CBD – short for Cannabidiol – is a compound inside hemp and cannabis that was first discovered in 1940. Recent studies have shown CBD to have medicinal value for treating things like anxiety, pain, and insomnia but where did the story begin with this gift from nature?
When most people hear the word cannabis, they might think of Bob Marley, some reggae music and people sitting around getting high. That’s all down to THC, the cannabis compound that creates the mind-altering effects that are often spoken of. However, CBD, which was isolated for the first time only recently, doesn’t get you high but works in tandem with the body’s Endocannabinoid System to promote good moods, a healthy appetite, and a great night’s sleep, among other things. Let’s take a look at the exciting history of CBD.
Humans have cultivated hemp and cannabis since approximately 4000 BCE and have used it to make medicine as well as paper, rope, clothes, plastic, concrete and other great products. The first recorded medical study into cannabis took place in 1533 when physicians tried to learn what they could about the medicinal value of cannabis.
It wasn’t until many millennia later that scientists would be able to isolate the CBD compound in cannabis and prove it was non-addictive and non-psychoactive. Some of the oldest history books in China feature hemp as one of the most popular crops of the time. Since the beginning of civilization in China, the Chinese cultivated hemp very successfully and used it for a variety of things.
Hemp and cannabis didn’t come to Europe till many years later but was something that King Henry VIII took great interest in in the year 1533. He created a law that for every 60 acres of land, a quarter of an acre must be set aside for hemp. Even Thomas Jefferson is famous for saying that an “acre of the best ground” must be retained to cultivate hemp.
In the 1500s, one Portuguese physician named Garcia da Orta penned some interesting observations about cannabis, “Those of my servants who took it … said that it made them not to feel work, to be very happy, and to have a craving for food,” he wrote. At around the same time, a Chinese doctor called Li Shizhen reported that he had administered cannabis to patients and seen that it displayed good anti-nausea effects. Even Queen Victoria of England would smoke hemp to help her with her menstrual pains, and it was used in medicine tinctures in Britain for centuries.
However, the year 1940 was probably the most significant for CBD as that’s the year when American Chemist Rover Adams isolated CBD for the first time in history. He didn’t even know which compound he had isolated at the time, and it wasn’t until 1960 when Israeli organic chemist Raphael Mechoulam isolated CBD properly for the first time in history. This showed chemists that CBD, unlike THC, was completely non-psychoactive; a revelation at the time.
But CBD really rose to fame thanks to a little girl called Charlotte Figi. Charlotte was diagnosed with Dravet Syndrome at birth, but none of the medications given to her by her doctors helped much with her condition. Her parents decided to try CBD, and it worked amazingly, reducing her epileptic fits by more than 50 percent immediately. The first and most famous CBD strain to be cultivated and marketed on a large scale was even named after her and is called Charlotte’s Web.
Charlotte’s story inspired a great battle by grassroots movements for CBD to be legalized after it was outlawed on a Federal level decades before. That movement worked to make CBD legal in all 50 states in America as well as across some countries in Europe.
That’s a good thing for all the people who benefit from the medicinal effects of CBD but also for people wanting to move away from THC. CBD technology is on at its inception at the moment as it’s a relatively recent discovery. It remains to be seen what more scientists and researchers will reveal about one of nature’s most amazing compounds.
As you can see, CBD has a very rich history rooted in health and wellness.