cbd oil for cvs

Over the Counter CBD: Walgreens, CVS, and More…

Over the past few years, the CBD market has exploded. A recent report conducted by the Brightfield Group estimates that the industry will be worth an incredible 23 billion dollars by 2023. Not bad for a substance that was, until recently, largely unheard of. Over the past few decades, research into CBD has revealed that it possesses a wealth of potential benefits.

This research led to the 2018 Farm Bill, which ensured that hemp-derived CBD with a THC content of less than 0.3% can now be legally bought and sold.

Since then, support for the substance has continued to grow exponentially, and new CBD companies are springing up left, right, and center. The public is also becoming more aware of CBD, and a recent Gallup survey found that 39% of Americans believe that it should be available over the counter. However, the situation is not as straightforward as you might think.

Is CBD Available Over the Counter?

CBD products seem to be appearing everywhere. The cannabinoid is available as an oil, capsules, edibles, topicals, and is even being infused into food and beverages. However, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has only approved a single CBD product to date. This product is called Epidiolex, a CBD-based medicine which is currently licensed to treat two rare forms of epilepsy, Dravet syndrome and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome.

Epidiolex is prescription only, meaning that patients cannot access this medicine over the counter. Although many other CBD products can be bought without seeing a physician, these are not approved by the FDA and, therefore, are not subject to such strict regulations.

This lack of regulation poses a significant problem as a lot of the products on offer are of inferior quality.

They may contain more or less CBD than they claim to, as well as potentially being contaminated by pesticides and other harmful chemicals. Our best advice to anyone wanting to buy CBD without a prescription is to find a reputable brand which publishes third-party lab reports on its website. These lab reports will enable you to be sure that your CBD contains exactly what it says it does and nothing more.

Check out our article on the 10 Best CBD Oil Brands to find out more.

Where Can I Buy Over the Counter CBD?

In the past, if you wanted to buy over the counter CBD, you had little choice but to do so online. But, recently, major drug stores such as Walgreens and CVS have joined the party and started stocking CBD in selected stores.

However, these retailers are playing it safe when it comes to the products that they are providing. To better comply with FDA regulations, they have shied away from stocking oral CBD products such as oils, edibles, and infused food and drinks. Instead, they have opted for a range of topical products which can be marketed as skincare or beauty items rather than supplements.

Therefore, you won’t find traditional CBD oil on the shelves of your local Walgreens or CVS.

What you will find is a range of creams, patches, sprays, roll-ons, lotions, and even lip balms. Although these stores are clearly keen to jump on the CBD bandwagon, they are not going to risk upsetting the FDA, a choice that we have to respect.

Over the Counter CBD in Walgreens and CVS

Walgreens and CVS are not taking their decision to stock CBD lightly, and some stores will not be carrying any CBD products at all. At the time of writing, Walgreens has over the counter CBD available in around 1500 stores across nine different states.

You can buy CBD over the counter in Walgreens if you live in:

  • Colorado
  • Illinois
  • Indiana
  • Kentucky
  • Oregon
  • New Mexico
  • South Carolina
  • Tennessee
  • Vermont

CVS is stocking CBD in just 800 of its 9800 stores. You might be able to find over the counter CBD if you live in one of the following states:

  • Alabama
  • California
  • Colorado
  • Illinois
  • Indiana
  • Kentucky
  • Maryland
  • Tennessee

In a press release regarding its decision to start stocking over the counter CBD, a spokesperson from Walgreens said:

“The CBD related items we are planning to carry are non-THC containing topical creams, patches, and sprays. This product offering is in line with our efforts to provide a wider range of accessible health and well being products and services to best meet the needs and preferences of our customers.”

On the surface, this seems like a real plus for the CBD industry. But is it as positive as it seems?

Is CBD Over the Counter Safe?

A large proportion of Americans believe that CBD should be available without a prescription. While almost 40% of the general population are in favor, this figure rose to 61% for people who were familiar with CBD and its uses.

