The largest pharmacy chain in the country has begun selling cannabidiol (CBD) products in eight states, marking a potentially major development in the growth of the CBD industry.
On March 20, drugstore chain CVS — which has over 9,900 locations worldwide — announced its plans to begin offering tinctures, oils, ointments and supplements with CBD in 800 stores across California, Colorado, Nevada and five other states.
The move by CVS to begin offering CBD products comes on the heels of the legalization of hemp last year. While hemp contains little to no tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the cannabinoid that gives marijuana its psychoactive properties, it does have CBD, which is present in both the hemp and cannabis plants. And while it remains illegal to sell food products laced with CBD, supplements and other over-the-counter treatments using the compound are legal to sell in certain states.
And, with the availability of CBD in now-legal hemp, national retailers can consider selling these products in the jurisdictions where it’s legal without violating federal law. That’s important as even those companies selling cannabis products legally in states like California or Colorado are unable to do things like process credit cards or use banks.
Supplements using CBD have become a popular new remedy for anxiety and some other ailments despite a relative lack of scientific evidence supporting claims it can relieve symptoms for those conditions. The market for CBD oils is projected by certain industry groups to reach $1 billion by 2020.
One of the big winners in the deal is Ceraleaf, the legal cannabis company that is partnering with CVS to sell its products. The news was announced during the company’s earnings call on March 20, and company shares were up 17 percent in trading on March 21 on the Toronto Stock Exchange after already gaining 41 percent on the year.