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Cannabidiol, or CBD, is a chemical compound that is derived from the hemp, or cannabis plant. Although CBD has rapidly grown in popularity in recent years, it actually has a long and fascinating history. As we look forward to a time when everyone can benefit from harnessing the power of their body’s natural endocannabinoid system, it is also good to look back and understand the history CBD and this amazing ingredient.
CBD from Hemp in the Ancient and Early Modern World
The hemp plant has played an important role in the history of many civilizations, from ancient China to the founding of the United States of America. Hemp has been used for rope, paper, and textiles for centuries and is valued for its incredible strength and durability. You may think that the potential medicinal benefits were unknown during these times, but there is a great deal of evidence to the contrary. For example, in the 16th century, physicians in both China and Portugal noted that consuming products made from hemp gave patients relief from pain and nausea. In fact, there is even evidence that a salve made from the hemp plant was used in Europe as early as the tenth century.
History of CBD in the Twentieth Century
Although the hemp plant has been used medicinally for thousands of years, products that contain the specific CBD compound are a more recent innovation. Specifically, while a chemist named Roger Adams first isolated the compound in 1940, many scientists argue that the most important innovator in the science of cannabis and hemp chemist in the twentieth century was Raphael Mechoulam. This Israeli chemist not only isolated the cannabidiol compound but also analyzed its structure and determined many of its uses. Mechoulam also was the first scientist to note that, while CBD from hemp may promote many positive physical effects, it does not have the psychoactive properties that are often associated with cannabis. This finding encouraged more scientists to study hemp and the CBD compound for medicinal uses, and research continued in the 1960s and 1970s.
In the 1980s there were further breakthroughs in the study of CBD when scientists at Allyn Howlett’s laboratory at St. Louis University found evidence of the body’s own endocannabinoid system and its own natural receptors for cannabinoids. These findings helped to inform all of the research that has occurred since then. Research continues to this day on the relationship between the cannabinoids found in hemp, including CBD, and the body’s natural endocannabinoid system, which plays a role in a variety of physical and mental functions.
CBD Now and in the Future
In the past, research into the uses of CBD from hemp was limited by the legal restrictions in the United States and other nations. Now, however, hemp is completely legal in the United States, and research into CBD from hemp will almost certainly see a boom. Research already indicates that CBD can help people deal with the symptoms of many problems, including anxiety, arthritis, IBS, chronic pain, and insomnia. While pharmaceutical companies are working to turn CBD into prescription medications that they can profit from, individuals are doing their own research by using CBD oil to treat their ailments. For anyone who is suffering and may be able to benefit from cannabidiol, the future has never looked brighter.