In 1940, American organic chemist Roger Adams discovered cannabidiol, which today is known best as CBD. It was quickly determined that CBD was non-psychoactive (no effect on behavior or emotion). However, the discovery and harmlessness of CBD were quickly overshadowed by the discovery of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), and the “high” or “intoxication” that it causes.
But, this article isn’t about the history of the “big bad” THC. This is an article about its forgotten, quiet sibling called CBD and why CBD doesn’t deserve the same stigma as its psychoactive brethren.
Hemp has been around for thousands of years, and its usefulness has been known and respected for a very long time. Hemp is one of the fastest-growing plants in the world, similar to the growth rate of bamboo. Growing up to two inches a day, hemp is a very low-maintenance plant that can provide essential oils, strong fibers for rope, CBD supplements, and nutrient-rich supplements for humans and four-legged animals alike. This particular species has also been known for its excellent “air-cleaning” ability and is far more efficient at taking in CO2 and producing oxygen than trees.
Dried fibers can be twisted into an extremely strong rope. Entire boats will be held in place by mold-resistant hemp rope and climbers trust their lives with it. Hemp is stronger than wood fiber, with a 1″ thick rope capable of holding over a thousand pounds. And that’s just one use for the hemp plant.
According to Crocq, author of “History of Cannabis and the Endocannabinoid System,” published in 2020 in the National Library of Medicine: 4,000 years ago, cannabis was used by people all over the world to treat mental and emotional distress and physical health problems. The ancient Greeks used cannabis as a therapeutic drug to settle mood and pain-based issues Cannabis used to not be the enemy, seen even as a holy plant in the Hindu legend of Shiva. And, in the 1800s, a doctor by the name of William Brooke discovered CBD as a potential for treatment in children (1).
The stigma related to hemp is massive enough that, should you go into big hardware stores, most “hemp” rope will be made of sisal, jute, and manila fibers instead. Roger Adams’ findings on CBD should have been cause enough for relief–instead, CBD was stigmatized as much as hemp rope was, becoming barred off from civilization as if it was poison.
Humans, to put it frankly, fear the unknown. And when “Reefer Madness” came out in 1936 and hundreds of anti-cannabis PSAs came to light, it seemed country after country was convinced of its treachery. Laws and acts were created to completely outlaw the various kinds of marijuana that were shown to “induce violent behavior.”
Whether it be because law enforcement wanted more people off the streets, politicians wanted something to band the People together (or some equally absurd reason), CBD became the enemy on an international level.
How Different Countries React
Below are just a few of the many countries that approve or disapprove of CBD recreationally.
Uruguay was one of the first countries in the modern era to legalize the usage, cultivation, sale, and exportation of cannabis. Although there are smaller rules about the specifics, Uruguay made big news back in 2013 when they legalized recreational cannabis. CBD, in extension, is approved for usage.
Sweden is, unfortunately, extremely against nearly all usage of cannabis unless for a very specific medical purpose. CBD, although rather innocent compared to THC, remains under scrutiny. Any percentage of THC found within it immediately makes the edible illegal.
It is theorized that Sweden may be one of the last European countries to legalize cannabis for recreational usage. This is partly due to the country-wide demonization of cannabis and the horrible side effects it causes. Cannabis warnings explained that having any form of cannabis would lead to violent outbursts, mental illness, and horrible, unspeakable things. The only way to get rid of cannabis was to criminalize all distribution and possession of it.
The United States
The United States has several states that all have different legislations and ideas on how good or bad cannabis is. CBD, in most cases, is legal depending upon the amount of THC present within the edible.
California was one of the first states to legalize the usage of medical cannabis in 1996. The first two states to legalize the recreational usage of cannabis were Colorado and Washington state.
Jamaica used to demonize the usage of cannabis to a level that would have anyone possessing it was thrown into jail. Despite the likes of Bob Marley, Jamaica had remained strong on its criminalization of cannabis. It wasn’t until 2015 that Jamaica legalized cannabis for medical usage.
CBD is legal, and recognized by the government to be a drug nearly incapable of offering any kind of “high.” This country believes that the amount of trace THC found within CBD is insignificant compared to what is found in marijuana products worldwide.
For more information on the countries’ legalization of CBD, check out “10 Countries Where CBD Usage is Legal.”
At the end of the day, what you choose to do with your life is entirely up to you. However, CBD is something that should not be feared. It is not a narcotic, although the uneducated might try to deem it as such.
Just be very aware of what your CBD contains. CBD doesn’t need to be FDA-approved, so some CBD will have more THC in it than advertised. Stick with safe, lab-tested, and proven CBD for that “feel good” guarantee.
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Citations by Grammarly.com:
(1) Crocq, A. (2020). History of cannabis and the endocannabinoid system. Dialogues in Clinical Neuroscience, 22(3), 223-228. https://doi.org/10.31887/DCNS.2020.22.3/mcrocq