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Another way of judging the value of hemp-derived CBD is to compare it to the CBD extracted from more expensive cannabis flowers.
Pure CBD, at 10 cents per milligram, carries a consumer cost of $2,835 an ounce—more than twice that of pure gold.
Federal law doesn’t directly address the status of CBD. But the DEA claims it’s illegal.
Botanical bells and whistles
The answer can be found in a complicated mix of factors. Today’s CBD market is young. Four years ago it was practically nonexistent. It’s also unnaturally warped by cannabis prohibition, legal uncertainties, the absence of FDA regulations, and insufficient consumer information and access. Some companies are producing high-quality, locally sourced, lab-tested, and toxin-free CBD. Others may be importing cheap hemp oil of unknown quality and slapping a CBD label on a bottle. It’s extremely difficult for patients to know the difference. Aunt Zelda’s produces excellent CBD guaranteed by lab results—but almost nobody outside California can buy it.
As I asked industry manufacturers, retailers, consumers, and researchers to explain the high price of CBD, five answers were consistently floated: inefficient farming and production, the costs of introducing a new product into an unregulated market, insufficient consumer information, limited patient access, and greed.
I’m a patient, but I’m also a small business owner. I understand the challenge of conducting business in the cannabis space, which in many states is still considered a criminal activity. The media crows about “marijuana millionaires,” but the weight of prohibition can often be crushing to a small business with high startup costs, low revenue, and a fair amount of risk.
CW Hemp, the Colorado makers of the oil that successfully treated Charlotte Figi, does test its products through a third-party lab. The company also has a staff microbiologist test regularly for molds and other microbes. CW Hemp’s revenues allow the company to voluntarily follow CGMP (Current Good Manufacturing Practice) methods, even though it’s not required. “That’s the gold standard, and it adds costs,” says Jesse Stanley, CW Hemp co-founder and vice president.
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.
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:
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.
The price of a CBD tincture can vary across brands, but the average cost tends to land somewhere between To buy: Naternal Full Spectrum 1,200 mg CBD Oil, $40; naternal.com.05 to 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..20 per mg of CBD. If you're paying more than 20 cents per mg of CBD, you're likely overpaying.
To buy: Medterra CBD Isolate 3,000 mg Tincture, $135; medterracbd.com
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.
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.