The history of CBD is long and stretches back far into the past. The roots of CBD lie in marijuana, of course, which has been used for millennia for a whole load of reasons – though it was mostly grown for medicine as well as its strong and durable fibers.
It’s known to be one of the earliest plants cultivated by human society. In 1997, for instance, a hemp rope was discovered from over 29,000 years ago in today’s Czech Republic.
The word “hemp” is derived from the Old English word for the cannabis plant and was mainly used for utilitarian purposes rather than for medicine or inebriation. In 1533, Henry VIII even fined farmers for not growing industrial hemp. Across the Atlantic, hemp became a cash crop in the early American colonies that was critical for agrarian states post-Revolution, such as in Virginia where it was made illegal NOT to grow hemp in 1619.
Truth is, the illegalization of marijuana is a recent development – and the origins of this outlawing come from the Jim Crow era in the United States in 1910. As the country faced further societal and political transition due to the end of the post-Reconstruction period following the Civil War, white Americans were unreasonable and paranoid of newly freed black Americans.
The extent of this paranoia was so severe that lawmakers tied marijuana use with the blossoming jazz era. As most jazz musicians were black, the majority of the white population feared miscegenation that, under the influence, white women would have sexual encounters with black men. Seriously, that’s what we were dealing with back then…
Further anti-marijuana propaganda made its way to popular culture with many movies like Reefer Madness (1936), depicting a caricatured story of drugs and murder. The following year, the Marihuana Tax Act of 1937 was passed that only allowed hemp which had been taxed and approved by the government could be grown and sold.
In 1940, Roger Adams was the first person to discover CBD by isolating cannabidiol and cannabinol and also hypothesize about THC. A few years later in 1964, Raphael Mechoulam fully isolated THC from the hemp plant, proving Adams’ initial theories.
These discoveries led to speculation that CBD was almost solely responsible for many of marijuana’s medicinal usages, helping to pave the way for our understanding of CBD today. However, in 1970, the US fully outlawed marijuana with the Controlled Substances Act.