Cheef Botanicals

Why Is CBD So Expensive? The Full Breakdown of Cannabidiol Production

Whoever said, “the best things in life are free,” probably never saw the cost of CBD. The high price of CBD often indicates a high-quality product, but many still ask: why is CBD so expensive? We at Cheef Botanicals looked at each step of the process to break down all that happens before an item reaches consumers.

Plenty of manufacturing and testing has to be done before a CBD product hits the market. This guide will teach you what to look for when buying CBD oil and other cannabidiol products. To get started, let’s take a look at where CBD comes from!


Why Is CBD So Expensive?

The price of CBD products is determined by a number of variables. These variables include the cost it takes to grow and maintain a field of hemp, extract CBD oil, turn that cannabidiol into a product, and obtain proper licensing. Responsible companies must also take their customer’s wellness into consideration.

When the manufacturer follows proper procedures and no corners are cut, the final price of CBD oil, isolate, or any product may seem expensive. Keep in mind that the best businesses have carefully considered and calculated the cost so they can deliver a healthy and legal product to consumers at a reasonable yet competitive price.

RELATED: Affordable CBD Oil is Out There! Here's How You Can Find it

cbd oil bottles on yellow background

Where Does CBD Come From?

Cannabidiol (CBD) can only be extracted from the cannabis plant (currently there are no other viable sources). Within the Cannabis genus there are two subspecies: hemp and marijuana. Though CBD oils can be derived from marijuana, hemp plants produce much more cannabidiol. In contrast, marijuana provides higher levels of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).
For those unaware, THC is the cannabinoid in cannabis that gets people “high.” 

CBD, on the other hand, provides many positive benefits. However, it does not get consumers high. The Farm Bill of 2018 made CBD-rich hemp federally legal, but not THC-dominant marijuana.
When THC levels are higher than 0.3% in CBD products, they are federally illegal. Since marijuana plants produce so much THC, only hemp-derived CBD products are legal.

Top-shelf ingredients are unbeatable, and the best hemp is grown in America. Several government agencies, including the FDA, monitor and regulate the safe growth of hemp in the U.S. Imported products often get their CBD oil from unregulated plants. Buying U.S. hemp-derived cannabidiol is one of the best ways to ensure you’re getting quality, healthy ingredients.

The price of other crops are usually stable, but CBD is relatively new. Though humans have cultivated cannabis for centuries, America has only recently legalized hemp. The price of CBD may be high now, but as hemp’s price stabilizes it will likely find its balance. Growing hemp requires farmers to have large plots of land and they must pay for the right permits, not to mention, all the work it takes to keep crops healthy all throughout the growing process. So, let’s look closer at what growing hemp entails.

How Long Does It take for Hemp to Grow?

By the time CBD oil hits the shelves of your local dispensary, it can be easy to forget that cannabidiol comes from a crop. Like all crops, cannabis must be cared for and grown over time. Fortunately, hemp is a relatively fast-growing plant, taking roughly 60-140 days to mature.

Of course, there’s more that goes into growing hemp than merely placing a seed in soil and waiting 2-5 months. Premium nutrients and organic pesticides are often necessary to ensure the plant is healthy, resistant to diseases, and safe from herbivores. Regular maintenance is also required, which is a big factor adding to the cost of growing hemp and producing CBD.

U.S. hemp cannot contain high amounts of heavy metals, synthetic pesticides, herbicides, or mold. If a grower finds that one of their fields has too many of any of these ingredients, the plants are no longer usable. Moreover, crops with more than 0.3% THC must be destroyed, which increases risk and costs for the grower.

Tools such as a combine harvester make the process of collecting a large number of plants quick and easy. However,  combine harvesters are generally owned by those who raise grain. Many hemp growers are former fruit and vegetable farmers who do not have these expensive tools. This means some growers must manually harvest their cannabis plants. Harvesting is a labor-intensive, time-consuming process that can take another few months after the crops are fully matured.

