Do an online search for a CBD product and the first thing that you notice is that for, say, a 1000 mg amount inside the bottle, the price tag will average in the range of $80 – $100. For a typical adult dosage of 25 mg – 30 mg, that’s only about a one-month supply.
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.
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.
The Basics of CBD Oil
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.
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 all the plant’s 113 cannabinoids in it.
- Broad-spectrum has 112 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 the CBD and no other of the beneficial cannabinoids. With isolate, there is no “entourage effect” 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.
2. Consider the Price and Milligrams
When shopping for good quality CBD, you need to consider price AND milligrams of CBD in the product. You just need to do the 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 need to know other things like 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. The CBD sellers that offer no CoA at all are the ones to be wary of.
Now that you understand some of the basics about selecting your CBD, let’s talk about price. 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 really does work for a broad range of very common problems that consumers are currently spending billions of dollars to the pharmaceutical industry to fix. 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.
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 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 expensive hemp 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.
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.
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!)
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:
- Tired of these high prices.
- Cannot afford to take a normal adult dosage daily if they do buy it.
- 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. 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.
If you want a fair price on CBD, visit our shop to choose your preferred CBD product.