A brief history of CBD 

A brief history of CBD 

The cannabis plant has been used for medicinal purposes for thousands of years. Cannabis contains more than 80 compounds known as cannabinoids. One of these natural compounds is cannabidiol, also known as CBD. The cannabis flower has a strong history of medicinal use, dating back thousands of years.  

CBD is a safe, non-addictive substance that boasts many health benefits. Hemp flower containing high amounts of CBD offers the same benefits of other CBD tinctures such as edibles, capsules and vapors, but absorb in the body much quicker. Some benefits of CBD include reduced inflammation, chronic pain relief, anxiety and depression management, better sleep and nicotine use reduction.  

CBD has a long medicinal, scientific and recreational history. Here are some of the biggest milestones in CBD history beginning in the 20th century:  

1940 – CBD is isolated from marijuana for the first time 

In 1940, chemist Roger Adams separated CBD as an isolated compound from marijuana. However, he didn’t yet understand or outline the exact chemical structure of CBD. So it took many years for researchers to realize that it was indeed Adams who was the first person to extract CBD from the rest of the plant.  

1946 – The chemical structure of CBD is discovered and described 

Although Adams was the first to isolate CBD from the rest of the marijuana plant, Israeli scientist Raphael Mechoulam was the first to describe the chemical structure of CBD. This allowed for more research and testing to be done using CBD.  

1970s – Interest in CBD increases and medicinal cannabis is introduced 

Interest in the potential medicinal benefits of CBD began to increase after Mechoulam defined its chemical structure. In the mid-1970s, the British Pharmacopoeia released a licensed cannabis tincture that researchers believe contained a full-spectrum CBD oil for medicinal use.  

1978 – New Mexico becomes first state to acknowledge cannabis as a medicine 

New Mexico state law did not mention CBD specifically; however, it was a huge step for CBD in the United States, because it marked the first case of cannabis being legally recognized for its medicinal purposes. It wasn’t until more than 35 years later that other states followed New Mexico’s lead.  

2013 – The story of Charlotte Figi gains widespread attention 

Charlotte Figi was born with a rare form of epilepsy called Dravet’s Syndrome. The syndrome is considered intractable, meaning it does not respond to any forms of medication. From age 3 months to 5 years Charlotte suffered from about 300 grand mal seizures a week.  

In 2013, a news story on CNN featured Charlotte, revealing that the seizures were all but eradicated when she began using a high-CBD strain of medical cannabis. The story gained widespread public attention and helped recognize the use of CBD for medicinal purposes.  

2014 – Several states legalize medicinal CBD 

Alabama, Florida, Iowa, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, and Wisconsin all legalized medicinal CBD, marking an important moment in history. 

2018 – The Farm Bill is signed into law, legalizing the production of industrial hemp 

The Farm Bill was signed into law on Dec. 20, 2018, legalizing the production of industrial hemp for the first time since World War II. Although the Farm Bill did not technically legalize all CBD, it is making a major impact in the growth of CBD production and the creation of cannabidiol products in the U.S. 



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