3 min read

Paying Through the Nose: Why is CBD so Expensive?

Janet Miller

Janet Miller

Last updated: December 13, 2019

Shutterstock / H_Ko

CBD, or cannabidiol, is a phytocannabinoid found in hemp plants that is purported to have several health benefits. As a result, people are starting to turn from big pharmaceutical companies to small businesses that sell CBD products.

What these users are learning, though, is that this extract from hemp plants is expensive, and some are having a difficult time paying for it. There are several reasons why these consumer goods are so highly-priced, such as the fact they were not legal in several countries for a long period and because of market scarcity. But, there is cause to believe that over the next several years, the prices will get lower.

Why is CBD E-Juice so Expensive? - CBD Manufacturing and Price

For a long time, CBD was illegal in the United States, and it was not until 2018 that Congress and the President passed and signed into law the 2018 Farm Bill, which legalized the sale of industrial hemp.

As a result, there are relatively few companies out there producing CBD oils and other products. Because demand is high, and since this good is not widely available, the price has risen accordingly. But, as more companies enter the market and CBD becomes more readily available, the price will drop substantially.

While Congress and the President did sign the 2018 Farm Bill into law, there are still a lot of questions as to CBD’s legality. The United States Food and Drug Administration has only approved CBD’s use in a few drugs, and several states have laws in place that prevent the purchase and sale of CBD products. These conflicting laws and regulations have created a legal quagmire that has scared many entrepreneurs from getting into the industry. As long as the letter of the law and regulations remain unclear, the price will continue to be high.

CBD Extraction is a Factor in Determining the Price

The manufacturing process is another reason why the price of CBD products is so high. Hemp absorbs a lot of material from the ground, and selling it requires an extensive refining process beforehand that extracts harmful metals and pesticides.

Rest assured that hemp companies are actively searching for ways to make the extraction process faster and more efficient. Once a new extraction process is discovered and patented, the price of CBD will fall as more of it floods the market.

Not All CBD Oils Are Created Equal

Many CBD users are actively searching the internet for cheap CBD products because they do not want to pay between $30.00 and $100. They often find items from companies offering much lower prices.

Getting things from these businesses is a huge mistake. Often, these companies are from China, where they use substandard extraction and purification methods to cut down on their costs. Using them can do severe damage to the body since few of the pesticides, metals, and other things hemp plants absorb are removed. Always remember that if something is too good to be true, it probably is.

Hemp-Sourced vs. Marijuana-Sourced CBD Oil Prices

CBD can come from marijuana or industrial hemp. It does not matter where the CBD comes from; it will still have the same effect on the body. However, its source will be a significant determinant of the final price.

Marijuana sourced CBD will be more expensive because it is illegal under federal law and in several states. Since marijuana sourced CBD products cannot be transported across state lines because of their illegality, competition is limited, resulting in higher prices.

Industrial hemp CBD products are cheaper because they are not illegal, and they can be transported across state lines. Since commerce is not restricted, consumers have greater access to a wider variety of goods.

Quality and Additives

As stated earlier, the quality of the CBD oil will significantly affect the price. Looking at the price is an excellent way to determine whether the product is of good quality, but another way is by looking for the lab results.

Reputable companies that care about the health of their customers always publish the lab results of their products. A business that is not open and transparent in this manner and has low prices is likely trying to hide something. The lab tests might be an added expense to the company that they pass on to their customers, but paying a few dollars more beats ingesting Round-Up.

Some companies put additives such as artificial flavors into their CBD to make them more palatable, which is especially true for CBD taken sublingually. Usually, a flavored carrier oil will be added so that it is easier to take.

Why is CBD Oil so Expensive in Different Countries?

CBD prices are going to be high everywhere because of the extraction and purification process. But, getting it or opening a business that sells it is easier in some countries than it is in others. The ease of doing business also affects the price in the country where it is sold.

Why is CBD Oil so Expensive in the US?

As written earlier here, CBD was made legal by the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill, but there are still states and federal agencies that have laws or regulations on the books which can land people in hot water.

States like Wisconsin, Idaho, Nebraska, and South Dakota do not allow cannabis products to be sold in any form, while in other states, they can only be used for medicinal purposes.

While the federal government has made CBD legal, they maintain that when added to food, it is illegal. This is because they view it the same as a prescription drug. Businesses selling it for recreational purposes to people without a prescription could find themselves in hot water with the feds.

United Kingdom

In the United Kingdom, the legal status of CBD is more clear than it is in the United States. Since 2018, it has been legal to buy, sell, and have cannabis oil so long as it does not have more 0.3 percent of THC and is not advertised as having medical benefits.

The Food Standards Agency regards CBD oils as a novel food, and these products must be proven to be safe for human consumption before they can be put on the market.


In 2018, CBD became legal in Canada for medical and recreational use thanks to the passage of the Cannabis Act. However, as of 2019, CBD can only be sold by authorized retailers and medical companies licensed by the Crown. The result is that the public has a difficult time getting the products they want or need. As of October, the sale of edibles became legal, which will lower the price.

