A Brief history.
We all know Cannabis/marijuana as an annual, dioecious, flowering herb, which has been used over thousands of years by man for medicinal and recreational purposes.
It acts on the body’s endocannabinoid system. The endocannabinoid system plays a fundamental role in keeping your body functioning normally. It helps to regulate important functions such as:
- Immune function
- Inflammation, including neuroinflammation
- Motor control
- Temperature regulation
There are more than 80 chemical components in cannabis, known as cannabinoids.
The two most commonly known are tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) with THC being the major psychoactive component. CBD scts on many of the same receptors as THC, but it doesn’t have any psychoactive effects.
For thousands of years, cannabis has been used by man for spiritual and medicinal purposes and the earliest recorded evidence of its medicinal use dates back to between 1400-2000 BC.
Sir William Osler (1849-1919), who is credited for creating the first residency program for training physicians, was an advocate for the use of cannabis as medication. He believed that cannabis was an effective treatment for migraines.
The U.S. government passed the “Marijuana Tax Act” in 1937 in a way to regulate and tax the hemp and marijuana industry, effectively prohibiting all use of cannabis on a federal level.
And in 1940, the Harvard educated chemist, Roger Adams managed to successfully extract CBD from cannabis.
Adams, at the time, however did not realize what he had accomplished and it took some years for him and other scientists to appreciate that he managed to extract a chemical compound from cannabis. It was only then, that research into CBD could start in earnestness.
In 1946, Dr. Walter S Loewe became the first to conduct tests on lab animals and proved that CBD does not have psychoactive effects.
Also in 1946, Dr. Raphael Mechoulam identified CBD’s three dimensional structure.
Research was given a severe blow in 1970, when the U.S. government passed the “Controlled Substances Act ”, which replaced the 1937 act and prohibited cannabis federally along with several other drugs.
During the early to mid-1970’s, the British Pharmacopoeia (a publication of quality standards for medical substances in the UK) released the first licensed cannabis tincture for therapeutic use.
In 1978, New Mexico becomes the first U.S. state to acknowledge medical cannabis and in 1980, Dr. Mechoulam with a team of South American researchers, made a breakthrough when he published a study showing that cannabidiol could be a key factor in treating epilepsy. This would prove to be one of the most significant breakthroughs in clinical marijuana research, yet the publication goes largely unnoticed.
California becomes the first U.S. state to legalize medical marijuana in 1996 and is followed by Oregon, Alaska and Washington in 1998, Maine in 1999 and Hawaii, Nevada and Colorado in 2000.
In October,2003, the U.S. government patents CBD as a neuroprotectant under U.S.Patent#6,630,507 but don’t remove cannabis, or CBD from its list of scheduled narcotics.
A national news story on CNN in 2013 reveals how Charlotte Figi, who was born with Dravet’s Syndrome, a severe and chronic form of epilepsy, that doesn’t respond to treatment, was given a high-CBD strain of medical marijuana as a last resort. Her seizures were all but eliminated and the story gained widespread attention, helping to galvanize support for CBD as medical therapy.
June 25,2018 the U.S.Food and Drug Administration approved Epidiolex (cannabidiol-CBD) for the treatment of seizures associated with two rare and severe forms of epilepsy, Lennox-Gastaut syndrome and Dravet syndrome.
Under the most recent Farm Act, CBD sourced from hemp plants is legal in all 50 states. However CBD from marijuana still remains a grey area.