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Why CBD Is Expensive & the Reasons You Should Stay Away from Cheap CBD

Written By Ellese Symons Jul 27th 2022
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CBD oil is one of the most popular products on the market today. However, its price tag has made many people hesitant to purchase it. Find out why it’s so expensive!

Hemp is a remarkably hardy plant that can survive a wide range of climates. Plants mature within four months, and a single crop can yield up to eight tons of dried stalks per acre. (Ehrensing, 1998). Although farmers in just about every state are eagerly converting their crops and embracing the economic advantages of domestic hemp cultivation, the cost of hemp-derived CBD remains relatively high.

Whether you've been browsing product options online or shopping locally, it can be a bit of a shock to discover just how much CBD oil tinctures, capsules, topicals, and gummies can dig into your budget. But taking your chances on some of the "bargains" you might find lurking in unexpected places is not the best way to go. Once you know why hemp-derived CBD is more expensive than other products made with plant oils and extracts, it's easy to understand why you should stay away from cheap CBD.

What Is the Average Price of CBD?

The average price of CBD can vary significantly from one brand to the next. But you're not going to be able to shop for the best value by comparing prices based on the number of ounces in any bottle or jar. CBD prices are usually set according to their cannabinoid concentrations, the amount of CBD specified in milligrams (mg). That's why you'll find a wide range of prices for CBD products sold in similarly sized bottles. Depending on the manufacturer, product type, and where you shop, you can expect to pay anywhere from several cents to several dollars per milligram.

The Primary Factors Driving CBD Prices

Since adults of all ages have been using hemp-derived CBD products for years, people often forget that the entire industrial hemp industry was re-established through pilot programs launched after decades of prohibition. CBD is in high demand, but in many ways, our fledgling industry is just getting off the ground. Although hemp has a reputation for thriving in extreme conditions, cultivating crops to help ensure optimal cannabinoid concentrations is labor-intensive and requires investing in expensive equipment.

The price you'll pay for high-quality CBD oil also reflects the high cost of rigorous testing processes to ensure a successful harvest, investments in extraction technology, manufacturing expenses, licensing, and quality control (Ellison 2020). The first year of cultivation often results in lower-than-average yields, and our federal government has strict regulations on acceptable THC levels. Hemp testing with THC levels exceeding 0.3% must be destroyed (Johnson & Wallace, 2021), so crops need to be closely monitored to reduce the risk of catastrophic loss.

Why You Should Stay Away from Cheap CBD

When you're concerned about the cost of adding CBD to your daily routine, you might be tempted to start with the lowest-priced product you can find and take your chances. But cheap CBD is rarely a bargain. Tinctures, topicals, or gummies priced significantly lower than other products on the market usually have too little CBD to be of any significant value. It's important to know what you're paying for.

Far too many companies are taking advantage of consumer interest in hemp-derived CBD by selling mislabeled, misrepresented products of questionable quality. Some are also profiting from tinctures, topicals, and gummies made with inexpensive hemp seed oil in place of the cannabinoid-rich oil extracted from the plant's stalks, stems, and flowers. Hemp seed oil is not a legitimate source of CBD (Mead, 2016).

4 Tips to Ensure You're Buying from a Safe, Reputable Seller

Any amount of money spent on inferior CBD is wasted. In many cases, the deception is intentional, but not always. Some of the sketchiest products are sold by companies assuming the hemp extract they've purchased (for rebranding) from third-party suppliers is premium quality. They simply don't know enough about the darker aspects of the hemp industry to realize they're selling misrepresented products to their customers.  

In a 2022 report published in the Journal of Cannabis Research, investigators compared the CBD content of 80 products made by 51 brands (national and local). Of the many samples tested, just over half contained the amount of CBD specified on product labels. Some contained more, others significantly less. The results of this study suggest a "persistent risk" to consumer safety (Johnson et al., 2022) and confirms the importance of taking a few minutes to ensure you're purchasing safe CBD from a reputable, knowledgeable seller.  

#1 – Confirm Natural Farming Methods

Hemp plants are known for their ability to draw heavy metals, chemicals, and other contaminants from the soil as they grow. Any potentially harmful substances used to increase crop yields could end up on product shelves. That's why reputable companies prioritizing consumer safety rely on the oil extracted from non-GMO, naturally cultivated crops.

#2 – Look for US Hemp Authority® Certification

Customers appreciate knowing when the products they choose are verified by respected organizations. When you purchase CBD products made by companies achieving US Hemp Authority® certification, the products you select are held to stringent industry standards covering seed sourcing records, product distribution, and everything in between.

#3 – Confirm NSF Good Manufacturing Practices

NSF International is an independent organization dedicated to testing and certifying businesses adhering to some of the highest manufacturing standards. When CBD products are made in a GMP-registered facility, you'll know the equipment (and building) is routinely inspected, employees are properly trained, and all industry-specific quality control standards are consistently maintained.

#4 – Always Review Third-Party Test Results

The easiest way to make sure you're not overpaying for cheap, low-quality CBD is to stick with brands that rely on third-party testing by an independent lab. When you have access to batch test results (Certificate of Analysis), you can verify the amount of CBD in your purchase and confirm that your products have been screened for heavy metals, solvent residue, and microbial contamination.

Are You Concerned About the High Cost of CBD? Could You Be Paying Too Much?

There are many reasons to consider adding CBD to your daily routine. Although hemp-derived CBD tinctures, capsules, gummies, and topicals can be more expensive than products made with other plant-sourced ingredients, many people find the benefits justify the cost. But it's important to shop wisely. Anyone getting stuck with low-quality CBD, regardless of the price, might believe CBD simply doesn't work, or their less-than-impressive results aren't worth the expense.

At CBDistillery®, we believe everyone deserves high-quality, fairly-priced CBD. As a vertically integrated company, we oversee every aspect of production, from the planting of our non-GMO, naturally cultivated crops to packaging and distribution. You can shop with confidence knowing every product we offer is third-party tested, US Hemp Authority® certified, backed by a risk-free satisfaction guarantee, and produced in a GMP registered facility.

To learn how CBD works or some of the many reasons people are investing in our hemp-derived products, visit CBDistillery® to download our Ultimate CBD User Guide, find answers to frequently asked questions, or browse our #CBDMOVEMENT blog. Then take a few minutes to browse our selection of CBD, CBG, CBDA, CBN, and THC+CBD products. You can verify our commitment to quality by viewing the third-party test results on our product pages or scanning the QR code on every label.



Ehrensing D. (1998) Feasibility of Industrial Hemp Production in the United States Pacific Northwest. 681 OSU. https://catalog.extension.oregonstate.edu/sites/catalog/files/project/pdf/sb681.pdf

Ellison S. (2020) Hemp (Cannabis Sativa L.) Research Priorities: Opinions from United States Hemp Stakeholders. 13(4) GCB Bioenergy 562-69. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/gcbb.12794

Mead A. (2016) The Legal Status of Cannabis (Marijuana) and Cannabinoid (CBD) Under US Law. 70(B) Epilepsy Behav 288-91. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28169144/

Johnson E, Kilgore M, et al. (2022) Label Accuracy of Unregulated Cannabidiol (CBD) Products: Measured Concentration vs Label Claim. 4(1), J Cannabis Res 28. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9169299/

Johnson M, Wallace J. (2021) Genomic and Chemical Diversity of Commercially Available High-CBD Industrial Hemp Associations. 12, Front Genet 682475. https://doi.org/10.3389/fgene.2021.682475