Vitamin Shoppe to sell edible CBD drops as interest in cannabis surges
There’s now one stop for all your vitamins: including A, B and CBD.
The Vitamin Shoppe started stocking its shelves with oral CBD soft gels this week and will start selling CBD drops by the end of the month. It’s one of the first major national retailers to sell CBD supplements since Congress legalized the cannabis derivative in December. The move flies in the face of guidance from the Food and Drug Administration that prohibits companies from adding CBD to dietary supplements until the agency has a chance to write new rules regulating its sale.
The nonintoxicating cannabis compound promises to treat everything from anxiety to pain relief and everything in between — though the science behind those claims is thin at best. The FDA has targeted CBD manufacturers making egregious claims such as being a cure for cancer or Alzheimer’s disease
Vitamin Shoppe will stock Irwin Naturals soft gels filled with full spectrum hemp extract, which is the entire slate of cannabinoids found in the hemp plant, including CBD. At the end of the month, Vitamin Shoppe will also start selling Garden of Life Dr. Formulated Broad Spectrum CBD Extract soft gels and liquid drops. These products will be available in 14 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico.
“The customer relationship is the cornerstone of The Vitamin Shoppe’s reinvention, and our customers have told us loud and clear they want CBD,” Vitamin Shoppe CEO Sharon Leite said in an emailed statement.
For more on investing in health-care innovation, click here to join CNBC at our Healthy Returns Summit in New York City on May 21.
Vitamin Shoppe started selling hemp extract essential oils nationwide in March.
Selling ingestibles, or CBD-containing products that you eat or drink, takes Vitamin Shoppe a step further than other national retailers have gone. Customers have asked for these products, both in stores and online, the company said.
“Our goal at The Vitamin Shoppe is to be first to market with innovative, high-quality products, as well as provide our customers the education, guidance, and services essential to helping them live their best life, however they define it. These new product offerings are another example towards us fulfilling that promise,” Leite said.
CVS, Walgreens and Rite Aid all recently said they would carry CBD-infused products in some states. For now, they all plan to carry only creams, lip balms or other items you apply to the skin. Although Congress legalized hemp-based CBD late last year, the FDA said it’s still technically illegal to add the cannabis compound to food, drinks and dietary supplements until it has a chance to write new rules for the market.
Vitamin Shoppe declined to comment on whether it has any concerns about violating the FDA’s rules.
“We have more than 40 years of experience in the supplements industry, and we know our customers need a reliable place they can purchase products they desire and trust, including CBD hemp extract,” Leite said.
Vitamin Shoppe hopes selling CBD products will help further distinguish itself as it fends off competition from Amazon and other online retailers who make it easy for consumers to order vitamins and protein powders online. The company is trying to personalize the experience and offer more health services, such as rewarding loyal shoppers with free nutrition consultations.