Why is CBD oil so expensive?

by Tom Russell October 02, 2020

Why is CBD oil so expensive

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 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. 

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. 

Why is CBD so expensive: fast facts

  • The cost of CBD is affected by organic certification, the extraction method used, lab testing, and legal constraints.
  • We consider a fair price for CBD oil to be around £30 for a bottle containing 500mg. Up to £35 if that product is certified organic.
  • Yes, some CBD products are overpriced, costing as much as £45 for 500mg. There is no reason to spend more than £35 on a bottle this size.
  • Low-cost products usually contain cheap materials such as CBD isolate that are not as effective as broad and full-spectrum products.

What raises the cost of CBD? 

When a company sets out to make a CBD product there are several things that add to its cost:

1. Organic certification

Bio Logos

Any CBD brand that applies for organic certification must meet rigorous standards. Their fields and farm premises are subject to regular inspections and everything from the fertilisers to harvesting practices must come from an approved list. While it’s expensive to set up a farm to reach these standards, the result is a high-quality product that has been grown without the use of artificial pesticides or fertilisers.

2. Extraction methods

Once the hemp has been harvested the manufacturers must extract the CBD. The most effective way to do this is by using supercritical carbon dioxide (CO2). The CO2 is heated and pressurised and then introduced to finely milled hemp plant material.

It dissolves and binds with specific substances allowing them to be removed from the remaining plant matter. This is the most precise, safe and environmentally friendly extraction method but it requires expensive equipment and skilled operators. CBD products that don’t use this method are usually of lower quality and may contain additional plant material, solvents or other contaminants.

3. Lab testing

Hemp Testing Lab

Because the UK CBD industry is still largely unregulated, tests conducted by third-party labs are essential for customers to be able to verify that what’s in a container matches its label. The tests are a detailed analysis of the contents of a sample, including how much CBD and THC it contains.

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.

4. Red tape

Distribution plane moon

The legal status of hemp remains complicated throughout the world, but in the UK it’s particularly tangled. Currently, hemp grown in the UK cannot be used to manufacture CBD. As a result, it’s must be imported from elsewhere. Most often, UK products contain hemp extract from plants grown in Europe or the US. 

The cost of ensuring that the raw materials are imported legally, on top of transport costs, adds considerably to the final price. Also, any companies working with hemp or CBD are subject to checks, legal challenges and additional costs.

It’s currently unknown if leaving the EU will mean that additional legal procedures and red tape will increase the cost of CBD any further.

Why are some products so cheap? 

CBD Scams

There are some great deals available but sometimes low prices can mean that corners have been cut. For example, most cheap CBD products are made with isolate, which is an almost pure form of CBD that is less expensive to produce.

While those made with isolate can be a good option if you're strapped for cash, they don’t contain any of the other beneficial cannabinoids and plant substances found in broad and full-spectrum items. The entourage effect theory suggests that the presence of other substances may modify the effect of the CBD to produce broader, more potent effects.

Another reason CBD may be cheap is that it could be a scam. Hundreds of unscrupulous sellers attempt to pass off hemp seed oil, or other low-cost oils, as CBD so they can bump up the price. We recently explored Amazon and eBay and found numerous products designed to mislead people into paying for something that looked genuine but contains no CBD and is most likely just hemp seed oil.

How much should I pay for CBD oil?

Hemp drop

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.

Those with a strength between 1000mg and 2000mg usually start at about £60 and can reach £130. A very strong oil of 50% (5000mg in 10ml) is likely to be priced between £200 and £20.

Ultimately the amount you should pay for a CBD oil comes down to how effective it is and your budget. But, if you find one that is significantly cheaper or more expensive than suggested here, there is a chance that it may not be genuine, and it is worth exploring further before spending your money. 

How to decide if a product is genuine 

Hemp-Cannabis-Plant

To have the best chance of purchasing a genuine CBD product, follow this checklist:

  • Look for well-known retailers with good reputations and lots of customer reviews on independent sites like Trustpilot.
  • Look for companies that have a membership with a trusted industry body like CannaPro or the Cannabis Trades Association.
  • Expect to see clear, informative details including the exact amount of CBD it contains in mg. For example, “1000mg CBD”, but not “1000mg” on its own.
  • Look for third-party lab certificates that back up the amount of CBD it contains.
  • Watch out for any claims that the product may have specific medical benefits. Genuine retailers will not sell it based on health claims.
  • Certificates from official organic authorities like the UK Soil Association are a good way to be sure you’re getting quality CBD. Check for the official logo and registration number to ensure it is authentic.

for the ageless Selection criteria

Conclusion

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.

However, despite the expense, many brands offer well made, potent products at different price points. To get the most for your money you must find the right product for you. Use our checklist to help you find one of the incredible, genuine CBD products out there and discover what suits you best.

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Tom Russell
Tom Russell

Author

Tom Russell writes extensively about CBD oil and other groundbreaking food supplements. He and his wife share their home with two daughters and a lifetime’s collection of books.


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