The word cannabis tends to conjure up thoughts of the psychoactive effects, THC-laden marijuana buds that give recreational users the euphoric effects they desire. But THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), the widely known predominant psychoactive compound found in marijuana is being rivaled by another cannabinoid in terms of popularity and health benefits. That cannabinoid is CBD or cannabidiol.
Right now, there are people from all across the globe looking to CBD oil to seek relief from their pain and discomfort related to various types of ailments. Many are also turning to CBD oil to enhance their mental and physical well-being in an effort to boost their fitness regimen and maintain a healthier lifestyle. And with the increasing number of benefits that have been backed by science, it's no wonder that cannabidiol is soaring in popularity right now.
CBD is one of dozens of different compounds found in the cannabis plant, but tends to be found in higher quantities like THC. Unlike THC, CBD does not have psychoactive properties and therefore does not produce any mind-altering effects. Similar to THC, CBD has continued to be associated with the alleviation of a myriad of symptoms from various medical conditions including epilepsy, anxiety, neurological disorders, acne and even cancer.
Despite all the positive health benefits that this cannabinoid has demonstrated, the ongoing stigma of the cannabis plan along with long-standing legal prohibition of cannabis, have stood in the way of research and patients looking to reap the rewards of taking CBD. But today, more and more people are realizing the incredible potential of CBD in the medical realm, and studies are taking place to provide evidence of such potential.
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A Brief History of CBD
Cannabis has actually been used for medicinal purposes for thousands of years with evidence that the plant was used as far back as the times of the Ancient Egyptians, Hindus and Greeks when cannabis was used to alleviate wounds and pain.
Since these ancient times, medical cannabis has continued to be used throughout Africa, Asia and the Middle East. By the 1800s, the plant had made a breakthrough in the Western World in the medical field where it became the focus of more scientific research into how its compounds played a role in treating various ailments.
In fact, medical cannabis was actually prescribed by physicians on a regular basis until laws sprung up in the early 1900s which prohibited its distribution and use. Despite the pushback, research continued and CBD was finally discovered in 1940.
It wasn't until 63 years later that CBD's popularity in the medical field would really pique interest.
Charlotte's Web and CBD’s Mainstream Breakthrough
While the benefits of CBD were already starting to surface thanks to the works of various researchers, perhaps the biggest breakthrough for cannabidiol was in 2013 when the story of a little girl suffering from severe seizures became popular.
A 6-year-old girl named Charlotte Figi experienced her first seizure only three months after she was born. She suffered from Dravet Syndrome, a rare form of epilepsy. Her condition increasingly worsened. By the age five, Charlotte was suffering from as many as 300 severe seizures per week.
After reading about a young boy with the same condition who was treated with cannabis, Charlotte's parents decided to obtain cannabis oil for Charlotte. Almost immediately after trying the oil, Charlotte's seizures dramatically reduced in frequency and severity.
Since then, Charlotte's parents teamed up with medical marijuana growers and dispensaries in Colorado to create an oil that was high in CBD and low in THC. This eventually came to be known as "Charlotte's Web."
Charlotte's story spread across the news after it was discovered that CBD oil helped her condition. Even those who were against the use of cannabidiol for medical purposes began to change their minds about its use. From there, CBD oil has been skyrocketing in popularity and its stigma is steadily dissipating.
Broadening Legality of CBD
By 2014, many states passed legislation to legalize CBD including Florida, Alabama, Kentucky, Mississippi, Tennessee, North Carolina, South Carolina, Iowa, Missouri, Utah and Wisconsin.
Though marijuana was still illegal, CBD became legally recognized in these particular states.
On a federal level, steps were taken in 2017 for the FDA to approve CBD as a medicine, though the entity still has yet to acknowledge and approve CBD as a medicine.
CBD derived from the hemp plant as opposed to a marijuana plant is considered legal on a federal level. States vary on the legality of CBD products.
Related: Where Is CBD Legal?
Explosion of CBD Products
CBD has become so popular that a number of different CBD products are now available for purchase. The cannabinoid can be purchased in a variety of forms including oils, tinctures, capsules and topicals.
In fact, CBD has expanded beyond the medicinal field to incorporate nutritional supplements and beauty products as well.
In addition to the miraculous medical benefits of CBD, it has also been linked to mental clarity, energy increase and improved skin, making CBD a highly versatile product that offers a host of far-reaching benefits for human consumption.
CBD has certainly come a long way in terms of acceptance even though it has long been used as a form of medical treatment. But as research continues, evidence of CBD's power is being increasingly supported, giving people more confidence that CBD can be used in conjunction with conventional medicine and products.