Just a few years ago, nobody had heard of Cannabidiol (aka CBD) – now it’s everywhere. And with good reason; we’ve barely scratched the surface of how the therapeutic benefits of cannabis helps countless people achieve positive natural health outcomes. Research has proven that CBD works on a huge range of ailments, from everyday mental health issues affecting up to 50% of Australians all the way through to pain and inflammation, nausea and vomiting, eating disorders, cancer, epilepsy and seizures, diabetes and more. But where did it all begin?
The CBD story begins in 1940 with American organic chemist Roger Adams, who was the first to successfully isolate CBD. His contribution ends here, as he didn’t realise quite what he had discovered! It was over 20 years later when Israeli organic chemist Raphael Mechoulam began publishing his pioneering work on THC and CBD, which led to the confirmation that CBD was not psychoactive (meaning that it wouldn’t get you high), unlike THC (which does get you high).
Science had proven what folk medicine practitioners already knew for thousands of years: cannabis is good for you, and it doesn’t necessarily make you high.
The Curious Case of Charlotte Figi
You may have heard of Charlotte’s Web CBD Oil – here’s where it came from. Charlotte Figi was born in Colorado in 2006. Suffering from a rare form of epilepsy, she had her first seizure just 30 minutes after birth. The seizures increased in intensity and frequency from there onwards. By the age of two, she was showing signs of severe cognitive decline, similar to the symptoms of Autism. Within a year she had stopped talking, couldn’t eat and was confined to a wheelchair. She was on seven different types of aggressive medication, which was taking a gruelling toll on her body. By the time she turned five, she was seizing up to 300 times per week, with individual seizures lasting up to four hours. Her parents had tried everything but it was no use; doctors put her in a medically-induced coma to try and help Charlotte survive. They were not optimistic. A do-not-resuscitate order was signed.
It was Charlotte’s granddad who first heard of cannabis as a treatment for sick children. With all options for clinical treatments exhausted, Charlotte’s parents Matt and Paige had nothing to lose. They got their hands on some cannabis oil.
The results were instantaneous; that first week, Charlotte went from 300+ seizures to zero seizures. Her parents realised they had discovered something life-changing. They got in touch with local medical marijuana growers called The Stanley Brothers, who had successfully developed a hybrid strain by crossbreeding industrial hemp with low THC marijuana. Containing all the medical benefits but practically none of the psychoactive effects, the strain had a ratio of 30:1 of CBD to THC. They called it Charlotte’s Web after the little Colorado girl whose life they had saved; Charlotte’s seizures have now been reduced to just two or three per month.
A Ray of Light
Charlotte’s story was the breakthrough for people all over the world who the medical system had failed. There was finally a safe and natural option for treating themselves and their littles ones. An underground movement arose, picking up thousands of followers who had been left out in the cold by Western medicine. The United States government took note; in late 2003 they patented CBD for use as a neuroprotectant. Other countries began to pay attention.
Today, cannabis is legal for both medical and recreational use in a number of countries throughout the world. There are still many barriers preventing access, and CBD is still extremely difficult to get a prescription for, even in countries which have legalised medical marijuana. The most recent available figures show that just 153 people in the whole of Australia are authorised to receive medicinal cannabis. The ridiculousness of this situation is further compounded by the fact that 85% of Australians support legalisation, with an estimated 10,000+ people currently sourcing and using CBD through illegal means.
The writing is on the wall: CBD is here, CBD is safe. It’s time to get the medicine to the people.