CBD - A Brief History and What You Need to Know

CBD – or cannabidiol – is a naturally occurring chemical found in cannabis plants. “But isn’t it illegal?”, “But doesn’t it get you high?” you ask. As for your first question - yes, it was outlawed up until recently when certain restrictions on it were eased, but it’s prohibition was misplaced. And getting you high? That’s a myth. So before you jump to conclusions, find out why it's not the villainized compound it was made out to be for so long.

First and foremost, it’s important to note that CBD on its own cannot, we repeat, cannot get you high. The chemical compounds of cannabis oils vary depending on how the extract is produced, but unlike THC (the psychoactive compound found in cannabis) CBD does not have psychoactive effects.

In fact, throughout history, cannabis served as a valuable therapeutic treatment. CBD derived medicine was first used in 2737 BC by Chinese Emperor Sheng Nung in the form of a cannabis-infused tea to aid with a variety of ailments including memory, malaria, and joint maladies such as arthritis and gout. Queen Victoria is also believed to have used CBD to alleviate menstrual cramps, a struggle some of us know all too well.

However, restrictions were placed on the plant beginning in 1906, and by 1970 it was prohibited completely as part of the Controlled Substances Act (CSA).

Following the CSA, cannabis was reviled for years. But with 1996’s passage of California’s Proposition 215, and the legalization of medical marijuana in a majority of U.S. states, doors have opened for researchers to expand their studies into cannabinoid uses for medical purposes. Unfortunately, laws regarding CBD use vary by state in the U.S. and research supporting the compound’s benefits is still limited - but its a step in the right direction.

There is overwhelming anecdotal evidence that CBD can provide relief for numerous conditions ranging from Parkinson's disease, schizophrenia, diabetes, multiple sclerosis and anxiety to autoimmune diseases and chronic pain to skin ailments such as Acne and Psoriasis. CBD can be administered orally, by sublingual tincture, inhalation, and topical application, making it an attractive option for those who want the health benefits of cannabis without the high.

CBD is safe and non-addictive, so you can reap all the health benefits this natural compound has to offer without worrying about getting “hooked”.

Though it's often well-tolerated, CBD can cause minor side effects when administered orally, such as dry mouth, diarrhea, reduced appetite, drowsiness and fatigue and may interact with other medications you're taking, such as blood thinners. However, bear in mind that this evidence has only been linked to ingestive use and not topical.

Today, it is legal to buy CBD anywhere in the U.S. as long as it doesn't contain more than 0.3 percent THC, but some state laws have still placed restrictions on buyers.

It should also be noted that consumers should do their research and watch out for unscrupulous companies, as according to a recent study of 84 CBD products, more than a quarter of the products contained less CBD than labeled, and THC was found in 18 products.

Regardless of its long and complicated past, CBD is gaining overwhelming popularity in holistic medicines and beauty products. While still relatively in its infancy, the future looks bright for this natural, soothing remedy.