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Why is CBD oil so expensive?

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CBD oil has been, without question, the world’s hottest herbal supplement over the past few years. You can find research supporting the possibility that CBD could be helpful for an enormous variety of different conditions, and as a result, people are trying it for just about everything. One factor, though, might have made the adoption of CBD a bit slower than it could be. That factor is cost. A variety of risks and challenges have helped to make CBD one of the most expensive supplements on the market, and this article will explain why CBD oil costs as much as it does.

Before we explain why CBD oil is so expensive, though, let’s discuss something that’s a bit more actionable for you as a CBD buyer. What can you do to save money on CBD right now?

How to Buy CBD Oil More Affordably

As expensive as CBD oil may be, one bit of good news is that it has decreased greatly in price during 2020. Two of the factors that have helped to make CBD so expensive – shortages in both the materials needed to make CBD oil and in the companies needed to process those materials – were alleviated a little this year.

In addition, brands such as Crescent Canna have spearheaded a movement toward making CBD oil more affordable for consumers by developing higher-potency CBD oils that have driven down costs per milligram. Crescent Canna recently established a record by developing a CBD oil containing 9,000 mg of CBD in a one-ounce bottle. It’s the strongest CBD oil on the market, thus also making it the most affordable CBD oil on the market on a price-per-milligram basis. Buying the strongest CBD oil possible is always the best way to save money on CBD.

So, why is CBD oil so expensive?

Industrial Hemp Is an Expensive Crop to Grow

As you’re likely already aware, CBD oil isn’t a product that’s synthesized in a lab. It’s a natural compound that occurs in hemp – so, before you can make CBD oil, you need lots of hemp. The CBD oil industry exploded so quickly that, for several years, there wasn’t enough hemp available to produce the volume of CBD oil that consumers wanted.

The 2018 United States Farm Bill legalized industrial hemp as a cash crop nationwide, removing a legal stumbling block that had prevented farmers in many states from growing the crop.

Many of those farmers quickly learned, though, that growing hemp is not an easy path to riches. Here are just a few of the reasons why it’s so difficult to cultivate hemp for its CBD content.

  • Farmers only want female hemp plants that are high in CBD content and below the federally mandated THC limit. Seeds for hemp plants fitting those qualifications can cost up to $2.00 each – and some farmers have paid thousands of dollars for seeds only to discover that the resulting plants were half male or didn’t have the required cannabinoid content. If the seeds aren’t right, the resulting crop can be essentially worthless. By the time the farmer realizes that seed fraud has occurred, the seller will have disappeared.
  • If you grow hemp for its CBD content, you need to give the plants room to develop cannabinoid-rich flower buds. You need to devote plenty of room to the crop, thus potentially taking acreage away from other cash crops.
  • Growing hemp requires careful management of weeds, pests, fungus and irrigation. No one wants industrial pesticides and fungicides in their CBD oil, so much of the cultivation work has to be done by hand.
  • Hemp is a tough and fibrous plant that can’t be harvested mechanically if you want to preserve the quality of the CBD-rich buds. When it’s time to harvest CBD hemp, farmers typically need to deploy armies of temporary helpers armed with shears. Hiring extra help is always expensive.
  • Once the hemp buds are harvested, they need to be dried before they’re ready for processing. Moisture levels need to be controlled carefully during the drying process. Otherwise, mold contamination can render the crop worthless.
  • Once all of the work is done, hemp farmers expect to be paid well for their crops. As of 2019, CBD hemp was worth around $50,000 per acre. Finding buyers, however, isn’t always easy. You’ll learn why shortly.

The Industry Needs More Hemp Processors

Hemp can’t become CBD oil until the plant biomass is put through an extraction process. The most popular extraction method uses pressurized carbon dioxide, and the equipment necessary to perform CO2 extraction ranges in cost from tens of thousands to hundreds of thousands of dollars depending on the capacity of the equipment. To enter the hemp processing industry, a company requires significant investment capital. The hemp industry is booming, and many investors have come forward with that capital – but there still aren’t enough hemp processors to go around.

Many farmers have found themselves out of luck at harvest time when demand never materialized for their crops. In fact, an inability to find buyers has caused some farmers not to renew their licenses to grow hemp this year. While there are definitely more hemp processors in the United States in 2020 than there were in 2018 and 2019, there still aren’t enough companies to process all of the hemp that’s being grown. Until supply and demand equalize, hemp processing will remain a bottleneck that keeps CBD oil prices high.

The CBD Industry Is a Risky One

As you’ve learned from reading this article, it is possible in 2020 to get a great deal on CBD oil if you buy the highest-potency product you can find. It’s a little like saving money by buying products in bulk at a big-box store. It’s also likely that CBD oil prices across the board will continue to go down in the future as the industry continues to resolve its supply chain issues. In the meantime, though, the CBD industry will remain a field in which the risks are extremely high. At every stage, potential problems threaten to render entire crops worthless – and growers, processors and sellers all expect to be compensated for shouldering that risk.

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