A Brief History of CBD and is it Truly Socially Acceptable Today?

Since its emergence into popular culture over the last decade, sales of CBD products in the UK have grown year-on-year at an impressive rate, with the Centre for Medical Cannabis (CMC) suggesting it could be a £1Bn market by 2025.

However, whilst seen as a modern phenomenon, the fact is that all cannabis products, whether it be the plants themselves or derivatives, have been examined scientifically with a view to treating various conditions since 1839; this is when medical researcher and physician, William B. O’Shaughnessy, wrote a study which investigated marijuana’s effects on health.

In this study, which was controversial at the time, William B. O’Shaughnessy researched and theorised upon the effects of cannabis and described in detail its many medical applications, particularly as an anaesthetic.

Whilst not in the isolated form we now refer to as CBD, the ground-breaking researcher had invertedly discovered the compounds that would one day be referred to as cannabinoids - the elements in marijuana that interact with our natural endocannabinoid system (ECS) to provide a wide range of benefits to our bodies.

Without turning this into a science lesson (although for those that want one, we will do a separate blog on this another day as it’s such a fascinating topic), the endocannabinoid system (ECS) is a widespread neuromodulatory system in our bodies that plays a pivotal role in managing the central nervous system’s (CNS) synaptic plasticity, development, and our response to internal and external threats which is core to our general wellbeing and survival.

Whilst this 1839 study was the first formally documented scientific review, the first known recorded use of marijuana based medicine actually originates from 2737 BC, when the then Chinese Emperor Sheng Nengand used an infused Tea for treating various ailments including the treatment of rheumatism and gout (it’s also worth noting that he used it to treat malaria, although we must provide a disclaimer here and state that we certainly cannot recommend relying on this when traveling!)

Historical records go on to depict widespread use in America and Europe in the 1800s, it is even wildly reported that queen Victoria used it to reduce menstrual cramps whilst in power!

Since the ban of marijuana under the Misuse of Drugs Act of 1971, as you would imagine, use dwindled as mainstream shunned it and big pharma mass produced and marketed patented new technologies that provided many of the perceived properties of the plant.  Research into its benefits subsequently faded and little attention was paid to this long-serving natural remedy over the coming years and although industrial hemp still saw some use, the medicinal use of marijuana (at least in the west) faded into relative obscurity.

Thankfully, in 1993, the cultivation of EU-approved hemp was re-legalised, providing that the grower obtained a license from the Home Office and the hemp grown (or imported) contained not more than 2% THC. These developments in the 1990’s led to scientists learning more and eventually becoming able to isolate the desirable active ingredients in cannabis (CBD), without the unwanted psychoactive properties of THC, meaning that the benefits of this amazing plant could finally be utilised without the user becoming “high”.

It is also notable in the journey of CBD, that in December 2015, the FDA eased the regulatory requirements to allow researchers in the USA to conduct CBD trials. Then, in 2018, the Farm Bill made hemp legal in the United States. Although some states - such as California - had started far earlier (1996), since its legalisation for medical use in November 2018, there has been huge growth in the licenced use of marijuana as a form of prescribed medicine. It then began to be used for a range of conditions across the USA, although it is only more recently that some states have started to relax laws on recreational use.

This neatly brings us to the difference between cannabis, marijuana          and hemp.

According to Healthline it is a common misconception that hemp and marijuana are two different species, when in fact, they are just two different names for cannabis, a flowering plant in the Cannabaceae family.

While science doesn’t specify the difference between “hemp” and “marijuana,” the law certainly does.

In legislation, “marijuana” refers to all cannabis with more than 0.3% THC (by dry weight).

Whereas the term “hemp” refers to cannabis that contains equal to or less than 0.3% THC (by dry weight).

THC is one of many cannabinoids, or chemicals found in the cannabis plant. As briefly touched upon previously, It’s the one that’s primarily responsible for the “high” traditionally associated with cannabis.

