Origins of CBD

Origins of CBD

Chapter 5

Cannabidiol, also known as CBD oil, has made a name for itself throughout history. The medicinal derivative that comes from the cannabis plant wasn’t recently discovered in the past century; in fact, people have known about CBD dating back to 2737 BC, when Chinese Emperor Sheng Nung first started using it in his tea to help with ailments like memory loss, malaria, and gout. 

Nung wasn’t the only well-known person that used the potentially helpful medicine. Many say that Queen Victoria used the substance to lessen the pain caused by her menstrual cramps, too. 

However, the therapeutic implications didn’t stick in the minds of the people, and over the course of time, lack of scientific evidence convinced those that believed in modern medicine to disregard the probable health benefits of CBD. 


Did people know what CBD oil was?

William B. O’Shaughnessy started to investigate the cannabis plant in 1839, in hopes to find some sort of relief for common ailments among the population. O’Shaughnessy was the researcher that began the search for something more inside that plant. He wanted to bring forward the necessary topics of medical discussion to the science community where he saw fit.

The Irish physician explored a multitude of effects populating from the cannabis plant, to prove that this nature specimen could potentially be therapeutic, like Emperor Nung and many people of his time had claimed1. What O’Shaughnessy did not know, however, was how deep he had gone into the CBD discovery.


The early stages of discovery

About a hundred years after O’Shaughnessy began work on the cannabis plant, another knowledgeable gentleman grasped hold of the discovery; but it was extremely hard for researchers to get their hands on cannabis at this time. Congress had just passed the Marijuana Tax Act in 1937, making it a challenge for even the brightest minds to experiment with. Yet even still, British chemist Robert S. Cahn wanted to reach his CBD goals. He narrowed in on finding the partial structure of Cannabinol2, better known as CBN. This, in simpler terms, was found to be the first cannabinoid.

Two years later, a scientist by the name of Roger Adams isolated the cannabidiol that Cahn had found. While researching the hemp plant, Adams also discovered the origin of THC. 1940 proved to be a big year for scientists handling the research behind the infamous plant.

People in the medical field strived to accomplish their goals to spread the upcoming positive news about cannabidiol and its potentially great side effects. The well-known scientist, Professor Raphael Mechoulam succeeded in this mission. Mechoulam distinguished the difference between CBD, a therapeutic, natural substance, and THC, a psychoactive ingredient found in the cannabis plant. Mechoulam’s team and himself even shared the relevant information needed to potentially convince others of the treatment methods that could be implemented in the future, such as omitting epileptic seizures. 

To add, medical personnel like Dr. Walter S. Loewe even tried to prove to people that CBD wouldn’t alter a human’s state of mind – he did so by testing the potential and helpful substance on lab animals in 19463.

The stigma of cannabis seemed to step directly in the path of CBD progression, though. Many of the general public refused to learn the difference between CBD and THC, claiming that the overall plant was simply no good for consumption.


Many were reluctant and hesitant 

Instead of marching forward in research and trials, the science behind cannabidiol came to a halt – people could not distinguish the ultimate difference between CBD and its counterparts within the cannabis plant.

Though it is true, the science community was fully aware of the potential positive effects CBD could have on hundreds and thousands of people. The general public had a hard time believing this, though, especially without any valid and proven examples.

Naturally, this caused the public to oppose the progression of cannabis. In fact, even after Professor Mechoulam separated the cannabidiol from the THC psychoactive ingredient, people still believed the CBD to be dangerous. Some would go so far as to say, “marijuana is a gateway drug.”


The endocannabinoid system was found

Luckily, the continuous hours of study brough intelligent scientists to find the Endocannabinoid System in our body – a system made of receptors that act and interact with the cannabinoids present in the hemp plant. And, as the research and information spread throughout the United States and surrounding countries, many areas began legalizing the CBD growth and sales. The first, in 1996, was California, under Proposition 215. Shortly after, Oregon, Alaska, Washington, Maine, Hawaii, Nevada, and Colorado all followed.

Once states started to legalize, people started to believe that cannabis could be consumed moderately with no adverse side effects. To add, scientists and medical personnel have finally found that humans can tolerate CBD oil. Research goes as far as to say we do not become addicted and we do not abuse the natural substance4. 


What’s in store for CBD today?

Cannabidiol has been trying to break its stigma for years now – by helping Rick Simpson find relief from his skin cancer and by ceasing Charlotte Figi’s non-ending epileptic seizures.

As far as other potential therapeutic improvements go, CBD oil has the ability to improve your overall mood, too.

CBD also has the potential ability to promote healthy sleep cycles 5, allowing you to wake up feeling refreshed and completely energized.

Even still, other areas that can potentially be helped include that of chronic pain6, epilepsy7, and more.

Cannabidiol may have the ability to help and promote a healthier mindset and lifestyle, giving it the opportunity to help us, and to help you, might not be such a bad idea after all.


  1.   W. B. O'Shaughnessy “On the Preparations of the Indian Hemp, or Gunjah”, provincial Medical Journal, 4 February 1843
  2.    Robert S. Cahn “Cannabis indica resin. Part III. The constitution of cannabinol”, Journal of the Chemical Society, 1932!divAbstract
  3.   “Studies on the Pharmacology and Acute Toxicity of Compounds With Marihuana Activity” Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics  October 1946
  4.   Corroon J, Phillips JA (2018) A cross-sectional study of cannabidiol users, Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research 3:1, 152–161, DOI: 10.1089/can.2018.0006.
  5.   Babson, K.A., Sottile, J. & Morabito, D. Curr Psychiatry Rep (2017) 19: 23.
  6.   Elikkottil J, Gupta P, Gupta K., J Opioid Manag. 2010 Jan-Feb;6(1):14. PMID: 20073408
  7.   National Center for Biotechnology Information. PubChem Database. Cannabidiol, CID=644019, 

2-minute Questionnaire

Find Your CBD Product

Answer a few questions and find the perfect CBD product for your needs