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Why Is CBD Oil so Expensive?


Why Is CBD Oil so Expensive?

CBD oil is becoming more popular and mainstream, but people still consider the product to be an expensive luxury. What drives up the cost of this seemingly simple cannabis extract? This trendy oil promises genuine health benefits and promotes wellbeing. Celebrities, athletes, and the entire world love the effects of CBD. Are you impressed with the results of CBD, but put off by the cost? As it turns out, many factors cause CBD to be a fairly expensive product.

The Cost of Cannabis Farming

The high expense of CBD oil begins with the process of farming the cannabis or hemp. Costs for the land, farming equipment, seeds, labor, licenses, and more all add up. The initial costs just to start farming are astronomical. Additionally, due to the regulated nature of the crops, each state has its own requirements and fees. 

Harvesting & Extraction

Harvesting and extraction are particularly costly processes. For example, the cost to simply harvest 1 acre of hemp in Minnesota is roughly $300-$600. This price has come down since 2017, when it was $970-$2500. Once harvested, the crop is then put through a separating machine. This process routinely costs more than $2 million. 

The next step to follow is extraction. The machinery costs for this process can run upward of $150,000-$200,000. During the extraction process, THC is removed and the cannabinoid CBD is isolated. Chromatography machinery is used to accurately extract and evaluate the compound, costing hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Labor & Overhead

The costs of labor, overhead, and administration all add up. It can be expensive to find employees and train them to master specialized skills and equipment. Some other costs that CBD companies incur include third-party laboratory testing, operating costs from distributors, and liability insurance. The expenses related to credit card processing, banking, compliance officers, attorneys, and packaging all contribute to overhead costs as well.

Extraction Expenses

CBD oil can be created using a few distinct methods and processes. When you’re shopping for CBD, the end result and the final price will vary depending on how the product has been grown and treated. The level of clarity versus contaminants will effect the color, cost, and quality.

Filtered CBD oil is typically gold or yellow in color, reflecting the top quality and the highest price. Decarboxylated oil, which is usually amber or brown, is treated to activate the positive benefits of the cannabinoids. Raw oil is dark green due to the chlorophyll and plant fibers in the oil.

Full Spectrum

Full spectrum CBD is produced by extracting not just CBD, but other natural compounds too. This type of oil will contain CBD, other cannabinoids, and terpenes. When these elements interact with each other, they boost the therapeutic effects of cannabis. This is called the entourage effect. As a result, full spectrum CBD is generally considered more effective as an anti-inflammatory and pain reliever than other varieties.


Creating CBD oil with CO₂ is one of the more expensive methods of extraction. This process uses fluid CO₂ as a solvent and industrial ovens and machinery costing $5000-$7000. The overhead is high and only small batches of CBD oil are produced. The end result is a high-potency product of outstanding quality and substantial cost.

Isolate Method 

Extracting with the isolate method means that only CBD will be present in the final product. This process leaves no fatty acids, terpenes, or other cannabinoids in the oil. Some people prefer this option for its purity.

Ethanol Extraction

CBD oil produced through ethanol extraction is commonly the most inexpensive variety. Using ethanol as a solvent to extract CBD from the cannabis plant is fast, easy, and relatively affordable. The downside to this method of production is that it can lead to a decrease in quality.

How to Save Money on CBD

When you’re shopping for CBD oil, your health and safety is more important than the price. Start by choosing a quality product that has been lab tested and contains 200-2000 milligrams of CBD. Some cheap options on the market cost less because they contain no CBD or they have been processed with unsafe chemical solvents.

CBD Saving Tips

  • Try free CBD samples. Since the industry is young, many CBD companies are willing to offer free samples to promote themselves. You can often get samples from dispensaries, at cannabis events, or from the distributor directly.
  • Switch to a lower-grade product. Full spectrum CBD is the preferred choice for most users, but it’s not the only option. CBD oil created from other methods can be cheaper, while still being beneficial. 
  • Reduce your CBD intake to smaller increments to save your supply. For example, if you’re taking 15 mg per day, try taking 12 mg  instead, or two doses of 6 mg throughout the day. Your body may not notice any difference!
  • Check to see if you qualify for any discounts, programs, or payment plans. Some CBD companies offer discounts to veterans, those on a fixed income, or individuals with qualifying medical disorders.

The CBD industry is rapidly growing and becoming a huge trend. Companies big and small are fighting to join this lucrative market. Costs will lower for consumers as more mainstream corporations become involved. Pressure is being placed at the federal level to create standardized regulation of CBD products, which will also generate lower prices in the long-term.


Samantha is the Editor-who-Chiefs at Dank and a passionate cannabis enthusiast. She loves yoga, traveling, and hanging out with her three precious angel baby cats.


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