The Modern History of CBD, From Isolation to FDA Recognition - Enecta.en

The Modern History of CBD, From Isolation to FDA Recognition

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The medicinal use of cannabis dates back to ancient times. In many parts of the world, ancient physicians would mix cannabis into medicines to relieve pain and other ailments. In the 19th century, cannabis was used therapeutically in Western medicine. Since that time, we have seen many advancements in the way the drug is used and administered. 

The purpose of this piece is to offer Enecta customers a chronological timeline of the way CBD use has evolved from its isolation to its use as a popular modern-day health supplement.



In 1940 Roger Adams isolated the CBD cannabinoid from the Marijuana plant, but he wasn’t exactly sure what he had discovered. Many people credit Raphael Mechoulam for this discovery, but Roger Adams was the first to isolate CBD. Adams was a Harvard graduate and a fantastic organic chemist.

He spent several years looking into the chemistry of Marijuana.


In the mid-1940s, Dr. Walter S. Loewe was the first to test CBD on animals in a controlled environment. The doctor ran successful trials on mice and rabbits using CBD, CBN, and THC. The results showed that THC induced a trance-like state in mice, but CBD produced no noticeable effects on behavior. THC also caused excitement in rabbits, whereas CBD did not. These were the first-ever indications that CBD had no psychoactive effects. 


In 1964 Raphael Mechoulam managed to both isolate and describe the chemical structure of CBD. Although Adams had discovered and isolated the compound, it was Mechoulam who detailed its chemical composition. Mechoulam went on to identify THC's structure, making him a pinnacle figure in the discovery of marijuana's psychoactive effects.


The Late-1960s

In the late 1960s, Mechoulm and his associates began testing both THC and CBD on primates in a controlled environment. These confirmed the hypothesis that THC, rather than CBD, was responsible for both sedation and intoxication in animals.

The Mid-1970s

In the mid-1970s, the British Pharmacopoeia released a cannabis-based tincture for medicinal use. This release was part of a surge in interest in the potential applications of marijuana in the medical industry, spurred on by Mechoulam's research.


New Mexico legally acknowledges cannabis as a form of medicine. Although the state law failed to mention CBD isolate, the legislation formed a landmark approval in the U.S, representing the first instance of marijuana being legally recognized for its medical benefits in the modern world.


Mechoulam, now a prominent figure in the medical cannabis industry, teams up with researchers in South America to publish a groundbreaking study on the relationship between cannabis and epilepsy.

This double-blind trial had 16 participants with epilepsy. The results were remarkable, showing improvements in all of the people that received CBD.


Mechoulam's work on CBD and epilepsy is mostly unnoticed by the pharmaceutical and medical industries. This can be blamed on the stigma and legislation surrounding the recreational use of cannabis.


Sixteen years after Mechoulan's breakthrough, California becomes the first state to advocate and legalize the use of medical marijuana, opening the first dispensary on U.S land the same year. Alaska, Washington, and Oregon followed in 1998. Nevada and Hawaii and Colorado legalized medical marijuana in 2000. Since then, many other states have followed suit.


The U.S government patents CBD as a neuroprotectant, despite keeping cannabis on its list of scheduled narcotics. Many people have viewed this action as hypocritical.


In 2013, a story surfaced that would change the publics' perception of cannabis and CBD. Charlotte Figi, born with a rare form of severe epilepsy known as Dravel Syndrome, entered the news. Dravel Syndrome is unique because it fails to respond to medication. From the age of 3 months to five years old, Charlotte would suffer up to 300 seizures every week, with no medication available to prevent this from happening. 

However, after using a strain of medical cannabis that was high in CBD, her seizures were almost eliminated. CNN broke this story in late 2013, galvanizing legislation that supported CBD use for medical therapy.


2014 marked a great year in the USA for CBD legislation, seeing the compound legalized for medical use in fifteen states across the country. This year marked the first occasion that CBD became recognized legally in states where marijuana was still illegal.


In 2017, the FDA (Federal Drug Administration) made steps in the potential approval of CBD as a medicine. The compound had been previously acknowledged back in 2016 by the administration, and approval would mean that physicians could prescribe the drug legally to patients across the nation. With many European countries currently discussing similar legislation, we live in exciting times for the potential global recognition of what many of us hail a 'wonder-drug.'

However, important steps were taken in 2016 for CBD to become the first cannabis substance to obtain federal acknowledgment potentially. Approval by the FDA would be nothing short of revelatory, as it would allow physicians across the country to prescribe the drug. (And of course, it would also open up a wealth of federally-backed CBD research to be initiated).

June 5th, 2018

On June 5th, 2018, the FDA approved Epidolex, a drug that contains a purified form of CBD. This medicine can treat seizures associated with Dravet Syndrome in anyone over two years old. This milestone in CBD history means that the FDA concluded that this CBD containing product is effective and safe for its intended use.

The reputation of CBD has been damaged by the prohibition and subsequent divided public opinion that surrounds THC and the recreational use of cannabis. However, as we move forward as a society, people realize that CBD and THC are two separate entities. The former can change the lives of millions of people.

Here at Enecta, we’re proud to be part of the CBD revolution. All of our products are made from organic hemp that we cultivate ourselves. This leaves no room for impurities as our growers, extractors, and producers stick to clean, organic practices. To view and purchase any of our premium CBD products today, click here.

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