How Does The Price Of CBD Differ Around The Globe?
The cannabis industry has expanded into an ever-increasing range of medicinal products, primarily due to the therapeutic effects of cannabidiol (CBD).
CBD is one of the primary active cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant which has been shown to help ameliorate symptoms of a wide range of conditions ranging from headaches, chronic inflammation, pain, and anxiety.
As a non-psychoactive cannabinoid, CBD does not alter one’s state of consciousness which is why it is increasingly becoming more widespread and accepted in a number of countries around the globe as a genuine medicinal compound.
But how do CBD prices differ across the globe and more interestingly, why?
The increasing global marketplace of CBD
The combination of contemporary scientific research and anecdotes shows us the incredible potential of CBD as a treatment for a wide range of medical conditions.
A 2018 report by the World Health Organization (WHO) showed that CBD treatment may help to relieve symptoms of Alzheimer’s Disease, Parkinson’s Disease, Multiple Sclerosis, chronic pain, anxiety, and depression.
This medicinal potential of CBD is certainly hitting a nerve with consumers, with Forbes reporting that the CBD market could be worth $16 billion by 2025.
CBD products come in many forms such as oils, tinctures, edibles, and topical creams.
Cannabis-derived CBD vs hemp-derived CBD
CBD itself can either be derived from cannabis – which yields a high CBD percentage – or it can also be derived from hemp.
Hemp-derived CBD is legal in more countries as it contains zero THC.
However, hemp-derived CBD is typically less potent than cannabis-derived products, hence the popularity of cannabis-derived CBD.
Research shows that the higher the CBD percentage the better this is for therapeutic treatment. Cannabis-derived CBD products which contain less than 0.2% THC are legal in some countries and states within the US.
The prescription or exemption of cannabis-derived CBD in countries with stronger regulations such as New Zealand are dictated by the specific condition being treated.
For example, in countries such as New Zealand with more strict regulations than the US or Canada, people suffering from more severe conditions such as cancer have a higher chance of being able to access cannabis-derived CBD compared to someone with an anxiety disorder.
The price of CBD products can vary within a single marketplace, and one primary reason for this variance is the cost difference in producing hemp vs cannabis CBD.
The cannabis flower is usually two to four times more expensive than hemp because of the difference in potency between cannabis and hemp derived CBD products.
Due to this difference and potency as well as excessive bureaucracy in some countries, hemp-derived CBD is much cheaper.
Just how much do CBD prices vary around the world?
In the United States, thanks to the 2018 Farm Bill, hemp derived CBD is legal in all 50 states, with many allowing cannabis-derived CBD.
CBD oils, which are one of the most popular products, fall between 5 and 10 cents per mg for low range prices and higher end oils cost 16 cents per mg or higher.
Considering the current price of gold is roughly 4 cents per mg, CBD oil is an extremely pricey product.
So, what makes CBD products so expensive?
Isolating CBD from cannabis and hemp involves a lengthy process of extraction and purification. Cannabis or hemp is hit with low-pressure, low-temperature carbon dioxide which works its way through the cell walls of the plant, taking the CBD with it.
The CBD is then separated and purified, often undergoing a further process known as winterization.
Winterization separates unwanted additional components from the CBD, such as plant material and excess THC.
Due to this extensive process and as well as the fact that CBD is a relatively new product to the market, prices tend to be high.
What about CBD prices in the UK, Europe, and Canada?
CBD containing no more than 0.2% THC and provided it is derived from an EU-approved hemp strain, is legal in the UK. Cannabis-derived medicines are allowed to be used only under specialist clinician prescriptions. Provacan is one of the largest UK providers of CBD products. Provacan’s 1200mg bottle of CBD oil works out to £0.058 per milligram or roughly 7 cents per milligram in USD. This price is over half of some higher end US CBD oils and falls within some of the cheapest US prices.
Over in Canada, we see relatively high prices for CBD oil. Average rates seem to be around 10 cents per milligram, which compared to the lower prices seen in the US and UK is relatively expensive.
What could be causing such high prices in a country that has legalized cannabis?
Cannabis-related products are notorious for their legal complexity, and Canada is no exception to this.
Even though recreational cannabis was legalized in 2018, CBD is still strictly regulated and only licensed producers and retailers can grow, manufacture and sell the product.
Once the proliferation of CBD products increases, consumers should see a reduction in cost as competition and supply increases.
With the global movement towards legalizing cannabis, it seems Australia and New Zealand will follow in the footsteps of the US and Canada.
While medical cannabis is legal federally, there are intense regulations surrounding it.
CBD products are only available via prescription through an authorized doctor.
On average the price for CBD oil in Australia is 21 cents per milligram. This extremely high price is largely driven by tight regulations, an early stage market, and pharmacy markups. Some pharmacies have been found to increase prices by 140%, with the common reason for these markups being the additional handling and paperwork costs required for the prescription of CBD.
Why do CBD prices around the world vary?
One clear reason for a variance in global prices seems to be strict or confused regulation around CBD legality.
In certain US states and the UK where CBD is clearly known to be legal (provided the product contains less than 0.2%), there is a clear and established marketplace where competition and ease of access results in cheaper CBD prices.
However, in countries such as Canada where CBD is highly regulated despite legal recreational cannabis use, companies are restricted in their ability to sell, and consumers are more confused as to where/if they are legally allowed to purchase CBD.
As such, demand and competition doesn’t grow and prices stay high. Australia and New Zealand also have strict regulations, increasing the price of CBD, but they also have a young marketplace as well as higher import costs.
With more countries moving towards a more relaxed regulation of CBD, we should see a greater proliferation of cheaper CBD-based products.
Combined with the ever growing online marketplaces of better-established cannabis industries such as in the US, this price decrease should come swiftly.
But as with most products, and especially medical ones, prices of CBD will most likely continue to vary around the world.