History of Cannabidiol (CBD) – The Birth of an alternative medicine

Cannabidiol (CBD) is one of over 400 compounds and among 120 cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant. This cannabinoid is extracted from the resinous flowers of hemp or marijuana plants, both of which belong to the Cannabis Sativa species.

This is the reason why CBD is also known as a phytocannabinoid – unlike endogenous cannabinoids or endocannabinoids that are found within our body, connected via our nervous system.

Keep in mind that most CBD oils found in the US markets are made from hemp (and not marijuana) in order to adhere to both our state and federal laws. CBD oils that are extracted from hemp do not have psychoactive or intoxicating properties that we generally associate with marijuana.

Extracted in an oil form by using CO2 or solvents like ethanol, CBD is processed (decarboxylated) to be sold in the market as different types of products, like tinctures, capsules, creams and even CBD-infused edibles like gummies.

Cannabidiol is comparatively safe when consumed in appropriate doses among adults. Following are the safe levels:

For a substance as controversial and yet beneficial (while being adequately safe) as cannabidiol, there are not many resources to tap into when it comes to narrating its history. However, this is what we have found…


Cannabis has over 6,000-year history, with its first cultivation dating as far back as 4000 BC.

Although this plant and its special properties had piqued the interest of scientists and physicians sometime in the 16th century, it was not until the mid-1950s that they were able to extract cannabidiol from cannabis plants and grasp its non-psychoactive properties.

This century saw both the beginning of CBD studies and a prolonged legal battle over its efficacy and its comparative safety, not just in the US, but across the world.

After all these years, cannabidiol is now legal in all 50 states of the US, as long as the THC levels remain below 0.3% by total weight of the product. Even the Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) has started looking at CBD as a therapeutic substance.

Historical Fun Facts About Hemp

  • Records show that back in 1533, King of England Henry VIII made it mandatory for farmers to each dedicate ¼ acre of land for hemp cultivation, making his reign the golden age for hemp.
  • During colonial times in America, farmers who refused to grow hemp could be penalized. Our founding father Thomas Jefferson had made it compulsory for farmers to allot an “acre of their best ground” to grow hemp. Colonists who arrived on the shores of America came in ships that used hemp ropes. Even the Constitution was drafted on hemp paper.
  • Apparently, Queen Victoria used to smoke cannabis to ease her menstrual cramps.
  • Portuguese physician Garcia da Orta (1563) recorded that servants who consumed cannabis in any form were always in a pleasant mood and never tired. However, they felt hungry all the time.
  • During the 16th century, Chinese doctor Li Shizhen documented the anti-nausea effects of cannabis.

Where The History of CBD REALLY Begins

  • CBD’s history actually began in 1940, when an American organic chemist, Roger Adams, finally isolated CBD from the cannabis plant. However, he failed to determine its true nature and potential.
  • It was much later in 1960 when an Israeli organic chemist by the name of Raphael Mechoulam not only isolated the compound but was also able to decipher the chemical structure of CBD. This was the first time that any scientist was able to confirm that cannabis, in fact, had a non-intoxicating component.
  • By the mid-1970s, Britain’s official guide of medicinal drugs, which contains their effects and directions for use (British Pharmacopoeia), started including CBD tinctures for medicinal use.
  • However, CBD had been outlawed in all 50 states of the USA by the 1950s. Ever since then, America has borne witness to a continuing legal battle and aggressive development in scientific research on CBD’s potential as a medicinal and food supplement.
  • Understandably, it took the US government quite a bit of time to accept CBD as a potential treatment agent for different ailments. On October 7, 2003, the government patented the first CBD-based composition (used as a neuro-protectant) under the US Patent #6,630,507.
  • CBD finally gained widespread public attention in America when a young Charlotte Figi (of the famous Charlotte’s Web) was treated for an extremely rare and debilitating form of epilepsy (Dravet Syndrome) with CBD sometime in 2011.
  • Former President Barrack Obama legalized the Federal Farm Bill (2014) that allows growing of hemp that has over 2,000 uses, ranging from medicinal to industrial.
  • It wasn’t until 2017 that FDA first took the initiative to approve CBD for medical uses (Epidiolex for two very rare forms of epilepsy).
  • Today, zero-THC CBD oil is legal in all 50 states of the USA. However, different variants of full-spectrum CBD and medicinal marijuana, which may have THC even slightly higher than 0.3%, are not allowed without a medicinal marijuana card. It is now considered as a Schedule V substance (as opposed to Schedule I substance as it was previously categorized).

Final Thoughts

Research has shown that CBD can help reduce stress and anxiety, relieve pain, promote sleep, and encourage a happier and healthier life. This is why governments across the world are gradually allowing cannabidiol to be perceived from a broader perspective, acknowledging its benefits to both humans and animals.