While most people believe that CBD came into limelight recently, it will interest you to note that the health benefits of the Cannabis plant have been explored since 2737 BC when Chinese Emperor Sheng Nung used a cannabis-infused tea to aid in the treatment of several ailments including gout, rheumatism, malaria, and memory. Reports from ancient Egyptian and Roman history show how the cannabis plant was utilized for wound healing, tapeworm infections, and more. There were also reports on how Queen Victoria must have utilized the healing power of the cannabis plant to alleviate the frequent pains accompanying her menstrual cramps.
In 1839, William B. O’Shaughnessy, an Irish Physician and medical researcher, investigated the therapeutic benefits of the cannabis plant. His research findings, which reported the potential medical applications of cannabis, particularly as an anesthetic, served as a bedrock of other research works into the therapeutic benefits of the cannabis and hemp plant.
A century later, research findings showed how the plant contained active therapeutic ingredients later described as cannabinoids. In 1940, Robert S. Cahn reported the partial structure of cannabinol (CBN). Two years later, Roger Adams, an American Chemist, became the first person to isolate a CBD as the first cannabinoids. The findings of this research led to the discovery of Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) in 1942 by Wollner, Matchett, Levine, and Loewe.
Since scientists had limited knowledge of the structure of both cannabinoids (CBD and THC), the earliest forms of research were quite limited. They could not decide which of the compounds was responsible for the therapeutic benefits in the cannabis plant.
To understand the individual effects of the cannabinoids, Dr. Raphael Mechoulam successfully identified CBD’s different structures in 1963 and that of THC in 1964, respectively. The successful classification of THC and CBD revealed how cannabinoids are directly involved in the euphoric effects linked with cannabis use and later dissociated CBD as a mind-altering compound.
In 1978, New Mexico took a bold step under their Controlled Substances Therapeutic Research Act to legally recognize the medicinal value of cannabis. Dr. Mechoulam and his team of researchers continued on their quest to discover the therapeutic potentials of CBD in treating several diseases like epilepsy in 1980. In the same year, the existence of the cannabinoid receptors was uncovered from in vitro studies. The receptors were named the cannabinoid receptor type-1 (CB1) and cannabinoid receptor type-2 (CB2). The discovery of these receptors resulted in uncovering the existence of naturally occurring neurotransmitters known as endocannabinoids while anandamide, an endocannabinoid, was discovered by Dr. William Devane, an American researcher in 1992. Since then, there has been a generalized increase in awareness of the possible therapeutic benefits of CBD.
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