The first documented use of cannabis-derived medicine dates back to 2737 BC when Chinese Emperor Sheng Neng used a cannabis-infused tea to aid with a variety of ailments including memory, malaria, rheumatism, and gout.
Queen Victoria is believed to have used CBD to alleviate menstrual cramps during her reign, which ended in 1901.
Throughout history, cannabis had served as a valuable therapeutic resource; however, during the rise of modern medicine, it was not recognized by most in the medical community due to a lack of scientific evidence.
It wasn’t until 1839, when Irish physician and medical researcher, William B. O’Shaughnessy, published a study which investigated the plant’s therapeutic effects, that researchers did begin to consider the medical applications of cannabis.
In his study, which was then quite controversial, O’Shaughnessy explored the rudimentary effects of cannabis and thoroughly described its potential medical applications, particularly as an anesthetic.
While the Irish researcher may have not realized it then, he had just opened the door towards the discovery of the compounds that would one day be referred to as cannabinoids.
The Discovery of Cannabinoids
Nearly a century after O’Shaughnessy published his study, advancements in research and technology revealed the presence of compounds within the cannabis plant.
The first discovery of an individual cannabinoid was made, when British chemist Robert S. Cahn reported the partial structure of Cannabinol (CBN), which he later identified as fully formed in 1940.
Two years later, American chemist, Roger Adams, made history when he successfully isolated the first cannabinoid, Cannabidiol (CBD). His research is also responsible for the discovery of Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).
Early Research of Cannabinoid Pharmacology
During the early stages of cannabis research, scientists had limited knowledge of cannabinoid structure and an only partial understanding of the biological composition contained within the plant.
Because of this, early researchers could not accurately determine which compound was causing which effect.
A year later, researchers discovered the stereochemistry of THC, which revealed the cannabinoids direct relationship to the euphoric effects associated with marijuana use and disassociated CBD as a mind-altering compound.
As research advanced, a landmark victory occurred, when New Mexico passed the 1978 Controlled Substances Therapeutic Research Act, a bill which legally recognized the medicinal value of cannabis.
The momentum continued during the 1980s as Dr. Mechoulam and his team conducted a study on the potential application of CBD for the treatment of epilepsy as a hypnotic.
The Rise of CBD in the United States
In 1996, California passed Proposition 215, making it the first state to legalize medical marijuana
Within a few years, 7 other states followed suit, including:
Oregon, Alaska, Washington (1998)
Hawaii, Nevada, Colorado (2000)
This prompted research into the potential of CBD for the treatment of a variety of ailments such as chronic pain, epilepsy, and numerous neurodegenerative diseases.
While the stigma towards cannabis had begun to shift, it still fell under a very gray area of the law, and because of CBD’s close relationship to the controversial plant, it was judged under those same laws.
While the distinction between CBD and the other cannabinoids was more known throughout the scientific community, it was foreign knowledge amongst those who could actually impact these laws – the general public.
Based on surveys from 1998-2002, more than 2 out of 3 Americans opposed cannabis legalization. One of the major factors that contributed to America’s opposition at the time was the prevalence of stigmas like “marijuana is a gateway drug” and others of the sort. This led Americans to believe that cannabis is dangerous, addictive, and harmful.
CBD in the US Today
We are still just on the brink of this great movement, which is continuing to thrive at exponential rates, surpassing everyone’s expectations and achieving the impossible.
Here are just a few of the landmark events that have occurred:
Research has revealed even more therapeutic applications of CBD
The FDA approved of a CBD-based oral solution called Epidolex
CBD products are now being sold online in stores across the country, including major retailers like 711, Sephora, and Neiman Marcus.
The Future of CBD
While the perception towards CBD has progressed dramatically over the years, CBD still is not fully normalized across the country. There are still many who stand in opposition to CBD and other cannabis-derived compounds and many more who aren’t aware of their benefits.
In order for CBD to reach its full potential and change the lives of as many people as possible, there’s still more work that needs to be done. While there may be some challenges ahead, the strength of the CBD community has shown that nothing is going to stand in its way.
Read more by clicking on the link below:
The History of CBD – A Brief Overview