Society has changed its way it sees Cannabis over the years while many benefits have been discovered in the consumption of products rich in certain components, as in the case of Cannabidiol (CBD), the non-psychoactive element of the plant with therapeutic properties. People often think that this cannabinoid was discovered recently but what they ignore is that the history of the CBD goes back several decades, when it began to be tested in studies and laboratory practices, leaving amazing records in the results. In case you’ve ever wondered when CBD was discovered, you should know that its origins come from a long trail of Cannabis research that would eventually reach the Cannabidiol meeting.
When CBD was discovered – Who made the achievement?
In 1940, the chemist Roger Adams achieved for the first time the extraction of Cannabidiol from the Cannabis Sativa plant, however, he did not realize that he had actually managed to extract the chemical compound. Adams would soon take the course of his research with a team of scientists to study the properties of CBD and its possible benefits for the human body. It was not until 1963 when CBD was discovered that it was possible to build a knowledge base regarding this cannabinoid and allowed a series of tests to be developed. Years later THC (the most studied component today) would be discovered.
The professor of medical chemistry and natural products at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem in Israel, Raphael Mechoulam, is known as the father of research in CBD, after a series of successful discoveries and experiments (he identified the three-dimensional structure of the CBD and carried out a series of tests on apes). Eventually, the evidence that this compound could be useful to benefit the health of our body brought the creation of the first CBD oil by the British Pharmacopoeia.
Over the years…
In the ’70s, a group of Brazilian researchers found out that CBD reduced or even blocked seizures caused by epilepsy in animals, an effect that was proved in patients with the neurological disorder by the end of the decade. Although most people who received a dose of the compound experienced some improvement, the results could not be considered definitive yet. In 1974, researchers from the country discovered for the first time that CBD acts as an anxiolytic, reducing the symptoms of this disorder. Later on, other clinical trials investigated other medical areas: they demonstrated that the administration of Cannabidiol can calm nausea and vomiting caused by chemotherapy. Also during this time, the sedative effects of the chemical were discovered. After confirming this phenomenon in animals, several studies showed that it improves the sleep of patients with insomnia.
Although the second half of the twentieth century began with major advances around the CBD, research would not have momentum until the 80s and 90s. The studies continued in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Professor Mechoulam was one of the first to reveal that CBD decreases seizures in human patients suffering from epilepsy. Another subsequent work, from 1982, described the first evidence that CBD has antipsychotic effects. Their authors tested in a group of healthy volunteers that the compound inhibited symptoms such as altered perception, depersonalization, and rejection of communication with other people. However, CBD was not openly administered to patients until 1995, during a clinical trial whose participants improved significantly after receiving treatment with cannabidiol.
In 1988, scientists discovered for the first time the endocannabinoid system of the human body, that is, the cannabinoid receptors that are naturally found in the nervous system. The finding opened the door to new trials in different medical areas that were published during the next decade. At the end of the 90s, a group of researchers from the National Institutes of Mental Health revealed that CBD is a potent cellular antioxidant, while other later studies indicated that this effect also gave it properties as a neuroprotector. These qualities make the chemical in marijuana useful in reducing the degeneration of neurons caused by diseases such as Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s.
The twentieth century began on the right foot with respect to research on the therapeutic potential of CBD. The trials, which used animal models, focused on two areas: their effect on the cells of the immune system and their anti-inflammatory and calming power. The studies suggested, on the one hand, that the compound slows the progression of rheumatoid arthritis and is able to regulate the presence of some molecules involved in the development of tumors, thanks to its immunosuppressive and anti-inflammatory action. On the other, they demonstrated the effectiveness of CBD treatments to alleviate chronic pain of neurological origin in rodents.
The legalization of Cannabis is a very important step to continue making discoveries that can contribute to our health. It still takes a lot of research and testing in the CBD to understand exactly what its maximum potential is and how we could take advantage of it.