The United States’ biggest drug store chain, CVS, has just started selling CBD products in branches located in 8 states.
Curaleaf Holdings made the announcement earlier this week. Curaleaf is a cannabis retailer that has a line of cannabis-based topicals, lozenges, and edibles currently being sold in CVS. Curaleaf also has THC cannabis dispensaries operating in 11 states. he good news is that you don’t need a prescription to buy these products, since they are readily available over-the-counter.
“We have partnered with CBD product manufacturers that are complying with applicable laws and that meet CVS’ high standards for quality,” said a CVS rep to Marketwatch via email. The states selling CBD products in CVS include California, Colorado, Alabama, Indiana, Illinois, Maryland, Kentucky, and Tennessee.
According to Curaleaf executives, CVS will eventually be carrying their products in 800 shops across 10 states. “We’re going to walk slowly, but this will be something we thik our customers will be looking for,” Larry Merlo, CVS Health CEO, told CNBC.
“We are carrying hemp-derived CBD products in select states to help meet consumer demands for alternative care options,” adds Mike DeAngelis, CVS Health Spokesperson.
Although smaller, independent health shops have been offering hemp-based CBD products for some time now, CVS is the first drug-store chain to place CBD products on their shelves. The news comes despite the fact that the DEA still considers cannabis and CBD a Schedule 1 drug, which makes it illegal in their eyes.
Effectiveness claims will be different in each product, although CVS has no intentions of marketing any of them as a “cure all”. However, they made it clear that they wouldn’t be selling CBD-based supplements nor will they be offering food additives. The Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act says that it’s still illegal to add CBD into food and drink items, or make them into dietary supplements. “Selling unapproved products with unsubstantiated therapeutic claims is not only a violation of the law, but also can put patients at risk, as these products have not been proven to be safe or effective,” FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb said last December.
This is why CVS will be marketing the CBD products as over-the-counter medications with a dedicated display.
California-based Medterra, a CBD brand, is also going to be selling their products in Curaleaf. Medterra is among the first CBD company to sell in CVS; they will be selling a topical cooling balm that is made from CBD as well as other ingredients. Medterra’s hemp-based CBD products come from hemp cultivated in Kentucky. They also make gel caps, isolates, and tinctures.
“This is a decision that CVS has taken seriously,” said Medterra CEO, Jay Hartenbach to Adweek. ”They really looked for industry leaders to be on the front lines with their rollout and I think for them, it really mattered that they not carry the wrong CBD.” Medterra products will be located on the store’s end caps for better visibility.