Epic 404 – Article Not Found This is embarassing. We can’t find what you were looking for. Whatever you were looking for was not found, but maybe try looking again or search using the form Is CBD available over the counter? The answer isn't as simple as you think. If you're wondering where to buy CBD oil, we run you past your options. You may have begun to notice that CBD use is becoming increasingly common. In fact, you may even be part of the rapidly growing number of people who are improving their lives through CBD oil. Although it is still being tested and has yet to be approved by the FDA, select states are now even selling CBD products in larg
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Over the Counter CBD: Walgreens, CVS, and More…
Over the past few years, the CBD market has exploded. A recent report conducted by the Brightfield Group estimates that the industry will be worth an incredible 23 billion dollars by 2023. Not bad for a substance that was, until recently, largely unheard of. Over the past few decades, research into CBD has revealed that it possesses a wealth of potential benefits.
This research led to the 2018 Farm Bill, which ensured that hemp-derived CBD with a THC content of less than 0.3% can now be legally bought and sold.
Since then, support for the substance has continued to grow exponentially, and new CBD companies are springing up left, right, and center. The public is also becoming more aware of CBD, and a recent Gallup survey found that 39% of Americans believe that it should be available over the counter. However, the situation is not as straightforward as you might think.
Is CBD Available Over the Counter?
CBD products seem to be appearing everywhere. The cannabinoid is available as an oil, capsules, edibles, topicals, and is even being infused into food and beverages. However, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has only approved a single CBD product to date. This product is called Epidiolex, a CBD-based medicine which is currently licensed to treat two rare forms of epilepsy, Dravet syndrome and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome.
Epidiolex is prescription only, meaning that patients cannot access this medicine over the counter. Although many other CBD products can be bought without seeing a physician, these are not approved by the FDA and, therefore, are not subject to such strict regulations.
This lack of regulation poses a significant problem as a lot of the products on offer are of inferior quality.
They may contain more or less CBD than they claim to, as well as potentially being contaminated by pesticides and other harmful chemicals. Our best advice to anyone wanting to buy CBD without a prescription is to find a reputable brand which publishes third-party lab reports on its website. These lab reports will enable you to be sure that your CBD contains exactly what it says it does and nothing more.
Check out our article on the 10 Best CBD Oil Brands to find out more.
Where Can I Buy Over the Counter CBD?
In the past, if you wanted to buy over the counter CBD, you had little choice but to do so online. But, recently, major drug stores such as Walgreens and CVS have joined the party and started stocking CBD in selected stores.
However, these retailers are playing it safe when it comes to the products that they are providing. To better comply with FDA regulations, they have shied away from stocking oral CBD products such as oils, edibles, and infused food and drinks. Instead, they have opted for a range of topical products which can be marketed as skincare or beauty items rather than supplements.
Therefore, you won’t find traditional CBD oil on the shelves of your local Walgreens or CVS.
What you will find is a range of creams, patches, sprays, roll-ons, lotions, and even lip balms. Although these stores are clearly keen to jump on the CBD bandwagon, they are not going to risk upsetting the FDA, a choice that we have to respect.
Over the Counter CBD in Walgreens and CVS
Walgreens and CVS are not taking their decision to stock CBD lightly, and some stores will not be carrying any CBD products at all. At the time of writing, Walgreens has over the counter CBD available in around 1500 stores across nine different states.
You can buy CBD over the counter in Walgreens if you live in:
- New Mexico
- South Carolina
CVS is stocking CBD in just 800 of its 9800 stores. You might be able to find over the counter CBD if you live in one of the following states:
In a press release regarding its decision to start stocking over the counter CBD, a spokesperson from Walgreens said:
“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 well being products and services to best meet the needs and preferences of our customers.”
On the surface, this seems like a real plus for the CBD industry. But is it as positive as it seems?
Is CBD Over the Counter Safe?
A large proportion of Americans believe that CBD should be available without a prescription. While almost 40% of the general population are in favor, this figure rose to 61% for people who were familiar with CBD and its uses.
A third of people who are familiar with CBD think that the cannabinoid is very beneficial, and just under half believe it has at least some benefits.
However, there are some risks to consider, too. Apart from the lack of regulation, there is another good reason why over the counter CBD might not be as good an idea as it seems.
CBD is widely regarded as safe. It is non-intoxicating and rarely causes serious side effects. However, the fact is that CBD research is still in its relative infancy, and as it stands, we know very little about its long-term effects.
Some research suggests that using high doses of CBD over long periods could cause liver damage. It is also known to interact with various other medications, meaning that it could make them more potent without you realizing.
Another risk of using CBD involves people shunning conventional treatments in its favor. While in some cases, this is not likely to cause any significant problems, when it comes to life-threatening illnesses, it obviously becomes far riskier.
We strongly advise anybody wanting to use CBD to treat a specific medical condition to speak to their physician first. Doing this is still important, even if you intend to buy your CBD over the counter.
Over the Counter CBD in the UK
Despite over the counter CBD being something of a gray area in the US, it is far more widely available in the UK. Major pharmacy chain Boots (which is, incidentally, owned by Walgreens) and leading health-food store Holland and Barrett are now both stocking several CBD products. Unlike their American counterparts, these stores are also carrying oral CBD, including oils, capsules, and lozenges.
Although the market is no better regulated in the UK than the US, these products can be sold in the UK, providing they do not make any medicinal claims.
While this is great for British shoppers in terms of convenience, it is perhaps less advantageous when you consider the safety concerns listed above. There is a genuine danger that uneducated people could assume that because CBD is available over the counter, it is safe to use in any situation.
As the CBD market continues to grow, there is a greater need than ever to ensure that the public knows the potential risks of taking CBD, as well as the benefits. Although much has been written about the numerous health benefits of taking CBD, there is far less information available about the possible harms.
