The first time you do an online search for CBD, you’ll notice a few things.
One, the market is ripe with all sorts of companies vying for your attention and dollars, two, it comes in many strengths, sizes, and forms, and last but not least is the price. You might wonder one, why it costs so darn much and two, is it worth it?
Read on to learn the answer to the first question. The response to the second question is only when you know what to look for and research the company you’re buying from. Not all CBD products are equal. Due diligence is in order!
Beware of Mystery Products from Unreliable Sources
Anyone can decide to import questionable CBD oil from China, slap a label on it, set-up a website, charge whatever they want and call it good. Don’t get hoodwinked.
Is the company your shopping with ethical and genuinely concerned about your well-being? Can you get them on the phone consistently? Do you feel taken care when you talk with them? Are they transparent? Do they tell how they make their products and are their testing results available?
Why are these questions essential and how do they make a difference in the cost and ultimate value?
CBD Quality Matters!
Why, in an article about the expense of CBD are we harping on quality? We feel our job is to educate you on how to think about CBD and the products you’re purchasing. With CBD being so new in the marketplace and in such demand, it can be easy to be misled with cheap oil, not get the result you’re looking for, think it doesn’t work for you and miss out on incredible potential benefits.
Why do CBD products seem Expensive? “But This Hemp Oil on Amazon is a Great Deal!”
Not so fast. There’s a big difference between hemp oil made strictly from seeds and hemp oil that contains CBD made from flowers and the whole plant. Hemp seed oil is high in omega fatty acids but doesn’t contain CBD or any cannabinoids.
In other words, just because you see the word hemp doesn’t mean the product contains CBD.
And just because the product contains CBD doesn’t mean it’s quality.
The Expense is Real
As long as you’re shopping with a trustworthy purveyor, there’s a whole slew of reasons why CBD is costly to produce and therefore seemingly pricey in the marketplace. We specify trustworthy because there are processes and industry guidelines that go into making quality products and not every company follow them.
Quality Production Processes Equal Quality Product
Production is called a process because it is one, with several steps ranging from sourcing raw materials to extracting the CBD to testing the final output for purity and strength by a trusted lab.
Every step along the way can be executed with integrity and concern for the purity of end result, or done inexpensively or not at all by companies jumping on the CBD bandwagon solely for profit at the expense of quality.
It All Begins at the Source, The Hemp Farmer
Every company gets their hemp from somewhere, some places near and some places far, far away. This is important because the way the plants are treated from the very beginning of their lives is the first factor in quality output.
When a company gets their raw materials or final products from China, they have no way of knowing how it was grown, stored, or extracted. They have no oversight on the production process. Raw materials can be molded or tainted and what else is lurking in that fresh off the boat bottle of CBD oil? There’s no way of knowing until its too late.
Thank You, Farm Bill of 2018!
With the current state of hemp in the US, it’s now more critical than ever to support local hemp farming. Up until the Farm Bill of 2014, it was illegal to grow hemp in the United States. Therefore, it had to be imported from China and Canada, the two largest sources in the world.
Since then, it’s legal to grow industrial hemp in America. And farmers are stepping up. According to Denver 7*, in Colorado alone last year there was an estimated 600 growers in 750 locations covering over 17,000 acres.
Reputable companies buy local and have relationships with their growers. They possess firsthand knowledge of the growing methods and fertilizers used for their products. In fact, they can track the plant from seed to sale, maintaining an intimate knowledge of every step of the production line.
Supply vs. Demand for Locally Grown Hemp
As CBD sales increase in the marketplace, locals growers can have trouble meeting the demand. The volatility of availability affects the final cost, and when the raw materials aren’t available, companies need channels available to purchase locally made isolate rather than make it themselves which also affects end pricing. In the end, local sourcing costs more. But the potential benefits to your life and health? Priceless!
Next Step -- Extraction
How does that beautiful green leafy plant turn into the lovely viscous oil in the bottle? It’s extracted.
There are a few methods used to turn raw hemp into crude oil. While every way has its pros and cons, the best and safest practices for product purity and the environment are more complex and expensive to execute.
In the early stages of extracting, supercritical CO2 and butane were the most commonly used methods. The former quite costly, time-consuming, and almost too effective, the latter flammable and dangerous. As the process is evolving, ethanol is a method of choice among many trusted companies as it is safe, effective and retrieves the full spectrum of cannabinoids and terpenes.
