The History Of CBD

on July 07, 2019

Class 101 – A Discovery of CBD

In order to truly understand CBD, we need to know how we discovered it.

Dr. Raphael Mechoulam is an Israeli organic chemist and professor of Medicinal Chemistry at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem in Israel.

Mechoulam is best known for his work in the isolation of three chemicals: Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), Anandamide, and 2-arachidonoyl glycerol (2-AG). Not only did he isolate THC, he is responsible for structure elucidation and total synthesis of THC. Mechoulam along with his students, postdocs and collaborators, also identified the endogenous cannabinoids anandamide from the brain and 2-arachidonoyl glycerol (2-AG) from peripheral organs.

Despite his many pioneering work with endocannabinoids, Mechoulam was not the first to successfully isolate CBD. An American chemist by the name of Roger Adams, was the first by using a Treasury License to work with cannabis oil at his lab in Urbana-Champaign in 1939. Adams then presented a paper to the National academy of Science on “The Chemistry of Mirihuana.” Heidentified and synthesized CBD and CBN and then won a patent for his method of isolating CBD in 1942. Adams published 27 studies on cannabis in the American Journal of Chemistry.

Adams never isolated THC, however he synthesized it in the lab by tweaking the molecular structure of the other cannabinoids present; principally CBD. He had searched for the psychoactive cannabinoid that he knew existed, but never actually identified it in the cannabis plant. This was most likely due to the lacking access to technology. While Adams produced the THC analogs in his lab in the 40’s and inferred the existence of the molecule, Mechoulam was given credit for the isolation of THC at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem in 1964.


  • 1940 - Roger Adams isolates CBD from marijuana but didn’t exactly know what he had found.
  • 1942 - Roger Adams wins a patent for isolating CBD and was the first researcher to identify THC.
  • 1946 - Dr. Walter S. Loewe conducts the first CBD tests on lab animals.
  • 1950 - CBD had been outlawed in all 50 states.
  • 1964 - Raphael Mechoulam isolates and describes the chemical structure of CBD.
  • 1960’s - Mechoulam and his lab began testing their isolated cannabinoids on primates
  • 1973 - Brazilian scientists announced CBD reduced or even prevented convulsions caused by Epilepsy in animals.
  • 1974 - Researchers in Brazil discovered that CBD functions as an anxiolytic.
  • 1970’s - A cannabis tincture is released for medicinal use by the British Pharmacopoeia.
  • February 1980 - Mechoulam collaborates with a small study conducted in São Paulo, was one of the first to reveal that CBD diminishes convulsions in patients with epilepsy. Mechoulam’s publication on CBD for epilepsy goes largely unnoticed in the medical and pharmaceutical industries.
  • 1982 - First evidence that CBD has antipsychotic effects.
  • 1990’s - Group of researchers at the National Institutes of Mental Health (USA) revealed that CBD is a powerful cellular antioxidant, while other subsequent work indicated that this effect also furnished it with neuroprotective properties.
  • 1995 - CBD was openly administered to patients. During a clinical test, participants improved remarkably after receiving a treatment with cannabidiol.
  • 1998 - British pharmaceutical group begins official medical trials using CBD.
  • 1998 -The pharmaceutical company GW Pharmaceuticals received a license to produce the medicine Sativex, featuring equal proportions of THC and CBD, for the treatment of pain and spasms in Multiple Sclerosis patients.
  • October 7, 2003 -The United States government patents CBD as a neuroprotectant under U.S. Patent #6,630,507.
  • 2010 -First cannabis-based medicine, Nabiximols also known as Sativex, becomes licensed in the UK. This drug contains both THC and CBD and is prescribed to treat spasticity of muscles related to Multiple Sclerosis (MS).
  • 2011 -Scientists at the Californian Pacific Medical Center Research Institute explained in their scientific study that they had found evidence that CBD can impede metastasis in cancerous cells.
  • 2012 -German researchers stated that the compound had reduced psychotic symptoms in patients with schizophrenia.
  • 2013 -The story of Charlotte Figi, a sufferer of 300 grand mal seizures a week were all but eliminated when she started using high-CBD strains of medical cannabis.
  • 2014 -Several states pass legislation for the legalization of CBD.    
  • 2017 -Steps initiated for potential FDA approval of CBD as a medicine.
  • 2017 -World Health Organization (WHO) confirms that CBD is safe.
  • 2017 -Hebrew University of Jerusalem awarded funding for three main projects:
  1. Study the effects of CBD on brain trauma injuries.
  2. Research potential anti-cancer properties of CBD oil.
  3. Examine the effectiveness of using CBD to treat pain caused by damage to the spinal nerve root.
  • 2018 -Legalizing hemp - The US Senate passes the 2018 Agricultural Farm Bill, which declassifies substance, which federally legalized hemp-derived CBD.


Today - CBD is legal in all 50 States.



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