Cannabis and humans have a long and intertwined relationship. Cannabis consumption for medicinal purposes can be traced back to Asia around 500 BC. The early settlers of America cultivated hemp for its industrial purposes. As many know, Cannabis has suffered a very complex and ever changing past and future. Cannabis was originally found in Central Asia before it was introduced into Europe and Africa. It was widely used for its textile abilities to make paper, sails, clothing and rope.
It wasn’t until an Irish doctor studying in India, Sir William Brooke O’Shaughnessy, in the 1830s discovered that Cannabis extracts could help with stomach pains and vomiting in people who had contracted Cholera. Cannabis was prescribed in American doctor’s office and pharmacies for various aliments until the late 1930s when the Marijuana Tax Act was passed, which criminalized Cannabis across the nation.
Fast forward to the 1960s in Israel where the majority of research surrounding Medical Cannabis has been conducted. Dr. Raphael Mechoulam is an Israeli professor of organic and medicinal chemistry at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and is credited, along with his research group, with being the first person to isolate and complete total synthesis of THC and CBD back in the 1960s. Later, in the 1990s, Dr. Mechoulam and some of his colleagues were able to isolate subjects’ own, natural endocannabinoids utilizing samples from his students and colleagues. The human body produces endocannabinoids. Endocannabinoids are natural, cannabis-like molecules that the body produces then utilizes as messengers in the Endocannabinoid System, relaying information from one nerve cell to another
o CBD stands for Cannabidiol and is one of the over 150 active parts of the Hemp (Cannabis Sativa L) and Cannabis plant. It is found in higher concentrations in the Hemp plant and that is why most CBD based products are hemp derived. You can find more information regarding the difference under the tab What is Hemp. With the passing of the 2018 Farm Bill, industrial hemp with concentrations of THC at or below 0.3% can legally be grown and harvested if the grower maintains a license.
The Cannabis plant also includes terpenes, flavonoids, and enzymes that can also effect the human body. Phytocannabinoids are molecules that are specific to the Cannabis plant and that have activity when they bind to receptors located throughout our body. CBD is the lesser-known, non-intoxicating, component of the Cannabissativa L. plant. The research into terpenes has been evolving and showing a lot of promise into how these molecules on their own produces effects in our body.