CBD (cannabidiol) has received a lot of press in recent years. Mostly due to the fact that enlightened legislators in various states have finally seen fit to legalize cannabis for medical or recreational use or both. This has allowed the various byproducts of the marijuana plant to finally come out of the shadows and reclaim their rightful place in the medicinal spotlight. Something we here at sparklingcbd.com are relieved to finally see.
CBD, for instance, was prized for its medicinal properties for more than 4,000 years before marijuana wound up on the US list of Schedule 1 controlled substances more than half a century ago. And while pot remains a no-no in the eyes of the feds, its decriminalization on the state level has allowed people suffering from all manner of debilitating conditions and diseases to finally have another way to seek relief. In some cases that means products as simple as CBD soda, hemp CBD water or other CBD beverages. And in other cases it means clinical applications of this versatile, organic compound.
The first known use of cannabis for medical purposes occurred during the early part of what’s known today as the “Middle Kingdom” in Egypt. This was a time shortly after most of the pyramids had been built and attention was shifting to more prosaic concerns like the health and welfare of the people. The Egyptians of this period discovered that cannabis had a range of positive medicinal properties and used it in various forms to treat eye conditions, relieve pain, reduce inflammation and help mitigate the pains associated with childbirth.
Around 200 BC cannabis finally made its way across the Mediterranean to ancient Greece where it was once again put to good use alleviating pain, treating earaches, relieving stress and even helping horses that had been injured during battle. The Greeks discovered that the roots of the cannabis plant could be used to create an effective balm that they used to treat burn victims. It’s believed the active ingredient at work in these balms was CBD.
The Greeks are also believed to be the first to create their own form of CBD drinks which they did by placing marijuana leaves and seeds into water and wine. The resulting beverage was then used to help relieve pain or constipation. By the year 200 the Romans had figured out myriad ways of using cannabis and cannabis byproducts to treat everything from headaches to dehydration.
The earliest European settlers in North America were well aware of the medicinal properties of cannabis and as early as the 17th century settlers in Jamestown, Virginia were cultivating cannabis for use in treating pain, helping alleviate skin conditions and reducing coughs. Since cannabis is not native to North America most of the pot plants in America today are descended from plants brought over by the early colonists.
Cannabis continued to be an important source of medicinal balms, ointments, creams and beverages until the early 20th century when legislators with too much time on their hands and precious little foresight or common sense began to regulate its cultivation and use. By mid-century the government had more or less successfully painted weed as a tool of the devil that drove young people to madness and caused broken homes wherever it went.
As a result countless people suffering from scores of different ailments were denied an effective means for treating their malady and became reliant on the products of enormous pharmaceutical companies. Even something as beneficial and innocuous as CBD sparkling water could not be produced and sold, while at the same time millions of lives were being destroyed by legal alcohol.
It was members of the baby boom post-war generation who rediscovered marijuana and brought it out of the government-imposed dark. Their widespread championing of pot in the face of governmental resistance helped embolden the medical community who shifted the focus of the legalization debate (actually the re-legalization debate) from an obsession with the perceived pot-smoking lifestyle to a calm, reasoned discussion of the medical benefits of cannabis. Finally the walls of resistance began to crack and in 1996 California became the first state to legalize marijuana for use by AIDS and cancer patients.
In the waning days of the 20th century a British company called GW Pharmaceuticals devised a way to effectively extract CBD from cannabis and in doing so opened up the floodgates to new medicines and products. CBD-related research demonstrated its ability to help relieve anxiety, to control seizures and to treat various forms of cancer and chronic pain.
Several high profile cases involving young people with epilepsy and cancer who were previously thought to be beyond aid, but who responded favorably to CBD oil-based therapies, helped push other states to enact laws legalizing marijuana for medicinal purposes. And today CBD is being used in everything from CBD water to therapeutic creams and to treat everything from epilepsy to PTSD to acne and even Alzheimer’s.
Because marijuana remains a Schedule 1 controlled substance at the federal level recent victories at the state level remain incomplete. However, many of its proponents believe that CBD will be available to everyone in every state who wants it - and that this day is just over the horizon.