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A brief History of CBD

Like many other natural remedies, the use of CBD and marijuana for medical purposes is rumored to trace back thousands of years. 
The first recorded case occurred around 2727 BC when it was reported that Chinese Emperor Sheng Neng used a cannabis-based tea to help with a variety of health ailments including poor memory, malaria, and even gout!

Queen Victoria is believed to have used CBD to alleviate menstrual cramps during her reign, which ended in 1901.

Throughout history, Cannabis has served as a valuable therapeutic resource. But why is it that now, in 2020 AD, we have to jump through hoops to get this natural supplement?

Lets jump back a few years..

In 1839 Irish physician and researcher William O’Shaughnessy published a then controversial study, in which he explored the effects of cannabis and thoroughly described its potential medical applications, particularly as an anesthetic. This prompted researchers to start considering the plants medical application.

Almost a century later, thanks to advance in research and technology, it was confirmed that chemical compounds are present within the Cannabis plant.

In 1942, a team from Illinois University made history by isolating CBD for the first time. This brought to life the fact that there are active compounds in the cannabis plant that do not contain the psychoactive qualities the plant is commonly known for. 

Dr. Raphael Mechoulam, "the Godfather of Cannabis research", made a breakthrough in 1963, when he successfully identified the stereochemistry of CBD and, a year later, that of THC. Discovering that THC is responsible for the euphoric high effect of marijuana, disassociated CBD as the mind-altering compound.

Forward to 1970, following the ‘War on Drugs’ and passage of the Controlled Substances Act: Marijuana became difficult for scientists, doctors and the average person to obtain.

The act established schedules that drugs and substances were placed in, with schedule 1 being the most restrictive. Marijuana fell into this schedule 1, perhaps due to the psychoactive components of it. But, more likely, the plant got this rating due to pushback from the growing pharmaceutical industry, which saw the competition from this natural alternative to pharmaceutical treatments.

 

In the 1980s, Dr. Raphael Mechoulam and his team conducted a study on the potential application of CBD for the treatment of epilepsy.
In the study, Mechoulam and his team administered daily doses of 300mg 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, this discovery was not publicized as the breakthrough it was, due to the stigma around Cannabis at the time, and the financial interests of the pharmaceutical industries. 

In 2018, the US FDA approved the first drug composed of an active ingredient of the cannabis plant, Epidiolex. Epidiolex is an oral solution for the treatment of two rare and severe seizures, it can be taken by patients as young as 2 years old. 

This breakthrough approval was mostly driven by vigorous advocacy of families of children with epilepsy, who had heard anecdotes on the effects of CBD for the illness. This drug approval has given hope to many cannabis advocates and researchers around the globe.

The stigma around Cannabis is undeniably shifting. People once opposed to Cannabis are now turning to CBD for relief. 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, CBD is undoubtedly here to stay.