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Why Are Some CBD Products So Expensive and Others So Cheap?

A new report finds a 4718% difference between highest and lowest-priced products.

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

The demand for CBD has gone up exponentially for myriad reasons, including pain, depression, sleep disorders, and anxiety. And it’s not surprising it’s gone up even more since the pandemic started. 

But with that higher use — one study says almost 62% use CBD to treat a medical condition — comes cost disparities between the highest and lowest priced products. Like a 4718% price difference, according to Leafreport. For an emerging market that’s not fully regulated by the FDA, someone has to look into it.

Taking into account what distinguishes the most expensive and cheapest products, where popular brands fall on the price spectrum, and whether these discrepancies have anything to do with product quality, there are some interesting findings. 

RELATED: Liquid Lies? 54 Percent of CBD Drinks Contain Less CBD Than Advertised According To New Study

Overall, CBD prices fell

Of the 137 brands reviewed, a total of 3203 products, data was broken down by price and milligrams of CBD present in the product to create a standardized price point to see which is most cost-effective. One compelling thing found is that while the price of CBD products decreased around 11% over the last year, the most expensive brand is priced more than 4000% higher than the cheapest.

Topicals and creams have decreased in price, and not surprisingly for most pet owners, the highest priced items are CBD pet edibles. 

Why the disparities?

According to CBD industry insiders, price of ingredients, business location, labor costs, cultivation processes, and the prevalence of resellers are all contributing factors. And then there are just bad actors.

“The price of CBD products does not necessarily convey everything you need to know about the product,” Mark Gillian, co-founder of full-spectrum CBD retailer Kyoto Botanicals, told Leafreport. “Some brands will always be cheap because they use the cheapest ingredients they can find and manufacture them in the cheapest way, thus reducing product quality and consistency. Some brands will spend more on R&D and product development to make higher-end products. I like to compare it to orange juice: cheap concentrate-based brands with artificial flavors versus a cold-pressed fresh juice at a juice bar.”

Looking at everything from tinctures to topicals, gummies, and CBD for pets, the overall most expensive products come from Kushly, with Her Highness ranking high in two categories (tinctures and e-liquids).