The regulations governing the sale and manufacture of CBD in Canada are quite challenging to work around. Aspiring entrepreneurs have to acquire a processing license to manufacture their products regardless of whether they are sourced from hemp or marijuana.

CBD Products by Type Price Comparison

The price of CBD products not only depends on the manufacturing method but also on the type of product that is bought.

  • CBD edibles come in many forms, such as chocolate, gummy candies, and countless more. Gummies can cost around $0.08 per milligram, and chocolates can cost over $10.00 per bar. Edibles are great for those looking for the tastiest way to consume CBD , and they are great for those who have never before used used CBD. The problem with them is that they are not very cost-effective. A lot of people cannot pay over ten bucks per candy bar.
  • One of the cheapest options for users are concentrates like waxes and crystals. It is the most efficient way to inhale cannabinoids. The average cost is $0.05 per milligram.
  • The average price of tinctures is $0.11 per milligram. The overall range of prices is from $0.03 to $0.20 per milligram.

Why is CBD Vape Juice so Expensive?

  • Vaping juice or oil can cost from $0.07 up to $0.20 per milligram. The average price for CBD e-liquid ranges from $0.10 to $0.15. Some vaping oils can be taken sublingually, making them incredibly valuable.
  • Vapers looking for cost-effective options for their vapes should buy CBD vape oil cartridges. They are also easy to use, making them great for new vapers. The average price for them is $0.12.

Why is CBD Cream so Expensive?

  • Creams and topicals are options that can be used for treating skin problems and joint pain. The average cost of good CBD creams is $0.25 per milligram, but there are some great creams out there that sell as low as $0.20 per milligram. Creams and topicals are best for those searching for localized relief.

How the Consumption Method Influences the Price

When someone buys a CBD product, he or she is not only paying for the oil, depending on the type of product purchased. Someone who buys vaping oil or concentrates also has to fork over money for the vape or the pen or the dabbing rig.

There are a lot of pens out there with prices that vary. Disposable pens are an easy and fast way to get CBD, and they typically have a price range of ten to thirty dollars. One way to avoid this extra spending on pens is to buy refillable cartridges that sell for around fifteen dollars. Until the cartridges become unusable, the user will only be spending money on the vaping oil, which will cut down on the money spent in the long run.

Using concentrates will require the user to buy a dabbing rig. While the concentrates are considerably less expensive than other methods, the rigs are quite pricey. The price for a full rig can range from $50 to $250. But, it is quite cost-effective considering the price of concentrates.

Users who do not want to fork over the extra cash needed for pens, cartridges, and rigs should think about buying creams, edibles, tinctures, and oils that can be consumed sublingually. However, by opting out of purchasing these devices, users will miss out on several incredible ways to consume CBD. Users who are curious about using a device for consuming CBD should start with disposable pens and work their way up from there.

How to Choose the Best Value of Price and Quality

To get the most value out of a purchase, one has to find the right balance between price and quality. Doing this can be challenging, but by knowing what one wants and can afford, it can be done. The best way to balance price and quality is to find several items in which you are interested and list the prices from high to low. Buy the item with the mean price and go up or down from there if satisfaction is not delivered. This technique applies to any CBD product.

Another thing to remember is that the lowest price is not what should be bought. Remember, extremely low priced items might not only be poorly processed, but they might not have any CBD at all. There are a lot of knockoffs on the internet, especially Amazon. They imply they have CBD when, in fact, they are just hemp oil.

Comparison Table of CBD Oil Brands and Prices

Lazarus Naturals$12-125
Charlotte’s Web$39.99-149.99
NuLeaf Naturals$38.50-439
Green Roads$5-342.50
Hemp Bombs$24.99-299.99

Safety and Guarantees

There are a lot of ways to get burned when buying CBD products. A common thing that happens is that people confuse CBD oil with hemp oil. Sometimes it is the fault of the consumer because he or she does not know the difference; other times, it is because the company selling the item is misleading its customers. To avoid this, always read the ingredients before making a purchase.

Users should also make sure they get a warranty when buying an expensive piece of equipment like a rig. The warranty will guarantee that someone will service the item if it breaks. Do not misuse the device or neglect it. Using it incorrectly or not taking proper care of it will void the warranty.

Final Thoughts about CBD Prices

High priced CBD is a tough pill to swallow, but as it becomes more socially acceptable to use it, and innovative technologies make refining it easier and faster, the price will go start going down. What would help with the price, especially in the United States, is some clarification on what the law actually says about buying, selling, and transporting it. This opaqueness drives away investment and prevents more businesses from getting into the market; thus, the price remains high. Until the legal status of CBD is clarified, be careful where you use and take it.

What are your thoughts about the price of CBD? Do you have any ideas about making the refining process more efficient? If you have a strong opinion on why the price is so high, please leave us a comment!


Janet Miller

Janet Miller

Janet is a medical specialist with 10 years of experience as a physician and writing passion. She aims to help people and expand humans mindset. Chat with Janet on Twitter @Janet_Miller_MD or via our contact page.


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