- Why Drugstore Giants CVS, Walgreens, and Rite Aid are Cashing In on CBD
- Why Drugstore Chains are Selling CBD
- What Kind of CBD Products Will You Find?
- Where Will CVS, Walgreens, and Rite Aid Sell CBD Products?
- Rite Aid
- What to Expect in the Future?
- Why It Matters That Walgreens and CVS Are Now Selling CBD Oil
- CBD Oil Is Good for Business
- The People Have Spoken, and They Want CBD
- What This Means for the CBD Industry
Why Drugstore Giants CVS, Walgreens, and Rite Aid are Cashing In on CBD
The next time you stroll down the brightly lit aisles of your local CVS, Walgreens, or Rite Aid, you might notice a few product labels sporting a friendly green hemp plant and three bold letters that read: CBD.
As cannabis continues to interject itself into the global health and wellness market, some of the country's largest pharmacy chains have suddenly come down with the contagious CBD fever.
The widespread adoption of cannabidiol (CBD) products by national drugstore chains happened swiftly, almost as if it were synchronized. In the span of a single month, CVS, Walgreens, and Rite Aid all announced that CBD-infused products would be available at select locations.
CVS was the first drugstore franchise to offer CBD-infused creams and salves in mid-March 2019, followed by Walgreens rolling out products in nearly 1,500 stores across nine states in March 28, 2019. Rite Aid trailed close behind its two competitors, as CBD products hit shelves in more than 200 Oregon and Washington storefronts within the following month.
Why Drugstore Chains are Selling CBD
The pharmacy chains' recent decision to start selling CBD-infused products follows the growing number of nationally recognized storefronts offering this non-intoxicating cannabinoid to customers.
The CBD wave has already washed over the shores of many renowned businesses, from the aisles of the organic grocery chain Whole Foods to having its very own product category on Neiman Marcus' website.
So why have CVS, Walgreens, and Rite Aid suddenly all started to succumb to the CBD craze at the same time? A large part of that answer, as per usual in these free-market decisions, appears to be customer demand. Joe Goode, a spokesperson for CVS Health, suggested that the wants and needs of consumers were a compelling reason to enter the CBD market.
“CBD is gaining popularity among consumers, particularly those looking for alternative care products,” Goode said in a statement to Weedmaps News.
Illinois-based Walgreens, the second-largest U.S. drugstore chain with more than 9,500 stores, followed its larger competitor, CVS, into carrying cannabidiol (CBD) products. Walgreens is testing demand in nine states. (Photo by Mike Mozart/Flickr)
Potential revenue ly also played a significant role in the trio's decision to stock CBD-infused goods.
The burgeoning market for CBD products is still largely untapped, but is already growing at a rapid rate, expected to exceed $16 billion by 2025, according to an analysis by Cowen & Co. published on Feb. 25, 2019.
That same report included a consumer survey involving 2,500 participants, which found that 6.9% of adults are already using CBD as a supplement.
Combine that with the potential of the natural and organic personal care products, which was valued at more than $12 billion in 2017 and is expected to reach $29.5 billion by 2028, according to Persistence Market Research, and you've got yourself a perfect recipe for revenue.
What Kind of CBD Products Will You Find?
Aside from offering a diverse spectrum of prescription medication, the drugstore franchises are also known for having expansive aisles stocked with health and wellness products.
Some of the CBD-infused products that these drugstore chains will offer are similar to those that you'd already expect to find – including creams, topicals, ointments, and sprays.
The primary difference is the addition of hemp-derived CBD, an ingredient which is intended to enhance the therapeutic properties of these naturally soothing products.
“Anecdotally, we've heard from our customers that these products have helped with pain relief for arthritis and other ailments, and we believe consumers will be looking for these products as part of their health offering,” Goode said in the statement.
You won't find CBD-infused products in every product of your local CVS, Walgreen, or Rite Aid. Initially, at least, the scope of these CBD products will be limited to health and wellness products. For the time being, these pharmacy chains will not sell CBD products in the form of oils, tinctures, or other ingestibles.
While hemp-derived CBD was legalized under the Farm Bill on Dec. 20, 2018, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has stated that, until regulations are put into place, it's technically illegal to add the non-intoxicating cannabinoid to food, drinks, and dietary supplements.
Where Will CVS, Walgreens, and Rite Aid Sell CBD Products?
If you live in one of the following states where CBD products will be sold, here's what you can expect to find on the shelves of each chain:
Select CVS stores are selling CBD-infused creams, sprays, roll-ons, lotions, and salves. Edibles and supplements will not be stocked in the store.
“We are not selling any CBD-containing supplements or food additives. We are working with CBD product manufacturers that are complying with applicable laws and that meet CVS's high standards for quality,” Goode said in the statement.
CBD products will be sold at CVS Pharmacies in the following eight states, as of April 19, 2019:
In nearly 15,000 Walgreens stores across nine states, shoppers will find CBD patches, sprays, and creams in nine states. “The CBD-related items we are planning to carry are non-THC containing topical creams, patches, and sprays.
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,” a spokesperson from Walgreens said in a statement to Weedmaps News.
Walgreens will offer CBD products in the following nine states, as of April 19, 2019:
CBD products are sold in more than 200 Rite Aid stores in Oregon and Washington as of April 19, 2019.
What to Expect in the Future?
As the FDA develops regulations for CBD and the stigma surrounding cannabis continues to dissipate, the variety CBD products at CVS, Walgreens, and Rite Aid could increase in the near future.
“We're entering slowly into this new category, and continue to actively monitor the regulatory landscape for CBD products and will expand product availability as appropriate and in compliance with applicable laws,” Goode said in a statement.
