2019 looks to be the “breakout year” for US cannabidiol-based products. Changing legislation – hemp’s removal from the Controlled Substances Act in December 2018 – along with growing retailer support, marketer innovation and high consumer demand have combined to make CBD the hottest property in the consumer healthcare market. CVS Pharmacy has announced plans to sell topical CBD products such as creams, sprays, roll-ons and salves in 800 selected stores across eight US states, including Alabama, California, Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland and Tennessee.
More recently, Walgreens announced it was following suit, with plans to sell CBD creams, sprays and patches in almost 1,500 stores across nine states – Oregon, Colorado, New Mexico, Kentucky, Tennessee, Vermont, South Carolina, Illinois and Indiana. “This is in line with our efforts to provide a wider range of accessible health & wellbeing products and services to best meet the needs and preferences of our customers”, said a Walgreens spokesman. Between CVS and Walgreens, CBD-infused topical products will be sold in at least 12 US states, including five where both retailers will be active – see our map below.
Regulatory uncertainty is still an issue though, with the FDA insisting that marketers should not add CBD to food or sell it as a dietary supplement. The American Herbal Products Association has adopted a new Guidance Policy for dietary supplement and food products that contain hemp and hemp-derived cannabidiols to help ensure the industry complies with existing regulations. The policy was developed to encourage industry to be mindful of the federal regulations that apply to these product categories, notwithstanding the FDA’s ongoing review of the status of CBD and potential pathways for its lawful addition to food and dietary supplements.
This uncertainty isn’t completely holding back the market, however, with SPINS data showing that CBD functional ingredient sales in the US natural channel grew to US$40.4mn in the 52 weeks ending 4th November 2018, up from just US$1.2mn two years previously. Given that CBD is now moving out of the natural channel into mainstream retail, the potential for CBD is huge, with the Brightfield Group estimating the US market could be worth US$22bn by 2022.
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