How much does CBD oil cost?
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- How much does CBD oil cost the consumer?
- What are the different types of CBD?
- Is CBD oil lab tested?
- How do you read the labels on CBD?
- Will CBD ever cost less?
Cannabidiol (CBD) oil is one of the hottest wellness trends of 2019, with products popping up in nail salons, spas, big-box retailers, and health stores throughout the U.S.
Though once illegal, the 2018 Farm Bill made industrial hemp,and thus hemp-derived CBD, legal to produce in all 50 states. And now CBD oil is popping up in such unlikely places as Bed, Bath, and Beyond.
But for curious newcomers to CBD, the price might be raising some eyebrows. A 1 ounce, or 30 milliliter, bottle of CBD oil could cost anywhere from $30 to more than $200, leaving many wondering how something so small can cost so much and vary so widely. What accounts for the discrepancies and, perhaps most importantly, how much does CBD oil really cost?
Well, that’s complicated. CBD can be expensive to produce with plenty of added costs and there are multiple formulas available. Plus, the potency of a bottle can greatly affect the price, even if it’s the same size as a cheaper bottle with less CBD overall. Here’s a primer to the different types of CBD and how much you should expect to spend.
How much does CBD oil cost the consumer?
According to Katie Stem of Peak Extracts, a cannabis product manufacturer, CBD as a bulk commodity ranges from $3 to $15 per gram, or a fraction of a cent to 1.5 cents per milligram. This could mean that a 1,000-milligram bottle of CBD tincture could contain $3 to $25 worth of CBD, but that wouldn’t account for production costs, materials, or labor.
Some companies might do all the production work in-house, but many CBD companies turn to “white labeling,” which is when a larger manufacturer makes their products for them. The CBD companies then must market and ship their products. Stem says this can cost around $25,000 to launch, plus a per-unit cost between $2.50 and $12.50.
Full-spectrum, or whole plant CBD, will contain trace amounts of THC and all compounds originally contained in the plant, such as terpenes. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps
“Long story short, the range is so broad, it’s hard to make a general statement about what is a ‘reasonable’ price to pay for a CBD product,” Stem said. “That said, when examining a cost analysis from a production perspective, you look at labor, materials, packaging, labels, potency/purity testing, marketing, and shipping/distribution.
“In most other industries, the labor, materials, and profit are often divided into three equal portions. Given the exposure to this industry with regard to legal, regulatory, and testing standards, it stands to reason that the profit margin must be higher to accommodate potential risk. The markup may be closer to 400% rather than the 40% seen in many other packaged goods.”
There may also be significant markups on the retail side, as cannabis dispensaries are not allowed write-offs on their business expenses per Section 280E of the Internal Revenue Code.
Stem said that when she is personally trying to decide if a CBD product is a good deal, she goes straight to the source material. Is it grown organically? Is it grown domestically? She also looks for readily available certificates of analysis (COA), which must be issued by a licensed laboratory that tests for potency and safety.
Stem said that those products will probably cost at least $50 to $60 per 1,000-milligram bottle, which comes out to 5 cents per milligram or more.
However, for most brands Weedmaps News looked at, 5 cents seemed to be the low end, while the majority cost between 10 to 15 cents per milligram of CBD and rarely exceeded 20 cents per milligram.
A few examples, using prices found in Los Angeles:
- Ignite’s Lavender CBD Drops, 1,000 milligrams of CBD. Priced at $60, or about 6 cents per milligram.
- Topikal CBD’s Sublingual CBD Oil, 1,500 milligrams of CBD. Priced at $140, or about 9 cents per milligram.
- Icon Extracts’ CBD Tincture, 500 milligrams of CBD. Priced at $45, or about 9 cents per milligram.
- Smashed’s Homies Anxiety + CBD Capsules, 400 milligrams of CBD. Priced at $40, or about 10 cents per milligram.
- Ignite’s Lavender CBD Drops, 1,000 milligrams of CBD. Priced at $60, or about 6 cents per milligram.
- El Gallo Star Anise CBD, 500 milligrams of CBD. Priced at $70, or about 14 cents per milligram.
What are the different types of CBD?
CBD can be derived from either hemp or marijuana. Legally speaking, hemp in the United States must contain less than 0.3% THC; it is generally grown for industrial fiber and other uses. Marijuana may have various amounts of CBD and THC and is typically grown for medicinal or recreational purposes. Broadly speaking, whether CBD is extracted from hemp or marijuana, the distinctions aren’t always relevant.
