New to CBD in 2020? Here’s the History of CBD to Help You Get Started

Naturalis - 23rd December
CBD Flower

CBD is now immensely popular and countless people around the world use high-quality CBD products for a variety of reasons. Are you tempted to get in on the action in 2020? If so, you’ll want to do your research to find the products that are right for you.

Knowledge really is power, so you’ll want to get started by improving your general understanding of CBD. There’s a lot of buzz around the cannabinoid at the moment, and it can be very difficult to get a good sense of its history and background.

In this post, we’re going to take a look at the history of cannabidiol. We’ll walk you through the key milestone events in the history of the cannabinoid so that you can get a better idea of its history and paint a clearer picture.

The History of CBD: Key Dates and Milestones

CBD has a bright future, but it also has an intriguing past. The cannabinoid has long been used for its therapeutic benefits, but it’s only in recent history that research has intensified. We’re in the midst of a flurry of research and activity – the perfect time to look back and see where we came from.



Let’s get started – here are the key milestones in the history of CBD.

2737 BC: Emergence in China

The history of marijuana tea being used for its medicinal properties is very long and rich. As far back as 2737 BC, there are records of the Emperor Shen Neng using this concoction to treat ailments such as gout and poor memory.

At the time, of course, there was little understanding about exactly which material within the plant brought about the therapeutic effects. Still, the drug spread like wildfire across much of Asia and the Middle East. There are records of marijuana being used in a range of contexts ranging from religious purposes and stress relief to earache and childbirth.

1839: William B. O’Shaughnessy introduces cannabis to western medicine

It wasn’t until thousands of years later that modern medicine took a closer look. In 1839, the Irish physician and medical researcher William B. O’Shaughnessy published an important study that explored the therapeutic effects of the plant.

This detailed and rich study was an important exploration of the potential medical applications of cannabis, and it played a pivotal role in inspiring other researchers to enter the field. Despite the level of detail included within the study, some contemporaries of the physician were reluctant to show much enthusiasm given the reputation of the drug.

Perhaps unknowingly, O’Shaughnessy set the medical community down a path that we’re only just truly beginning to understand today.

1940: Robert S. Cahn reports the partial structure of Cannabinol

Just shy of 100 years later, the British chemist Robert S. Cahn identified the structure of Cannabinol. The impressive chemist used the latest advancements in research and technology to make this breakthrough.

This is perhaps the key moment that propelled research into a frenzy. From this point onwards, researchers applied lots of time and resources into exploring the structure of the cannabis plant.

1942: Roger Adams isolates CBD

Just two years after Cahn identified the structure of Cannabinol, the American chemist Roger Adams became the first person to successfully isolate the first cannabinoid, Cannabidiol (CBD).


CBD Tinture


This was a very important breakthrough and it truly opened the door to further exploration. As part of his research, Adams also identified tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). These breakthroughs meant that future researchers were able to work with a good understanding of the biological composition of the cannabis plant.

1963: Dr. Raphael Mechoulam identifies the stereochemistry of CBD

Despite the breakthrough of Roger Adams, scientists were still unable to determine exactly which compounds within the cannabis plant had an effect on people. This changed with the work of Dr. Raphael Mechoulam, though, who identified the stereochemistry of CBD.

This very specific branch of chemistry focuses on the three-dimensional arrangement of the atoms and molecules. The following year, Mechoulam made another important breakthrough when he identified the stereochemistry of THC.

In identifying the role and purpose of THC, Mechoulam made an important distinction between the utility of the various cannabinoids found within cannabis.

1978: New Mexico passes the 1978 Controlled Substances Therapeutic Research Act

Mechoulam’s work pushed research in this area forward significantly, and the research community worked very hard to build upon his findings and better understand them. A significant victory came in 1978, when New Mexico passed the Controlled Substances Therapeutic Research Act.

This landmark bill was enacted at the urging of Lynn Pierson, a young cancer patient who courageously advocated for the use of medical marijuana. Lynn found that marijuana helped to alleviate nausea and a range of other symptoms associated with her illness.

The bill legally recognised the fact that cannabis has medicinal value, and this played an important role in starting to shfit public perception of the drug.

1978: Landmark study on CBD and epilepsy is published

In the same year, Dr. Mechoulam and his team published a groundbreaking study entitled “Toward Drugs Derived from Cannabis”. The study explored the potential application of CBD when it comes to the treatment of epilepsy.

As part of the study, Mechoulam and his team worked alongside a group of 8 subjects who suffered from seizures related to epilepsy. The researchers administered daily doses of 300mg of CBD and carefully monitored the results. After four months, half of the subjects completely stopped suffering from seizures while the remaining four demonstrated a sharp decrease in the frequency of their seizures.

There are more than 50 million people around the world who suffer from epilepsy, and the release of this study played a pivotal role in moulding the future of CBD to help them. Unfortunately, this pioneering work lacked publicity because of the stigmas towards cannabis during this time.