A third of people who are familiar with CBD think that the cannabinoid is very beneficial, and just under half believe it has at least some benefits.

However, there are some risks to consider, too. Apart from the lack of regulation, there is another good reason why over the counter CBD might not be as good an idea as it seems.

CBD is widely regarded as safe. It is non-intoxicating and rarely causes serious side effects. However, the fact is that CBD research is still in its relative infancy, and as it stands, we know very little about its long-term effects.

Some research suggests that using high doses of CBD over long periods could cause liver damage. It is also known to interact with various other medications, meaning that it could make them more potent without you realizing.

Another risk of using CBD involves people shunning conventional treatments in its favor. While in some cases, this is not likely to cause any significant problems, when it comes to life-threatening illnesses, it obviously becomes far riskier.

We strongly advise anybody wanting to use CBD to treat a specific medical condition to speak to their physician first. Doing this is still important, even if you intend to buy your CBD over the counter.

Over the Counter CBD in the UK

Despite over the counter CBD being something of a gray area in the US, it is far more widely available in the UK. Major pharmacy chain Boots (which is, incidentally, owned by Walgreens) and leading health-food store Holland and Barrett are now both stocking several CBD products. Unlike their American counterparts, these stores are also carrying oral CBD, including oils, capsules, and lozenges.

Although the market is no better regulated in the UK than the US, these products can be sold in the UK, providing they do not make any medicinal claims.

While this is great for British shoppers in terms of convenience, it is perhaps less advantageous when you consider the safety concerns listed above. There is a genuine danger that uneducated people could assume that because CBD is available over the counter, it is safe to use in any situation.

As the CBD market continues to grow, there is a greater need than ever to ensure that the public knows the potential risks of taking CBD, as well as the benefits. Although much has been written about the numerous health benefits of taking CBD, there is far less information available about the possible harms.

Read our article on the Side Effects of CBD to learn more.

Over the Counter CBD: Final Thoughts

As more and more CBD companies are emerging, it is no surprise that major drug stores such as Walgreens and CVS have decided to get onboard. However, these stores are playing it safe as far as their product lines go. They will only be stocking topical CBD products, for the time being at least.

Across the Atlantic, retailers have been a little bolder, and it is possible to buy oral CBD over the counter in high street stores such as Boots and Holland and Barrett. Since customers now have the option to simply walk into a shop and purchase CBD, it is more important than ever that the general public is educated about its effects.

If you want to buy CBD over the counter, it is wise to speak to a qualified healthcare professional first. This is even more important if you suffer from a chronic medical condition or take any other medication. It is essential to realize that while CBD has many benefits, it is not a substitute for proper medical care. Have a frank discussion with your physician to determine whether CBD is safe for you.

What Does CVS Health’s CBD Oil Move Mean for the Cannabis Sector?

You’re reading a free article with opinions that may differ from The Motley Fool’s Premium Investing Services. Become a Motley Fool member today to get instant access to our top analyst recommendations, in-depth research, investing resources, and more. Learn More

NYSE: CVS

CVS Health Corporation

By putting the supplement on its shelves, the drugstore chain is making it more accessible and legitimizing it for a wider market.

CVS Health ( CVS -0.59% ) has decided to ease its way onto the cannabis bandwagon: The pharmacy giant will begin selling products containing the hemp-derived and nonpsychoactive compound cannabidiol — aka CBD oil — in eight states where it’s legal. CBD definitely won’t get you high, but whether it will do anything else for you medically beyond providing a potent placebo effect is much less clear.

However, our concern is what it can do for businesses and your portfolio, so in this segment of the Motley Fool Money podcast, host Chris Hill and Fool senior analyst Emily Flippen address that subject. They’ll consider what it will mean for CVS’s business, how it will factor into stock valuations in the already-optimistically priced pot sector, and more.

