How much does CBD oil cost?
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- How much does CBD oil cost the consumer?
- What are the different types of CBD?
- Is CBD oil lab tested?
- How do you read the labels on CBD?
- Will CBD ever cost less?
Cannabidiol (CBD) oil is one of the hottest wellness trends of 2019, with products popping up in nail salons, spas, big-box retailers, and health stores throughout the U.S.
Though once illegal, the 2018 Farm Bill made industrial hemp,and thus hemp-derived CBD, legal to produce in all 50 states. And now CBD oil is popping up in such unlikely places as Bed, Bath, and Beyond.
But for curious newcomers to CBD, the price might be raising some eyebrows. A 1 ounce, or 30 milliliter, bottle of CBD oil could cost anywhere from $30 to more than $200, leaving many wondering how something so small can cost so much and vary so widely. What accounts for the discrepancies and, perhaps most importantly, how much does CBD oil really cost?
Well, that’s complicated. CBD can be expensive to produce with plenty of added costs and there are multiple formulas available. Plus, the potency of a bottle can greatly affect the price, even if it’s the same size as a cheaper bottle with less CBD overall. Here’s a primer to the different types of CBD and how much you should expect to spend.
How much does CBD oil cost the consumer?
According to Katie Stem of Peak Extracts, a cannabis product manufacturer, CBD as a bulk commodity ranges from $3 to $15 per gram, or a fraction of a cent to 1.5 cents per milligram. This could mean that a 1,000-milligram bottle of CBD tincture could contain $3 to $25 worth of CBD, but that wouldn’t account for production costs, materials, or labor.
Some companies might do all the production work in-house, but many CBD companies turn to “white labeling,” which is when a larger manufacturer makes their products for them. The CBD companies then must market and ship their products. Stem says this can cost around $25,000 to launch, plus a per-unit cost between $2.50 and $12.50.
Full-spectrum, or whole plant CBD, will contain trace amounts of THC and all compounds originally contained in the plant, such as terpenes. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps
“Long story short, the range is so broad, it’s hard to make a general statement about what is a ‘reasonable’ price to pay for a CBD product,” Stem said. “That said, when examining a cost analysis from a production perspective, you look at labor, materials, packaging, labels, potency/purity testing, marketing, and shipping/distribution.
“In most other industries, the labor, materials, and profit are often divided into three equal portions. Given the exposure to this industry with regard to legal, regulatory, and testing standards, it stands to reason that the profit margin must be higher to accommodate potential risk. The markup may be closer to 400% rather than the 40% seen in many other packaged goods.”
There may also be significant markups on the retail side, as cannabis dispensaries are not allowed write-offs on their business expenses per Section 280E of the Internal Revenue Code.
Stem said that when she is personally trying to decide if a CBD product is a good deal, she goes straight to the source material. Is it grown organically? Is it grown domestically? She also looks for readily available certificates of analysis (COA), which must be issued by a licensed laboratory that tests for potency and safety.
Stem said that those products will probably cost at least $50 to $60 per 1,000-milligram bottle, which comes out to 5 cents per milligram or more.
However, for most brands Weedmaps News looked at, 5 cents seemed to be the low end, while the majority cost between 10 to 15 cents per milligram of CBD and rarely exceeded 20 cents per milligram.
A few examples, using prices found in Los Angeles:
- Ignite’s Lavender CBD Drops, 1,000 milligrams of CBD. Priced at $60, or about 6 cents per milligram.
- Topikal CBD’s Sublingual CBD Oil, 1,500 milligrams of CBD. Priced at $140, or about 9 cents per milligram.
- Icon Extracts’ CBD Tincture, 500 milligrams of CBD. Priced at $45, or about 9 cents per milligram.
- Smashed’s Homies Anxiety + CBD Capsules, 400 milligrams of CBD. Priced at $40, or about 10 cents per milligram.
- Ignite’s Lavender CBD Drops, 1,000 milligrams of CBD. Priced at $60, or about 6 cents per milligram.