Despite the measured and restrictive approach that these nationally recognized convenience chains are taking, the recent string of announcements could indicate a lucrative relationship between CBD and these major drugstore chains. While the new products being offered at these drugstore chains are currently limited to select areas, an expansion into more states might follow as the demand for CBD grows.
Feature image: CVS Health, the largest operator of pharmacies in the U.S., with more than 9,800 locations, was the first of the three major U.S. drugstore chains to announce it is carrying products with cannabidiol (CBD). It has rolled out CBD products in eight states. (Photo by Jordan Lomibao via Unsplash)
Why It Matters That Walgreens and CVS Are Now Selling CBD Oil
In the last week, CVS and Walgreens, the nation’s largest pharmacy chains, have announced they will begin selling cannabidiol (CBD) products in select stores. It’s the latest move in the ever-quickening “arms race” between the two retail giants, but it also has larger implications for the fast-growing CBD industry at large.
CBD Oil Is Good for Business
When Walgreens announced that it would be joining its rival in selling CBD products, the move was greeted with enthusiasm by investors. Walgreens stock rose by 0.
45 percent following its announcement, while Curaleaf, the company providing CVS’ new products, saw its market value leap to over $4 billion.
CVS’ own stock took a dip after Walgreens’ announcement, which is ly due to the latter’s larger commitment to CBD.
Walgreens will carry CBD products in nearly 1,500 stores across nine states, while CVS will stock them in only 800 stores across eight states.
According to Fox Business, CVS plans to sell CBD in Alabama, California, Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, and Tennessee. Walgreens will offer similar products in Oregon, Colorado, New Mexico, Kentucky, Tennessee, Vermont, South Carolina, Illinois, and Indiana.
CVS and Walgreens are the latest mega-corporations to jump on the CBD bandwagon, joining brands Coca-Cola and Pepsi in the rush to embrace the popular non-psychoactive cannabis derivative.
They’re the first national drugstore chains to make the leap, giving them a head start over competitors Walmart, the third largest chain, who is yet to introduce CBD into its stores in the United States.
Currently, Walmart offers CBD oil products only in its Canadian retail outlets.
Both CVS and Walgreens are hoping to capitalize on the seemingly insatiable demand for all manner of CBD-infused consumer goods. When the creator of Jelly Belly announced that he had created a new line of CBD jelly beans, his website received so much traffic that he was completely stock within a matter of days.
Even the most lukewarm indication of interest is enough to spur excitement from industry experts (and investors) — when Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson mentioned that his company was “well aware of what’s been happening around CBD,” it provoked a flurry of speculation that the coffee giant would soon be offering its own line of CBD coffees and teas.
According to the Wall Street investment bank Cowen, the retail market for CBD products is projected to hit $16 billion by 2025. Other predictions are even more optimistic: the Brightfield Group estimated that it could reach $22 billion by 2022.
The People Have Spoken, and They Want CBD
The skyrocketing corporate interest in CBD has been driven by a corresponding surge in popular demand, as a Walgreens spokesperson acknowledged when they said that the company’s decision was a response to customers’ desire for “accessible health and wellbeing products and services.” Reading between the lines, the message is clear: as the dangers of conventional pharmaceuticals OxyContin become more obvious (and drug prices continue to increase), ordinary people are searching for alternatives.
Many have already begun to trade their prescription painkillers for medical cannabis, saying that it provides more effective relief of chronic pain, anxiety, and other conditions without the risk of addiction.
In a recent study by researchers from the University of Michigan and University of Buffalo, 42 percent of people surveyed said that they were able to completely stop their use of a prescription medication after using medical cannabis.
Some of the most common reasons for switching included greater effectiveness, fewer side effects, and lower costs.
Big Pharma has never been especially popular in the U.S.
(or elsewhere, for that matter), and its credibility has been further damaged by the ongoing opioid crisis as well as out-of-control drug costs — perhaps the most infamous example being EpiPen, a lifesaving drug whose manufacturers increased the price by 400 percent without changing a single thing about the product. As these types of vital medications become increasingly unaffordable for average Americans, CBD has emerged as an attractive — and much less expensive — alternative.
What This Means for the CBD Industry
Despite all the optimistic predictions of limitless potential for the CBD business, recent events show that there are still some significant growing pains to overcome first. The rapid proliferation of CBD edibles, in particular, has hit a major roadblock recently.
States New York, Ohio, and Maine have cracked down on the sale of such products, citing the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) ruling that ingredients CBD cannot be added to foods or drinks without prior approval from the agency.
When that approval might come is currently unknown.
The lack of FDA regulation has drawn complaints from many in the CBD industry, especially small business owners frustrated by the confusing and inconsistent enforcement of laws by local health inspectors and police departments. Although the 2018 Farm Bill legalized the cultivation and sale of hemp (from which the majority of CBD is extracted) on a national level, a great deal of uncertainty still remains about the legal status of hemp-derived CBD.
The longer this legal limbo continues, the less ly it is that these small businesses will be able to compete with the s of CVS and Walgreens, who will soon be able to flood the market with lower-priced products.
While “mom and pop” establishments often operate on razor-thin margins, depending on clever branding and community goodwill to survive, larger chains have massive reserves of capital that afford them the luxury of time — and the economy of scale.
Thus, while the entry of CVS and Walgreens into the CBD market may appear a good deal for consumers at first glance, serious questions are yet to be answered about the effect this will have on the burgeoning industry.
Will ordinary Americans benefit from the sudden proliferation of high-quality CBD at their favorite drugstores, or are we witnessing the first steps of the monopolization of the sector? Only time will tell, but one thing is for certain: the world will be watching.