1988: The first cannabinoid receptor is identified

Ten years later, researchers made another important breakthrough. In an important study, they determined and characterised the first cannabinoid receptor in the brain of a rat. This resulted in the discovery of the endocannabinoid system – a subject of intense study to this day.




Essentially, the endocannabinoid system is a biological system found in all mammals. It plays a critical role in helping to regulate a number of important physiological and cognitive processes. The system and its endocannabinoid receptors also interact with cannabinoids. Research into the endocannabinoid system is ongoing.

1996: California passed Proposition 215

In 1996, California made history by passing Proposition 215. The passing of this bill made California the first state to legalise medical marijuana and a number of states quickly followed.

This was an important decision, given that it made medical marijuana legal. Patients in those states could use marijuana to manage a range of ailments and researchers operating in those areas could expand their research.

1996: Research intensifies

In 1996, a number of important researchers started to more closely explore the medical potential of CBD and how it could be used to treat a range of ailments including epilepsy and neurodegenerative diseases.

As a deeper understanding of cannabis began to emerge, public sentiment towards the drug started to soften. Common stigmas around the drug started to disappear and research shone an important light on the medicinal potential of cannabis.

2010: The story of Charlotte Figi emerges

Charlotte Figi was born in 2006 in Colorado. Sadly, the child suffered from a rare form of epilepsy called Dravet Syndrome. This devastating disease is very rare and it meant that by just four years old, Charlotte experienced an average of 300 seizures per week.

The high volume of intense seizures meant that Charlotte had all but lost her ability to walk, talk and eat. Charlotte’s parents worked very hard to find a cure that could help to manage the condition, and they eventually turned to CBD oil.

Within hours of her first dose of CBD oil, the volume of seizures dramatically decreased. Charlotte now experiences 2-3 seizures each month and she has the opportunity to live a normal life.

Charlotte’s experience and her story inspired people around the world to look at CBD in a new light and moving interviews with Charlotte’s parents struck a chord with many people.

2018: Epidiolex approved by the FDA

Charlotte Figi’s story inspired others to come forward and share their own experiences over the following years. This inspired researchers to continue their important work and in 2018, the FDA approved the first drug with CBD as an active ingredient.

Epidiolex is an oral solution that helps to manage seizures that are associated with two rare forms of epilepsy. The legalisation of this drug is great news for those people who suffer from epilepsy, and it’s also great news for CBD advocates in general. This landmark moment showed that CBD does indeed have medical applications.

2018: The USA Farm Bill passes

The Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 was passed on December 11, 2018. For the first time in USA history, this bill descheduled certain cannabis products from the Controlled Substances Act. The passing of this bill had a dramatic impact on the potential value of the CBD market, which is now projected to be worth $23 billion by the 2020s.

The passing of this bill had another big impact on the way that CBD is perceived within the US and abroad.

The Future of CBD

As you can see, CBD has had quite an interesting journey over the years. It is inspiring to see how modern research and technology is propelling our understanding forwards and helping people to unlock the benefits of CBD.

In terms of the future of CBD, we can expect for research to continue and for new discoveries to be made. As the profile of CBD continues to improve and more people find CBD products, we can also expect for general awareness to grow.

Closer to home, CBD could have an interesting future in the UK. We can expect for regulatory guidelines to evolve over time and for Brexit to have an impact on trade laws and regulations. The UK will leave behind the prohibition on recreational cannabis, which could lead to fewer restrictions on cannabis-related products.

Whatever the changes, you can rest assured that we’ll keep you in the loop. Be sure to follow our blog on a regular basis and we’ll provide you with the latest news and developments as and when they emerge.

Additional CBD Resources

Now that you have a more general understanding of the history of cannabidiol, you might want to learn more about how to get started. Here are some additional CBD resources that you can use to bolster your knowledge:

A CBD Buying Guide for Beginners

In this simple CBD guide, we take a closer look at how you might want to get started with CBD. We offer a general introduction to CBD as well as guidance on how to find the best type of CBD and identify quality retailers.




We also take a look at pricing and efficacy, as well as some of the common questions you might have when getting started with CBD.

Your Simple Guide to the Types of CBD Products Out There

Full-spectrum, isolate, water-soluble… It can become quite difficult to differentiate between the different types of CBD and this can be somewhat intimidating when you’re starting out.

In this guide to the main types of CBD products, we walk you through the main categories with simple definitions and explanations. If you want to get your head around the different types of CBD out there, you should be sure to read this guide. Your Christmas Guide to the

Range of Naturalis CBD Products

If you are thinking of purchasing a CBD gift for christmas, you’ll undoubtedly have a number of common questions. In this piece, we walk you through how to find the right product and some of the key product categories that are out there.

Shop with Naturalis Today

Inspired to give CBD a go and see what it can do for you? Visit our store today to browse our products and learn more about what we have on offer. If you have any questions at all, be sure to get in touch with us and we’ll provide you with the information that you need.

Naturalis - 23rd December

Related products

A wider selection of our
premium CBD products
All search results