In 2737 B.C., as recorded in the first editions of the Pen Ts’ao Ching, Chinese emperor Shen-Nung was using cannabis in topical ointments and teas.
As time went on and human civilization progressed, writings espousing the medicinal benefits of hemp began to appear in pharmacopeias across Asia.
The use of cannabis extracts appeared in the second century B.C. in the writing of Hua Tuo.
Around A.D. 77, the Romans began using hemp extensively in the healing arts. In his writings, a scholar by the name of Pliny the Elder claimed that cannabis extract was helpful for relieving discomfort.
In India, cannabis was considered a sacred plant gifted by the gods. The Atharvaveda was considered a storehouse of knowledge that was useful for everyday life. This manuscript details the use of cannabis flowers and seeds in a variety of balms and tinctures.
Cannabis has even been found buried in the tombs of Ancient Greeks and Egyptians who also notated formulations for cannabis remedies.
By the sixteenth century, cannabis was being cultivated all over Europe. Hemp was so valuable to society at that time that, in 1533, Henry VIII required all farmers to grow hemp.
Many physicians of the age, such as Garcia de Orta and Li Shih-Chen, were documenting the use of hemp extract as a support for appetite and for maintaining wellness.
In the 1600s, hemp cultivation came to North American colonies. The colony of Virginia even created laws which mandated the cultivation of hemp by farmers. Similar laws were passed in Massachusetts and Connecticut. Hemp seeds were even considered legal tender and used to pay for goods and services in Virginia, Pennsylvania and Maryland.
In the early 20th century, medicines such as opioids began to be developed. The use of cannabis-based preparations began to decline. However, many medications were developed which combined cannabis with other pharmaceuticals in everything from cough syrup to sleep aids.
By the late 1930s, the war on cannabis erupted, and the cultivation of cannabis became illegal. In 1970, cannabis cultivation was banned by the Controlled Substances Act, which listed cannabis — including both hemp and marijuana — as Schedule I substances with no medicinal benefits and a high risk of dependence.
In the late 1960s the mysteries of cannabinoids, including CBD, began to unfold as researchers discovered the role of the human endocannabinoid system in maintaining good health. We’ll discuss this in more detail shortly.
As the 1970s progressed, however, cannabis extracts were once again being used for support. A quarter of a century later, in 1996, the state of California legalized the use of cannabis for certain reasons.
Over the past few decades, there has been an explosion of research into the benefits of CBD and other cannabinoids. CBD has been quickly gaining acceptance in the U.S. as a result of media coverage by respected health experts such as Dr. Sanjay Gupta. The message of CBD’s effects is beginning to reach the masses.
Today, CBD oil is available to everyone and research into CBD’s effects on the human body has ramped up substantially. Modern technology has provided methods of refining and isolating CBD and even increasing the bioavailability of CBD oil through technologies such as nanoemulsions, which make CBD water-soluble and increase its potency.
The demand for CBD is growing so quickly that sales are expected to surpass $1 billion by 2020.