Read our article on the Side Effects of CBD to learn more.
Over the Counter CBD: Final Thoughts
As more and more CBD companies are emerging, it is no surprise that major drug stores such as Walgreens and CVS have decided to get onboard. However, these stores are playing it safe as far as their product lines go. They will only be stocking topical CBD products, for the time being at least.
Across the Atlantic, retailers have been a little bolder, and it is possible to buy oral CBD over the counter in high street stores such as Boots and Holland and Barrett. Since customers now have the option to simply walk into a shop and purchase CBD, it is more important than ever that the general public is educated about its effects.
If you want to buy CBD over the counter, it is wise to speak to a qualified healthcare professional first. This is even more important if you suffer from a chronic medical condition or take any other medication. It is essential to realize that while CBD has many benefits, it is not a substitute for proper medical care. Have a frank discussion with your physician to determine whether CBD is safe for you.
Which CBD Products Are Sold at Walgreens?
You may have begun to notice that CBD use is becoming increasingly common. In fact, you may even be part of the rapidly growing number of people who are improving their lives through CBD oil. Although it is still being tested and has yet to be approved by the FDA, select states are now even selling CBD products in large retail stores like Walgreens.
Without the FDA’s approval, the legalities and definitions surrounding CBD oil remain murky and are subject to change. For this reason, only topical CBD products can currently be found at most drugstores. However, the variety of topical oils is expansive and remains a significant step towards normalizing CBD and making it readily available to everyone.
In 2019, Walgreens followed the lead of competitor CVS and began selling topical CBD products in select states, including the following:
- New Mexico
- South Carolina
- West Virginia
As the CBD market continues to evolve, there may be some confusion about the various types of products available and what their different labels mean. We’ve put together this guide to help you understand exactly what products are currently being sold at Walgreens stores across the country.
About the CBD Products Sold at Walgreens
The difference between topical and oral CBD lies in how they are absorbed by the body. Oral CBD products have a high bioavailability, meaning they can easily be absorbed into the bloodstream. This is the same form of absorption as occurs with food, drink, and medication, and should for that reason be regulated by the FDA.
Topical CBD, on the other hand, has a much lower bioavailability and thus has much less of a risk of negatively reacting with other food or medication. Topical CBD is also great for targeting specific parts of the body.
Topical CBD products available at Walgreens include:
Creams, Balms, and Salves
Creams are a great option for anyone who wants to be able to apply the benefits of CBD to various parts of the body. Creams can generally be used as needed and offer the added benefit of moisturizing. Some creams are also specially formulated with other natural oils and extracts to offer additional forms of support.
The Medterra Topical CBD Cooling Cream that is sold at Walgreens combines CBD oil with arnica, menthol, and an assortment of other essential oils to create a cooling sensation to support muscles and joints.
The biggest difference between creams and balms is in their consistency. While creams are water based and made to easily soak into the skin, balms use oil and wax to create a more greasy and resistant consistency that will stay on skin longer and soak in more slowly.
CBD Unlimited Topical Balm-X is an extra strength balm that can be found at Walgreens stores. With 1000 mg of CBD oil, this powerful balm can be applied up to four times per day for maximum results.
Similar to balms, salves are oil based and are made from a combination of natural oils and extracts. The Cool Relief CBD Salve by 36 Bushels combines 1000 mg of CBD oil with eucalyptus and menthol to provide soothing support as needed.
Ointments are made to offer deep and long lasting benefits to muscles. They are an oily, yet dense consistency that is made to penetrate deep into muscle tissue without being easily rubbed or washed away.
The Back & Neck CBD Pain Relief Ointment by CBDMedic is specially made to target muscles in the neck, back, and shoulder region. Simply rub the ointment into the desired areas up to four times a day for all-day support for sore muscles.
Roll-ons are a great way to take the relief of CBD with you wherever you go. They are portable and easy to use, and are a great option for anyone who wants wellness support at their fingertips.
Walgreens carries several options of roll-on CBD oil products. The Cool Relief CBD Roll-on Gel by 36 Bushels is a unique option because it is a lightweight gel rather than an oil. This soaks into the skin more easily, something that may be desirable for anyone who wants rapid relief or a less greasy feel.
Sprays are similar to roll-ons in that they are easy to take with you on the go. They offer targeted support to desired areas and can be used several times throughout the day whenever and wherever you need it.
The CBD Unlimited Topical Mist-X Spray is made with 500 mg of CBD oil and other natural ingredients. Simply spray this oil on the desired areas anytime you’d like.
Patches are great for anyone who is busy and on the go. With a patch, you apply and forget about it for the day. Patches release a steady stream of CBD throughout the course of an entire day so that you can go about your life in comfort without any added worry or stress.
Patches currently available at Walgreens stores include the Social CBD Transdermal Patch. This product can be applied in 30 seconds and releases 20 mg of CBD over the course of 24 hours. Although patches are desirable for their ease of use, they are on the more expensive end of products and don’t offer moisturizing benefits like other topicals.
Walgreens has joined other major retailers in embracing the future of CBD by making topical CBD oil products readily available to consumers. With nearly 3,860 stores across the United States now selling a variety of CBD oil products, including those highlighted above, it’s not hard to understand why CBD has become a popular choice for natural wellness support.
Hannah Smith is Joy Organics Director of Communications. She is driven by her passion for providing clear and accessible wellness and CBD education. In 2015, she received her BA in Media, Culture and the Arts from The King’s College in New York City and before Joy Organics, worked as writer and photographer in the Middle East and North Africa. Her work has been featured on Forbes, Vice, Vox, Denver Post, and the Coloradoan.