CVS pharmacy, which has more stores in the United States than any other drug store, is now selling CBD products in eight states.
Cannabidiol is a compound found in the hemp plant, which is part of the cannabis family. While related to marijuana, CBD does not have the intoxicating effect that marijuana contains.
CEO Larry Merlo explained in a recent interview that the company decided to offer CBD after hearing from customers about how the product can help relieve severe pain.
Here’s what you need to know.
1. CVS is Selling CBD Lotions & Sprays But Will Not Offer Any Food Products
CVS is selling CBD products in more than 800 stores across Alabama, California, Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, and Tennessee. Customers will find products such as sprays, lotions, creams, and roll-ons.
But don’t expect to walk in and find any edible products. The Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act stipulates that companies may not sell foods or dietary supplements that contain ingredients found in FDA-approved drugs. The FDA explained in a news release in December of 2018:
“It’s unlawful under the FD&C Act to introduce food containing added CBD or THC into interstate commerce, or to market CBD or THC products as, or in, dietary supplements, regardless of whether the substances are hemp-derived. This is because both CBD and THC are active ingredients in FDA-approved drugs and were the subject of substantial clinical investigations before they were marketed as foods or dietary supplements. Under the FD&C Act, it’s illegal to introduce drug ingredients like these into the food supply, or to market them as dietary supplements. This is a requirement that we apply across the board to food products that contain substances that are active ingredients in any drug.”
2. Mayo Clinic: CBD Has Been Studied as a Treatment for Conditions Such as Parkinson’s Disease, Epilepsy & Anxiety
Researchers believe that people using CBD carry a much lower risk of becoming addicted or abusing it, according to the Cleveland Clinic. The argument is that since CBD does not contain THC, the compound that makes a person higher, the risk is dramatically reduced.
CBD has been studied as a treatment for conditions such as schizophrenia, diabetes, multiple sclerosis, anxiety, and Parkinson’s disease, according to the Mayo Clinic. The Food and Drug Administration has approved one medical product called Epidiolex which contains CBD. Epidiolex, a prescription oil is used to treat epilepsy.
Project CBD also states that the product can be used to ease pain from arthritis, skin diseases, Crohn’s, and cardiovascular issues.
The Mayo Clinic also warns of potential side effects such as diarrhea, fatigue and dry mouth.
3. Cannabidiol Does Not Give Users the ‘Stoned’ Feeling For Which Marijuana is Known
Cannabidiol will not make a person feel intoxicated, even though it is a member of the cannabis family. According to Project CBD, cannabidiol is closely related to tetrahydrocannabinol, otherwise known as THC.
THC is the compound in marijuana that makes the user feel “stoned.” By comparison, CBD is non-psychoactive and can even blunt the impact of a THC product depending on how much of it the user had taken.
4. CVS Spokesperson: All of the CBD Products Sold at CVS Will Have Been Tested by a Third-Party Laboratory to Ensure Safety
CEO Larry Merlo told CNBC that the company chose to offer CBD products after receiving feedback from customers who said that CBD helped relieve pain from medical issues. Merlo cautioned that the company would “walk slowly” as they roll out new products. For now, there will not be any CVS-branded CBD products.
CVS Health spokesperson Mike DeAngelis said in a written statement to NBC News that CVS was being vigilant about making sure none of the products sold at the drug store would contain THC or any harmful ingredients. The company is working with a laboratory called Eurofins to test all of the products sold at CVS.
The statement read in part, “We are working only with CBD product manufacturers that are complying with applicable laws and that meet CVS’s high standards for quality. Only products passing these independent tests are offered for sale in our stores.”
5. President Trump Made Hemp Cultivation Legal in December of 2018; The Provision Was Included in the Agriculture Improvement Act
The Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 made industrial hemp legal in the United States. President Trump signed the bill into law in December of 2018.
The law stipulated that hemp would be treated as an agricultural product, as opposed to a controlled substance like marijuana. As referenced higher in this article, it is still illegal for a company to sell food products that contain cannabis; that authority belongs to the Food and Drug Administration and writers made sure to explicitly state that in the law.
The law allows for greater scientific research into more possible uses for hemp. Farmers growing hemp can get crop insurance for the plant now that it is legal. And hemp can be moved across state lines.