- El Gallo Star Anise CBD, 500 milligrams of CBD. Priced at $70, or about 14 cents per milligram.
What are the different types of CBD?
CBD can be derived from either hemp or marijuana. Legally speaking, hemp in the United States must contain less than 0.3% THC; it is generally grown for industrial fiber and other uses. Marijuana may have various amounts of CBD and THC and is typically grown for medicinal or recreational purposes. Broadly speaking, whether CBD is extracted from hemp or marijuana, the distinctions aren’t always relevant.
CBD can be derived from either hemp or marijuana. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps
“One thing I always say is that a molecule does not know its mother, so CBD is coming from cannabis or hemp, but it’s the same compound,” said Robby Flannery, Ph.D., CEO of California-based cannabis brand Dr. Robb Farms.
The difference might be more relevant when comparing whole plant CBD, which can be full-spectrum or broad-spectrum, with isolate CBD. The latter results from extracting the CBD compound in its pure form, minus other cannabinoid compounds such as terpenes, which may provide flavors, aromas, or enhanced physiological or cerebral effects.
Full-spectrum, or whole plant CBD, will contain THC and all of the compounds originally contained in the plant, such as terpenes. Broad-spectrum hemp is similar to full spectrum, except that the THC is removed.
An ongoing debate in the CBD oil industry currently focuses on whether THC or other compounds are useful. Researchers have identified a synergistic interaction between the plant’s various compounds known as the ensemble effect or entourage effect. That’s one reason some may seek out full- or broad-spectrum CBD, but there are various reasons why a person might prefer one over the other. If, for instance, you dislike the smell and/or taste of cannabis or want to avoid THC entirely, you might choose to stick to isolate.
Flannery notes that “cannabis tends to be a little more resinous, so the entourage effect and ensemble effect that you would be able to achieve [by] including some of those other cannabinoids is more profound. But if you’re just consuming an isolate product, it does not matter [which plant] it comes from.”
Many medical marijuana and CBD isolate consumers prefer an edible such as a gummy to receive their dose of cannabinoids. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps
Whether you end up purchasing hemp-derived or marijuana-derived CBD might actually depend more on where you live than preference. With the passage of the Farm Bill, hemp-derived CBD is legal throughout the U.S., while cannabis-derived CBD will be available only to consumers in adult-use states or to patients in states that allow medical cannabis. Cannabis-derived CBD is likely to cost a bit more because hemp is less costly to produce.
Is CBD oil lab tested?
Third-party lab testing ensures a product is safe and correctly measured. A licensed lab will make sure a product’s potency is accurate, meaning you’re actually getting the amount of CBD or THC you’re paying for, or alternatively, that the THC content is zero for those who want to avoid any possible intoxicating effects or drug-testing surprises. These tests also will analyze moisture content and screen for pesticides, mold, fungus, and residual solvents — chemicals that may remain after the extraction process.
Third-party lab testing ensures a product is safe and correctly measured. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps
How do you know you’re getting a lab-tested product? If a company lists its certificates of analysis on its website and packaging, shoppers can usually be assured the product has been lab tested.
“If you are a cannabis consumer and you go to a licensed retailer, you are close to 100% certain that all of that product has been tested by a third-party lab and it passed very stringent restrictions and regulations,” Flannery said.
Testing can get pricey, especially in a state such as California, where testing regulations implemented in late 2018 increased costs as much as 40% to 55% for some manufacturers, according to MJBizDaily. Flannery estimated testing can cost a company between $100 and $400 per sample, and they may have to test several samples. Those that produce flower — from which the oil is derived — have to test incrementally, such as every 55 pounds.
“If you’re a large farm, that’s a lot of testing,” Flannery said. “I know some groups who are spending in the seven-figure range on testing on an annual basis.”
All of these costs are shouldered by the manufacturer and ultimately raise the prices overall.
How do you read the labels on CBD?
