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Why Is CBD Oil So Expensive? From a CBD Retailer’s Inside Knowledge

by | May 4, 2020 | Blog Posts, Featured | 0 comments

It’s because of quality, right? Wrong.


Believe it or not, the answer is what made us start Peace River CBD; offering product at $29.95 per bottle!


Do an online search for a CBD product and the first thing you will notice is that for, say a 1000 mg amount inside the bottle, the price tag will average in the range of $80 – $100 (more on this fun price comparison below). For a typical adult dosage of 25 mg – 30 mg, that’s only about a one-month supply of CBD.


Sure, everyone is different and there is really no true dosage chart you can find that’s a one-size-fits-all. But with such confusion in pricing, the entire CBD market is in disarray what with misinformation and lack of regulatory entities governing it. As a consumer, for all you know, you are purchasing snake oil.


There are less expensive brands to be found at $50 or less, as well as CBD in designer bottles that far exceed the $100 mark. There also are less expensive quantities to buy, such as 250 mg or 500 mg.


As a patient or interested customer who wants to do their research, you’re not trying to waste time or money. You want what’s best for you and your needs. Lots of people are under the impression that spending more means better quality. And this can be quite true; however, it doesn’t explain why CBD retail sellers get their CBD from the same place and yet, the prices greatly vary.


Actually, this Leafly investigation from 2017 has it pegged pretty well. Go check it out if you want a customer’s perspective on the pricing problem.


The Basics of CBD Oil Purchasing

There are a lot of moving parts to understand CBD: grades, types, quantities, and qualities. It can all be very confusing. Let’s see if we can simplify it.


First, here’s a little cheat sheet to keep in mind when selecting your CBD, then later we’ll discuss whether the expensive pricing is justified or not. You can always research the topics below if you want a more in-depth discussion. However, you’ll come across a lot of companies trying to protect themselves from scrutiny.


1. Know the Difference in CBD Type

First, be sure you know if the product is full-spectrum, broad-spectrum, or isolate. It matters.


  • Full-spectrum has many of the plant’s 113 known cannabinoids in it with a THC level of up to 0.3%.
  • Broad-spectrum has roughly 112 known cannabinoids because the THC has been removed (down to undetectable levels). Very few people can tell the difference between the “full” and “broad” and can often be used interchangeably. If you want to minimize any THC in your system, choose broad-spectrum. The high-tech, extra remediation process to remove that THC does make broad-spectrum products slightly more costly than the full.
  • Isolate is only CBD and no other beneficial cannabinoids. With isolate, there is no “entourage effect” like broad and full spectrum products because all of the plant’s terpenes and cannabinoids have been removed. Sometimes this can result in less effective benefits for the consumer. Often, lower quality hemp is used to manufacture isolate. Typically, it is the lowest cost CBD to buy.


There is also a difference between using cannabis and industrial hemp for CBD extraction. Marijuana-derived CBD may be priced differently compared to hemp-derived CBD.

2. Consider the Price and Milligrams

When shopping for good quality CBD, you need to consider both price AND milligrams of CBD in the product. You just need to do simple arithmetic to find out what you are really paying on a per-mg basis. Start with the price then divide by the total milligrams in the whole product that is listed on the label.


Example: $80/1000 mg = 8 cents per milligram. Alternatively, using a 1000 mg benchmark, if you see 500 mg CBD for $45, it is the same as paying $90 for a 1000 mg product. You’ll just need to take twice as much for an equivalent dosage.

3. Know the Extraction Method Used

Next, when shopping for CBD, you should be aware of other product information such as what extraction method was used to make the product – CO2 (preferred, slower, more costly) or ethanol (faster, cheaper) which can leave residual hydrocarbon solvents behind. CO2 can be better at also preserving the plant’s terpenes which (long story, short) can be additive to the product’s entourage effect.

4. Find and View the Certificate of Analysis

Lastly, you will want to look for a “certificate of analysis” (CoA) that will show the purity of your CBD. If you don’t understand how to read them, at least be sure one is available for you to look at. A certificate of analysis proves the efficacy of a CBD product batch. The CBD sellers that offer no CoA at all are the ones to be wary of.


Take a look at ours for examples.


This is actually the most important part of all when it comes to choosing real CBD products that include the quantity and quality of cannabidiol that the label says it does.

Pro CBD Tip: “Always look for a Certificate of Analysis when purchasing. It proves the quality and quantity of the CBD product.

Top CBD Company Price Comparisons

There are a plethora of CBD retailers on the market. You’ve probably heard of many before coming here. Though they are well-known, most customers don’t necessarily question the price of the CBD they are paying for.


Think about it this way, if you have a child that has a health condition like epilepsy and you want medication for them, the price you pay will break the bank and is truly outrageous. With the cost of hospital visits and medication combined, parents could be paying anywhere from $1,022 to $19,749 annually. Paying $100 per month for a 30-day supply of CBD sounds significantly more affordable than almost $20,000 for the year.


So why question?


Do enough digging into Certificates of Analysis and where the CBD was derived and you’ll notice that many of the more well-known companies are overcharging for CBD products. It’s like buying a luxury item like a Louis Vuitton bag for $5,000 only to find out they made it for maybe $400. That’s pretty much a real estimation actually.