CBD can be derived from either hemp or marijuana. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps
“One thing I always say is that a molecule does not know its mother, so CBD is coming from cannabis or hemp, but it’s the same compound,” said Robby Flannery, Ph.D., CEO of California-based cannabis brand Dr. Robb Farms.
The difference might be more relevant when comparing whole plant CBD, which can be full-spectrum or broad-spectrum, with isolate CBD. The latter results from extracting the CBD compound in its pure form, minus other cannabinoid compounds such as terpenes, which may provide flavors, aromas, or enhanced physiological or cerebral effects.
Full-spectrum, or whole plant CBD, will contain THC and all of the compounds originally contained in the plant, such as terpenes. Broad-spectrum hemp is similar to full spectrum, except that the THC is removed.
An ongoing debate in the CBD oil industry currently focuses on whether THC or other compounds are useful. Researchers have identified a synergistic interaction between the plant’s various compounds known as the ensemble effect or entourage effect. That’s one reason some may seek out full- or broad-spectrum CBD, but there are various reasons why a person might prefer one over the other. If, for instance, you dislike the smell and/or taste of cannabis or want to avoid THC entirely, you might choose to stick to isolate.
Flannery notes that “cannabis tends to be a little more resinous, so the entourage effect and ensemble effect that you would be able to achieve [by] including some of those other cannabinoids is more profound. But if you’re just consuming an isolate product, it does not matter [which plant] it comes from.”
Many medical marijuana and CBD isolate consumers prefer an edible such as a gummy to receive their dose of cannabinoids. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps
Whether you end up purchasing hemp-derived or marijuana-derived CBD might actually depend more on where you live than preference. With the passage of the Farm Bill, hemp-derived CBD is legal throughout the U.S., while cannabis-derived CBD will be available only to consumers in adult-use states or to patients in states that allow medical cannabis. Cannabis-derived CBD is likely to cost a bit more because hemp is less costly to produce.
Is CBD oil lab tested?
Third-party lab testing ensures a product is safe and correctly measured. A licensed lab will make sure a product’s potency is accurate, meaning you’re actually getting the amount of CBD or THC you’re paying for, or alternatively, that the THC content is zero for those who want to avoid any possible intoxicating effects or drug-testing surprises. These tests also will analyze moisture content and screen for pesticides, mold, fungus, and residual solvents — chemicals that may remain after the extraction process.
Third-party lab testing ensures a product is safe and correctly measured. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps
How do you know you’re getting a lab-tested product? If a company lists its certificates of analysis on its website and packaging, shoppers can usually be assured the product has been lab tested.
“If you are a cannabis consumer and you go to a licensed retailer, you are close to 100% certain that all of that product has been tested by a third-party lab and it passed very stringent restrictions and regulations,” Flannery said.
Testing can get pricey, especially in a state such as California, where testing regulations implemented in late 2018 increased costs as much as 40% to 55% for some manufacturers, according to MJBizDaily. Flannery estimated testing can cost a company between $100 and $400 per sample, and they may have to test several samples. Those that produce flower — from which the oil is derived — have to test incrementally, such as every 55 pounds.
“If you’re a large farm, that’s a lot of testing,” Flannery said. “I know some groups who are spending in the seven-figure range on testing on an annual basis.”
All of these costs are shouldered by the manufacturer and ultimately raise the prices overall.
How do you read the labels on CBD?
The label on any CBD product will tell you several important details. Perhaps the most obvious detail is the name of the company, which you may want to research so you can read reviews of the brand (most are available on Weedmaps) or the individual product. Or, you might want to visit the company website’s FAQ page for additional product information.
The label will also tell you how many milligrams of CBD the product contains. This number may be the total amount or how many milligrams are in each serving.
Topicals and oils usually list the total amount of CBD. Balms, lotions, and other topicals are products you’re likely rubbing into your skin and therefore, you might not be concerned about measuring out a particular dosage.
With oils and tinctures that you’ll be ingesting, you may wish to find out how much CBD is in each serving. To do that, you’ll need to determine the milligrams of CBD within the net weight of the product. So, if you have a bottle that contains 30 milliliters (about 1 fluid ounce) of liquid and 500 milligrams of CBD (divide 500 by 30), that’s about 16.6 milligrams per milliliter. It takes about 20 drops per milliliter.
