Cannabis Sativa L. or Industrial Hemp, as we know it, has been used for a large variety of ailments, industrial applications, and ceremonial uses for millennia. Evidence gathered from ancient sites has revealed that the plant was important, and even sacred, in many societies, including Ancient Egypt, Ancient China, and Ancient India.
However, after the plant’s longstanding popularity, the Western world entered the prohibition era – a movement that quickly spread throughout the world and drastically changed the perception of cannabis. Prohibition was fuelled by suspicion of the plant’s psychoactive properties as well as the development of stereotypes used against the plant’s users, “Reefer Madness”
Recreational use of the plant halted in the early 20th century, with medical cannabis also being tightly controlled and, in some cases, banned. Unfortunately, prohibition also coincided with the largest investment in medical and scientific research in history by Pharmaceutical Companies. This has also left a huge gap in our knowledge of the cannabis plant and how it can be used.
Following almost a century in outlaw in much of the world, however, a new cannabis revolution is taking hold. People are once again embracing the cannabis plant for its medicinal properties, and even governments are beginning to re-think their policies on its control.
Yet, despite this slow but steady re-embrace of the plant, the most common (and most famous) compound produced by cannabis – THC – remains illegal in most countries. Science and the public have, nonetheless, embraced another cannabis compound for its all round wellness potential and lack of psychoactive properties.
The Rise of CBD
CBD is the second-most prevalent cannabinoid produced by Cannabis Sativa L. Researchers found it has promising medicinal potential, including being an anti-inflammatory and helping to reduce seizures in treatment-resistant epilepsy.
Cannabidiol (CBD) was discovered and isolated in the 1940s. Despite the discovery that it didn’t possess mind-altering properties, ongoing prohibition meant that research around the compound remained limited. In 1980, CBD’s potential as an anticonvulsant therapy was discovered. The anticonvulsant properties of cannabis had been known by societies thousands of years ago, yet forgotten.
Having gained increasing attention in the medical world, CBD remained relatively unheard of among the public. On the other hand, hemp wellness – though not managing to break into the mainstream – had developed (or maintained) relative popularity. This ready market may have initially have helped to develop the popularity of CBD.
Expanding the CBD Market – Commercial CBD Products
CBD products entered the commercial market as health supplements in oil/tincture and capsule form. However, in the last few years, a massive array of products have emerged, including edibles, beverages, skincare, and even clothing and pillows!!
Expansion may be put down to the continued legalisation of cannabis in a small number of countries. For example, the 2018 US Farm Bill in the USA. This law change had meant that companies were free to extract CBD and develop products for export for the first time, although many restrictions do still exist.
Unfortunately in the UK, insufficient regulation means currently Hemp crops cannot be grown for CBD. And while regulation is finally improving in the UK, there remains a number of poor quality of CBD products on the market – in some cases, these products may actually contain no CBD at all! New regulations are due to be in place to regulate the CBD market by March 31st 2021, however the current worldwide pandemic may have delayed the legal reading into law. We wait to be advised at the time of writing.
Medicinal CBD Products
CBD-based medications, alongside other medical cannabis products, have also been experiencing a liberation over the last few decades. Medical cannabis laws have been eased immensely, with the majority of US states, and many countries in Europe and throughout the rest of the world moving to approve access to these medicines.
In the UK, Cannabis based medicine became legal in November 2018 however, very few prescriptions have been issued. I’ll be looking into the current status of the industry during Medical Cannabis Awareness Week, 1 – 8 November 2020 and bring you all the information I can.
Keep your eyes open for updates. Until next time ……. Nameste S x