Leafreport also found that topical CBD products and edible CBD products are the two categories in which prices range the most.
The price gap between the most expensive and least expensive CBD products may have narrowed slightly between April 2021 and November 2021, but there is still a wide disparity of prices on the market. These findings come from the latest price report from Leafreport.
In the new report, Leafreport analysts state that while market tracking between April 2021 and November 2021 saw the price gap between the most and least expensive CBD products narrow slightly—from 3682% in April 2021 down to 3561% in November 2021—the price gap is still quite high.
The report also found that topical CBD products and edible CBD products are the two categories in which prices range the most.
In the category of topical creams and products, products containing CBD isolate instead of full-spectrum hemp extract tend to be more expensive, said CBD professionals Leafreport interviewed for the report. Leafreport found that the price difference between the cheapest and most expensive topical CBD products increased 11,142% during the April–November time period—a significant increase from April 2021, when the price gap was only 4718%.
The report quotes Laura Fuentes, chief officer of science and innovation at Green Roads CBD, as noting that “Many ‘affordably priced’ topicals are boilerplate blends of CBD, menthol, and some standard skin cream base,” whereas higher-priced options might include more powerful and expensive active ingredients.
In the edibles category, there was a 5100% price difference between the least and most expensive products.
When it comes to edibles, ingredients can also range from pricey to less so. “The significant price fluctuation in CBD topicals and edible products is caused by the number of ingredients involved,” the report quotes Jim Higdon, cofounder and CCO of Cornbread Hemp, saying. “Some brands sacrifice quality with cheap ingredients, leading to products on the bottom end of the price scale.”
In general, he said, edibles like CBD gummies are naturally more vulnerable to price fluctuations because there are so many ingredients in the products, and the price of any of those ingredients could change at any time. “The longer the list of ingredients, the more likely it is to see price fluctuations,” Higdon stated. “For instance, our CBD oils have only two ingredients. But our CBD gummies have 12 ingredients, which are at least 95% organic. It’s these additional ingredients that can cause fluctuations in pricing.”
It’s no secret that CBD products priced extremely low could come from suppliers not paying for the same level of quality or quality control as their competitors. “Companies like Green Roads that spend heavily on top-quality raw materials, independent testing, and other best practices will naturally be more expensive than other brands that skip those steps—and expense—completely,” said Fuentes. “If you review the pricing on all the top players in the industry, the pricing gap isn’t that big because most follow the same production process and have similar costs. The gap starts showing when companies who fly under the radar and don’t follow generally accepted manufacturing procedures turn up with lower prices. Consumers should be wary of pricing that seems too good to be true.”
Further, the report quotes Winston Peki, chief editor of Herbonaut, as cautioning suppliers not to just compare CBD products on price alone. Said Peki: “It’s erroneous to compare the prices of CBD products based on how much CBD you get for a certain price. Other hemp compounds can significantly increase the effectiveness of CBD and possibly also create unique effects through their interactions with CBD.” Production factors like the hemp cultivation process and the part of the hemp plant used, as well as the type of extraction used, all impact a product’s end quality, he added.
For instance, he said, “Paradoxically, isolating CBD from an extract is cheaper than trying to remove all non-beneficial compounds but trying to keep all beneficial compounds inside the extract. If you isolate CBD, you simply filter everything else out. If you want to preserve other cannabinoids and volatile compounds like terpenes, you need a much more sophisticated filtering process that can be more costly.”
The Leafreport also details the price difference for each specific CBD subsegment, including full- and broad-spectrum tinctures, isolate tinctures, gummies, capsules and soft gels, topics and creams, and vapes and e-liquids. It also highlights the names of the highest- and lowest-priced brands.
Overall, the report found that CBD prices decreased very slightly, from $0.122 per mg of CBD in April 2021 to $0.12 per mg of CBD in November 2021. That’s just a 1.96% decrease, the report notes.
Other takeaways from the report were that 1) CBD isolates are the cheapest category, and 2) the price of capsule-form CBD products rose 2.55% during the time frame.
The Leafreport concluded: “Based on our analysis, the CBD market is still overrun by many brands that are delivering subpar products at high prices. However, there are still some standout CBD brands meeting our robust standards for price and quality, and it’s vital to recognize them.”