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A Brief History of Cannabis and How we Ended up with CBD

What is the history of cannabis?

While CBD might seem like a relatively new term to us, in reality the history of marijuana use is vast. Medicinal marijuana may have been in existence for thousands of years. As a plant, Cannabis Sativa was probably one of the first agricultural crops planted by early man. It became important in many ancient societies. Emperor Sheng Neng of China is reported to have used a cannabis based tea in 2727 BC. Intended to rectify a number of health ailments. Alas, refined CBD products such as our ULU CBD Oil weren’t in existence. But the advantages of CBD were already being experienced.

Centuries later, Irish physician William B O’Shaughnessy brought a quantity of cannabis with him on his return to Britain from Bengal in 1842. Queen Victoria supposedly used it to alleviate the pain caused by monthly menstrual cramps. And in the USA it could be bought freely in shops.  By 1850, cannabis was added to the list of The US Pharmacopeia. A highly respected compilation of medicines and dietary supplements.

Why did the use of cannabis come to a halt?

The invention of the syringe at the end of the 19th century meant that drugs could be injected and start to work faster. Cannabis failed at this hurdle as it couldn’t be dissolved in water. To compound its demise, at an international drugs conference in 1928, an Egyptian delegate argued that it was as dangerous as opium and could be a threat to society.

Cannabis was made illegal in the UK on 28th September 1928 as an addition to the Dangerous Drugs Act of 1920. However, doctors were still able to prescribe it for medical use until 1971 and the Misuse of Drugs Act.

And, of course, its illegal status didn’t stop the recreational use of cannabis, particularly during the ‘flower power’ era of the 1960’s. In 1968, The Wootton Report, a report on cannabis carried out by the Home Office, seemed to shine a positive light on its use saying The long term consumption of cannabis in moderate doses has no harmful effects… An increasing number of people, mainly young, in all classes of society are experimenting with this drug. Substantial numbers use it regularly for social pleasure. There is no evidence that this activity is causing violent crime, or is producing in otherwise normal people conditions of dependence or psychosis requiring medical treatment (…) ‘

How has cannabis developed medically?

From here we successfully delve into the history of CBD and the history of CBD use. Medical studies on the potential benefits of cannabis have been ongoing and, in 1940, Roger Adams, a prominent organic chemist at the University of Illinois, successfully isolated CBD for the first time.

cbd chemcal composition

Scientists then began testing individual cannabinoids from marijuana on laboratory animals. With Walter S Loewe running trials in 1946 to test THC, CBD and CBN. His results showed that while THC caused a type of trance in mice, CBD had no noticeable effects on behaviour.

In 1964, Israeli scientist Dr Raphael Mechoulam identified the structure and stereochemistry of CBD and THC. Highlighting the THC as the psychoactive compound in marijuana. This was undoubtedly a breakthrough. Finally, the use of cannabis had been effectively developed. CBD could be introduced as a non-intoxicating compound with a multitude of health benefits.

What is the history of CBD?

In 1978, a breakthrough moment in the USA saw New Mexico become the first state to legally acknowledge cannabis as a medicine. In the 1980’s Dr Mechoulam and his team of scientists discovered an improvement in the condition of children suffering from severe epilepsy after receiving CBD.

Perhaps the most significant finding surrounding CBD came in 1992 with the identification of the endocannabinoid system (ECS). The ECS regulates aspects of our biology including pain, immune response, digestion, stress, mood, temperature and appetite. Seeking to achieve balance and a stable internal environment. While experts aren’t completely sure how CBD interacts with the ECS, they believe it either prevents endocannabinoids from being broken down or that it binds to a receptor. Either way, CBD stimulates and supports our natural endocannabinoid system and is undoubtedly beneficial. Providing a plant-based relief from many conditions.

cbd influence on the body

GW Pharmaceutical, founded in the UK in 1998 by Dr Geoffrey Guy and Dr Brian Whittle, established the next breakthrough for CBD. They began official clinical trials using CBD, exploring its potential in a number of areas including epilepsy, glioma and schizophrenia.

How has CBD developed in the UK?

While the history of CBD after being discovered in the 20th century, hasn’t been appreciated or widely used until this side of the millennium. An increase in awareness and understanding has undoubtedly led to a boom in popularity. The latest interest is with CBG, often described as the mother of cannabinoids.

CBD derived from the hemp plant contains 0% THC and is entirely legal in the UK. We see CBD benefits in pain management, skin care and anxiety control, to mention just a few, and the studies on CBD’s medicinal benefits continue to increase, bringing further benefits to light.

In December 2018, the USA passed the 2018 Farm Bill. Making CBD derived from industrial hemp legal on a federal level. CBD products obtained from the hemp plant are now also legal in most places in the United States.

What is the future of CBD?

It seems that, while the benefits related to cannabis have been recognised for centuries, the use of CBD as a non-psychoactive product has come a long way in recent years. We now understand largely why it benefits various medical conditions and continue to discover more in ongoing clinical trials.

We hope the future will bring more global awareness and approval, consumer education and a growth in demand for high-quality CBD products, such as those in the ULU range.

pure cbd oil
Amino CBD oil with Lavender blossom, and Rosemary leaf

Perhaps it’s also time to learn about other key medicinal cannabinoids such as CBN and CBG. The future is bright!

When purchasing CBD, always look for quality guarantees. Consider the products that best suit you . Remember, if you have any questions, our friendly CBD experts are just an email away.


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