CBD oil, the headlining compound of cannabis plant has been a ubiquitous subject in mass media well over a few years now. Overwhelming number of claims indicating CBD oil’s magical properties, have sparked the interest of everybody around the globe. Its uses on humans and pets pile up rapidly, arguing astounding benefits that include weight and diabetes management, pain reliving, anxiety and depression easing, helping with chemo side effects and many more.
To one it might seem the world have found a miraculous cure-all overnight.
Wherever we look we see CBD infused products that are supposed to remedy some of the most globally widespread diseases and conditions. But when did it all start?
CBD Popularity – An overnight success?
Simple Google search and a year 1940 will emerge as a year of this astonishing finding – extraction of cannabidiol (CBD) from cannabis plant. At first glance you might think wow, it been more than 70 years, why am I only hearing about this now, when in fact the true history of CBD starts way earlier.
Taking a compound of cannabis and looking at it separately strips it of its interesting and tumulus past. Before industrialization, before modern pharmaceutical medicine, healers relied on the power of plants. Simple, sometimes boring, plants hidden in plain sight were a place to look for cures.
Truth be told in those more simpler times some of the horrific disease of today weren’t even present but that doesn’t mean their properties weren’t existing and perhaps dormant waiting to be discovered.
So if we want to understand the future of cannabidiol (CBD) we have to look deep in the past and observe it as a wholesome plant – cannabis plant that is!
Cannabis family tree explained
Cannabis plant has many faces but for the sake of understanding it without using big words let’s think of it as the surname of a big family. This big Cannabis family can be divided into two main branches we will call daughters.
Sativa Cannabis is seductress; she is tall and thin with narrow leaves. Unlike her sister she flaunts a lighter shade of green and it takes her longer to grow and mature. As a true beauty she requires more light. Indica Cannabis is her shorter, bushier sister with wide dark green leaves, she grows faster requiring less attention than her sister.
Both of these sisters have CBD as well as THC in their anatomy in different ratios. Before we continue we have to add one more member of the family to the mix and that is Sativa’s son Hemp. Hemp is the one who contains most CBD in its anatomy and thus makes a great resource of countless CBD products including oil, making him the leader of its own industry – the hemp industry, but more on that later.
Now that we got a little bit familiar with Cannabis plant family let’s dig deep and finally uncover the roots and first mentions of cannabis and its members*.
this classification is simplified, there are many more “members” in cannabis family
The “notorious” psychoactive effect of THC
The story of cannabis family cannot be completed without mentioning a very specific compound called tetrahydrocannabinol commonly known as THC. THC is one of the 113 compounds of cannabis and is the one responsible for the psychoactive effect. It gives that feeling of “high”.
It has mind-altering effects and it can influence a person’s memory, movements, thinking, pleasure, coordination, concentration and sensory and time perception. (There are some benefits to THC but we won’t focus on those in this article.) CBD oil is regulated in accordance to its THC levels, usually if it contains less than 0.3% it is considered legal, pure and safe to use for medicinal purposes without prescription.
10,000 years old plant
First findings of hemp cord use in pottery, at an ancient village, date back to 8000+BCE in the area of modern day Taiwan. 4000 years later textiles made of hemp were used in China and around that time it is approximated that the cultivation of cannabis plant started.
Some scientists of today would even go as far as to name the cannabis plant one of the pillars of modern day agriculture but this we cannot know for sure.
Over this gigantic time period the reputation and uses of cannabis plant grew and evolved in many different ways. Scientist and physicians began studying medical benefits of cannabis in 1533.
He was maybe a little late to the party as early Chinese records from 4000-5000 years ago show hemp was a primary crop. Chinese cultivated hemp and became advanced in processing it and utilizing it to the max, as a textile predominantly.
In colonial America it was actually illegal for farmers not to grow hemp. Thomas Jefferson, the founding father demanded that the best acre of ground should be reserved for growing hemp. Popularity of hemp was unshaken until the appearance of cotton. Cotton was easier to harvest with the technology of that time which made it a more interesting resource placing hemp temporarily on the bench.
Hemp industry – a silent winner
Today, global industrial hemp market size was estimated at USD 3.9 billion in 2017. Historically, industrial hemp has been regarded primarily as an agricultural crop valued for fiber and grain. Fiber is used to make textiles, building materials, animal related products, paper, biofuels and many more.
Hemp grain/seed however is used to make food and feed products as well as hemp oil that is used to make personal care products and industrial products such as paints, solvents and lubricants. There is undisputed growing demand for hemp-based food products like cooking oil, dairy alternatives, flour… What is expected to drive this market at the moment are bakery products, namely breads and cookies.
Hemp is one of the main sources for CBD oil and CBD infused products, which fuels this industry even more. According to current market reports Cannabis industry is the fastest growing market in the world and the legal cannabis business is expected to generate USD 57 billion globally by 2027.
Discovery of CBD
As we have mentioned previously the discovery of cannabidiol (CBD) took place in 1940 in the University of Illinois. Dr. Roger Adams and his team isolated CBD compound from the cannabis plant not being much aware of the properties of this compound. In 1960, Israeli chemist Dr. Raphael Mechoulam identified CBD’s three-dimensional structure thus enabling other chemists to confirm that CBD is a non-psychoactive constituent of cannabis that does not cause an altered mental state.
Dr. Mechoulam made another breakthrough when he ran a study that showed CBD could have significant effect in treating epilepsy. Following the story of Charlotte Figi, young girl suffering from rare seizure disorder using CBD as a successful treatment, the battle for legal CBD ensued. The story gained a lot of attention and CBD was now seen as potent drug and has been outlawed in all 50 states of America.
But, further developments in scientific and medical research brought back the legality of CBD into question. In 2017, first steps were taken for the FDA to approve CBD for medical uses.
CBD today and tomorrow
CBD’s popularity doesn’t show any signs of stopping and the reports of cannabis market status indicate growth. Numerous benefits of CBD oil and its uses require larger scale studies and more research to explain better the way humans can prosper using this plant. We all look forward to more accurate data on how CBD actually affects body and produces good results.
The main hiccup that surfaces time and time again is the legality of CBD and CBD products. When we think in terms of Cannabis family we understand the complexity of the number of plants that belong to it. Breaking these plants down to the components such as THC and CBD complicate the situation further.
Adding numerous products like oil, capsules, gummies ect. containing CBD makes it a serious challenge in terms of regulations. Regulating the market is the largest challenge CBD faces today.
Change is on the way and the importance must be put onto removing obstacles on the path from the high quality CBD products to the end consumer who might benefit greatly from the use, be it pain relief be it seizure treatment or any other way CBD could be used.
We’ll definitely keep our eyes on CBD and follow its interesting journey!