history of CBD

Brief History of CBD

The history of CBD is rather short, but the future is exciting. This versatile cannabinoid’s full potential remains unknown. We know some information about its properties and potential, but research restrictions make it impossible to know the full capability of this non-intoxicating and beneficial cannabinoid.

No, CBD won’t get you high. Not every cannabis or hemp user is interested in getting high. Some people need a variety of cannabinoids to combat their ailments, but for some a single cannabinoid lends a big enough hand to improve symptom severity and support a better quality of life.

In this guide, we’ll take a look at the history of CBD and what the future of the cannabinoid could look like.

The Early History of CBD

Cannabis isn’t anything new. The cannabinoids within the plant have been there for centuries. Chinese medicine acknowledged cannabis more than 4,000 years ago.

Did you know that cannabis studies started as far back as the 1500s? How did it take centuries to identify cannabidiol (CBD)? This impressive cannabinoid wasn’t discovered until 1940 by chemist Roger Adams. He was the first to isolate the compound. At the time it was isolated, it was unidentifiable.

Then, in 1946 pharmacological observations allowed knowledge of several cannabinoids to be made known. At first, only THC and CBD were identified. It was found in a study conducted by Dr. Walter S. Loewe that THC was intoxicating. It was also noted that CBD did not cause intoxicating effects. Dr. Loewe began conducting tests on animals using cannabinoids as medicine in 1946.He documented each test heavily. This left a footprint for researchers after him to follow, create theories and determine other ways to study these cannabinoids.

It wasn’t until 1963 Raphael Mechoulam and Y. Shvo clarified some information regarding cannabinoids in a published paper. During this study, the chemical structure of CBD was identified. It had been two decades since CBD’s initial discovery.

Research was able to be conducted which led scientists to the discovery of the endocannabinoid system. It identified cannabinoid receptors and how they work in harmony with major systems of the body. The receptors also work in combination with cannabinoids, including THC and CBD.

CBD terms

CBD Structure

Giving Attention to Hemp

We’ve mentioned it in several of our articles, but CBD is present in both cannabis and hemp. It is more abundant in hemp, which is why most of today’s CBD products are derived from hemp. While it is present in cannabis, its concentrations are often quite low. There are a few cannabis strains like AC/DC, Canna Tsu, Harlequin, Harle Tsu and Sour Tsunami that boast high levels of CBD, but these strains were crossbred to have specific results.

Some records regarding hemp are more than 29,000 years old. Hemp was used far before modern generations walked the earth for industrial applications and was later considered a source of nutrition in the seeds.

Hemp has been known as a valuable crop for centuries. When cannabis became illegal in 1937, hemp went with it – which essentially stopped research about the plant and it’s thousands of applications.

Many argue that Harry Anslinger is responsible for instilling fear in people regarding cannabis. When alcohol prohibition ended, he would have been out of a job. Between this fear mongering and people like Randolph Hearst who felt their businesses were threatened by hemp – this beloved plant became illegal.

Hearst was afraid that increasing hemp production and harvesting tactics with inventions like the decorticator would cause him to have to close the doors on his paper business. The decorticator made it faster to separate plant shells of the hemp plant. This led to the Tax Act, which made it virtually impossible for hemp farmers and traders to afford the heavy levies put on the plant.

Dr. Mechoulam

Dr. Raphael Mechoulam is one of the most important people in the history of CBD. He was able to isolate cannabinoids and test them on primates. CBD was just one of those isolated cannabinoids. The reason for doing so was to determine how these cannabinoids worked and how they interacted with the body.

Why primates (monkeys) you ask? Well, these are the closest living mammals to the human species.

CBD was identified as a medicine that does not cause a high thanks to Dr. Mechoulam’s intensive and innovative (at the time) approach.

The doctor wasn’t done with just determining how cannabinoids worked on primates. He went a few steps further in 1980 when he began conducting research on CBD and epilepsy. So, for nearly 4 decades we’ve had evidence that CBD reduces seizure activity. Due to the stigma surrounding cannabis, cannabinoids and anything having to do with either, this study saw only a few sets of eyes.

It wasn’t until a young woman by the name of Charlotte Figi and her diagnosis of Dravet Syndrome did CBD start getting the attention it deserved again.

Dr. Raphael Mechoulam

CBD and Charlotte Figi

What role does Charlotte Figi play in the history of CBD? She is a young woman who was diagnosed with an intractable form of epilepsy known as Dravet Syndrome. She was having as many as 300 seizures a day. The Stanley Brothers in Colorado developed a low-THC, high-CBD strain and named it Charlotte’s Web.

With the help of this amazing cannabis strain, often touting at least 17% CBD and less than 1% THC, Charlotte has 4 or less seizures a month. She’s made remarkable progress and has helped bring necessary attention to CBD.

With media coverage and proven results for this young girl – it’s opened the eyes of people all over the world about the healing potential within CBD.

The Future of CBD

There is still so much more to learn about CBD. Yes, studies are being conducted around the world –and we’re getting results, but these results need to start being taken seriously. Millions of anecdotal reports of improvement can’t be just talk.

Now that the 2018 Farm Bill has legalized hemp, it should allow CBD’s full potential to finally be known and accepted.

Closing Thoughts

We still have a few years before we’ll know just how beneficial CBD really can be. It might take longer for our U.S. government to accept the fact that what they’ve been told for decades has been incorrect – cannabis and hemp are not dangerous – they’re healing plants with more potential than the world has ever imagined. We’ve only scratched the surface. The history of CBD is only a sample of this cannabinoid’s potential.