Why Is CBD Expensive?

Following on from our “Not all CD is created equally” post, we often get asked by our customers why CBD is expensive. Here at Focus CBD, along with other reputable companies, no part of our production process has been sacrificed – as we want to be sure what we and our customers are putting into our body is of the highest quality.

In summary – if you are looking for high quality CBD, this is likely to cost a little more than buying it from eBay or elsewhere.

To give you an understanding, we have detailed some of the factors that go into creating CBD below – and why there are always things you should ask / check from your supplier before you buy or use the CBD. As this is a relatively unregulated marketplace, doing your own checks before putting anything into your body is essential.

CO2 versus Ethanol Extraction

The main ways to extract CBD from the hemp plant is to either use supercritical Co2 extraction or ethanol.

Ethanol and solvent (butane, low grade alcohol, etc) extraction is one way to extract the CBD oil from the hemp plant, and although highly flammable, this is safe. However, this process destroys some of the natural waxes and proteins, and you often get unwanted parts of the plant being extracted too such as the chlorophyll (the green pigment found in plants).

Supercritical CO2 extraction is a process where carbon dioxide is put under very high pressure – meaning it is in neither gas nor liquid. The CO2 is then pushed over the hemp plant material in order to draw the oil particles away from the plant – including the terpene oils and trichomes.

Here is a video which gives an overview of how this works within a closed loop CO2 extraction process:

CO2 extraction is the cleanest extraction process; however, you do extract lower quantities compared to other extraction methods.

At Focus CBD, all our products are CO2 extracted as when we went through our procurement process, this stood head and shoulders above the other methods.

Quality of Hemp

Hemp is effectively a weed, it can grow in extremely harsh conditions. This means that it will absorb pretty much anything from the ground it is planted in including heavy metals and pesticides.

We make sure to source our CBD oil from a vertically integrated supplier – meaning that they grow the hemp within the EU and process the CBD in the UK to ensure that no corners are cut when it comes to the quality of the product. Sometimes producers use hemp or cannabis from outside of the EU, and the processes and quality assurances potentially are not the same.

Type of Carrier Oil

CBD oil comes with a variety of ‘carrier oils’ – which basically means the type of oil that the CBD is mixed with.

Popular carrier oils include:

  • Hemp Oil – This is extracted from the hemp seed, making it the most natural
  • MCT Oil – which is oil extracted from coconut
  • Palm Oil – sometimes palm oil is used as the carrier – bad for the planet, so we are not a fan!
  • Olive Oil – this can be used as a carrier oil for CBD – however this kind of oil has larger fat molecules which can slow your body down at absorbing CBD
  • Avocado Oil – lot of good fats and acids – however the most expensive of the oils to use!
  • Grape seed Oil – this oil isn’t greasy – however like olive oil, this consists of longer fat molecules making it not the best carrier

At Focus CBD, we use hemp seed oil as we think this has the best taste and the most benefits. Make sure you double check with your supplier which carrier oil is being used in the product.

3rd Party Testing

Third party testing is the most important process as this checks quantity of CBD, makes sure there is no THC (active ingredient in cannabis that gets you high) and checks for heavy metals and pesticides.

As this is a new industry – 3rd party testing can only be carried out by a handful of facilities in Europe meaning this is very expensive. No company is legally required to 3rd party test, but please don’t spend your money something which has not been tested for the sake of your health.

As the industry grows and matures we will see 3rd party testing costs fall and these savings will be able to be passed back to the consumer.

Early processes, developing quickly

Following on from costs falling, we are likely to see this happen over the next couple of years. As more and more people join the CBD revolution, suppliers and retailers will be able to make economies of scale and these savings will be passed on.

At the same time, we are likely to see more regulation and guidance from the government – which will hopefully strip out some of the lower quality CBD suppliers and retailers in the space at the minute.

Our mantra is to bring the best quality CBD products to as many people as we can, to allow us to become sustainable and continue doing what we love.

Amazon, Holland & Barrett & Others

A final point on buying your CBD online and in retail stores. Amazon technically doesn’t allow people to supply CBD oil on its platform yet – just as Google & Facebook do not allow CBD to be advertised on their platform until the government comes forward with regulatory guidelines.

Sellers on Amazon can claim that ‘hemp oil’ is actually CBD oil, when this is not the case – always check how many milligrams of CBD there are in a bottle.

Holland and Barrett on the other hand, offer extremely low strengths (such as 2.5%) which will have very little impact, and add other ‘emulsifiers’ and ‘stabilisers’ to their oils.


So, CBD oil is quite expensive – we get it. However, from what we can see in the industry – cheaper is definitely not better. Above we list some of the reasons why it is at the price point it is, and things to look out for when purchasing from a retailer.

At Focus CBD we want to bring the best quality products to our customers. If you are thinking about trying CBD, please get in touch and we would be more than happy to answer any other questions you may have.

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