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CVS, Walgreens and Rite Aid Now Offer Topical CBD Products in Select Stores


Update: On March 27, Walgreens announced it will soon offer CBD creams, patches and sprays in nearly 1,500 of its stores. The cannabis-based products will be available in select stores in Oregon, Colorado, New Mexico, Kentucky, Tennessee, Vermont, South Carolina, Illinois and Indiana. “This product offering is in line with our efforts to provide a wider range of accessible health and wellbeing products and services to best meet the needs and preferences of our customers,” Walgreens spokesman Brian Faith told CNBC. The company has not specified which brands of CBD products it will carry.

On April 11, Rite Aid announced it will also begin selling CBD creams, lotions and lip balms as part of a pilot program in Oregon and Washington.

CVS Pharmacy announced this week that it has begun selling topical CBD products in more than 800 stores across eight states, including Alabama, California, Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland and Tennessee.

Hemp-derived cannabidiol, known as CBD, is a nonpsychoactive ingredient found in cannabis. It’s important to make the distinction between marijuana, which contains CBD as well as THC (the compound that gives you a “high” feeling), and hemp, which contains CBD but very low levels of THC.

According to CVS Health spokesman Mike DeAngelis, CVS is offering topical CBD products including “creams, sprays, roll-ons, lotions and salves.” CVS will not offer any edibles, supplements or food additives containing CBD, as the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not approved the use of CBD in food or beverages on a federal level.

“Anecdotally, we’ve heard from our customers that have used those products that, gee, it’s helped with pain relief for arthritis and other ailments,” explained CVS Health CEO Larry Merlo in a CNBC interview. “We’re going to walk slowly, but we think this is something customers are going to be looking for as part of the health offering.”

Studies have shown that CBD may be helpful in treating a number of health conditions, including chronic pain, anxiety, insomnia, post-traumatic stress disorder, epilepsy, inflammation and cancer. Many have turned to CBD or medical marijuana as an alternative treatment method, especially as public and legal opinion has begun to sway in favor of cannabis in recent years.

Mighty contributor Rehta de Wet, who lives with chronic pain and a rare autoimmune disease, explained:

Cannabis has provided me with relief that doctors were unable to provide. It has kept me calm and it plays a big part in why I am able to be a happy person, despite my health problems. You never know when our roles might be reversed.

Above all else, cannabis has helped me to remain calm during a very difficult time in my life. It allowed me to return to normal.

CVS is partnering with medical cannabis companies to bring products to its stores. Medical and wellness cannabis operator Curaleaf announced its agreement with the drugstore chain on March 20.

To ensure the CBD products are safe, consistent and accurately labeled, CVS is partnering with Eurofins, a third party laboratory. Eurofins will test the CBD topical products for THC, CBD content and other contaminants, spokesman DeAngelis said in a statement to NBC News.

He continued, “We have partnered with CBD product manufacturers that are complying with applicable laws and that meet CVS’s high standards for quality.”

CVS’s introduction of CBD products comes just months after President Trump signed the U.S. Farm Bill into law, officially legalizing hemp nationwide.

Getty Image by jetcityimage