(08) 9758 8600

Brief History Of Hemp & CBD - 20,000 BC To Present Day - From Humble Roots To Magical Molecule

Hempco LogoHempco Admin
5 Mins. Read

When it comes to medicinal cannabis, there is more to the history of hemp than many may assume. Contrary to popular belief, it is not as new to humanity as you may think. 

There is a long history of Hemp and its many uses can be traced back further than 20,000 years, but reactions to its use have varied. Some are quick to shun it, while others are working to bring its benefits to light.

CBD has become a widely used product in the last few years because more people have taken its therapeutic potential aboard. It is one of the active substances in the hemp plant and was the first-ever cannabinoid to be isolated. 

History Of Hemp - In The Beginning

2 13 600x600 1

The rich history of hemp begins with the plant being initially identified in Central Asia but is dated as far back as the Gravettian civilisation over 20,000 years ago.

At this point, humans recognised the usefulness of the plant as a textile fibre. However, its use in medicine began with the Chinese at least 2000 years ago.

The Chinese Emperor Shennong was known to drink cannabis-infused tea, and we all know how the Chinese are particular about their tea!

Initial Scientific Research

In the 1830s, an Irish scientist named William B O'Shaugnessy released a study (writing another chapter in the history of hemp) looking into the plant's therapeutic properties.

This is likely the first time a researcher was looking at compounds that went on to be known as cannabinoids about 100 years later.

Robert S. Cahn, a British Chemist who studied the plant in 1940, identified the structure of Cannabinol. However, it was not until 1942 when Roger Adams, an American, discovered isolated CBD for the first time. 

When we first discovered Cannabinoids, much was unclear. As scientists discovered new cannabinoids, it led to the ultimate question: “which component was causing what effect?”

One of the other objectives that had scientists confused was figuring out the exact number of cannabinoids in a cannabis plant.  Each one seemed different.

Another question that presented itself was, “which cannabinoid can be useful medicinally, and what can they treat?”

In 1963, Dr Mechoulam from Israel led the first team to successfully identify the stereochemistry of CBD. A year later, he did the same for THC, ruling out CBD as a psychoactive compound. Soon after this, he was successful in treating 8 epilepsy patients with CBD.

Yet another question was regarding the best way to administer cannabinoids. The idea of smoking cannabis to deliver cannabinoids to the body was not warmly received by society.

After research and testing, the use of oils, balms, and edibles showed as a viable alternative. These alternate means of delivering cannabinoids to the body only pose a minor threat to wellness.

Fast forward to 2021.  CBD extracts have become very popular and have shown remarkable clinical significance in relieving chronic pain, seizures, & anxiety.

There is now a range of cannabis-infused products like cakes, cookies, gummies (for humans and animals), tinctures, creams, capsules, and more.

Thank you all of the scientist who have contributed to the history of hemp.

Recent Changes In Legislature

Change is one concept that is difficult to incorporate into any society. CBD has been going through gradual changes in legal classification all across the world in the recent history of hemp. Hemp was originally a vital crop embraced by society. About a hundred years later, it has become a shunned plant. 

The 20th century witnessed a great shunning of Hemp. The plant was associated with many societal vices. Change in perspective moved the government to place a ban on growing, possession, and distribution.

However, from the 21st century, people began to advocate for decriminalisation. In 1996, California legalised medical cannabis, and this paved the way for acceptance by others. From 1998-2021 several USA states have legalised cannabis either for medical, recreational, or both purposes.

About 47 countries globally have passed the bill to legalise the use and sale of cannabis products as of 2020. 

Thanks to the people who have been fighting for CBD’s recognition

Several individuals have dedicated their lives to ensuring that CBD gets recognised as a helpful product. They have been fighting a tireless battle because they know first hand that CBD is about so much more than ‘getting high’. Thus deserving their recognition in the history of hemp

Charlotte Figi was an American girl who inspired the push for CBD in treating seizures. She was born with Dravet syndrome. With CBD, Charlotte’s seizures reduced from 300 every week to 2-3 per month.

She tragically passed on April 7 2021, which has now been marked as ‘Figi Day’ in Colorado. We will never forget her impact on the advancement of the movement to legalise CBD. 

Bernie Sanders is another prominent figure who has always spoken up in favour of the legalisation of CBD products. He is a known activist in the United States of America. Bernie proposed the legalisation of cannabis in 2015. Unfortunately, he did not get enough support for the bill. 

We also want to mention one of the Australian warriors, Lucy Haslam and her late son Dan.  Medicinal cannabis wasn’t able to save his life, but it certainly made the final stretch of his magnificent life a lot more comfortable. 

Since his tragic passing, Lucy Haslam has continued to fight the good fight to fulfil her last promise to Dan: Win easy access for people facing similar struggles he did.  If you’d like to read more about their story, you can read our interview with her here.

We thank you all for your contributions to the history of hemp.

Wrap-Up/Final Words

As most of the world begins turning a leaf in the history of hempbto legalise the use of cannabis products, we’ve seen the start of a golden age in natural medicines.

CBD has made a serious impact on a wide range of communities affected by illnesses, ailments, and disabilities that modern medicine can't treat on its own.

This begs to question: Why has it been outlawed for so long?

Fortunately, governments around the world have started to change the restrictions on CBD... But not just that!

The laws on cannabis, in general, are finally in a state of fluctuation.

We believe that a real change is imminent. What do you think?

What's going to be the next chapter in the history of hemp?

Let us know in the comments!

Want to learn more about CBD for health & wellness?