Post date: 3/28/2019

It’s a move that seems destined to help catapult cannabidiol (CBD) into the wellness mainstream: retail pharmacy giants CVS and Walgreens are adding CBD products to their store shelves.

CVS says it is now selling CBD topicals at stores in California, Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland and Tennessee. CVS officials have told news outlets that the company will be selling CBD salves, lotions, creams and sprays produced by several manufacturers. But the pharmacy chain will not be selling any supplements or food additives containing CBD.

One manufacturer of CBD products, Curaleaf Holdings Inc., announced in a recent call with investors that it has an agreement to stock 800 CVS stores in the U.S. with its products. CVS operates nearly 10,000 stores worldwide.

“We’ve heard from our customers who use CBD products that it helps with pain relief associated with arthritis and for other ailments,” Larry Merlo, President and CEO of CVS Health, said in a March 21 interview with CNBC’s Jim Cramer.

Walgreens announced its decision to sell CBD products in a March interview with CNBC. The pharmacy chain said it plans to begin stocking CBD creams, patches and sprays in 1,500 stores across 9 states: Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Oregon, Colorado, New Mexico, Kentucky, South Carolina and Tennessee. “This product offering is in line with our efforts to provide a wider range of accessible health and wellbeing products and services,” a spokesman told CNBC.

CBD, which can be found in both hemp and marijuana plants, has gained notoriety in recent years for its health benefits, including relief from pain and the effects of epilepsy and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The 2018 Farm Bill removed hemp from the list of federally-prohibited drugs under the 1970 Controlled Substances Act, opening up a massive market opportunity for hemp-derived CBD products.

CNBC’s Cramer is keen on CBD products and companies manufacturing these products. “I think CBD is going to take the country by storm because it works,” he told viewers following the interview with Merlo. He said he sees it emerging as an alternative to riskier health regimes, like opioids for pain relief.  “CBD is a healthier product,” said Cramer.

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