One week after CVS said it would start selling products with the cannabis compound CBD in some of its stores, drug-chain Walgreens Boots Alliance said it would sell CBD-based sprays, creams, and patches in 1,500 stores throughout nine states.
The move, first reported by CNBC, will offer cannabis-based products in nine states that have legalized medical marijuana sales : Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, New Mexico, Oregon, Tennessee, South Carolina, and Vermont. Walgreens has not made clear which CBD brands its stores will carry.
CBD is a compound found in cannabis and hemp plants but, unlike THC, does not have psychoactive properties. The Centers for Disease Control says CBD has therapeutic benefits such as relieving anxiety and chronic pain, reducing nausea caused by chemotherapy, and muscle spasms in patients with multiple sclerosis. CBD for medical use is legal in 46 states. CBD derived from hemp rather than marijuana is legal in all states.
“Marijuana has been used to relieve pain, digestive and psychological disorders for more than 3,000 years—but the efficacy, safety and legality of the drug are still widely debated,” Walgreens said on a corporate blog post about medical cannabis. “Research on the health benefits of marijuana is ongoing, but current studies have proven that cannabinoid receptors play an important role in many body processes, including metabolic regulation, cravings, pain, anxiety, bone growth and immune function.”
Last week, Walgreens rival CVS Pharmacy said it’s selling CBD products in 800 stores located in eight states, including Arizona, California, and Colorado. Other well-known brands are introducing CBD-infused products for sale, including CBD jelly beans from the creator of Jelly Belly candies and a possible line of cannabis-infused drinks from beverage giant Coca-Cola.
Walgreens’ stock rose 31 cents a share, or 0.5% to close at $62.23 a share on Wednesday. Shares of CVS Health Group declined $1.34 a share, or 2.4% to $54.05 a share.