However, demand is only one component of CBD pricing. Since the passage of the 2018 farm bill, more hemp suppliers and competing brands have come online, leading to a greater abundance of supply.
“What surprised us most was that 70% of brands lowered their prices in 2020,” Lital Shafir, head of products at Leafreport, said. “This is great news for consumers but reflects the heat of competition that many brands are feeling as more and more players enter the CBD market.”
On average, CBD products declined in price by 17%, from an average of 15 cents per mg to 13 cents.
The study also found a price gap of 5,222% on a per-milligram basis, between the most and least expensive products. The least expensive product in their analysis cost 3.2 cents per milligram, with the most expensive product listed at $1.69 per milligram.
However, price alone doesn’t communicate the quality of any given CBD product, they warned. “A higher price does not necessarily mean you’re getting a better quality product,” Shafir said. “The CBD market is unregulated so products are not being tested for safety, efficacy, or potency, so it’s somewhat of a roll of the dice for consumers.” A previous study by Leafreport indicated that numerous product labels were not reliably indicating quality and potency for consumers. Leafreport identified a number of marketing materials consumers ought to use to determine quality that go beyond pricing, which include third-party certifications on testing, organic quality, and more.
While CBD edibles, by and large, saw declines across a majority of categories, CBD edibles intended for pets increased 44% in 2020 compared to last year, from an average of 16 cents per mg, to an average of 23 cents. The isolates family of CBD products, on the other hand, was ranked as the cheapest, costing approximately 87.5% less than pet products.
“This is the fastest growing segment of the CBD market,” Shafir said. “For years, people have been spending dollars on their pets and many have found real relief with CBD products.”
The report also highlighted the price differences seen across a number of CBD delivery formats, including full, broad, and isolate tinctures, gummies, soft gels, vapes, and pure isolates. The differences in costs of manufacturing are another major reason why the market value of CBD in its many forms is much less straightforward than other products. Even more specifically, the type of extract used – CBD isolate, broad spectrum, or full spectrum – affects the pricing further, as each type of extract has a different associated cost, and is more or less difficult to incorporate into certain delivery methods.
In addition to breaking down product pricing by the types of extracts, and types of delivery formats, Leafreport further broke down CBD pricing dependent upon brands, ranking dozens of current companies as either bargain grade, market grade, or pricey grade.