The History of CBD
Posted on August 14, 2023

We love to share the benefits of CBD and how it can help you in your everyday life, but it is also important to know the history of CBD and how its uses came to fruition. CBD has a long and colorful history. We’d like to provide some insight on how CBD originated and follow the journey of how it’s being used today.

Some may think CBD just came around not too long ago, but it has been around longer than we think. As a naturally occurring substance it’s been a component part of a family of plants that have existed for tens of thousands of years, even if human society has been slow to understand its properties. 

The first recorded use of the cannabis plant for therapeutic purposes dates back to China. In the year 2737BC, Emperor Cheng Neng successfully brewed the first CBD cup of tea. The tea was used to treat gout, malaria, and rheumatism. It was even noticed that people who drank this tea over time had improved memory and brain function.

Hemp was widely cultivated in England. When the colonists left England for America, they brought hemp with them. They not only extracted CBD from the hemp plant for medicinal use, but the hemp plant was also a staple and was used for many purposes. The colonists came to America on ships that used hemp ropes. The United States Constitution was drafted on hemp paper.

Sadly, as modern medicine advanced, cannabis was relegated as a result of misguided regulations fueled by racism and the need to find a new enemy for American society.

Before the dawn of prohibition, cannabis was given a chance in the limelight in 1839. The research on the medicinal importance of CBD began with one man — William B. O’Shaughnessy.

Unfortunately, he never saw his work bear fruit. It was nearly a century after his death that his work became recognized. William O’Shaughnessy, in his research, outlined the possibility of therapeutic indications of cannabis extracts. He presented the plant mainly as an anesthetic.

After many years in the dust, cannabinoids were brought to light again when a Harvard-trained chemist Roger Adams identified and extracted CBD, from the cannabis plant. Along with CBD, he identified another cannabinoid called cannabinol (CBN). His discoveries are also responsible for the identification of THC, Tetrahydrocannabinol, the most active constituent of the cannabis plant.

It was another scientist, Dr. Raphael Mechoulam, who dug deeper and identified the structure of CBD. His research earned him the title “Godfather of Cannabis Research”. A year later, he successfully isolated THC, defining its structure for the first time.

By comparing their stereochemistry, scientists were able to conclude that the mentally stimulating effects of cannabis were tied to THC, and not to CBD. CBD was found to be closely related to the therapeutic effects of the plant.

This discovery declared CBD safe to use as a therapeutic agent.

Five years ago, we had little knowledge of CBD and its therapeutic possibilities. Now, it is the next big thing in the wellness world. The legalization of hemp and its products has led to the sprouting of many CBD-based companies. These further fuels the use of plant extract.


Sources: CFAH | Get Soul


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