This might not be an exact comparison, but you get the general idea. “But it’s Louis Vuitton!” That doesn’t necessarily make it any more special than the local boutique’s who hand-crafted theirs. Also, we’d like to point out that CBD isn’t a luxury item like a designer handbag. It’s not like it’s laced with diamonds or gold.


Here’s a roundup of pricing across the web from 7 of the most well-known CBD retailers.

Price chart comparison of CBD tinctures from 7 of the most well-known brands.

This is a comparison of CBD oil tinctures specifically since it’s the mainstream product of today. Look at the difference between us (Peace River CBD) and PureKana!


The most expensive CBD oil tincture that isn’t labeled as a “luxury” item is from PureKana sitting at $139 for 1000mg. Peace River is almost 5x cheaper and includes high-quality CBD. 


The Real Reason for High CBD Prices

Now that you understand some of the basics about selecting CBD and what’s currently on the market, let’s talk about the reason for the pricing. The biggest thing about price is availability. Stated simply, this is supply and demand.


There’s a reason CBD has become so popular in the last several years. This complicated little derivative from the hemp plant shows promise in assisting in a broad range of very common problems. And without the side effects! As most people know, hemp was only recently legalized in 2019. Prior to that, hemp was generally grown in a select few states with restrictive research permits. In other words, there just wasn’t that much of it around.


There are dozens of articles online that try to justify high CBD prices. Generally, they discuss how expensive it is to grow. This is true.


It can cost between $6000 – $20,000 per acre to grow! And with no guarantee you’ll get your money out of it. So, there’s a risk vs reward ratio to take into account as a farmer.


Hemp can also be a finicky crop to grow. It is very hands-on and requires a lot of labor. Weather can play an enormous factor in the quality and some stray male plants somewhere in the area could accidentally pollinate your entire crop and render it worthless. Or it rains during harvest and your crop could gets moldy in the drying/curing process.


Or worse, any number of climatic or agronomic events could cause your crop to exceed the 0.3% THC threshold (and you wouldn’t know this until a few weeks before harvest). As a result, state regulatory authorities would say your crop is no longer hemp but now technically marijuana and you will have to destroy it and lose everything!


These articles will also state that the extraction process requires expensive technology, and indeed it does. Excluding small, on-farm operations and a few mega-sized commercial operations, an average-sized commercial operation will cost about $3 million – $4 million. Running 20 hours per day, 5 days per week, an operation this size could process only about 250 acres per year.

Shop now button for CBD tincture

Where the Retail CBD Sellers Become Deceptive

So yes, growing is high-risk and expensive, as is the extraction process. And here is where these articles stop when justifying high CBD prices. But they leave out the punchline: Assuming the grower is producing a crop that will test at a modest 10% CBD, that acre will produce about 41,000 grams of CBD.


To put that in perspective, that one single acre can make 41,000 bottles of a 1000 mg tincture! And this is a conservative analysis.


Breakdown of CBD expenses for retailers
Breakdown of CBD expenses for retailers

PanXchange, a hemp industry clearinghouse for raw products published a sobering report in December 2019 after the conclusion to last year’s harvest. By utilizing several different analysis of data sets, their conclusions were that US growers harvested about 168,000 acres of hemp, but the entire consumption of CBD in the United States could have been satisfied with about only 20,000 acres!!


The market is drowning in CBD right now!


Market analysts do note the good trends in growth in demand in CBD, but many feel that with about 3,000 brands for sale out there the current market is getting pretty saturated with products selling at pre-2019 price levels when there just wasn’t very much CBD out there. But what is really going on is that there are only so many people who can afford expensive CBD in their household’s budget. (And probably less now in our current economy!)


So, how are the big dogs selling at such outrageous prices? How is it that Peace River CBD is always more than 2x less expensive for the total milligrams of CBD you purchase? Is the bottle from PureKana made of vibranium or something? No, it’s just supply and demand. They bought the supply, now they demand 5x more for CBD.

How the CBD Market is Now Shifting

Peace River was founded on breaking ranks with other high-priced sellers. It does appear that the market is indeed saturated with only those able to afford high-priced CBD. But we feel there is a whole population out there of people who are like you:

  1. Tired of these high prices.
  2. Cannot afford to take even a normal dosage daily if they do buy it.
  3. And people who would buy it readily for the first time if it was reasonably priced like a good curcumin or other such supplements.


At Peace River, we know the costs of production and we know the technology of how to make high-quality CBD. We use only the best systems and extraction methods for the cleanest CBD. There is some poor quality CBD out there, to be sure. But we know how to identify good CBD and that’s what we bottle for our customers, then pass it along at cost-plus pricing like our signature 1000 mg, broad spectrum (0.0% THC) tincture and price it at $29.95.


This isn’t a sale or a special discount. It’s our price. And our CoA will be as good as the best brands out there.


Making our CBD affordable for everyone will certainly draw the ire of other retailers. However, if CBD prices don’t come down to earth where more people can afford to use it, this young hemp industry in the US will wither and die – or at best, shrink to a small niche market with prices at $200 per bottle!

So now that you understand this, ask your traditional brand why
their CBD has been so expensive. Please do! We’re very interested to hear their responses to justify taking absurd amounts of money from your bank account.

If you want a fair price on CBD, visit
our shop to choose your preferred CBD product.