CBD: A drug with History

BRIEF INTRODUCTION TO CBD HISTORY

Hemp has been prohibited for many decades because of its ethical implications, so has CBD. This may lead people to assume that CBD and its therapeutic benefits are a recent discovery. In this article, we are going to discuss how this presumption is totally wrong.

Cannabidiol (CBD) has been used for several centuries as a natural compound to treat human diseases, being tracked as far as the third millennium before Christ.

The first CBD-medicine usage documented texts date back to 2700 BC. They describe the preparation of cannabis tea used by a Chinese Emperor (Sheng Nung) to help to treat some diseases like malaria or rheumatic diseases.

It is known that some other important characters have used CBD to treat health issues. Queen Victoria of England, used it, during his reign, like a homemade remedy against menstrual cramps and to alleviate its pain.

Around 200 BC, some texts describe the usage of CBD as an anesthetic and as a blood thinner.  After that in the year 77 BC, in the roman empire, it started to being used with other medical purposes than those mentioned before. 

In India, as in Ancient Greece and Ancient Egypt, Cannabis was thought to be a gods’ gift. This is why some tombs had the plant was placed with some other medical tools.

For some centuries hemp did not have such a high impact in society, until the 16th century. After that, it was being cultivated all over Europe, being one of the most appreciated crops of the time.

Many kings ordered their farmers to grow it. In the 1600s, in the colony of Virginia (U.S.A), there were laws that mandated farmers to grow hemp. The same happened later in states like Connecticut and Massachusetts. Even in some other states, hemp seeds were legally used as currency to buy products.

Some other important historical facts in CBD´s history were: 

  • In 1621, Robert Burton first published his book The Anatomy of Melancholy with referred to the benefits of CBD-related medicine for mental problems.

In the study, he described some of the possible medical applications of Cannabinoid, highlighting its usage in anesthetics. To achieve this, he had to explore the main effects of the plant on human beings.

CBD IN THE LAST CENTURY

In 1940, a British scientist called Robert S. Cahn, discover the first of the more than 100 cannabinoids we know nowadays. Cannabinol’s (CBN) structure was partially discovered, to some months later, fully report it.

That was the first time in history -one century after the discoveries of O´Shaughnessy- that we had identified a Cannabis compound.

Two years after, in 1942, an American researcher called Roger Adams, was the first scientist ever to isolated a cannabinoid: CBD. It is also attributed to his research the discovery and isolation of THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol) 

Between 1942 and 1963, many experiments were carried out to understand the chemical behaviour of Cannabis without success. 

It was that last year, when Dr. Raphael Mechoulam, broke through the chemistry of CBD, being capable of understanding its way of behaving in human bodies. The year after he achieved the same with THC, allowing the scientific community to finally understand the relation between Cannabis and the psychotropic effects. 

This was a huge revolution. The understandings of Cannabis were totally different as they were before. But it was not until 1978, when our innovative molecule passed the Controlled Substances Therapeutic Research Act, recognizing CBD´s potential use in medical treatments.

This opened the way to use it as  proper medical treatment. At that moment, CBD’s impact on our lives was just going to start.

In the 1980s, Mechoulam directed some studies of CBD as a hypnotic for Epilepsy. It was the first report stating the benefits that this cannabinoid could have in Epilepsy. Unfortunately, because of the big stigma towards cannabis, this discovery lead to no advance. 

Finally, in the 1990s, the Endocannabinoid System was found. That allowed scientists to understand how CBD was behaving and relating to our bodies.

CBD NOWADAYS

At the end of the 90s, medicinal cannabis was going to be legalized for the first time in one of the States: California. It was going to be followed rapidly by other 7 states:

  • Colorado (2000)
  • Nevada (2000)
  • Maine (1999)
  • Oregon (1998)
  • Hawaii (2000)
  • Alaska (1998)
  • Washington (1998)

This legalization permitted people to access the benefits that CBD and other cannabinoids could have in their lives. At the same time, it was allowing researchers to get deeper into the effects these molecules could have and learn more about their possible therapeutic uses. 

This was the beginning of the research and usage of CBD in different health issues, such as chronic pain, epilepsy or mental illnesses. 

Since 2018, we can say that finally, we are taking advantage of the incredible properties of CBD. That year, the first CBD-made drug was approved by the FDA and released to the market. 

Epidiolex has helped since then, thousands of children that were suffering from incurable types of Epilepsy:

Furthermore, Cannabis is having an exponential market growth, producing billions in benefits only in the U.S. and new products are being sold by big and well-known retailers such as 711 or Sephora.

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.

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