A BRIEF HISTORY OF CBD, CANNABIS AND THE ENDOCANNABINOID SYSTEM
The notoriety of the Cannabis plant hit a high (excuse the pun) during the late 1960s, with the ‘Summer of Love’ and the ‘hippie’ counterculture and centered in the Haight-Ashbury district of San Francisco, California.
Youths from all over the world gathered in Haight-Ashbury, termed ‘Hashbury’ by Hunter S. Thompson in New York Times Magazine, to share ideals, music and drugs.
2737 BC - The first recorded use of marijuana as a medicine. The Emperor, Shen-Nung, documented marijuana’s effectiveness in treating pains of rheumatism and gout
It is thought William Shakespeare may have smoked Cannabis. Results from a study by Thakery et al (South African Journal of Science, 2015) found that chemical analysis (Gas Chromatography Mass Spectrometry) identified Cannabis in eight samples of plant residue in tobacco pipes discovered in Stratford-upon-Avon and environs, dating to the early 17th century.
Thackeray (unpublished manuscript) suggests that Shakespeare preferred Cannabis as a stimulant which had mind-stimulating properties; it was more likely to be Marijuana Shakespeare was using.
The first President of the USA, George Washington, grew Cannabis. Washington’s diary entries, between 1747 & 1775, showed this:
Washington, refers to Hemp in his entries. However, it is more plausible that he was intending to grow Marijuana, that is Cannabis with a higher THC content.
The Marijuana tax act of 1937 in the USA essentially banned its use and sale, with ignorance towards Cannabidiol (CBD) and focus only on the psychoactive Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) portion of the Cannabis plant. Cannabis was made illegal in the UK in 1928 following an international drug conference in Geneva when an Egyptian delegate convinced everybody that it was a threat to society and as dangerous as opium.
The 1960s is when cannabis research really heightened. Research on Cannabis sativa L. lead to the discovery of the endocannabinoid system (ECS).
Dr. Raphael Mechoulam, the ‘father of Cannabis research’, first discovered THC in 1964
In 1964 Dr. Raphael Mechoulam, Professor of Medicinal Chemistry at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, is the first to identify delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), as the main psychoactive component of cannabis. He is also the first to synthesize THC.
The 01 November 1968, The Wootton Report, written by the UK government's Advisory Committee on Drug Dependence, tackles Cannabis use.
“THE LONG TERM CONSUMPTION OF CANNABIS IN MODERATE DOSES HAS NO HARMFUL EFFECTS. CANNABIS IS LESS DANGEROUS THAN THE OPIATES, AMPHETAMINES AND BARBITURATES, AND ALSO LESS DANGEROUS THAN ALCOHOL”
— WOODEN REPORT, 1968
The report's influence is seen in future British drug policies that reduce penalties for possession of marijuana by 50%.
The recreational use of cannabis became pervasive in the 1960s in Western countries. The well-publicised recreational use associated with hippies and youths lead to its negative press. Research on the use of THC sparked a focus on the psychoactive properties of cannabis, with little interest in its therapeutic potential, much to the detriment of Cannabidiol (CBD).
"In 1976, the Netherlands adopted de facto decriminalization [of cannabis]. Under Dutch law, possession remains a crime, but the national policy of the Ministry of Justice is to not enforce that law. After 1980, a system of 'coffee shops' evolved in which the purchase of small quantities of cannabis by adults was informally tolerated and was then formally permitted in shops that were licensed."
Amsterdam’s coffee shops
“MANY DIFFERENT CULTURES HAVE USED THE CANNABIS PLANT TO TREAT A PLETHORA OF AILMENTS.”
— SHANNON ET AL, 2015 (THE PERMANENTE JOURNAL)
Following the discovery of the first cannabinoid, THC in 1964 by Dr. Raphael Mechoulam, the second cannabinoid, Anandamide is discovered in 1992, again by Dr. Mechoulam along with Dr. William Devane and Dr. Lumir Hanus. Anandamide, the is the first endogenous cannabinoid (endocannabinoid) to be discovered by scientists and is said to to be the brain’s natural version of the phytocannabinoid, THC. Vigorous exercise stimulates the release of anandamide, and the sense of euphoric well-being that comes with a healthy workout - what jogging enthusiasts refer to as a 'runner's high' - is due to elevated levels of endocannabinoids.
In 1988, the first cannabinoid receptor, CB1, is discovered by Scientists. The discovery of the second cannabinoid receptor, CB2, does not come until 1993. Both the CB1 and CB2 receptors are found in humans and play a vital role in the functioning of the endocannabinoid system.
The molecule Anandamide, an endocannabinoid/endogenous cannabinoid, meaning it is created inside the body, as opposed to phytocannabinoids (such as CBD & THC) that are created in the Cannabis plant.
CB1 & CB2 are Endocannabinoid receptors, vital in the functioning of the Endocannabinoid system.
Remember, remember, the 5th November…1996! On 5th November 1996, California becomes the first states to legalise the use of medicinal marijuana.
Medical marijuana activist Chris Conrad and his wife Mikki Norris advocated for the passage of Proposition 215
On 07 November 2000, Colorado and Nevada become the seventh and eighth states to legalise medical marijuana. The CBD in CBD products sold at the Lemon Tree CBD comes from Industrial Hemp from Cannabis plants grown in the state of Colorado.
The CBD in the CBD products sold at the Lemon Tree CBD come from the Cannabis sativa L. cannabis plants, cultivated in the state of Colorado, USA.
In 2001, Scientist Ethan Russo categorises levels of natural Cannabinoids in the body (Endocannabinoids) by an Endocannbinoid tone (Russo, 2001). In the cases of a low Endocannabinoid tone, Endocannabinoid levels are insufficient and are associated with Endocannabinoid deficiencies and pathophysiological symptoms (including migrants, fibromyalgia and Irritable bowel syndrome).
In 2004, the UK moves cannabis to a Class C drug, with lower penalties. Then in 2008, the drug returns to a Class B drug in the UK.
On 20 December 2018, President Donald Trump signs bipartisan farm bill aimed at boosting the agriculture industry. This legalizing the cultivation of industrial Hemp. The CBD in CBD products sold at the Lemon Tree CBD comes from Industrial Hemp from Cannabis. The farm bill helps removes obstacles farmers face in growing hemp, including restricted access to banking, water rights and crop insurance. Hemp is easier to grow than cotton, corn or soybeans as it requires little water and can be viable in lower-quality soil that is not practical for other crops.
At 9am on 20th September 2019, the Lemon Tree CBD Café and Lounge opens it’s doors in Treforest, South Wales for the first time.
Most recently, on 29 September 2019, the US Government allocated $3M for research into CBD and pain. None of the funding will go towards THC research (chemical part of the plant that create a high). Some believe the US Government’s motivation is stemmed in the current opioid crisis in the US, linked to the overuse of prescription painkillers.
On 06 January 2020, the drug Epidiolex/Epidyolex, a liquid-based drug containing CBD is made available on the NHS. Epidiolex/Epidyolex is a designed to help individuals suffering from two rare forms of Epilepsy.