The history of CBD begins in the 1940s … almost 80 years ago! Roger Adams a Harvard graduate and chemist was the first person known to extract CBD from the Cannabis sativa plant. He wasn’t aware of what he had done. When Adams and other scientist realized what he had done, they started to research the possible benefits of CBD.
In 1946 Dr. Walter S. Loewe conducted his 1st CBD test on animals. He was able to prove that CBD does not alter mental state. Also, in 1946, Dr. Raphael Mechoulam discovered CBD’s the three dimensional structure and is thus often called the discoverer of CBD. CBD research on primates continued in the 1960s and the 1st CBD oil for therapeutic use came from the British Pharmacopoeia.
In 1964 Dr. Mechoulam identified the structure of THC. If this had not been discovered, we would have not know that THC is the psychoactive compound in marijuana or that CBD is not intoxicating and non-psychoactive but could have many medicinal benefits.
By the mid 1970s Dr. Mechoulam observed that certain structures of the active cannabinoids in marijuana, use of and interest in cannabis as a possible source of medical relief began to become popular. In the 1970s, the British Pharmacopoeia (which is a publication of quality standards for medicinal substances in the UK) came out with cannabis tincture that (likely) contained CBD in a full-spectrum oil for therapeutic use and licensed it.
In 1978, New Mexico is the 1st state to legally acknowledge cannabis as a medicine. The state law (the Controlled Substances Therapeutic Research Act) didn’t explicitly acknowledge CBD as an isolated therapy, the bill was a milestone endorsement in the United States because it represented the first time cannabis compounds were being lawfully sanctioned for the medicinal potential.
In 1980, Dr., Mechoulam ran a study that showed how cannabidiol could be a key factor in treating epilepsy. In what is considered to be one of the first double-blind experiments of CBD in a scientific case, Dr. Mechoulam and a team of research scientists from Brazil’s Sao Paulo Medicine Faculty of Santa Casa conducted a study on 16 individuals (many of them children) that suffered from severe epilepsy. Results of the trials showed that every one of the subjects who received CBD experienced an improved condition, with little to no side effects. This would turn out to be one of the most compelling developments in the history of clinical marijuana research.
While Dr. Mechoulam and his comrade’s probe should have triggered global backing and advocacy for the medical use of CBD, it actually went essentially unrecognized. This was probably due to the disdain encompassing cannabis that had been developing since the “psychedelic,” marijuana-based counter-culture movements of the 1960s and 1970s.
In 1996, California became the first U.S. state to legalize medical marijuana. The first authorization by law decree of the use of medical marijuana did not provide any clear-cut indication of the future path of CBD specifically. California’s decision to make marijuana legal in 1996 was radical in that it provided a path for the hail of popular backing and studies that were to come. Fairfax’s Marin Alliance for Medical Marijuana was the first medical marijuana dispensary to open in the U.S. It quickly a roadmap for other states to follow, including Oregon, Alaska, and Washington in 1998, Maine in 1999, and Hawaii, Nevada, and Colorado in 2000.
In October 2003 The United States government patented CBD as a neuroprotectant under U.S. Patent #6,630,507. In what was probably one of the most astonishing actions in the history of federal law on cannabis. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services was issued a patent on CBD and other active cannabinoids – for their use in neuroprotectant therapy. It was great news, the government’s acknowledgment of CBD as effective for medicinal purposes, but it was hypocritical because it did not take cannabis – or CBD – off of the list of Scheduled narcotics.
In 2013 the story of Charlotte Figi who was born with an extremely severe and rare form of chronic epilepsy called myoclonic epilepsy of infancy, or Dravet’s Syndrome appeared on CNN. The disorder is unique among child epileptic conditions in that is intractable – meaning it doesn’t respond to medication. From the age of 3 months up until five years old, young Charlotte would routinely suffer from over 300 grand mal seizures a week, with no medication able to prevent the episodes, or reduce their intensity. When the nationwide news story on CNN arose back in 2013, it was revealed that Charlotte’s seizures were all but eliminated when she started using a high-CBD strain of medical cannabis as a last resort. The news story achieved widespread nationwide scrutiny, and almost assuredly energized laws in favor of CBD as an accepted medicinal therapy.
In 2014 several states passed legislation for the legalization of CBD. The 2014 legalization of medical CBD in Alabama, Florida, Iowa, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, and Wisconsin represented a landmark moment in the history of CBD, as it marked the first instance that CBD was legally accepted in a state where medical marijuana was not legal.
In 2018 Epidiolex (an orally administered cannabidiol solution) was approved by the US Food and Drug Administration for treatment of two rare forms of childhood epilepsy, Lennox-Gastaut syndrome and Dravet syndrome.
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