Pharmacy CBD Opportunity
Mat Johnson

These days, you would be hard-pressed to go a few days without hearing about cannabidiol, or “CBD.” In the past few years, the market has expanded exponentially, with recent analysis from BDS Analytics and Arcview Market Research predicting that CBD sales in the United States will surpass $20 billion by 2022.

This growth, driven by increasing consumer interest, is great news for pharmacies, as CBD is providing a unique opportunity to diversify their revenue sources and drive business growth. Plus, given their clinical backgrounds and proximity to the community, pharmacists are uniquely placed to take the lead in this emerging space that many of their patients may not fully understand.

CBD is the non-psychoactive part of the cannabis plant and, accord- ing to the Harvard Health Blog, may be used to help with anxiety, inflammation, pain management, and insomnia. Many pharmacies have already dipped their toes in the CBD waters, but recent actions show that more people are buying into the idea of CBD as a worthy investment.

For instance, when the Agricultural Improvement Act of 2018 (the 2018 farm bill) removed hemp-derived CBD from the schedule of controlled substances under the Controlled Substances Act, not all states were on board. However, one state, Alabama, recently passed new legislation effectively allowing pharmacies to carry CBD products with no more than 0.3% THC (tetrahydrocannabinol). On the chain pharmacy front, recent news reports have noted plans by Walgreens and CVS to carry topical products containing hemp-derived CBD in select states.

As pharmacies increasingly look for ways to strengthen their businesses, CBD presents an over-the-counter revenue stream that helps pharmacy owners improve their bottom line without worrying about high DIR (direct and indirect remuneration) fees or reimbursements.

From this perspective, it is proving to be well worth the investment.