If your product is an edible — chocolate, candy, etc. — or capsule, you may find that the package lists how many milligrams of CBD are in individual items. If a bottle of capsules says that each capsule contains 30 milligrams of CBD and there are 30 capsules in the bottle, that would be 900 total milligrams of CBD.
CBD oil usually comes with a dropper to allow consumers and patients to measure out their dose. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps
If the product contains THC, the label will tell you that as well. It may tell you the ratio of THC to CBD, such as 18:1, which would be a particularly THC-rich product, or 1:1, which would be more balanced.
The package will also specify whether the product contains full-spectrum, whole plant, or isolate CBD, as previously mentioned. And, like any other product, the label will list what else is in it (coconut or medium-chain triglyceride oil derived from coconuts are common carrier oils), where it was made, and how it ought to be stored.
Will CBD ever cost less?
According to Flannery, yes, the price of CBD will come down, but not for a few years. “I think the primary driver behind [the cost] is just the regulatory environment that we’ve lived in for so long has limited the amount of production we can do,” he said.
Flannery noted it takes time to put together the capital expenditures and build out the infrastructure required. A new hemp farm requires a minimum of two months to produce any crop and in many places, the 2018 Farm Bill marked the first time it was legal. Plus, testing regulations are often much stricter when it comes to CBD and cannabis than to similar herbal supplements or oils.
“CBD is never going to be, in my opinion, as cheap as any off-the-shelf pharmaceutical or herbal supplements, but prices are still going to be going down,” Flannery said. That cost savings may come about, he said, when lawmakers begin to understand that cannabis is not, “the devil’s lettuce we were told it was.”
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How to Tell If You’re Overpaying for CBD Oil
The notoriety of CBD, or cannabidiol, has grown tremendously over the last couple years, and so has the availability of CBD oils (and their prices). Many people who are getting into CBD start by asking the question: “How much does CBD oil cost?” But with so much variation in the industry, determining which products are truly worth the cost can be a challenge.
To simplify this process, Ashley Jordan Ferira, PhD, RDN, Senior Editor of Health & Wellness Strategy at Remedy Review, a CBD reviews site, compared the prices of popular CBD oil brands on the market—including Medterra, cbdMD, and Naternal—to pinpoint the average cost of CBD oil.
How much does CBD oil cost?
To determine the value, or cost per milligram of a CBD oil, divide the price of the product by the total mg of CBD. For example, a bottle of CBD oil that costs $120 and contains a total of 2,400 mg of CBD costs $0.05 per mg.
The price of a CBD tincture can vary across brands, but the average cost tends to land somewhere between $0.05 to $0.20 per mg of CBD. If you’re paying more than 20 cents per mg of CBD, you’re likely overpaying.
The best value CBD oils
The average prices of some leading brands are similar, but a few clear leaders emerge when we talk about value. Below, we’ve highlighted the most cost efficient products from three top brands to help you get the most for your money.
Each 1 ml serving of this full-spectrum product from Naternal contains 40 mg of cannabinoids, including CBD and trace amounts of THC (less than 0.3% by law), terpenes, and flavonoids from the cannabis plant, a.k.a. hemp.
To buy: Naternal Full Spectrum 1,200 mg CBD Oil, $40; naternal.com
This THC-free CBD oil tincture from Medterra provides 100 mg of CBD in each 1 ml serving.
To buy: Medterra CBD Isolate 3,000 mg Tincture, $135; medterracbd.com
This moderate strength product from cbdMD is THC-free and delivers 25 mg cannabinoids (including CBD) in each 1 ml serving. It’s available in natural, berry, orange, and mint flavors.
To buy: cbdMD Broad Spectrum 750 mg CBD Oil, $70; cbdMD.com
CBD oil price comparison
In the price comparison below, you can see the average cost per mg of CBD for 10 top brands, organized from lowest (i.e. best value) to highest.
- Average cost per mg CBD: $0.03
- CBD oil price range: $25–$60
- Average cost per mg CBD: $0.06
- CBD oil price range: $34.99–$132.99
- Average cost per mg CBD: $0.07
- CBD oil price range: $29.99–$339.99
- Average cost per mg CBD: $0.08
- CBD oil price range: $29–$260
- FAB CBD
- Average cost per mg CBD: $0.09
- CBD oil price range: $39–$129
- Average cost per mg CBD: $0.10
- CBD oil price range: $57.95–$115
- Charlotte’s Web
- Average cost per mg CBD: $0.11
- CBD oil price range: $39.99–$164.99
- Average cost per mg CBD: $0.12
- CBD oil price range: $89–$269
- NuLeaf Naturals
- Average cost per mg CBD: $0.12
- CBD oil price range: $38.50–$439
- Green Roads
- Average cost per mg CBD: $0.14
- CBD oil price range: $23.95–$342.50
Why do people pay so much for CBD oil?
