Aaron Cadena | Follow on Medium

The History of CBD: A Brief Overview

While decades of cannabis prohibition may lead some to assume that the therapeutic benefits of CBD are a recent discovery, that’s far from the truth.

The first documented use of cannabis-derived medicine dates back to 2737 BC when Chinese Emperor Sheng Nung used a cannabis-infused tea to aid with a variety of ailments including memory, malariarheumatism, and gout.

Queen Victoria is believed to have used CBD to alleviate menstrual cramps during her reign, which ended in 1901.

Throughout history, cannabis had served as a valuable therapeutic resource; however, during the rise of modern medicine, it was not recognized by most in the medical community due to a lack of scientific evidence.

It wasn’t until 1839, when Irish physician and medical researcher, William B. O’Shaughnessy, published a study which investigated the plant’s therapeutic effects, that researchers did begin to consider the medical applications of cannabis.

In his study, which was then quite controversial, O’Shaughnessy explored the rudimentary effects of cannabis and thoroughly described its potential medical applications, particularly as an anesthetic.

While the Irish researcher may have not realized it then, he had just opened the door towards the discovery of the compounds that would one day be referred to as cannabinoids.

The Early Discovery of Cannabinoids

Nearly a century after O’Shaughnessy published his study, advancements in research and technology revealed the presence of compounds within the cannabis plant.

The first discovery of an individual cannabinoid was made, when British chemist Robert S. Cahn reported the partial structure of Cannabinol (CBN), which he later identified as fully formed in 1940.

Two years later, American chemist, Roger Adams, made history when he successfully isolated the first cannabinoid, Cannabidiol (CBD). His research is also responsible for the discovery of Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).

Early Research of Cannabinoid Pharmacology

During the early stages of cannabis research, scientists had limited knowledge of cannabinoid structure and an only partial understanding of the biological composition contained within the plant.

Because of this, early researchers could not accurately determine which compound was causing which effect.  Read Full Article

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