Ethanol and Supercritical CO2 -- Reputable Choices
The basic process used for ethanol extraction is the plant material put in a filtration device, ethanol is passed through it and dehydrated to dissolve the cannabinoids. Then, using heat and vacuum, the ethanol is evaporated leaving cannabis oil.
The crude cannabis oil must then be refined further to reduce THC content to below the legal .3% limit for full spectrum products and to 0% for broad spectrum.
Any residual ethanol, occurring in minuscule amounts, has been found to increase absorption of the molecule in your cells. In fact, some companies intentionally add it to their final products for that reason.
In fact, that’s why tinctures are often delivered in an alcohol base. According to the Pharmaceutical Plant Company*, “Alcohol is an excellent solvent for herbs because it can extract the compounds and active ingredients that aren’t water-soluble, such as essential oils, alkaloids, and resins. It’s also the only edible solvent that can effectively extract the ingredients required.”
As its popularity increases, methods for ethanol extraction are increasingly more efficient and environmentally sound. Manufacturers are rushing to the call, and recent developments are producing machines that bring the ethanol to perfect temperatures and recycle the alcohol for reuse, waste being one of the earlier drawbacks.
Supercritical CO2 extraction is another safe and costly way to separate CBD from the fiber.
Breaking down this complex process into simple terms, are three steps:
- Extraction with CO2 that has been heated until it reaches both liquid and gas properties;
- Separation -- a quick reduction in pressure separates the CBD resin from the CO2, then the CO2 is recycled.
- Purification also known as winterization, uses an ethanol bath to separate unwanted plant material. Then as in the ethanol process above, it’s heated and spun.
There are other methods including butane and coconut or olive oil extraction, but we will not address them here as they aren’t suitable for large-scale production.
Testing Every Batch by a Reputable Lab
One batch doesn’t equal another unless the lab says so! Reputable companies test every batch of CBD produced and can provide the documentation upon request. Lab testing is expensive and adds to the final cost of the product, but without it, how do you know what you’re getting?
Costs Unrelated to Production
An exploration of why CBD is expensive is not complete without considering the additional expenses that come with operating this specific type of business.
Every business incurs the expense of office space, staffing, insurance, taxes, etc., etc., but CBD companies have additional costs: higher rent due to the nature of the business, high-risk credit card processing runs 8%, 4 times the usual fees, and that’s if you can find a company that will work with you. Companies must comply with federal and state regulations which is costly and then there’s letting people know about your product.
Marketing and Advertising Budgets
This might sound funny, but if you see a brand’s ads everywhere on the internet, thoroughly check them out before purchasing from them. Some companies spend more on marketing than product quality, research, and development, and those are the companies you want to beware of.
All the while good products with smaller budgets get less attention.
A large ad budget can but doesn’t necessarily equal a worthwhile product, and smaller companies with quality products often use more stealthy ways to get your attention.
Stealthy Still Adds to the Bottom line
What good is having an excellent product if nobody knows about it? Getting the word out in a steady, consistent flow is a large part of any budget. Smaller companies have less to spend but must spend, all the same. Marketing and advertising expenses figure into the final cost. By the way, If you like a product, word of mouth is always a great way to help a company you appreciate keep going. And oftentimes they have affiliate programs that will pay you for your loyalty, another part of the advertising budget.
CBD Buying Recap
Quality CBD products are expensive because quality ingredients and manufacturing processes are expensive. Every day business costs skyrocket over non-CBD establishments. And smaller companies with excellent products have to spend large portions of their budgets to market their products to compete with the larger well-financed ones. But remember, expense doesn’t equal purity. When you’re dealing with a reputable company that offers quality merchandise you will feel the difference. Be sure to do your research and learn about the products you’re purchasing.
Steve’s Goods would love to be considered as your personal source for CBD products.
We use local Colorado hemp, ethanol extraction, and every batch is tested for purity. We don’t like to brag, but it behooves us to mention our wax won Rooster Magazine’s best CBD wax and best hemp derived CBD in Colorado. The one thing we do pride ourselves on is, we do whatever it takes to bring you the purest, quality products at the lowest prices possible.
Our CBD isolate, Crude, CBG isolate, and Distillate are always locally sourced, our beauty products come from a local Colorado family, we spend our time and dollars, lots of them, on researching and bringing to you the most recent information available in this burgeoning field.
Our staff is available M -- F, 10 am to 5 pm mountain time to answer any questions, talk with you about the best way to begin, or to hear about your personal experiences with our products. We love talking with you.
Thanks for taking your precious time to learn more about CBD. Spread the word!