Walgreens to stock CBD patches and sprays following CVS announcement

Walgreens will sell the CBD products inside 1,500 stores scattered across nine U.S. states

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Walgreens to stock CBD patches and sprays following CVS announcement

Bethan Rose Jenkins, Cannabis News Writer/Editorial

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Just a week after drugstore chain CVS revealed its plans to stock products containing cannabidiol (CBD), Walgreens has announced that it plans on doing the same, only on a much larger scale.

Walgreens will stock CBD creams, sprays and patches in almost 1,500 of its stores in select states.

The pharmacy store chain – which is the biggest in the United States – plans to sell cannabinoid-containing topical products in the following locations:

  • Oregon
  • Colorado
  • New Mexico
  • Kentucky
  • Tennessee
  • Vermont
  • South Carolina
  • Illinois
  • 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,” wrote Walgreens spokesman Brian Faith in an email to CNBC.

In early March, competitor drugstore chain CVS introduced a selection of CBD-based topical products, such as balms, creams and salves, in 800 of its stores spread across eight states. Shortly after CVS announced it would be stocking up on CBD products as part of the deal with Curaleaf Holdings, company shares climbed briefly.

More retailers are likely to follow suit, what with the non-psychoactive cannabis compound CBD fast emerging as a must-have ingredient in consumer products.

The cannabinoid has been praised for its ability to relieve the symptoms of a broad scope of medical ailments and conditions, including chronic pain, opioid abuse, anxiety, Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease, among many others.

Consumers are becoming increasingly interested in the cannabinoid and thanks to the recent passing of the Farm Bill, hemp-derived CBD is now legal. However, the FDA affirms that companies are not yet legally allowed to sell CBD as a dietary supplement, nor are they allowed to add it to food.

Regulatory uncertainty has deterred companies from stepping into the edible CBD space. On the other hand, for companies that are interested in selling CBD-infused skincare and beauty products, the market presents plenty of opportunities.  

“The floodgates are opening right now for CBD products,” wrote the Managing Director for analytics firm Brightfield Group, Bethany Gomez, in an email. “Since the Farm Bill passed, we have been seeing smaller and mid-sized chains begin listing the products, but the announcements from CVS and Walgreens are seen as a tipping point.”

“Topicals are viewed as a lower risk than ingestible products, and [may] quickly overtake tinctures as the dominant CBD product type,” she added, in relation to CVS’ decision to stock CBD topicals, as opposed to oral supplements.

Not everyone is so thrilled with the idea of CBD products being widely available to U.S. citizens. On Wednesday, FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb raised his concerns about CVS and Walgreens selling CBD products to lawmakers.

Walgreens has not yet divulged the names of the CBD brands it will carry inside its stores.