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A Brief History of Cannabis and CBD
Home » Learn » A Brief History of Cannabis and CBD

A Brief History of Cannabis and CBD

Early Use of Cannabis

Most people think that CBD is a new and modern discovery. Howethver, that is far from the truth. Surprisingly, cannabis and hemp oil have been used throughout history and across the globe to treat various ailments. The earliest evidence of cannabis dates to about 15,000 years ago. Research shows that hemp was used for multiple purposes, such as clothing, textiles, supplementation, and rituals.

Medical use of cannabis began in ancient China, where cannabis tea was prescribed as a cure for rheumatism, gout, and malaria. Research shows that ancient Egyptians used cannabis as an effective anti-inflammatory. Cannabis had been used in India for thousands of years as herbal medicine. Throughout ancient times the use of cannabis was prevalent in Eastern cultures. It first reached the West through trade during Medieval times and cannabis was documented as a treatment for coughs, tumors, and jaundice.

Cannabis eventually made its way across the Atlantic to the New World. At first, hemp was only cultivated for the textile industry. In the 1600s, the colony of Virginia even created laws which mandated the cultivation of hemp by farmers. Similar laws were passed in Massachusetts and Connecticut, and hemp seeds were even considered legal tender and used to pay for goods in the states of Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Maryland.

The medical community soon began to realize the potential health benefits of cannabis, and American medical journals were actively promoting the benefits of cannabis in the 1700s. The journals highlighted the versatility of cannabis in treating a variety of health issues. Cannabis became commercially available and medically accepted by the mid-1800s.The pioneer who made this possible was a physician named William Brooke O’Shaughnessy. He strongly advocated for cannabis for its medicinal use and spent much of his life studying botanical pharmacology in India. O’Shaughnessy conducted experiments to determine the effects of hemp extracts on animals and humans suffering from various illnesses such as rheumatic diseases, cholera, and tetanus.

In the early 20th century, medicines such as opioids began to be developed and the use of cannabis-based preparations began to decline. However, many medications were developed which combined cannabis with other pharmaceuticals in everything from cough syrup to sleep aids. The war on cannabis started in the late 1930s and the cultivation of cannabis became illegal. In 1970, possession of any form of cannabis was banned by the Controlled Substances Act, which listed cannabis (including both hemp and marijuana) as a Schedule I substances with no medicinal benefits and a high risk of dependence.

The Discovery of CBD

In 1940, the first person who was successful in extracting CBD from the Cannabis Sativa plant was a Harvard University chemist named Roger Adams. However, during these early stages of cannabis research, scientists had limited knowledge of cannabinoid structures and only a partial understanding of the biological composition within the plant. Because of this, early researchers could not accurately determine which compound was causing which effect. Modern CBD history began in 1946, when Dr. Walter S. Loewe conducted the first CBD test on lab animals. These tests gave proof that CBD does not cause an altered mental state.

That same year, Dr. Raphael Mechoulam identified CBD’s three-dimensional structure. Because of this, he is often credited as the scientist who discovered CBD. Further research continued in the 1960s on primates. In the late 1960s the mysteries of cannabinoids, including CBD, began to unfold as researchers discovered the role of the human endocannabinoid system in maintaining good health.

Research continued over the next few decades, and in 1980, Dr. Mechoulam made another breakthrough in CBD history when he ran a study which showed cannabidiol could be significant in treating epilepsy.

History of CBD in Modern Times

Modern-day research has made some groundbreaking discoveries about some of the beneficial properties of CBD. In general, people have started looking for all-natural alternative solutions for various medical issues. The message of CBD’s effects is beginning to reach the masses and CBD has shown promising results in various studies.

A recent Gallup poll showed that over 14% of Americans reported using CBD supplements. While more younger people report using CBD, at least 8% of people over 65 have also tried it.

Hemp-derived CBD was federally legalized under the 2018 Farm Bill, and even though CBD supplements made from industrial hemp are legal in all 50 states, there have still been some legal challenges against CBD. This is expected to change as the stigma disappears and local laws and policies catch up.

Today, CBD oil is available to most people in the United States and research into CBD’s effects on the human body has ramped up substantially. Modern technology has provided methods of refining and isolating hemp-derived CBD and even increasing the bioavailability of CBD oil through technologies such as nanoemulsions, which make CBD water-soluble and increase its potency.

There has been a massive growth of awareness and surge in the retail sales of CBD, leading analysts to predict that the CBD market could reach a value of $22 billion by 2022.

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