CBD has been used to treat pain for over 5,000 years. CBD-rich cannabis has a long history of beneficial medical use. Queen Victoria used CBD-rich cannabis for menstrual cramps in the 19th century and colonial women in America used CBD to relieve pain during child labor. Animal studies had long suggested that CBD lessens anxiety and reduces the severity and frequency of seizures. However, it had long been believed that marijuana itself was responsible for relieving pain. Only in recent years, though, scientists have discovered that it was a certain component, CBD, that was responsible for its pain-relieving effects. This was a major breakthrough and is a gamechanger, which will certainly have a ripple effect throughout the medical community for many years to come.
Records from 1533 show that King Henry VIII required that for every 60 acres of land, each farmer must set aside ¼ acre for hemp cultivation (otherwise face a fine of three shillings and four pence). Similarly, in colonial America, it was illegal for farmers to not grow hemp. Founding Father Thomas Jefferson demanded that an “acre of the best ground” be kept to grow hemp. Colonists came to America on ships that used hemp ropes and drafted the Constitution on hemp paper. Cannabis continued to spread and grow throughout the world, with both its industrial and psychoactive effects being noted.
Although cannabis has been central to the development of mankind, the legal and medical uses of CBD seen today are a more recent phenomenon. As early as 1563, Portuguese physician Garcia da Orta observed that: “Those of my servants who took it … said that it made them so as not to feel work, to be very happy, and to have a craving for food”. Around the same time, Chinese doctor Li Shizhen documented the anti-nausea effects of cannabis.
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 not have realized it back then, he had justopened the door towards the discovery of the componds that would one day be referred to as cannabinoids and change the medical community forever.
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). And, by some accounts, he even has a claim to being the person who initially identified its psychoactive cousin, THC.
In 1939, just two years after marijuana was banned by Congress, Adams received a Treasury Department license to work with cannabis oil at his lab in Urbana-Champaign and presented a paper to the National Academy of Science on “The Chemistry of Marihuana.”
From a scientific standpoint, Adams’ most important work was his cannabis research in the early 1940s when he identified and synthesized cannabidiol (CBD) and cannabinol (CBN). In 1942, he won a patent for his method of isolating CBD.
Dr. Raphael Mechoulam made the first breakthrough towards understanding the effects of individual cannabinoids in 1963 when he successfully identified the stereochemistry of CBD. A year later, Mecholam’s made another breakthrough and discovered the stereochemistry of THC, which revealed the cannabinoids direct relationship to the euphoric effects associated with marijuana use, and eliminated CBD as a mind-altering compound. As research continued and advanced, a landmark victory occurred when Mexico passed the 1978 Controlled Substances Therapeutic Research Act, a groundbreaking 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. In the study, Mechoulam and his team administered daily doses of CBD to study a group of 8 subjects. After just four months of treatment, half of the subjects stopped having seizures and the others exhibited a decrease in the frequency of their seizures. This was a huge breakthrough that had the potential to change the lives of more than 50 million epilepsy sufferers from around the world.
Unfortunately, the discovery was not as publicized any type of breakthrough, due to the stigmas towards cannabis during that time. The work of Dr. Mechoulam and the other early cannabis pioneers would not go in vain though. Less than a decade later, interest in the therapeutic applications of cannabinoids revealed the discovery of additional cannabinoids, further understanding of cannabinoid structure, and the amazing breakthrough of our body’s Endocannabinoid System (ECS) — a network of receptors that interact with receptors found in cannabinoids.
As research progressed, it would eventually lead to an explosion of interest across 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)
- Maine (1999)
- Hawaii, Nevada, Colorado (2000)
With the legalization of medical marijuana, patients in those states now had legal access to cannabis, and researchers could expand their studies into cannabinoid medical uses. 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. The distinction between CBD and the other cannabinoids had become more known throughout the scientific community at that time. However, it was foreign knowledge amongst those who could actually impact these laws — the general public.
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.
From Rick Simpson, a man who found relief from a rare form of skin cancer to countless others — the unique and moving stories of CBD-users revealed how CBD could deliver relief from conditions like anxiety, depression, insomnia, arthritis, fibromyalgia and more. The genuine, organic nature of the stories and the openness of those to share their personal and vulnerable experiences for the purpose of helping others then fueled a surge of awareness across the country.
Then, in 2010, a powerful story about the impact CBD can have on someone’s life emerged and pushed the movement to a much higher level.
The Amazing Story of Charlotte Figi
Charlotte Figi, a young girl in Colorado, was born in 2006 with a very rare form of chronic epilepsy known as Dravet Syndrome. Dravet Syndrome is a very rare and devastating form of epilepsy that affects approximately 1 in every 16,000 to 21,000 infants. By the age of just four, Charlotte had lost much her ability to walk, talk, and eat, and experienced 300 seizures per week.
While her parents had tried every option modern medicine had to offer and some, by the time Charlotte was 5, they realized that traditional doctors could not help their daughter. With no other options, they reluctantly turned to CBD.
After consuming a small dose of CBD oil extracted from a high-CBD cannabis strain, Charlotte’s seizures ceased almost immediately. When hours had passed and Charlotte didn’t have a seizure, her parents realized their prayers had been answered — CBD had worked.