A full transcript follows the video.

This video was recorded on March 22, 2019.

Chris Hill: Reports this week that CVS Health has started selling cannabis-based products in eight states. These are topical products like lotions and sprays. They’re being sold in Alabama, California, Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, and Tennessee. Emily, you’re one of the advisors on The Motley Fool’s marijuana investing service. Is this a good move by CVS Health?

Emily Flippen: Undoubtedly a good move by CVS Health. This is going to mean great things for those 10 states that have access to these products now through their local CVS stores. It brings much needed legitimacy, I think, to the CBD market in general. So I think it means great things, not just for CVS, not just for Curaleaf, who is the brand of CBD products they will be stocking, but for any producer of CBD, honestly.

What’s really exciting is the fact that CVS is testing this. That means that if there is success in these 10 markets, I think it’s likely that we see this continue to expand. Currently, you can only sell CBD in these types of forms. It’s a pretty new thing. CBD comes from the marijuana plant. Up until December of last year, the passage of the hemp bill, it was actually illegal, because it was part of that same plant. CBD does not get you high like THC does, but the people who use it, many say that it provides some medicinal benefits. Those statements obviously need to be inquired upon, but for the time being, it’s an exciting move in the industry.

But it’s really important not to forget just how overweight this sector is in general. There’s a lot of companies flying high on really high valuations. Curaleaf, the brand that CVS is stocking, for reference, we talked about Levi’s, with a $9 billion valuation. Curaleaf, on the other hand, has a $5 billion valuation on sales of $77 million vs. $5.5 billion for Levi’s.

So, just to give you a perspective about how high that stock is valued. There’s a lot of really strong expectations built into these companies. This is a step in the right direction, but it’s a small step.

CVS Begins Selling CBD Products in 8 States

WOONSOCKET, R.I. — CVS Health Corp. has debuted cannabidiol (CBD) products in select stores in eight states. The products, which include topical creams, sprays, roll-ons, lotions and salves, are available in various CVS stores in Alabama, California, Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland and Tennessee, a spokesperson for the company told CSP Daily News.

CVS is not selling CBD-infused supplements, food additives or edibles, the company said.

“Cannabidiol (CBD) is gaining popularity among consumers,” the spokesperson said. “Anecdotally, we’ve heard from our customers that these products have helped with pain relief for arthritis and other ailments.”

In late 2018, the U.S. Farm Bill essentially legalized products made from hemp that contain CBD oils, so long as they contain less than 0.3% tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the psychoactive chemical in marijuana.

CBD has enjoyed rapid market growth due to its alleged medicinal qualities and the product category is expected to reach $5 billion in sales by 2027, according to CBD research firm New Frontier Data, Washington; however, there are still plenty of questions regarding its safety and legality, causing concern and hesitation among retailers to get involved.

CVS began selling the CBD products in mid-March.

“This is our initial entry into this emerging product category that we think is something consumers are going to be looking for as part of their health care offering,” the CVS spokesperson said. “We’re going to walk slowly into this new category and continue to actively monitor the regulatory landscape for CBD products, and will expand product availability as appropriate and in compliance with applicable laws.”

Woonsocket, R.I.-based CVS Health has nearly 10,000 retail drugstores and more than 1,100 walk-in medical clinics nationwide. The company is a leading pharmacy benefits manager with more than 22 million medical benefit members and 68,000 retail network pharmacies.

ORLANDO, Fla. — Mitch Morrison asked the room of retailers one question as the final panel of this year’s Convenience Retailing University commenced: “How many of you know what CBD is?” Roughly half the room raised their hands.

“Now, how many of you are selling CBD in your stores?” asked Morrison, vice president of retailer relations for Winsight Media, CSP’s parent company. Crickets.

CBD—the nonpsychoactive ingredient in marijuana or hemp—was one of the hottest topics at this year’s event in Orlando, Fla. The final panel, which featured experts in retail and cannabis, offered insights into what the product is, market opportunities, the regulatory landscape and merchandising strategies for convenience stores.

