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A Brief History Of CBD

A Brief History Of CBD

If you walk into a slick new dispensary, you’d be forgiven for thinking that CBD and other cannabis products are as new to the market as the iPhone. While professionally produced CBD gummies and vapes are part of the new era of CBD use, this cannabis compound has a long and impressive history.

CBD in history

The compound cannabidiol (CBD) has existed in cannabis and hemp plants for a long time, in fact, scientists have managed to date cannabis’ origin back to 27.8 million years ago (1)!

When we look at products more similar to the CBD extracts that we see today, we see some similarities in ancient China. Records tell us that the Chinese Emperor Sheng-Nung used cannabis-infused tea in 2737 BC (2).

In more modern times, the CBD-containing plant hemp was farmed industrially. In fact, hemp was so valued that in 1553 King Henry VIII made hemp cultivation compulsory and fined farmers who weren’t growing the crop (3).

CBD is practically ancient when we look through its history, but it’s certainly gone through a modernization in recent years.

The discovery of CBD

While the benefits of CBD have been experienced for thousands of years, the chemical compound wasn’t isolated and identified until 1963. Both CBD and the psychoactive cannabinoid THC were isolated in Raphael Mechoulam’s laboratory, with THC being isolated a year after CBD in 1964.

The isolation of CBD meant that experiments were able to be conducted on the compound to investigate its potential effects. Since this time research tells us that CBD has demonstrated a range of therapeutic benefits, including:

  • Reducing anxiety – CBD has shown an impressive ability to improve mental health, with one study finding that CBD significantly reduced anxiety in teenagers with social anxiety disorder (4).

  • Improving sleep quality – CBD may also be able to help you get a better night’s sleep. A 2019 study found that 66.7% of study participants who received CBD treatment saw an improvement in their sleep scores (5).

  • Reducing inflammation – CBD also acts as a powerful anti-inflammatory, meaning that it can help reduce the pain, discomfort, and swelling that can happen with inflammatory disorders. One way that CBD may induce its anti-inflammatory effects is by enhancing the expression of ClyR, a receptor that blocks inflammation (6).

  • Helping to treat seizure disorders – Impressively, CBD can also act as a treatment for seizure disorders. CBD was approved as a treatment in 2018 for patients with Lennox-Gastaut and Dravet syndrome, both forms of epilepsy (7). Studies into the effects of this treatment are impressive, with one trial finding that CBD led to a 44% reduction in seizures in patients with Lennox-Gastaut syndrome (8).

  • Improving headache symptoms – CBD may also be able to improve headache symptoms. A 2017 review found that CBD treatment managed to reduce headache duration and severity in patients with cluster headaches (9).

CBD’s legality over time

Cannabis and its compounds were officially outlawed in 1970 with the introduction of the Controlled Substances Act (CSA), but that wasn’t the first restriction on its use. Prohibition of cannabis started in the 20s and regulation was in place in every state by the mid-30s (10).

With its designation as a controlled substance, the use of cannabis and its compounds became a crime and tended to be relegated to use by countercultures. However, the tide started to turn for cannabis and CBD legality with the 1996 legalization of medicinal cannabis in the state of California. Once this landmark legal change occurred, public opinion slowly started to change on medicinal cannabis use and by 2016 medicinal cannabis was legalized in the majority of states.

Medicinal cannabis legalization then led to recreational legalization, with Colorado and Washington becoming the first states to legalize recreational use in 2012.

Things really started to escalate for CBD legalization in particular with the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill (11). This bill made CBD a federally legal substance, opening up its use to all states in the US. Technically CBD was not legalized, but the Farm Bill allowed for a loophole that legalized hemp and hemp-derived products provided they are sourced from hemp that contain 0.3% or less THC. As long as your CBD products are made from hemp that meets these criteria then they are federally legal.

The future of CBD

CBD has a long and fascinating history and its future is looking bright. Since legalization and research into CBD have grown, so too has interest in this therapeutic compound. When you look at the professional sleek dispensaries selling CBD shampoos, drinks, and vapes, it’s hard to imagine the prohibition of the past.

When we look into the future of CBD, the market still has a lot of room for growth. Even conservative estimates of future market growth state that the CBD market could be worth $10 billion by 2024 (12).

The bottom line

Don’t let the fancy CBD websites and consumption methods fool you, CBD has been around for a long time! From cannabis’ origins millions of years ago, to use in ancient cultures, to prohibition in the 1930s, this tiny compound has been through a lot!

Legalization and public acceptance of cannabis and CBD have allowed for research into its effects and have opened up doors to a range of therapeutic CBD treatments that are available today.


**Standard Disclaimer: CBD is not FDA-approved. We make no such claims that using our products will guarantee relief. Moreover, research regarding CBD is still ongoing and in the early stages.**


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