How Much CBD Does Each Plant Yield?

The amount of CBD in each plant depends on many variables, the most important being the strain. The average hemp plant yields around one pound of usable material and strains typically have between 5% and 15% CBD. Therefore, one pound of hemp that contains 10% CBD will yield 45.4 grams of cannabidiol. There’s a simple way to figure out how much CBD a grower can get from their cannabis plants.

  • First, we determine how much flower and leaves (usable material) can be taken from one hemp plant out of the crop. As an example, let’s say we just harvested 1 pound from the plant.
  • Let’s say 10% of CBD may be extracted from this strain, so 10% of 1 pound equals 45.4 grams 
  • One simple formula that growers use to calculate crop yield is to multiply extractable CBD (45.4g in our case) by how many plants are on a single acre.
  • So, if there were 3,000 plants on 1 acre, the CBD content could be determined using the following formula: 45.4 x 3,000. In our case, this equals 136,200 grams (300 pounds)  of CBD per acre of hemp.
RELATED: How to Calculate CBD Content Fast! [A Simple Explanation]

Hemp growers must take into account how much their crop will yield, which affects prices but ultimately results in the best product for consumers.

Proper Growing Environment for Higher Yield Return

Additionally, growers need to ensure their crops are not exposed to harsh environments. High temperatures and excessive UV radiation can cause hemp to produce more tetrahydrocannabinol as a defense mechanism. Remember, if the THC amount rises above 0.3%, the crop is considered a loss!

In addition, ideal environments are hard to find. Some growers have to mimic suitable conditions with indoor growing, greenhouses, sprinkler systems, and UV lights. With the right conditions, hemp produces higher levels of cannabidiol than tetrahydrocannabinol.

Sprinklers and UV lights are expensive, and they can increase the price of the product. Though, when we pay a little more for CBD, that money goes into better growing equipment for nutritious and happy hemp!

hemp plantation

How Do They Make CBD?

Clean and pure CBD is difficult to remove from hemp. Proper extraction is one of the most expensive yet crucial steps of the manufacturing process. CBD oil may be extracted at home using store-bought ingredients, but this is a highly dangerous procedure that we do not advise.

Solvent Extraction

If a company claims they have an affordable product due to a solvent-based extraction method, question what solvent they use. While it’s true that extracting CBD from hemp is cheaper using certain solvents, some options are more volatile and potentially toxic. Let’s take a look at how CBD is extracted to understand these risks.

The most common solvents used for this type of CBD extraction are butane, propane, and acetone. The solvent is heated, then hemp material is submerged. The hemp steeps, similar to tea, and the compounds are separated from the material.

Once the process completes, the hemp material is separated from the liquid. The solvent is heated until it evaporates, leaving behind CBD concentrate.

CO2 Extraction

Other extraction techniques don’t use these toxic solvents. Instead, safer methods are standard, like rosin or CO2. These processes remove CBD from the plant material.

These extraction methods use dangerous equipment that operates under high pressure and extreme temperatures. CBD’s high prices are partly due to finely-calibrated machines and specialists with expert knowledge of how to safely and efficiently separate CBD oil from hemp. After all, professional products require top-of-the-line tools!

To get CBD oils out of hemp, Cheef Botanicals runs liquid CO2 through finely ground hemp material. Once the CO2 evaporates, we are left with high-quality CBD oil. CO2 extraction is natural, safe for our health, and overall the best technique for deriving CBD from hemp material.

All of the terpenes, flavonoids, and other compounds found in hemp are also extracted. These components affect the plant’s taste, smell, and overall effectiveness. Most importantly, liquid CO2 does not leave behind any dangerous toxic residue nor does it degrade the final product!

Cheef Botanicals CBD Tincture Bundle 600mg

How Do They Make CBD Products & Why Is It So Expensive?

Once CBD oil is extracted, there is still a long road of testing before it reaches consumers. Which type of product that CBD will be used in also determines the production process. For example, CBD isolate is almost 100% pure CBD, with no other cannabinoids or ingredients,  while CBD edibles have several components.