According to Harvard Health Publishing (Harvard medical School), CBD, or cannabidiol, is the second most prevalent active ingredient in cannabis (marijuana). While CBD is an essential component of medical marijuana, in most cases the CBD you generally find on the shelves or online is derived directly from the hemp plant, a cousin of marijuana, or manufactured in a laboratory. Only one of the hundreds of components in marijuana, CBD does not cause a "high" by itself. According to a report from the World Health Organization, "In humans, CBD exhibits no effects indicative of any abuse or dependence potential…. To date, there is no evidence of public health related problems associated with the use of pure CBD."

report by the World Health Organisation (WHO) in 2017 suggested that CBD could provide relief for a variety of conditions including Parkinson’s, cancer,  Alzheimer’s disease, multiple sclerosis, and even diabetic complications, as well as general relief of pain, anxiety and depression. 

 Since this point , CBD use has become far more widespread with research by The CMC suggesting as many as 1.3m adults in the UK use CBD and as many as 6million having used it in the last year

There have even been some great TED talks on CBD, one of our favourites being  which focused on the endocannabinoid system and another which initially focused on how it helped a lady called Jill deal with the burden of Parkinson’s Disease day-to-day and went on to discuss the science. There are many more but these two stuck out for me.

It’s clear that the tipping point is finally near, however despite the mounting scientific evidence in favour of CBD, there are still large numbers of people that see CBD as taboo due to its close relationship with marijuana, not fully understanding that the illegal element in marijuana (THC) is not present or is at least in such low levels in regulated CBD products that it has no effect. This is understandable, however on 13th February 2020, the UK Food Standards Agency took steps to remedy this and announced new regulations regarding the classification of CBD as a novel food. As a result, since the 31st of March 2020, only registered CBD products can be sold legally in the UK market, meaning there are now safer products for the consumer and key concerns have been removed for many would be users.

In turn, we hope that through education and increased presence in the media, traditional retail and with support from reputable influencers, people will open up to the powerful benefits of CBD.

Whether it be through CBD oils, CBD Gels or topical CBD creams, as stated by the Harvard medical school there is a truly astonishing range of benefits claimed by its users worldwide. These include helping with anxiety, chronic pain, insomnia and even in the treatment of addiction. Such claims have been backed up by animal studies and trials by clinical research groups with great success, so it would be a travesty for this amazing product not to be available to all.

As ever, it took a while for the mainstream to catch up with science and the trail blazers, however the world is slowly waking up to the benefits of CBD and the success that everyday people can have with it.  CBD oils, CBD Capsules and CBD creams are now even selling on the high street at retailers such as Holland and Barratt and Waitrose. There are even celebrities such as Woopie Goldberg that have their own CBD companies selling CBD gel capsules and CBD Oil online! You can read our blog on CBD and Celebrities; you can check it out by following this link.)

With this in mind, as with every young market, it’s hard to know where to start when looking for CBD products. At CBD Success, we focused on finding suppliers with strong sales figures and high numbers of repeat customers which initially led us to Hemp Well. Sales of HempWell CBD Oil and CBD Capsules have grown year-on-year which demonstrates their popularity, as do the wide range of testimonials for them, some of which can now be found on our site.

In addition, as well as HempWell CBD Creams, CBD Oils and CBD Capsules, we provide products by Endoca and Elixinol, such as the ever-popular Endoca 1500mg CBD Whipped Body Butter and the Endoca 750mg CBD Salve, not to mention the Elixinol 900mg CBD Hemp Oil Capsules, all of which have been well reviewed and are covered by certified lab reports so you can be sure of the highest quality and legal compliance.

With the above in mind, we would like to take the opportunity to thank our supply chain for all their support to date, the hardest part of setting up any strong retail business is finding the very best suppliers that meet the same high standards that you do from day one. We have been very fortunate here and are truly grateful for the support and service provided by Hemp Well, Elixinol and Endoca that has enabled us to provide such a wide range of quality CBD products to our valued customers at competitive prices, whilst providing outstanding levels of customer service to match.

So, whatever you are after, whether that be CBD oil for your body, CBD creams for your skin or CBD Capsules for just about anything else. Be sure to contact CBD success to help you find success with CBD.