Quality CBD Doesn't Come Cheap. Here's Why

January 20, 2021

When shopping for CBD, consumers typically consider a number of factors before making their selection, with value for money often front and center. While many CBD greenhorns might think price is a reliable indicator of quality, this isn’t necessarily the case.

Exactly how does one differentiate between a quality purchase and an overpriced hustle?

Let's examine critical aspects in the manufacturing process that justifiably drive up the price of high-end CBD products currently circulating the market.

How Sourcing Impacts Quality

Since CBD is a cannabis or hemp-derived product, company sourcing practices and protocols definitely matter. These are major guarantors of good soil conditions at partnered farms, as well as sound manufacturing standards at production sites — both of which directly affect extract quality.

Countries where cannabis farming is more widely accepted, like Canada, will tend to have more regulations in place for farms to comply with. This ensures quality crops but also translates into higher base costs for farmers, driving up market prices for end-users.

The Relationship Between Product Potency, Type & Price

In the CBD market, there are varying strengths and types of products available. Potency is typically measured by calculating the amount or concentration of CBD per milliliter of a product. Naturally, consumers can expect that the price for quality extra-strength CBD oil would be significantly higher than oils providing less or lower quality CBD concentrations in every drop.

The types of CBD available range from isolates to full-spectrum CBD, depending on the processing method and plant origin. This has implications on possible side effects such as the “Entourage Effect,” which is the process of cannabinoids and terpenoids essentially amplifying each other’s effects via their interactions with the human endocannabinoid system (ECS).

  • CBD Isolate is pure CBD; all other cannabis plant compounds, including cannabinoids and terpenoids, are removed. This is ideal for those who want odorless CBD oils, or to have complete control over their product experience by customizing their own mixture with separately purchased terpenes.

  • Broad-Spectrum CBD is the popular choice among consumers with chronic conditions, since it still contains a wide range of naturally-occurring cannabis compounds with only trace amounts of THC, meaning a “high” is not a side effect of consuming it. Broad-spectrum products are almost always derived from hemp since its natural THC content is required not to exceed 0.3%.

  • Full-Spectrum CBD is the most complete CBD available. Its processing retains all of the naturally occurring cannabinoids, terpenoids, and flavonoids in cannabis — with THC included in many cases. Consumers who prefer full-spectrum CBD typically reside in states where recreational cannabis is legal and prefer to vape rather than smoke.

Extent & Thoroughness of Third-Party Testing

The cannabis industry is still not fully regulated by the FDA, leaving room for hazy quality assurance. Between 2015 and 2020, the FDA has had to send out numerous warning letters to companies whose CBD products did not contain the levels of CBD claimed on their labels.

The job of third-party labs is to verify any claims made on product labels and packaging, including contents and quantities of components within the oil. Testing involves pricey equipment like high-performance liquid chromatographs (HPLCs) as well as pay for the expertise of technicians carrying out the tests. However, the product certification of third-party labs is considered well worth it to top-of-the-line CBD companies.

Related article:  5 Tips On How to Read a CBD Label

It's worth noting that laboratory testing between facilities can vary depending on how well-funded, better staffed, or better-equipped they are. Some will run more tests than others before giving products their stamp of approval, which is where lab reputation comes into play. A company with products certified by state-of-the-art testing facilities can easily justify higher price points in the minds of consumers.

Which CBD Brands Can You Trust?

LeafReport.com - out of Tel Aviv, Israel - is an independent group of doctors, chemicals, and consultants specializing in the CBD and marijuana industries. They’ve conducted some of the most thorough tests on the accuracy and potency of CBD labels.

Based on quality, transparency, value, potency, reputation, and customer service Leaf Report recommended the following brands:

  • Charlotte’s Web
  • Green Roads
  • Endoca

With CBD, You (Mostly) Get What You Pay For

It might be a cliche, but for CBD it’s mostly true. 

You can find high-priced CBD with fantastic marketing on the shelves of any mainstream supplement store, but that doesn’t mean it’s any good.  

Remember to check the brand’s website for testing certificates and lab reports, these should be listed prominently, and should help you avoid the snake oil salesmen. 

And don’t forget: always read the label!