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Why is CBD oil so expensive?

If you’re new to the world of CBD and starting to shop around for an oil, you might have been a little surprised at some of the prices. You may find yourself asking, ‘Why is CBD oil s expensive?’ But the question should be, ‘Why is good CBD oil so expensive?’ The short answer is that with CBD, you get what you pay for. Higher quality oils naturally have a higher price tag, and any oil that is a lot less expensive should be viewed with caution – there’s generally a good reason it’s so cheap. Here are some of the factors that drive up the price of quality CBD oil.

Growing hemp

Let’s start at the beginning of the oil production process, with the growing stage. To be able to have control of the quality of the hemp, most good CBD brands will grow it themselves rather than purchasing the raw hemp. This adds additional costs such as the land and staff, but also the cost of the research and development that goes into creating the right strains. Compared to many other crops, hemp is significantly more labour intensive, with the harvesting usually done manually rather than by machine. Hemp also needs to be dried after it is harvested, which requires large warehouses that need to be carefully climate controlled.

The extraction process

There are a number of different extraction processes used to get the raw hemp to its final stage for packaging, but some methods are more expensive to carry out than others. The method that provides the cleanest and safest results is gas extraction, which is what we use at Happy Garden. However, this requires the purchase of expensive equipment, as well as hiring qualified staff to operate it. Solvent is a much cheaper method of extraction, but it can be difficult to remove all traces of the chemicals from the final product. Oil extraction is another low-cost method that can be used, but due to the low potency CBD oil it produces, it is not suitable for commercial production.

Lab testing

When purchasing a CBD oil, you should always look for one that has been third-party lab tested. This will tell you that the product you are buying has the CBD content that is stated on the label, as well as ensuring that it contains only the legal amounts of THC. However, there is obviously a cost involved for the CBD supplier to have these tests conducted, and a new test is required for each new batch, which adds to the overall cost of production.

Organic certification

The safest and purest CBD oils are the ones that have been grown organically, which means without harmful fertilisers or pesticides. But it’s not enough for the grower to simply avoid using these chemicals. Farms must be set up in a particular way and only use products that come from an approved list, and are regularly checked by the governing authorities.

Red tape

The laws surrounding the growing of hemp and the sales of CBD are complicated to say the least. The rules vary wildly from country to country, and the same laws that apply to hemp to not necessarily apply to CBD. For producers of CBD this means it can be costly to have the hemp legally transported to the production facility, as well as obtaining the special permits that may be required depending on the country. 

Why is some CBD oil so cheap?

If all of these things are true, then why is some CBD oil available at considerably lower prices? There are plenty of reasons for this, some innocuous, but others that are potentially more problematic.

Some of the cheaper CBD oils are made using a CBD isolate. While there is no real issue with this, it’s important that you’re aware that you won’t benefit from the entourage effect that a full-spectrum product would offer. Other oils sold at low prices may make false claims about the amount of CBD contained in the oil, while others try to pass off hemp seed oil as CBD. This is why buying CBD from a brand that can provide lab test results is so important.

A slightly more worrying reason not to buy cheap CBD oil is that the producers may have purchased poor quality hemp plants to make it. Hemp is a bio accumulator, which means it will absorb heavy metals or chemical waste from the soil it is grown in. Countries where the growing of hemp is not legal (but CBD production is) need to rely on imported plants to manufacture their oils. If they try to cut costs by buying cheap hemp, there is a danger it may contain many of these chemicals.

Final thoughts on CBD pricing

While it might be tempting to shop around for the best price, just remember that you get what you pay for. There are of course variations in price between good quality oils, but if you see an oil that’s significantly cheaper, this should be something of a red flag. The best-case scenario is that it contains little to no CBD, which means that you are simply wasting your money. But in the worst case, you will be consuming something that is potentially harmful. 

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