The history of cannabis is relatively long, as humans have used the plant for at least 12,000 years. It seems likely that most ancient cultures used marijuana as a medicine rather than as an intoxicant.
A study published in Science Advances in June 2019 wrote that cannabis plants were burned in wooden braziers in the eastern Pamirs region in approximately 500 BC. This seems to suggest that in western China, at least, humans smoked the herb at least 2,500 years ago.
The ancient Greek historian, Herodotus, wrote that the Scythians used cannabis seeds during ceremonial practices between the 5th and 2nd centuries BC. It seems as if they tossed the seeds against hot rocks, inhaled the vapors, and danced wildly!
The history of CBD itself is potentially less lengthy. This is primarily because we didn’t know much about the individual cannabinoids in marijuana until the 20th century. In 1940, Robert S. Cahn identified the fully formed structure of CBN in 1940. In 1942, Roger Adams isolated CBD. It took decades for us to utilize the cannabinoid, however.
It so happens that there is a significant level of CBD in industrial hemp. Even though hemp primarily contains the non-intoxicating compound and little THC, it remains banned along with marijuana. This was the case since 1937 after the implementation of the Marihuana Tax Act.
The 2018 Farm Bill changed everything and removed hemp from the list of controlled substances. It has led the way to the legal growth of hemp for the first time in decades. Finally, we can use it similarly to people thousands of years ago.
The History of CBD Is Longer Than We Think
Ancient peoples benefited from CBD without knowing precisely what it was. Remember, humans didn’t even isolate the compound until the 1940s. However, there are written records relating to the use of hemp that dates back to approximately 1250 BC in China. It was called ma and was regularly used to make textiles.
A 2,100-year-old tomb found in China revealed that people used hemp flowers when cooking with wheat and rice. It seems likely that the Chinese cooked the cannabinoid with oatmeal. At that time, hemp was classified as the food of the poor. Other uses for it included managing hair loss and speeding up the process of recovering from wounds. Until it was banned in most nations in the 20th century, hemp and cannabis were widely used in medicine.
In China, hemp was for poor people, but in the late 1800s, it was the preferred plant of royalty. Much is written about Queen Victoria’s use of marijuana for her menstrual cramps. Legend has it that her physician, Sir J. Russell Reynolds, prescribed it to her. While the British monarch may have used cannabis, she likely used CBD oil for pain.
According to reports, the queen consumed CBD sublingually using a dropper, just like millions of people do today. Whether she used THC or CBD, it is essential to remember that her highness wasn’t breaking any laws. Both cannabis and hemp were legal and widely available in the United Kingdom in the 19th century.
The History of CBD – The Modern Era & Beyond
It is perhaps ironic that researchers only isolated CBD afterit became a banned substance. The first CBD tests took place in 1946 when Dr. Walter S. Loewe used animals to test the effects of cannabinoids.
In 1980, Dr. Raphael Mechoulam, who had isolated THC 16 years earlier, made one of the most fascinating discoveries in the history of CBD to date. In a study, he found that CBD could potentially help reduce the level of seizures in epileptic patients.
It took almost 40 years, but GW Pharmaceuticals developed a drug called Epidiolex to treat seizures in people living with epilepsy. While CBD is not FDA-approved, Epidiolex is.
CBD was widely available several years before the hemp plant became legal to grow in the United States. Unfortunately, the Farm Bill failed to remove CBD from the list of controlled substances. Therefore, it is technically illegal, although only a handful of states actively try to prevent its use. It is a similar situation globally. CBD is now available for sale in dozens of countries.
Logically, the next step in the history of CBD is full legalization. It seems likely that this will happen long before the cannabis plant is removed from the list of controlled substances.
Dr. Mechoulam recently made another exciting discovery. He believes it is possible to stabilize cannabinoid acids. These are molecules that are precursors in the cannabis plant. There is a possibility that these compounds are even more efficacious than CBD and THC for medical use.
You can learn more about the history of cannabis and CBD on the WayofLeaf website. It also provides unbiased reviews of different CBD brands, along with hundreds of cannabis strain reviews.