Besides CBD isolate, products can either be full or broad-spectrum. Full-spectrum CBD contains all of the compounds extracted from CBD flower, including low THC levels (0.3% or less). Broad-spectrum CBD has those same elements, but the THC has been removed.

For those who would like a small amount of THC with their CBD, full-spectrum items are the perfect solution. Broad-spectrum CBD products provide similar benefits, and should not contain any THC. Nonetheless, CBD isolate is the best product for consumers who are concerned with avoiding THC. We at Cheef Botanicals make sure none of our CBD contains levels of THC higher than 0.3%. This means consumers can avoid the intoxicated or “high” effects associated with heavy THC use.

Ingesting all of the compounds naturally found in hemp at the same time results in a boost of CBD’s overall effectiveness. This boost is called the entourage effect. Even broad-spectrum products carry the entourage effect, though not as strongly as in full-spectrum CBD.

Certificates of Analysis (COAs)

With so many companies trying to sell you their expensive CBD, it can be difficult to know who to trust. Be on the lookout for third-party lab tests that ensure the product’s label is accurate. A certificate of analysis (COA) proves the product contains the advertised ingredients and nothing more. A COA will also tell you what cannabinoids are present in the product and their amounts.

If you’re ever concerned about the high prices of a CBD oil or other item, ask the manufacturer for that product’s third-party lab results. Any business worth your money will offer their COAs for viewing by anyone at any time. Check here for an example of some COAs. Not surprisingly, up-to-date COAs also add to the overhead cost of producing CBD.  

What Do You Need To Sell CBD?

The laws and regulations surrounding the world of cannabis change every day. However, there are licenses that every manufacturer will need. A business license, seller’s license, and manufacturer’s license are necessary for anyone wishing to sell their products in the United States.

Once fully licensed, a seller will need to learn everything about the federal and statewide legality of CBD and hemp. Changes to these laws, no matter how small, can drastically change a manufacturer’s operation. New, updated, or renewal of permits and licenses can also affect their costs.

The CBD market is currently making $1.9 billion in revenue, and it’s expected to reach $20 billion by the year 2024. This volume speaks to the general public’s readiness for CBD and hemp. Moreover, CBD’s continuous growth signifies the leaps that have been made in technology, agriculture, and botany.

Needless to say, the CBD market is booming, and many people want to start selling their own products. Supply and demand determine the cost of any product, so why is the price of CBD high if there are so many sellers? Well, just because the market is full of new products doesn’t mean they all care about good ingredients, health, or wellness.

Good businesses know that expensive, safe, and high-quality CBD oil is better than cheap, harmful cannabidiol. The reason the best CBD costs a little more is that the manufacturers are paying a higher price to take care of their customers’ health and wellness.

Furthermore, just because CBD is federally legal doesn’t mean anyone can plant hemp seeds in their backyard. As with any product, legalization also means taxation. Hemp is heavily taxed on top of licensing fees, which discourages people from growing. Fewer growers, all with their own fees and taxes to pay, results in more expensive CBD.

Final Thoughts – Why is CBD So Expensive? 

Considering all that goes into the production of cannabidiol, the reasons why CBD is so expensive are completely understandable! Remember, a larger price tag usually indicates a higher standard of production and thus a higher-quality product. Although, it’s wise for consumers to always research any product or brand they want to purchase.

Be sure to check for certificates of analysis to ensure the business you purchase from uses third-party lab testing. Also, avoid companies who claim to have a low cost, then pile on shipping fees at checkout.

Many companies determine their prices based on the costs of their extraction methods, harvesting, and manufacturing. Some extraction processes or imported hemp might drive the cost of your CBD oil down. However, these practices result in inferior products. The best overall extraction method is CO2, and the finest hemp is grown in America.

For top-tier CBD at a competitive price, check out our line of products!