CBD has a long history of being used as a treatment for common health problems. As a matter of fact, people were using cannabis and CBD long before modern scientists began studying the compound. There are records of use in Europe, Asia, Africa, and the Americas; and many cultures were actively involved in the cultivation of cannabis specifically for medical use.
According to historians, King Henry VIII demanded that farmers set aside a section of their land for hemp, and he imposed fines for those who didn’t comply. When she ruled England in the 19th century, Queen Victoria used hemp plants to treat severe menstrual cramps.
In 16th century Portugal, a physician named Garcia da Orta recorded that patients who took CBD-rich cannabis experienced higher energy, a more positive mood, and they were able to work harder at their jobs.
For centuries cannabis and hemp plants were used recreationally and for medicine, but scientists were only able to isolate CBD from hemp plants in the 1950s. It would take almost four decades before the medical establishment took CBD seriously. In 1998 an individual by the name of Geoffrey Guy, MD, addressed a meeting of the International Cannabinoid Research Society to push for the use of what he called a non-psychoactive cannabis-based medicine. His company, GW Pharmaceuticals, acquired a bunch of CBD-rich strains to develop cannabidiol for use in treating medical conditions.
Not too long ago California doctors started breeding CBD strains in high concentrations because for a long time cannabis plants were bred for the highest THC content, so any CBD occurred in tiny amounts. As the years passed, a growing number of labs in medical marijuana states began developing CBD strains for a bigger market, and activists went on to push for legalization and acknowledgement by the medical profession.
CBD and cannabis both come from a plant called Cannabis sativa, but the cultivation of the plant is what determines whether you’re going to get regular cannabis or hemp, which contains CBD. When the American chemist Roger Adams first isolated the cannabidiol compound in the 1940s, he didn’t understand what he had stumbled onto. In the 1960s an Israeli chemist managed to both isolate and describe the chemical compound, and scientists all over the world were able to confirm that indeed, CBD was a non-psychoactive component of cannabis sativa, and that it had medical benefits.
The medical property of CBD was brought to the limelight in the U.S. in the 1970s when a young girl named Charlotte Figi was cured of a rare type of epilepsy by using a strong CBD treatment. Following the story, organizations such as the International Association for Cannabinoid Medicine and the ICRS began to promote the use of CBD and to advocate for legalization.
Recent adjustments by the FDA and DEA, which had previously banned all cannabis-based treatments – are a result of years of research and campaigning to create awareness about the medical benefits of the hemp plant. Landmark events such as the patenting of a CBD strain by the U.S. government back in 2003 set the stage for what was to come after.