Here’s how retailers can approach CBD and what they can expect in the upcoming months regarding its regulations …

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the agency that crafted last year’s Farm Bill, is making guidelines for various states to cultivate hemp and make it legal, said Rachel Gillette, partner and chair of the cannabis law practice firm Greenspoon Marder LLP, Fort Lauderdale, Fla. This means retailers will have to craft their CBD plan-o-grams around these regulations, especially for CBD edibles, which have been forcibly removed from certain states over the past few months.

“The FDA will come out with a pathway for us to see CBD in foods or as a dietary supplement,” she said. “That would give a lot of states and retailers clarity and cure any confusion.”

These programs are also essential for law enforcement officials, who often ignore or confuse the difference between CBD and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the psychoactive component of cannabis .

“If we have this conversation a year from now, it’ll be a very different legal environment,” she said.

There appears to be a combination of excitement and caution regarding CBD among retailers. Erin Butler, senior category manager for West Des Moines, Iowa-based Kum & Go LC, said that although she hopes the chain is selling CBDs within the next year, it is still a hypothetical situation until the regulations unfold.

“We don’t want to risk any legal ramifications,” she said. “We’re exploring, talking with suppliers and making plan-o-grams for our stores. But we won’t act until we know that we can, legally.”

Although there is no age restriction for CBD yet, many retailers plan to display the product behind the counter like tobacco products. This is exactly how Kum & Go will approach the category, Butler said.

“We’ll have it behind the counter in a display and have educational materials, similar to buying Sudafed at a drugstore,” she said.

Nik Modi, managing director for RBC Capital Markets, New York, compared today’s CBD hype to the early stages of e-cigarettes: people are talking, they’re excited, but they don’t know how to approach it.

The lesson retailers can learn from this comparison is that research is critical, he said. Such research includes diving into the manufacturer’s history, what their products are and if they’re well-capitalized.

“Everyone wants to chase the trend, but there’s no guidance and infrastructure,” he said. “I’d urge everyone to take your time about how you approach the category.”

Gillette concurred, also suggesting retailers question their CBD suppliers on where their products are manufactured, their general production process, and, most importantly, on lab results. Confirming that CBD products don’t contain more than 0.3% THC—the legal limit per product, according to the Farm Bill—goes a long way, she said.

“There are labs that are certified to test CBD, and you’ll want to call and verify those test results,” she said. “Even if you’re unknowingly selling CBD oil that contains more than 0.3% THC, you can be arrested.”

Despite the murky waters, suppliers can still help retailers make CBD distribution a seamless process. Such support includes offering as many educational tools as possible, including pamphlets and brochures, and ensuring their products contain absolutely zero THC, said Floyd Landis, founder of Floyd’s of Leadville, Leadville, Colo.

“Some companies, even if they don’t say it, are selling hemp-derived products with more THC than considered safe,” he said. “The safest thing we can do is remove THC entirely and educate consumers. It’s an unnecessary risk to have any levels of THC at all in these products.”

CBD has been touted as a budding product and surging category for retailers. But is that what it really is? Modi argues that retailers shouldn’t think of CBD as a product or a category, but as an ingredient—and one that will emerge in nearly every area of the store, he said.

“CBD is like nicotine and caffeine: It has functional benefits and will be placed in many products in your stores,” he said. “That’s how this category is going to evolve. Don’t pigeonhole yourself into thinking this is its own category—it’s an ingredient that will arrive in every category.”

Members help make our journalism possible. Become a CSP member today and unlock exclusive benefits, including unlimited access to all of our content. Sign up here.

Want breaking news at your fingertips?

Get today’s need-to-know convenience industry intelligence. Sign up to receive texts from CSP on news and insights that matter to your brand.

Newsletter

The latest from CSP, sent straight to your inbox.