CBD Oil Concentration and Hemp Flower Drying Preferences of U.S. Consumers

Benjamin D. J. Jacobs

Department of Agricultural Economics and Agribusiness, 217 Agriculture Building, Fayetteville, AR, 72701, USA

Michael P. Popp

Department of Agricultural Economics and Agribusiness, 217 Agriculture Building, Fayetteville, AR, 72701, USA

Sunjin Ahn

Department of Agricultural Economics and Agribusiness, 217 Agriculture Building, Fayetteville, AR, 72701, USA

Wim Verbeke

Department of Agricultural Economics, Faculty of Bioscience Engineering, Coupure Links 653, Blok A, Ghent University, Ghent, 9000, Belgium

Brandon R. McFadden

Department of Agricultural Economics and Agribusiness, 217 Agriculture Building, Fayetteville, AR, 72701, USA

Tyler B. Mark

Department of Agricultural Economics at University of Kentucky, 417 Charles E. Barnhart Building, Lexington, KY, 40546-0276, USA

Adam N. Rabinowitz

Department of Agricultural Economics and Rural Sociology, College of Agriculture, Auburn University, Auburn, Alabama, 36849, USA

Benjamin Campbell

Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics at the University of Georgia, 208B Conner Hall, 147 Cedar St., Athens, GA, 30602, USA

DOI: https://doi.org/10.36956/rwae.v5i1.986

Received: 19 November 2023; Received in revised form: 14 March 2024; Accepted: 18 March 2024; Published: 31 March 2024

Copyright © 2024 Benjamin D. J. Jacobs, Michael P. Popp, Sunjin Ahn, Wim Verbeke, Brandon R. McFadden, Tyler B. Mark, Adam N. Rabinowitz, Benjamin Campbell. Published by Nan Yang Academy of Sciences Pte. Ltd.

Creative Commons LicenseThis is an open access article under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International (CC BY-NC 4.0) License.


The method used to dry hemp flowers can impact the concentration of cannabidiol (CBD) and other quality characteristics like mold levels in CBD oil. Understanding consumer preferences is vital for hemp producers and processors because there is variation in drying time, energy use, and capital investment between potential drying methods. This research assesses willingness to pay (WTP) for CBD oil at varying CBD content (mg per 1-oz.(30 mL) bottle) and drying methods to better understand consumer preferences and how consumers make tradeoffs between CBD oil attributes. Specifically, the authors elicit preferences toward drying using: i) controlled ambient conditions (air-drying), ii) infrared radiation (IR), and iii) freeze-drying or lyophilization. Few statistically significant WTP differences between CBD oils, when marketed at average attribute levels, were found for higher or lower CBD concentration or drying method. An exception was respondents 55 years of age or older who had a higher WTP for CBD oil with greater CBD content (2,500 mg) and also preferred the freezedried product over the baseline of a conventionally air-dried product with 1,000 mg of CBD. The lack of distinct preferences among the majority of consumers suggests that producers and processors can choose alternative drying methods based on their cost, time, and energy constraints without risking a WTP penalty. The findings indicate that consumers do not have well-formed preferences for CBD oil as it is a relatively novel product. Yet, the results suggest that consumers may interpret higher prices to reflect higher quality/product safety, thereby offering perceived quality assurance.

Keywords: Cannabidiol (CBD), Hemp flower drying, CBD oil, CBD concentration, Choice experiment


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