The main draw towards CBD products stems from the compound’s many potential health benefits. People buy CBD products to help with inflammation and pain, anxiety and stress, and sleep quality. This is not a full list, but it does encompass some of the most common reasons people turn to CBD. Additionally, CBD oil rarely produces any negative side effects, which can be best avoided by proper dosage and administration.
It’s also worth noting that while many people enjoy using CBD oil as a part of their wellness routine, the Food and Drug Administration has only approved one CBD-based drug, known as Epidiolex. This means that mainstream hemp products, like CBD tinctures, have not been evaluated by the FDA and are not intended to treat any disease. If you have a serious medical condition or take prescription medications, consult with your physician before buying CBD oil.
Factors that affect CBD oil prices
CBD oil seems like a pricier wellness supplement, but there’s a reason. Many additional manufacturing and quality control practices go into creating a trustworthy CBD oil that other dietary supplements do not require. Some factors that affect how much CBD oil costs include:
The origin of the hemp plant matters, and the best CBD companies source their industrial hemp from domestic farms. The most recent Farm Bill laws regulate standards for U.S. hemp cultivation, so American-grown hemp is the safest option for quality CBD oil. Organically or ethically-grown hemp will cost more as well, especially USDA-certified organic hemp that is more costly to grow.
Strength and type of CBD extract
While products with higher strengths or concentrations of CBD are more expensive, they also have better value. This is because they have a lower cost per mg of CBD. Similar to buying toilet paper in bulk to save money, you can save money in the long run if you opt for a strong CBD oil that will last for a longer period of time than less potent options.
The type of CBD product can affect the price as well. For example, a full-spectrum product may be priced differently than a CBD isolate or broad-spectrum product that has gone through additional distillation and purification processes to filter out plant compounds like THC (tetrahydrocannabinol). THC-free CBD oils are a good option for anyone who submits to regular drug testing, but full-spectrum CBD products may elicit an entourage effect that may be more effective in terms of elevating your general health and wellness.
Whether you’re buying CBD oils online or in-store, third-party lab testing is a must for all hemp-derived products. This process isn’t cheap, and more in-depth testing can cost more (which leads to a more costly end product). However, this external testing provides greater evidence of quality, safety, and transparency for the brand and its products.
Some CBD oil tinctures may contain premium ingredients like a USDA-certified organic MCT coconut oil or all-natural flavorings that can increase the price of the product. If you’re set on purchasing a truly organic CBD oil, the extra cost may be worth it.
Lastly, and perhaps the most obvious, factor affecting the price of CBD oil is discounts or coupons that may lower the overall cost of an order. Many of the CBD brands listed above offer first-time buyer discounts, as well as subscription or bundle-and-save options that can cut the price of CBD oil significantly.
Is CBD oil worth the cost?
If you’re looking to buy CBD oil online, there’s no doubt that there are plenty of hemp products to choose from. Apart from CBD oils, there’s also the option of varying application styles like CBD capsules, gummies, topical lotions, and much more.
With all this information to take into account, the CBD industry can seem like a confusing marketplace with an overwhelming number of hemp oils (and prices) to filter through. However, many consumers are flocking to CBD, and often use its potential health benefits as a way to justify the price tag.
So if you’re in the market for an all-natural plant extract with a lot of hype around its benefits, CBD oil may be worth the splurge. And you can still shop for high-quality products without breaking the bank.
Ashley Jordan Ferira, PhD, RDN is the Senior Editor of Health & Wellness Strategy at Remedy Review, an independent CBD reviews site. Dr. Ferira completed her PhD in Foods & Nutrition at The University of Georgia, where she researched the role of vitamin D in pediatric cardiometabolic disease. The products featured in this article were tested at ProVerde Laboratories in Milford, MA and Avazyme, Inc. in Durham, NC.
This content is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice; it is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of a physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition and before consuming or using any of the products mentioned on this site.
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Want to know how much CBD oil costs? Check out our guide to CBD prices and comparisons from the top 10 CBD oil brands, then determine which is right for you.