Cannabidiol, better known as CBD, is an exciting buzzword in the field of alternative medicine and is purported to improve health in a vast number of ways. CBD is just one of over 100 different phytocompounds of the cannabis plant and provides its scientifically-proven benefits through its capacity to interface with an important messaging system of the body called the endocannabinoid system, or ECS –– more about that important point later.
CBD is created in the plant of the cannabis family, of which there are three primary strains. All of which originated in the Hindu Kush mountains long ago. Archaeological evidence suggests that cannabis was among the first plant cultivated for medicinal purposes, and cannabis seeds and burnt embers have been found in the tombs of medicine men and sages from Afghanistan to Siberia. It is believed that cannabis was first cultivated around 1,500 BCE or 2,000 BCE.
Marijuana was cultivated and included into ancient Chinese and Ayurvedic Medicine and used to treat pain, inflammation, and conditions of the mind and spirit. Over time and with the help of invasions, cultural exchange, and more extensive trade routes, cannabis use and culture made it’s way west towards Europe. Soon cannabis could found in apothecaries and medicine shops across medieval and its use continued well into the renaissance for both medicinal and recreational purposes.
All this time it was the potent benefits of CBD, as well as its psychoactive relative tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), that were behind cannabis’s incredible popularity and widespread use.
The Initial Discovery of the CBD Compound
But, it was not until 1940 that CBD was actually discovered in the University of Illinois. CBD was first extracted by Dr. Roger Adams. Oddly enough, even though he isolated the compound, he was not actually aware of his discovery until years later.
In 1947, Dr. Walter S. Lowe discovered even more fascinating facts about CBD while observing the effects of this drug on animal subjects in a laboratory. It was Dr. Lowes findings here that proved CBD does not have the same psychoactive properties that THC has.
Raphael Mechoulam’s Breakthrough Research on CBD
Much more has been learned about CBD by Raphael Mechoulam, who was also the first to properly identify THC as the compound responsible for the psychoactive aspects of cannabis use. The research performed by Mechoulam showed that CBD has important benefits for treating epilepsy and that the benefits of CBD are enhanced through the presence of other cannabinoids, called the “entourage” effect.
Mecholum’s research also shed light on the previously unheard of “Endocannabinoid System” and its principal messenger, Anandamide. It was found that cannabinoids interface with the ECS in a very unique way. It is through this system that CBD is able to effect health and boost homeostasis.
Since the laws governing cannabis use have been relaxed considerably over the past few years, the amount of research performed on this important botanical compound has been extensive. CBD has been studied for its capacity to reduce inflammation, relieve anxiety and stress, improve appetite, control pain, and boost the immune system.