Health and Science

CVS heard from its customers who use CBD, will 'walk slowly' in the space, CEO Larry Merlo says

Key Points
  • CVS last week started selling CBD, short for cannabidiol products, in eight states.
  • The products include topicals such as creams, sprays, roll-ons, lotions and salves.
  • CVS CEO Larry Merlo told CNBC the drugstore chain heard from its customers who use CBD. 
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CVS CEO explains why the company decided to sell CBD products in select stores

CVS heard from its customers. They want CBD.

The drugstore chain last week started selling CBD, short for cannabidiol products, in eight states. The products include topicals such as creams, sprays, roll-ons, lotions and salves.

"Anecdotally, we've heard from our customers that have used those products that, gee, it's helped with pain relief for arthritis and other ailments," CVS CEO Larry Merlo said Thursday in an interview with CNBC's Jim Cramer.

CVS specified that it's not selling any CBD-containing supplements or food additives.

The farm bill President Donald Trump signed in December legalized hemp-derived CBD. However, it's still unlawful under the Food and Drug Administration's regulations to add CBD to food and beverage products because the compound is an active ingredient in a drug product, Epidiolex.

"So we're gonna walk slowly, but we think this is something that customers are going to be looking for as part of the health offering," Merlo said Thursday.

Programming Note: For more on CVS, watch CEO Larry Merlo's interview on Mad Money tonight at 6 p.m. ET.