reason for all these accreditations and tests is to ensure the product’s final efficacy for the consumer, but it’s also to try and encourage people to actually pick up and try CBD oil. Due to its significant negative public image due to its association with cannabis, people still look at CBD oil with fear. By obtaining a variety of accreditations and accolades, CBD producers hope to try and court a wider audience.
The sheer variety of legal challenges and taxation issues is made worse by the fact that it is legally difficult to try and sell CBD oil across international or even state borders, as the legality of it differs depending on where you are.
What’s more, cannabis is still technically federally illegal in the USA, meaning that people think they constantly run the risk of endangering themselves by using it, even if hemp-derived CBD is not controlled in the same way marijuana is.
Final Thoughts on Why CBD Oil is so Expensive
CBD oil is one of those products that is always going to seem expensive. You look at the tiny bottle sitting there on the shelf, with a seemingly massive price tag and very little apparent reason for it, but it’s important to remember that CBD oil production is full of innumerable difficulties from start to finish.
What’s more, CBD and hemp products in general are also heavily taxed – it costs a lot to get CBD oil products to market due to the significant stages of taxation.
All of this produces a final product that seems extravagantly expensive for what it is.
However, if the prospect of shelling out a large sum of money for CBD seems daunting for you, focus on this – it is very efficacious. CBD has been demonstrated, time and time again, to potentially offer medicinal benefits for a variety of conditions. This makes that small vial of CBD oil not only useful, but also extremely versatile.
Another important thing to remember is that whenever you take CBD oil, you only really need a very small amount of it. Even though you’re spending a large amount of money per bottle, remember that it’s going to last you a long time. If you take it every day for a year, you might only buy each individual bottle a few times a year, making the price actually only pennies a day.
CBD oil might seem damn expensive, but often, it’s actually a pretty good deal.