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Ivey OK’s selling CBD oil in pharmacies

Gov. Kay Ivey signed Senate Bill 225 allowing pharmacies to sell CBD products containing no more than 0.3 percent THC.

Until the bill was signed, Alabama pharmacies were prohibited from selling the products, even if consumers could purchase them at gas stations and quick marts.

Proponents of CBD – the shortened name for cannabidiol, a non-psychoactive compound found in the cannabis plant– say it helps with medical conditions ranging from seizures and epilepsy to PTSD and chronic pain.

In December 2018, the U.S. House passed the Farm Bill, which contained a provision legalizing CBD derived from industrial hemp, as long as it has a THC concentration of no more than 0.3 percent. Technically, the bill changed the legal status of hemp from a controlled substance to an agricultural commodity. That decision meant people could buy and sell CBD legally.

In its earlier guidance, however, the Alabama Board of Pharmacy said until the Alabama Department of Public Health removed hemp and hemp-derived products from the list of Schedule 1 Controlled Substances “Alabama pharmacies and pharmacists must abide by the strictest rule. In this situation, the strictest rule is CBD products containing any THC are a Schedule 1 Controlled Substance under Alabama law.”

Danny Cottrell of the Brewton Medical Center Pharmacy and Cottrell’s Hometown Pharmacy said that he feels a little overwhelmed by the CBD oil craze. 

“I never thought I would be selling it,” Cottrell said. “My mind changed when I saw CBD products being sold as department stores. I thought it be sold only at cigarette stores and gas stations, but it has gone mainstream.”

Cottrell said that he does plan to test out selling the product in his Mobile store, and if his customers take a liking to the product, he will consider selling the product in his other stores.

“We are going into this cautiously to see if it brings more problems than solutions before we consider introducing CBD oil to our other stores,” Cottrell said. “CBD oil is still a curiosity.”

Cottrell said even though the product is FDA approved, there isn’t proof that CBD oil can treat all that people say it can treat.

The Food and Drug Administration, which recently held its first hearing on CBD, also has reservations regarding its medical benefits.

“Other than one prescription drug product to treat rare, severe forms of epilepsy, the FDA has not approved any other CBD-containing products,” Dr. Amy Abernathy, principal deputy commissioner of the FDA said. “We want consumers to be aware that there is only limited available information about CBD, including about its effects on the body.”

Among the questions the FDA seeks to answer in future hearings are the safe levels of daily CBD consumption and any possible long-term exposure issues, as well as how it interacts with other drugs.