CBD: Past, Present, and Future
CBD: Past, Present and Future As CBD rises in popularity, we figured we would explore its rich history and how it has gotten to this point today.
CBD, or cannabidiol, is a cannabinoid found within the cannabis plant. The cannabis plant has two subsets, hemp, and marijuana. Hemp is defined as any plant that contains less than 0.3% THC (the most famous cannabinoid, known for its psychoactive effects), and marijuana contains over 0.3% THC, as defined through an article published in the US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health. This distinction is important. Because these cannabinoids are both found within the same plant, they were, therefore, criminalized simultaneously, disallowing the research of either cannabinoid nor allowing them into the general public. The amount of CBD found within each plant is dependant on how its mother plants are bred.
According to an article published in the British Journal of Pharmacology titled, “Cannabinoid Pharmacology: The First 66 Years”, cannabis has been used for medicinal purposes dating back 5000 years. Through the 1900s, cannabis medications were prescribed by medical professionals for a variety of ailments.
Back then, cannabinoids were an unknown concept. After much interest taken by the scientific and medical community, the plant started being truly studied, and the cannabinoid system within the plant was discovered. However, CBD was not elucidated until 1963. Unfortunately, the act of cultivating hemp products became criminalized shortly after, in 1969. This is when President Nixon enacted the “War on Drugs”, and placed hemp products in schedule one- claiming it had no medicinal uses and is highly addictive. This also specifically included any facet of the plant, so the cannabinoid system in its entirety was off-limits and deemed dangerous. It remained in this category for years to come, according to the article Legal and Regulatory Issues Governing Cannabis and Cannabis-Derived Products in the United States.
Another interesting facet of the illegal status of cannabis relates to how widespread the usage of the actual hemp plant. The lumber industry was an advocate for placing cannabis products into schedule one illegal status, because of the potential disruption hemp was to their potential market. Hemp products can be utilized in place of any lumber product. Therefore, this previously established industry had a vested interest in keeping the revenue towards lumber, and away from hemp.
As the years continued, this compound became a fierce topic of division between people. The War on Drugs was still in full swing, but there was a massive part of the population that started using cannabis products, despite their illegal status. The rhetoric amongst this mass of people was consistently stating how these products alleviated many of their daily pains, including physical and mental. As the popularity of cannabis continued to rise through the 1960s and 1970s, this plant could no longer be ignored on a grand scale.
With California legalizing medical marijuana in 1996, and Oregon and Washington following shortly after, perspectives began to change throughout the United States. The more states that medically legalized marijuana, the more stories that surfaced claiming this to be a life-altering plant with countless benefits. Because people understood CBD to be different than THC, but many had no desire to experience a psychoactive effect and wished to simply alleviate pain, CBD companies began popping up in legal states.
The Farm Bill was passed in 2018, removing hemp from the definition of marijuana in the Controlled Substances Act, according to the FDA webpage explaining its role in CBD. This was highly beneficial because it made this plant more viable to be studied for its medicinal benefits and hopefully helped it break away from the negative stigma it has through its association with marijuana.
This time period also marked a huge win for CBD, as the first plant-derived cannabis drug, called Epidiolex, was regulated by the FDA starting in June of 2018, according to an article published through the US National Library of Medicine National Institute of Health. This drug is intended for people who struggle with rare forms of epilepsy that does not respond to traditional medicines.
Today, it is entirely legal to purchase any CBD product, typically having no age limit associated. Technically under the 2018 Farm Bill, hemp is legally allowed to be transported across state lines. Although, this can be tricky, as some states decide to continue to follow their state’s legalities, where cannabis might not be legal in any form. Nonetheless, CBD is becoming a widespread health phenomenon for individuals across the United States, and its trajectory appears to continue to be on the rise.