SCBD – When Was CBD Discovered? [The Complete History of Cannabidiol]

CBD has a long and somewhat complicated past. Thought by some people to be one of the first plants ever to be discovered by humans, hemp has played an important part throughout much of human history. While decades of cannabis prohibition may lead you to assume that the therapeutic effects of CBD are a recent discovery, in reality, that’s far from the truth. So, when was CBD discovered?

The first documented use of cannabis-based medicine dates back to 2737 BC when the Chinese Emperor, Sheng Nung, used a cannabis-infused tea to help with a variety of health conditions, including malaria, memory problems, and gout.

Cannabis has served as a valuable therapeutic resource throughout history. However, during the rise of modern medicine, it wasn’t recognized by most in the medical community because of a lack of scientific evidence.

Today, the stigma surrounding CBD has died down significantly. Hemp-derived CBD is now legal in all 50 states thanks to the 2018 Farm Bill. Let’s take a closer look at the history of CBD.

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When Was CBD First Discovered?

Most people give Raphael Mechoulam credit for discovering CBD in 1966. Few people know that it was actually first isolated from the Cannabis sativa L. plant by Roger Adams in 1940. The problem is that Adams didn’t exactly know what he had found.

Roger Adams was a prominent organic chemist at the University of Illinois, who spent several years researching the chemistry of marijuana. But when he succeeded in isolating CBD from the rest of the plant, he didn’t go on to describe its chemical structure.

The structure of CBD was only elucidated years later when Raphael Mechoulam isolated CBD from cannabis at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem in 1963. Mechoulam is considered to be “the grandfather of medical marijuana.”

He was also the first to identify the structure of THC – in 1964. Without his discoveries, we would probably have no idea that CBD is a non-intoxicating compound associated with an array of medicinal benefits, or that THC is the psychoactive compound in marijuana.

History of CBD Research

Historically, the cannabis plant has been most infamous for its psychoactive THC component, which is what makes users high when they smoke marijuana. Cannabis’ association with the psychoactive effects related to THC have undoubtedly slowed down proper research into the potential risks, benefits, and uses of CBD.

Given how long marijuana has been used for, there has been minimal scientific research into cannabis, let alone CBD. For this reason, we still have a lot to learn about CBD and how it can be used as a medication for humans – although this is quickly changing.

The first CBD tests on lab animals were conducted by Dr. Walter S. Loewe in 1946, shortly after Dr. Adams isolated the first cannabinoids from marijuana. Although they had yet to determine the exact type of chemical structure they were working with, scientists began testing them on lab animals.

The next big testings were done in the late 1960s after Mechoulam identified the chemical structure of CBD. Some of the first of these laboratory tests were done on primates.

In 1980, what is thought to be one of the first double-blind trials of CBD on clinical subjects was conducted by Dr. Mechoulam and a team of South American researchers. The study looked into the use of cannabis in the treatment of epilepsy. Surprisingly, the study went largely unnoticed in the pharmaceutical and medical industries.

Since then, CBD has become increasingly popular, and studies have produced some promising results. These medical trials and scientific studies come on the back of a number of personal accounts from CBD users, as people who suffer from a wide variety of conditions have experimented with taking CBD supplements and isolates.

When Was CBD First Legalized?

While the first medical legalization of marijuana didn’t provide any specific hallmarks for CBD, the decision to legalize marijuana in California in 1996 was revolutionary. It paved the way for the barrage of public support and future research.

In 2013, the story of Charlotte Figi hit the CBD industry and the health and wellness world. Charlotte was born with a rare and extremely severe form of chronic epilepsy, known as Dravet Syndrome.

There is no form of traditional medication to treat the condition. No medication is able to prevent or reduce the intensity of seizures. However, Charlotte’s parents decided to try CBD, and the results were incredible. The story gained widespread national attention, and almost definitely enhanced legalization in support of using CBD as a medical therapy.

In 2014, several states passed legislation for the legalization of CBD. These states were Alabama, North Carolina, South Carolina, Iowa, Utah, Florida, Wisconsin, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, and Tennessee.

Wisconsin represented a landmark moment in the history of CBD, as it marked the first instance that the cannabinoid was legally recognized in a state where medical marijuana was not legal.

The 2018 Farm Bill that was passed by President Trump at the end of 2018, legalized hemp. Essentially, this means that hemp-derived CBD products are now legal.

A Brief Chronological Timeline of CBD

To make things a little more simplified, we want to give you a brief chronological timeline of CBD and it’s discovery. This is everything there is to know about when CBD was discovered.

  • 1940: Roger Adams was the first to isolate CBD from marijuana.
  • 1946: Walter S. Loewe conducted the first CBD tests on lab animals.
  • 1963: Raphael Mechoulam isolated and went on to define and describe the chemical structure of CBD.
  • 1960s: Mechoulam and his team began testing cannabinoids (including CBD) on primates.
  • Mid 1970s: The British Pharmacopoeia released a licensed cannabis tincture that is thought to have contained CBD in full-spectrum oil for therapeutic use.
  • 1978: New Mexico became the first U.S state to legally acknowledge cannabis as a medicine.
  • 1980s: Mechoulam and a team of researchers from South America published a study on cannabis and epilepsy.
  • 1996: California became the first state to legalize medical marijuana.
  • 2003: The U.S government patented CBD as a neuroprotectant under U.S. Patent #6,630,507.
  • 2013: The story of Charlotte Figi began to surface.
  • 2014: Several states legalized the use of CBD.
  • 2018: The 2018 Farm Bill was passed, legalizing hemp and therefore all hemp-derived CBD products.

Final Thoughts on the History of CBD

We hope that this article has given you a little more insight into the rich history of CBD, and hopefully it’s inspired you to learn more and become more involved with this incredible movement.

Cannabis compounds, such as CBD, have the potential to impact the lives of millions of people, and with continued support and effort from us all, it could just change the world.

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