Hello all–Grandpa Martin of Martin Farms here–Jennifer asked me to write up a little info for her site and I was happy to oblige. She has a very respectable selection of CBD products in the store at her studio–as well as online–and I’m grateful for the opportunity to have her offer some of our product in the mix along with so many other outstanding choices.
She’s been carrying some of our raw “flower” since early December, and I was pleased to hear of the apparently very satisfied customers who have tried it. Even at this point, high-quality CBD products still seem to cost an arm and a leg, and I’ll explain the reason why. It’s not all just “prestige pricing” or purely that demand exceeds supply. It’s more that the darned stuff is just expensive to produce, especially if you want to end up with a high-quality all-natural product.
If high-end products are the goal, there are essentially 2 main avenues producers can choose from:
How High -End Industrial Hemp Plants are Produced
- Very small crop, hand-tended, all-natural organic growing methods–which are a super labor intensive proposition.
- Large-scale mechanized production, usually of necessity, including (in some cases) using typical chemical fertilizers and pesticides, the harmful effects of which they remove after harvesting during the processing phase.
Let’s be real, folks–the only way the price will ever come down significantly is via the high-volume, large-scale method.
I doubt that the chemists and pharmaceutical-production types will ever fully agree with the naturopathic practitioners and experts over whether or not you can actually remove absolutely every harmful compound introduced by traditional fertilizer and pesticide use through the introduction of even more chemicals followed by complex filtration and distillation methods. It’s even hotly debated whether or not the human body reacts the same way to the all-natural product as it does the highly-processed variety.
Look–I get it. Most people only have just so much money to spend on this stuff, no matter how good it is. All I know is that in my own experience, it usually takes less of an all-natural product to get the same result as a larger dose of a mass-produced product, let alone a synthetic product. Don’t even get me started on that issue. I’ll write about it another day.
Then you have the aspect that there are hundreds of strains of the cannabis plant, all with slightly different properties. We’re then introducing these products into the human body, which is the most complex organic system that exists. EVERY human body is at least slightly different. Pharmaceutical companies act like a cookie-cutter approach will work, and then set out to “weed a garden with a bulldozer”–and that analogy is only slightly exaggerated. But again, that’s fodder for another article.
I think it’s safe to say that most people would rather have an all-natural product if at all possible, and our goal at Martin Farms is to try and make it possible–and affordable.
So why does CBD cost so much?
Doesn’t Hemp grow in the wild?
Well, yes–it’s a very hardy plant that the government tried unsuccessfully to drive into extinction for 80 years or so, but there are big differences between the wild stuff and the cultivated varieties, especially in terms of concentrations of cannabinoids, which is the whole point when it comes to health benefits.
Let’s just consider high-end organic farmers in general today. When you’re growing cannabis to produce commercial health products, you have to end up with high enough levels of cannabinoids and terpenes to achieve therapeutic effects. That generally requires fertilizing. This requires organic growers to produce natural agents such as compost teas and or mixtures of other organic materials. These types of natural soil supplements can be purchased commercially, but then you’re back to driving up the costs. Water is also an issue. Either too much or too little causes big problems, and it has to be the right amount at the right time for the best results.
Pest control is a huge issue and ads to the cost of CBD.
WIthout the use of pesticides, farmers routinely lose as much as 25% of their potential harvest to insects. Every plant has to be inspected daily and pests removed by hand where possible, as well as removing any diseased material, mold, or mildew. You can easily see where that can be an extremely time consuming process, and reduce harvest size significantly.
The small-volume organic farmer has to harvest the crop by hand, then dry it and cure it under fairly precise conditions–i.e., ~65 degrees and 55% humidity until the plants reach their ideal state. After that, if the goal is smokable flower, the buds must be individually trimmed by hand, another exceedingly tedious procedure. (There are machine trimmers, but they’re only cost-effective for use with huge quantities of flower. Either way it’s expensive. The automated way is just faster.)
Then you have packaging and distribution.
The one way we were able to significantly reduce costs was via packaging. Packaging costs can be excessive–the nicer or fancier it looks, the more of your money is going into the container. When it comes to raw flower, if you just buy it out of a jar on a shelf, it’s degrading every time someone opens the jar to let you smell it or to fish some out to sell.
We opted to provide a separate container for in-store “aroma sampling” while shrink-wrapping the flower you actually take home at precisely 62% humidity, which is the ideal for storing cannabis flower of any type. We don’t suck ALL the “air” out of the package primarily because if you do, the flower essentially looks like it was run over by a truck. Also, we’d be sucking more of the terpenes out than is required just to stabilize the product for long-term storage–i.e., six months to a year. We let the package be clear on one side so that you can see the product, but we recommend you store it in the dark, because light degrades it also. SO, at least in the case of Martin Farms raw flower, you’re paying for the product, not much for the package, and it will maintain freshness prior to opening for the longest possible time.
I hope this shed at least a little light on what goes on behind the scenes and makes the darned stuff cost so much. The batch of our Youngsim 10 CBD flower that Jennifer has for sale turned out to be a very smooth-smoking sample with a predominantly fruity aroma described as maybe a cross between clementine and papaya, of all things (some folks are really good at distinguishing that type of thing–) with an occasional whiff of “skunkiness” thrown in. Folks report an increase in focus as a benefit in addition to the usual anti-inflammatory and other properties.
If (like me,) you’re not a smoker, I don’t recommend you start. But if you are a smoker, this is a good alternative choice. In a future article, ’ll address “vaporizing” the flower instead of smoking it. That’s the best choice for the non-smoker, and one of the fastest and most effective delivery methods for cannabinoids.
Also, we’ve been beta testing a CBD+Turmeric salve since November with phenomenal results. We’ll let you know all about it as soon as it’s available. We’re also working on something for our furry children–canine and feline. It will all be available soon!