Feature image credit: Harvard Health
It seems that since the legalisation of Cannabis in certain countries and states in America, the market for CBD has taken off in the UK. More and more products containing CBD have been appearing in our pharmacies, but why?
In previous years it seemed that no one really understood CBD, what it does or why it's different from Cannabis as a whole. Whereas, it seemed that everyone was aware of Cannabis as being a drug, specifically a Class B drug which if you're found possessing the drug you could wind up with up to a five-year sentence. Plain and simple, we were all told Cannabis was bad, however, that is starting to change.
Society has always deemed the high-inducing drug as a bad and unlawful substance, the view that abusing the drug hasn't changed at all, but more people are starting to open up their minds about how the plant itself can be used for medicinal purposes in modern medicine.
A Brief History
There's a whole lot of history behind the use of the marijuana plant, with it's first-ever recorded usage being for medicine for the Chinese Emperor Sheng Nung in 2737BCE. They recorded that he drank cannabis-infused tea to treat his memory, malaria, rheumatism, and gout. It was then found that people continued to use Cannabis for its medical purposes for centuries after. Even our very own Queen Victoria was known to take advantage of the medicine during her reign to relieve menstrual cramps. However, the problem over time for using Cannabis for its medicinal properties is that there was a lack of evidence and research around it.
It wasn't until the 1940s when Robert S.Cahn was able to discover Cannabinoids, components inside the Cannabis which could be broken down, from which he discovered CBN. Later on, Roger Adams discovered the components CBD and THC as two separate components. Following Adams' discovers new technology allowed for more research which determined how CBD and THC worked differently and how THC was the component which had the effects of causing a 'high'.
So why was it used openly before and then end up being banned?
Business, essentially. The theory has it that once the properties of Cannabis were fully understood and its medicinal benefits were becoming known it became something which could be used and abused or money. With limited money to do research, many in the research industry struggled to fund testing and the studies that did find useful backing also found it hard to get the research published due to the negative reputation Cannabis had.
Photo credit: Medical News Today
The legalisation of CBD in the U.S
In 1978 a bill was passed in New Mexico and it became the first state in the U.S which legally recognised the medicinal value of Cannabis. Following after, California became the first state to begin to sell medical marijuana for those suffering from certain diseases, not long after California, seven other U.S states legalised medical marijuana.
One of the biggest cases where Cannabis was successfully used and furthered research still to this day was the case of Charlotte Figi. Born in Colorado in 2006 with Dravet Syndrome, an extremely rare form of Epilepsy from which she suffered from 300 seizures a week and lost the ability to walk and talk. After rising out all the doctors could give, her parents turned to CBD oil. After a few drops, Charlotte seizures went from 300 a week to 2 to 3 a month, helping her grow and develop and be able to live a normal life.
The UK Stance
Last year the Home Office announced that after careful research, CBD was going to be legalised and be sold in medicinal forms. Now in stores such as Holland & Barret, people can now use CBD to treat mild aches and pains as well as be prescribed by doctors as methods to alleviate suffering from other diseases such as cancer. Research is still being conducted here in the UK to further the advancements and find other benefits the Cannabis can have.
Currently, you can buy CBD containing products such as cannabis oil but only if approved by law and medically necessarily cases can they contain THC. Since its legalisation, the market has boomed and albeit become a little unnecessary, it's been added into food, drinks, moisturises and even rubbed onto our pillowcases for good night sleep.
So whilst there is still a lot more research to be done to understand how this medical marvel plant can help us with all kinds of illnesses it still means we have to be careful. It's also important to remember that Cannabis is still an illegal substance in the UK so with that in mind don't start rolling one up whenever you have back ache, paracetamol can oftern do the trick too!