Kroger to sell CBD lotions, oils and creams in stores across 17 states

One of the world's largest grocery chains will begin selling CBD products in stores across the United States.

Kroger Co. will start stocking topical products such as lotions, balms, oils and creams in 945 stores across 17 states.

“Like many retailers, we are starting to offer our customers a highly-curated selection of topical products like lotions, balms, oils and creams that are infused with hemp-derived CBD,” a statement from the company said. “CBD is a naturally-occurring and non-intoxicating compound that has promising benefits and is permitted within federal and state regulations.”

The Cincinnati-based company operates 2,764 grocery stores under a variety of names, including Ralph's, Food 4 Less, Smith's and Fred Meyer.

Prices will range from $3.99 to $59.99, according to WXIX-TV. Brand names have not been made available.

“Our limited selection of hemp-derived CBD topical products is from suppliers that have been reviewed for quality and safety,” the company added.

CBD stands for cannabidiol. It often comes from a cannabis plant known as hemp, which is federally legal and defined by the U.S. government as having less than 0.3 percent THC — the main psychoactive compound in marijuana that gives the high sensation.

CBD doesn't cause that high, and fans of the products claim benefits including relief for pain, anxiety and depression.

The products have surged in popularity despite confusion around their legal status. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration held a hearing May 31 to collect information about cannabis compounds such as CBD, which is already available in candy, syrups, oils, drinks, skin patches and dog food.

No decisions were expected immediately, but the hearing was seen as an important step toward clarifying regulations around the ingredient.

"There is mass confusion in the marketplace," said Peter Matz of the Food Marketing Institute, one of dozens of speakers who addressed the FDA panel.

For now, the FDA has said CBD is not allowed in food, drinks and supplements. However, given the agency's limited resources, many do not expect the agency to enforce the position unless products make explicit health claims that could endanger people.

Adding to the confusion, some states like Colorado allow it in food and drinks. In New York City, where officials have warned it's not allowed in food and drinks, restaurants and stores have continued selling it.

Other chains like CVS Pharmacy and Walgreens have CBD products for sale. Rite Aid announced it was adding CBD creams, lotions and lip balms to stores in Washington and Oregon. Ben & Jerry's also said it wants to churn out CBD ice cream once the FDA officially allows adding it to food and beverages.

According to WXIX, Kroger plans to sell its topical products in the following states:

S. Carolina

This story was reported from Los Angeles. The Associated Press contributed.