CBD oil is the most popular ingredient on the block this year. If this is news to you, let’s quickly clear up what it is: CBD is one of the many naturally occurring chemical compounds present in the flowers and leaves of cannabis plants, found in both marijuana and industrial hemp. Unlike THC (the psychoactive element of cannabis), CBD cannot get you high, no matter how much you take.
What’s drawing both consumers and product manufacturers to CBD oil are its highly promising purported health benefits, from reduced anxiety to help with nausea, inflammation, and insomnia. And though we still need more comprehensive research on the effectiveness of CBD oil, the World Health Organization has reported that “CBD exhibits no effects indicative of any abuse or dependence potential…there is no evidence of public health related problems associated with the use of pure CBD.”
Thanks to all of the above, CBD is sneaking its way into snacks, drinks, beauty products, even dog food. And understandably so—who wouldn’t want to sleep soundly, reduce chronic pain, and feel more relaxed? However, there’s one key complaint we hear time and again regarding CBD products: the price.
How the CBD is manufactured plays into CBD pricing
It helps to know a bit about the manufacturing process to get an idea of what goes into making the product, which is the main reason why the product price is so high (or in some cases low). Some lower priced brands are buying imported hemp from overseas, which in some cases can be laden with heavy metals from the soil it was grown in.
Some CBD producers do purchase their hemp in the USA, but only control the extraction portion of the production process. These brands still might have a high quality product, but because they don’t also control the growing process they will actually be priced higher. A high quality CBD oil at a reasonable price will be from a vertically integrated operation.
CBD Extraction also factors into pricing
There are two basic extraction techniques, both are mentioned in my article on, what to look for when selecting a CBD product. Co2 extraction is the most expensive technique, and the only way to get a clean solvent free product. Some brands use ethanol extraction techniques, where there is no way to completely remove traces of solvents in the final product. The hemp is soaked in ethanol or another solvent to strip it of cannabinoids, the liquid is then evaporated away.
An added benefit of the Co2 extraction process is the ability to control the temperature of the process, and therefore target specific cannabinoids, which is why some Co2 extracted products will contain higher concentrations CBD yet still contain a full spectrum of cannabinoids, there is also minimal risk of contaminants in the finished product.
Don’t forget about the labor intensive process
The labor is another component people don’t really think about. There are several steps to the extraction process, each taking a specific amount of time, and yet the end product is miniscule compared to the amount of raw plant matter put into the extraction machine. In addition to the extraction component in the lab, there is a full growing season and 10 days of harvesting that occur, and after the harvest the plants are hung to dry, and hand harvested to remove the aerial plant components from the stalk.
Let price be your guide when shopping for quality CBD
So, when selecting a CBD product, remember that price is probably the last thing you should look at, aside from giving you an idea of the quality of the product. In other words, don’t buy the cheapest CBD product you can find, because chances are it was soaked in alcohol or grown overseas, where the quality of the plant can’t be guaranteed.
Make sure the product you are purchasing is organically grown. Currently there are not a lot of certified organic operations, but it’s starting to occur.
All of these things play into the price of a high quality CBD product. If you stumble across a brand selling their CBD oil for half or a quarter cost of the competition, chances are the product is inferior…maybe even “snake oil.” You are better off paying for a high quality product from the start, versus purchasing an inferior product that will not yield the results you are looking for.
Another thing to look out for is products that are NOT even CBD oil. Just search for CBD on Amazon, and you will see loads of products masquerading as CBD, when in truth they are nothing more than hemp seed oil. Currently, Amazon does not allow the sale of CBD oil on their website, but there are predatory companies taking advantage of the keyword. So, stay away from Amazon when purchasing CBD oil. (you can read more about CBD on Amazon, right here on my blog)
One more thing to consider…your own health! Sure CBD is going to be more expensive that prescription drugs, but how have those worked for you? What side effects are there associated with Big Pharma options? There is no denying the price is higher than you are used to, but I would venture to say that replacing your prescription drugs, or traditional options are a better option for your overall health (but please consult a physician before changing from any medications you might be taking).
As the industry continues to grow prices will start to fall. Increased demand for CBD will help CBD producers implement greater efficiencies in the production process, and in the end drive down the cost to consumers. For example, a smaller operation like Hemp Daddy’s can go from paying several people to hand fill bottles to a more automated process.
How can we tell if we’re overpaying or underpaying for CBD?
There are many great CBD products on the market today. There are also many products that are substandard for a variety of reasons:
- Some products imply CBD content. Certain online retailers are notorious for misrepresenting products in the CBD market. Amazon, for instance, does not allow the sale of CBD products, but a search for CBD at Amazon will present numerous “hemp seed oil” products which have no CBD. When it comes to CBD, everyone should be cautious and do their research before buying online.
- Some products contain quality CBD but their concentrations are so low that they offer no therapeutic benefit. “For example, a 30 milliliter (1 ounce) full-spectrum CBD tincture listed with 50 milligrams of CBD. An average dose of 0.75 milliliters would contain about 1.1 milligrams of CBD. At that level, consumers would not see any CBD benefits.”
- Inferior CBD is an issue. Given the shortage of domestically produced CBD, much of the CBD in the US has been sourced from overseas markets, such as China. Hemp is a bio accumulator, meaning it absorbs everything in the soil in which it is planted. If the soil is not properly tested, soil contamination from prior crops is quite likely. This could include herbicides, pesticides and metals.
How can we assess the value of CBD products?
One of the best methods of evaluating the quality of a CBD product is the “Certificate of Analysis” (COA). Any reputable CBD source should readily supply the consumer with a certificate of analysis. The COA will provide test results of the actual of the CBD used in a given product. These lab results will provide the concentrations of CBD in the product.