The label on any CBD product will tell you several important details. Perhaps the most obvious detail is the name of the company, which you may want to research so you can read reviews of the brand (most are available on Weedmaps) or the individual product. Or, you might want to visit the company website’s FAQ page for additional product information.
The label will also tell you how many milligrams of CBD the product contains. This number may be the total amount or how many milligrams are in each serving.
Topicals and oils usually list the total amount of CBD. Balms, lotions, and other topicals are products you’re likely rubbing into your skin and therefore, you might not be concerned about measuring out a particular dosage.
With oils and tinctures that you’ll be ingesting, you may wish to find out how much CBD is in each serving. To do that, you’ll need to determine the milligrams of CBD within the net weight of the product. So, if you have a bottle that contains 30 milliliters (about 1 fluid ounce) of liquid and 500 milligrams of CBD (divide 500 by 30), that’s about 16.6 milligrams per milliliter. It takes about 20 drops per milliliter.
If your product is an edible — chocolate, candy, etc. — or capsule, you may find that the package lists how many milligrams of CBD are in individual items. If a bottle of capsules says that each capsule contains 30 milligrams of CBD and there are 30 capsules in the bottle, that would be 900 total milligrams of CBD.
CBD oil usually comes with a dropper to allow consumers and patients to measure out their dose. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps
If the product contains THC, the label will tell you that as well. It may tell you the ratio of THC to CBD, such as 18:1, which would be a particularly THC-rich product, or 1:1, which would be more balanced.
The package will also specify whether the product contains full-spectrum, whole plant, or isolate CBD, as previously mentioned. And, like any other product, the label will list what else is in it (coconut or medium-chain triglyceride oil derived from coconuts are common carrier oils), where it was made, and how it ought to be stored.
Will CBD ever cost less?
According to Flannery, yes, the price of CBD will come down, but not for a few years. “I think the primary driver behind [the cost] is just the regulatory environment that we’ve lived in for so long has limited the amount of production we can do,” he said.
Flannery noted it takes time to put together the capital expenditures and build out the infrastructure required. A new hemp farm requires a minimum of two months to produce any crop and in many places, the 2018 Farm Bill marked the first time it was legal. Plus, testing regulations are often much stricter when it comes to CBD and cannabis than to similar herbal supplements or oils.
“CBD is never going to be, in my opinion, as cheap as any off-the-shelf pharmaceutical or herbal supplements, but prices are still going to be going down,” Flannery said. That cost savings may come about, he said, when lawmakers begin to understand that cannabis is not, “the devil’s lettuce we were told it was.”
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How Much THC And CBD Will Your Cannabis Plant Have?
How much THC and CBD is your plant going to have? Is there a limit? Let’s take a look inside the cannabis plant to see how genetics determine cannabinoid content, and explore whether or not you can predict a strain’s effects by its THC and CBD values.
When you start your cannabis-growing adventure, there are some things you should keep in mind. Do you have a proper growing environment set up? Are you able to consistently check in on it? Do you know what you want to do with the plant when it’s ready? All these things are important, but perhaps just as important is the question of cannabinoid content.
How much THC and CBD is your plant going to have? Once you figure that out, you might wonder what predictions you can make from there. Even before then, you might be curious about what influences these values in the first place. We’ll be working to answer all those questions today.
How Genetics Influence THC And CBD Ratios
During a cannabis plant’s genetic development, it synthesises both CBDA and THCA (which become CBD and THC when heated) from the same cannabinoid: CBGA. Whether one, the other, or both appear depends on an enzyme that can take one of two forms, which we’ll call A and B, that are encoded by the same gene. Since each plant gets two gene copies, there are only three available options. It’ll either get two of the A-encoding genes, one of each of the A and B encoders, or two B encoders. This distribution determines how much CBDA and THCA will be in the plant.
Those with two A encoders will end up being CBD-dominant with minimal THC levels, such as strains like Solomatic CBD. Strains with one of each will end up with a 1:1 ratio, like Painkiller XL and Dance World. Lastly, plants that get two B encoders become THC-dominant strains. These include many strains we hear about today, such as Royal Gorilla.
