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The beginning of CBD

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The beginning of CBD

You may have noticed the sudden explosion of CBD Oil into the consciousness of our society. There are many questions that we at HerbBox are often asked but we thought we would take the time to address CBD from a birds eye view by starting with the beginning...

(*if you are still unfamiliar with what CBD is, start here)


We start at the year 1940, where we find ourselves in a laboratory somewhere in the University of Illinois. A small team led by Dr. Roger Adams, a chemist and Harvard graduate, have just discovered a very interesting compound in the hemp plant, but they have no idea what exactly it is! Around the same time, another researcher, Dr. Raphael Mechoulam, was pondering something. Scientists had discovered the isolated compounds that gave opium and the coca leaf their intoxicating properties, and yet no one done the same with cannabis.

Years later, Dr. Adams, Dr. Mechoulam and other scientists realized what Dr. Adams had discovered and started researching the possible benefits of CBD. Before we get into that, let’s go back even further…


We have found evidence of the cultivation of hemp, or cannabis, dating back to roughly 12,000 years ago. Although finding exact dates is almost impossible, the earliest recorded medicinal use falls somewhere in between 1400-2900 BC. When we wind back the clock to delve into the genesis of the medical use of the hemp plant, we find ourselves in Ancient China.

It is approximately 2700 BC and the Chinese Empire is run by Shen Nung, who is affectionally referred to as the “Father of Chinese Medicine”. He developed this moniker by testing over 365 herbs to determine their medicinal value.* He is also credited for writing On Herbal Medical Experiment Poisons which has since been used and expanded on by generations of doctors. His name translates to mean “The Divine Farmer” and is thought to have brought agriculture to the Chinese Empire. It is speculated that Shen Nung often drank tea infused with the hemp plant for a treatment of many ailments.


As we fast forward the clock to the 19th century and travel thousands of miles across the world we find ourselves in Canada. It is here and then that a clinical physician, William Osler, brings the cannabis plant onto the scene of modern medicine. Osler, much like our friend Shen Nung, is known as the “Father of Modern Medicine”. He is credited with creating the first residency program which is know a staple in modern western medical practice.

In 1892, Osler published a book called The Principles and Practice of Medicine in which he talked about migraine headaches at great lengths. In this text he cites several remedies to migraine headaches, and determines cannabis to be the most effective at treating them.


We head back into the 20th Century where we left Dr. Adams and his “discovery” of CBD. Some 6 years after Dr. Adams successfully extracted what is now known as CBD, we find an interesting test being carried out on lab animals. The player is  Dr. Walter S. Loewe, and the results of the test gives proof that this still unknown chemical extracted by Dr. Adams does not cause altered mental states. In the same year, work by Dr. Raphael Mechoulam comes to light that identifies the three dimensional structure of this chemical and is therefore given the credit of discovering CBD!

In the 1960’s, CBD research is still going strong and is now being tested on primates. These tests ultimately lead to to the first CBD Oil for therapeutic use and is released by the British Pharmacopoeia. In the year 1980, Dr. Raphael Mechoulam has made his second breakthrough with CBD by showing how CBD can have a huge influence on the treatment of epilepsy.

We end in 1988, it is at this time that another huge discovery comes into play, the Endocannabinoid System (ECS) is discovered. It is now known that the ECS is present wishing all mammals and plays a pivotal role in regulating our health in a myriad of ways. Throughout the 90’s more research into the ECS was conducted that ultimately led to the understanding of the CB1 and CB2 receptors and how they promote homeostasis within our bodies.


As the public begins to embrace CBD more and more, we are now able to research its full potential. The anecdotal evidence available is overwhelming and CBD has helped thousands of people manage issues related to stress, pain and sleep. CBD supplements are now legal and available in all 50 states. We understand now the deep history that the cannabis plant has in humanity and we can’t wait for everyone to discover how powerful CBD can be in helping them on their journey!



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