The History Of CBD: A Brief Timeline

CBD History

The cannabis plant - and in particular, CBD oil - has only recently gained some major popularity in mainstream culture. But cannabis consumption has been around for quite some time.

CBD History: At A Glance

  • In 2737 BC, Chinese Emperor Shen Neng brewed cannabis-infused tea, becoming the first documented use of cannabis
  • During her reign in 1837-1901, it is said that Queen Victoria used marijuana to alleviate menstrual cramps
  • In 1839, medical researcher William Brooke O'Shaughnessy published the first study on the hemp plant's potential therapeutic effects
  • In 1942, Roger Adams successfully isolated the first cannabinoid, Cannabidiol (CBD)
  • In 1964, THC was isolated by Raphael Mechoulam
  • In 1978, New Mexico passed the Controlled Substances Therapeutic Research Act
  • The 2018 Farm Bill legalized the production and harvest of industrial hemp with THC concentrations at or lower than 0.3%

As you can probably already tell, the road to where we are now with CBD has been filled with many twists and turns. But we're here to try and put all the pieces together for you.

Below, we've mapped out a brief history of CBD. From early cannabis use to recent scientific evidence, we're here to shed light on the history of these compounds and how they continue to be used today.

See Related: A Complete Guide To CBG Flower In 2023

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A brief history of CBD

The cannabis plant itself is indigenous to Central Asia; in particular, the Indian subcontinent. In fact, the first documented use of cannabis consumption occurred in 2737 BC when Chinese Emperor Shen Neng brewed cannabis-infused tea.

Historical uses of Cannabis Sativa

It is said that the Emperor would drink this tea not only to restore his body back to balance but to aid a variety of ailments. Of course, further research would later contest the legitimacy of the hemp plant for its medical use.

But that didn't stop even Queen Victoria. During her reign, it is believed that she used marijuana as a means of alleviating menstrual cramps.

Nowadays, it's not uncommon to use cannabis oil topically for its alleged therapeutic effects. But many may be surprised that topical CBD oil also has an ancient history of its own.

In the Middle East in Ancient Egypt, it is said that Pharaoh Ramses II, who reigned from 1279-1213 BCE, utilized cannabis in a number of ways including skincare. In fact, his enthusiasm for the plant extended beyond its topical use as hemp was also used for industrial purposes such as creating buildings and textiles. 

While used for a variety of purposes, cannabis plants still weren't considered the modern phenomenon of the time. So when did the hemp plant finally make its way under the microscope, paving the way for the CBD products and CBD market we know today?

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Early research into the cannabis plant

In 1839, Irish physician and medical researcher William Brooke O'Shaughnessy discovered what could be referred to as early cannabis-derived medicine. He prescribed cannabis to patients with stomach pain and vomiting from Cholera. 

He later published his research on the plant's potential therapeutic effects. But at the time, his study was met with great controversy.

In the 1930s, the Marijuana Tax Act was passed, criminalizing cannabis across the nation despite not understanding the full scope of the hemp plant. Despite the cannabis prohibition that ensued, it's clear to see that O'Shaughnessy's early discoveries of what would later become known as "cannabinoids" paved the way for future chemists and researchers to identify other cannabinoids as well.

Bonus: 7 Surprising Things That Happen When You Smoke CBD

The discovery of cannabinoids

Fast-forward to 1940, British chemist Robert S. Cahn was able to report the partial structure of Cannabinol (CBN), highlighting that there was, in fact, a cannabis compound to be researched.

Then, two years later, American chemist Roger Adams made history when he managed to successfully isolate the first cannabinoid, Cannabidiol (CBD). It wasn't until 1964 that THC was isolated by Raphael Mechoulam.

Mechoulam's work also identified the characteristics of both CBD and THC - particularly THC's psychoactive effects - as well as the body's ability to produce endocannabinoids through the endocannabinoid system.

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The rise of medical cannabis

Such discoveries led to a landmark victory in 1978 when the Controlled Substances Therapeutic Research Act was passed in New Mexico. This bill legally recognized the medicinal value of CBD and cannabis, further enabling the study of CBD and its potential therapeutic effects.

The next state to pass medical cannabis was California in 1996. Soon after, Alaska, Washington, Oregon, Maine, Colorado, Nevada, and Hawaii followed suit.

Nowadays, it's not uncommon to see retail sales of CBD practically everywhere. Like us at Clean Remedies!

But as we look back on the history of CBD, we remain steadfast in our dedication to providing only the best, high-quality CBD for our customers as we understand the long journey CBD has taken to get us to where we are today.

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Modern-day cannabinoid pharmacology

Most recently, the 2018 Farm Bill has legalized industrial hemp with THC concentrations at or below 0.3%. Farmers may grow hemp-derived CBD legally under these specifications, though any higher concentrations of THC in CBD-based products remain a contested debate, left up to state laws.

Ultimately, active ingredients like cannabidiol (CBD) have managed to make waves in a number of industries like ours. And from us at Clean Remedies, we remain grateful to those who paved the way for CBD to be a part of our national and global culture today.

Wrapping Up

The history of CBD doesn't stop here. It's an ongoing process as more and more research continues to unveil the full potential of hemp and cannabis plants.

So as we forge forward, we are proud to be a part of not only the history of CBD but of your own personal CBD journey.

From all of us at Clean Remedies, welcome to your CBD journey - we're happy to be here with you along the ride!

Keep Reading: Everything You Need To Know About CBD Skincare


Clean Remedies is a woman-owned, independent family business that uses USDA Certified Organic Hemp Extract to create products that are free from harmful chemicals, cruelty-free, and made in the USA, meant to benefit your well being and meet our own high standards of efficacy. For CBD facts, product discounts, and more, follow us on InstagramFacebookYouTubeLinkedIn, and Pinterest.

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