Why Strains Have THC And CBD Limits
Today’s plants are packed with more THC than ever before. However, they can only contain so much before they hit an insurmountable peak. This happens because both THC and CBD are derived from the same gene, meaning there are strict limits on the possible ratios of either.
For THC, that limit is around 35% THC by dry weight, with most high-potency strains coming in at 25–30%. The upper limit for CBD, by comparison, is around 20–25%, which you can see in strains like Solomatic CBD, which contains 21% CBD. With strains containing significant amounts of both cannabinoids, the limits are even more nuanced. So, for example, a strain that’s 30% THC and 10% CBD is improbable, as is the reverse.
Predicting Strain Effects From THC And CBD Levels
Once you have an idea of how much THC and CBD will be in your plant, you can start making some guesses as to what the effects will be. Most of us know the effects of THC-dominant strains: increased appetite, decreased energy, heightened senses, laughter, etc. If it’s CBD-dominant, there won’t be any psychoactive effects, and you’ll instead enjoy more sub-perceptual effects. Strains containing both THC and CBD will range in psychoactivity, and are desirable to many users as their effects tend to be more balanced than those containing predominantly THC.
Calculating Cannabinoid Percentage
Thanks to recent advancements in the cannabis industry, we now have several methods of verifying THC and CBD percentages. Each of these methods has its strengths, but perhaps the most popular is high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC). Utilised by over half the industry, this method does not require heating and yields consistently accurate results in comparison to other methods. However, other testing methods have vital applications as well, such as gas chromatography, which can detect volatile hazardous compounds. As such, it’s regularly used in residual solvent screenings.
That being said, the most accessible method, and one that still provides satisfactory results, is thin-layer chromatography (TLC). It usually begins as a glass or plastic sheet containing a thin layer of silica gel, cellulose, or aluminum oxide. A solution containing the cannabis sample is then placed on this “plate”, where a solvent is drawn up via capillary action to separate the components of the solution. From there, samples are ready to be analysed using specialised TLC test kits. It sounds confusing, but it’s actually fairly simple in practice. These kits can be ordered from a variety of sources online.
Another method, supercritical fluid chromatography, utilises CO₂ in its supercritical state, where it demonstrates the efficacy of a liquid and the convenience of a gas. Once all is said and done, the CO₂ is recycled, and potentially hazardous solvents are left out of the picture.
Lastly, if you happen to be in one of our Amsterdam Royal Queen Seeds locations, you can have the potency of your buds tested in our GemmaCert machine for an affordable 8€! It’s non-destructive too, so you don’t even have to worry about losing weed during the test!
How to Calculate the THC and CBD Content in Each Gram of Weed
Most dispensaries, coffeeshops, and seed banks will provide data on their products, letting buyers know how much THC to expect in their flowers based on laboratory figures.
Once you’ve received data from one of the aforementioned outlets, you can use these numbers to throw together a quick equation and figure out how much THC or CBD you’ll be inhaling with each gram.
Let’s say you picked up a gram of your favourite strain while roaming the coffeeshops of Amsterdam. While discussing your options with the budtender, they inform you that this particular strain contains approximately 20% THC.
To get an accurate idea of how much THC you’re about to breathe in, simply fire these simple figures through your head:
- 1 gram = 1000mg
- 1 gram of the strain contains 20% THC
- 20% of 1000mg = 200mg
You can apply the same calculation to CBD figures. The high-CBD strain Solomatic CBD contains 21% CBD and
1% THC. Therefore, each gram offers
10mg of THC and 210mg of CBD.
Of course, several variables come into play that dictate the exact amount of THC/CBD you’ll be consuming. For example, are you leaving your joint burning in the ashtray as you talk philosophy and botany with your smoking buddy? Regardless, the above equation will give you a general indication of how much THC or CBD you’re taking in.
Cannabis plants develop different THC and CBD levels, and there are many scientific factors that determine these concentrations. Find out more inside.