Today, through the natural healing powers of CBD, Charlotte only experiences 2 to 3 seizures per month — a significant decrease from the 300 seizures per week she endured before.
With much of her normal functions restored, Charlotte now has the opportunity to live a normal life! In an interview with CNN, Charlotte’s parents confirm that their daughter is happy and thriving as any normal girl and that they believe everyone should know about what CBD did for their daughter.
As a symbol for hope, the inspiring story of Charlotte Figi, Rick Simpson, and the countless others who have shared their experience, has fueled a massive level of support, awareness, and passion, which continues to drive the CBD movement forward today.
In the years since Charlotte’s story, the stigma towards CBD and cannabis in America has dramatically changed. Those that once opposed cannabis, now turn to CBD for relief, and its therapeutic properties are helping to change the lives of thousands of people around the country. While the movement has made massive strides forward, we are still just in the early stages. It continues to thrive at exponential rates is literally achieving the impossible.
Here are just a few of the landmark events that have occurred:
- There has been a massive growth of awareness and surge in the retail sales of CBD, leading analyst to predict that the CBD market could reach a value of $22 billion by 2022
- Research has revealed even more therapeutic applications of CBD
- Hemp-derived CBD was federally legalized under the 2018 Farm Bill
- 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, Urban Outfitters, Neiman Marcus, and more.
Here is a more detailed but short summary of the history of Cannabis Oil.
- 2900 BC – The Chinese emperor Fu His made a reference to “Ma,” the Chinese word for marijuana, mentioning its healing properties and correct yin-to-yang ratio.
- 2700 BC – The father of Chinese medicine, Chen Nung (or Shen Nung), is said to have discovered the healing properties of marijuana as well as ginseng and ephedra.
- 1500 BC – Marijuana is officially mentioned in the Chinese Pharmacopeia, known as the Rh-Ya.
- 1450 BC – The Hebrew version of the book of the Exodus (30:22-23) mentions a holy anointing oil that contains the plant Kaneh-bosem. Kaneh-bosem has been identified by respectable etymologists, botanists, and researchers as cannabis extracted into olive oil.
- 1213 BC – Cannabis pollen was found on the mummy of Ramses II. The Egyptians used cannabis as a cure for glaucoma and other ailments.
- 1000 BC – A drink called Bhang, which is made from milk and cannabis, was used as an anesthetic by India’s doctors.
- 700 BC – Cannabis is mentioned in the Venidad, one of the ancient religious texts of the Persians, considered to have been written by Zoroaster.
- 600 BC – The Ayurvedic treatise, written by Sushruta Samhita, cites cannabis as a cure for leprosy.
- 200 BC – Cannabis was used in ancient Greece to cure inflammation.
- 1 AD – In the Pen Ts’ao Ching, a Chinese book of medicines, cannabis is mentioned as a cure for over a 100 ailments.
- 70 AD – Dioscorides, a famous Greek doctor, wrote about the benefits of cannabis in his botanical book De Materia Medica.
- 200 AD – Wine and cannabis resin were mixed by famous Chinese surgeon Hua Tuo to create an anesthetic.
- 1500 AD – William Turner, the author of New Herball, praised cannabis as a healing herb.
- 1611-1762 AD – Hemp was brought to America by the Jamestown settlers. Cultivating it was considered mandatory.
- 1622 AD – Robert Burton, a reputable clergyman and Oxford scholar, recommended cannabis as a treatment for depression in his book The Anatomy of Melancholy.
- 1745 AD – US President George Washington grew hemp for 30 years in his Mount Vernon plantation.
- 1799 AD – After Napoleon invaded Egypt, he brought cannabis to France.
- 1840 AD – Jacques-Joseph Moreau, a French psychiatrist, discovered that marijuana reduces headaches and improves appetite and sleep. Medicinal marijuana use was considered mainstream.
- 1850 AD – The US official Pharmacopeia mentioned marijuana as a medicine.
- 1911 AD – Massachusetts outlawed cannabis, becoming the first state to do so. The other states soon did so as well.
- 1915-1927 AD – Marijuana was prohibited in 10 states.
- 1928 AD – Marijuana was added to the UK’s “Dangerous Drug Act.”
- 1938 AD – Canada forbade all cannabis cultivation.
- 1951 AD – Prison sentences were established for simple possession of marijuana by the Boggs Act.
- 1964 AD – Dr. Raphael Mechoulam identified THC as the main psychoactive substance of marijuana and later synthesized it in a lab.
- 1960-1980 AD – Popularity of marijuana rose sharply (and still grows to this day). US population pushed for legalization.
- 1970 AD – Marijuana was declared a substance without medicinal use.
- 1976 AD – The Netherlands decriminalized marijuana, allowing controlled use. Licensed shops were permitted to sell small amounts to adults.
- 1996 AD – California legalized medicinal cannabis use.
- 2015 AD – Marijuana is now legal in 25 states. The latest to join in was Texas.
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The information on this page is based on studies and research as well as experiences from CBD users. For medical condition it is important to consult a licensed healthcare practitioner regarding any potential interacts or complications before consuming a quality CBO product.