Cannabinoids were first discovered in 1940 by British chemist, Robert S Cahn. Several years later, Roger Adams isolated the individual cannabinoids, including CBD. At the time, researchers had little understanding of the cannabinoid structure itself or which cannabinoid was causing which effect. That all changed in 1963, when Israeli organic chemist, Raphael Mechoulam pinpointed the stereochemistry of CBD. A short time later, Dr. Mechoulam also uncovered the chemistry behind THC. His discovery created a clear line of separation between the two compounds and established CBD as a compound which lacks the mind-altering effects associated with THC. Throughout the 1980’s, Mechoulam would conduct several studies on the use of CBD for treatment of epilepsy. Although Mechoulam claimed the test looked promising, there was no concrete publication substantiating the actual results.
By the 1990’s, further interest in the healing properties associated with cannabinoids led to the discovery of the body’s Endocannabinoid system. In 1998, GW Pharmaceuticals initiated official medical trials to better grasp the potential uses of CBD. Such efforts prompted other global studies performed by medical groups and set the path for clinical efforts on CBD moving forward. In the mid-2000s, America was introduced to a young girl, Charlotte Figi. She was born with an extremely rare form of chronic epilepsy known as Dravet Syndrome. By age four, she had lost a majority of her mobility and was experiencing 300 seizures a week. After exhausting every form of modern medicine, her parents turned to CBD oil as a remedy. Miraculously, Charlotte’s seizures decreased by 99% and most of her normal bodily functions were restored. The media attention surrounding her story thrust CBD into the public consciousness, while people took note of its medicinal benefits. In 2014, another milestone occurred with the legalization of medical CBD in Alabama, Florida, Iowa, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah & Wisconsin. This was the first time CBD was legally accepted in a state where medical marijuana was illegal.
Most recently, the 2018 United States Farm Bill legalized hemp (defined as cannabis with less than 0.3% THC) on a federal level. This also paved the way for legal cultivation, possession, sale and distribution of the hemp plant. These efforts all helped prompt the rise of CBD. In June of 2018, another milestone in the CBD space occurred with the FDA’s approval of the drug Epidiolex. The drug, it’s active ingredient being CBD, is used in the treatment of seizures and two distinct pediatric diseases. It’s worth noting that approval of Epidiolex was based on sufficient and properly-controlled clinical studies, implying confidence in the drug’s safety and effectiveness for its specified use. Today, the usage and science behind CBD continue to grow as people are continuously experiencing the healing benefits. The future looks bright and we cannot wait to be a part of it!
The History of CBD: Where Does It Come from (2019) https://www.cbdcentral.com/the-history-of-cbd/
CBD and Epilepsy: Charlotte’s Web https://www.zamnesia.com/content/337-cbd-and-epilepsy-charlotte-s-story
Hemp Production and the 2018 Farm Bill (2019) https://www.fda.gov/news-events/congressional-testimony/hemp-production-and-2018-farm-bill-07252019