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A Brief History of CBD and Hemp Oil

Posted by Seth B on

Cannabidiol (CBD) has been enjoying increasing amounts of attention as people learn more about its incredible possibilities as a supplement. With so many articles and research studies being written about CBD, you might think that this consumable is a recent discovery. It is true that many of the CBD extraction and packaging methods use cutting-edge technologies, but the use of CBD in its hemp oil form goes back farther than many people realize.

Hemp was probably one of the earliest plants to be domesticated by humans, with evidence of cultivation stretching back as far as eight millennia or more. The fact that it readily grew in environments near temporary habitations meant that people would have noticed some of its potential uses even before they began purposely growing it. At first, hemp was probably mostly cultivated for its fiber, which is indicated by fragments of hemp cloth that are estimated to be 6,000 years old.

However, the discovery that oils could be derived from the hemp plant was not far behind. It is important to note that, while today, there are discussions over hemp-derived CBD versus marijuana-derived CBD, this distinction did not necessarily exist in the early history of hemp cultivation. At some point, hemp began to be harvested as an “oilseed,” meaning that early farmers were able to process hemp oil for use. In 1981, British researchers Bradshaw et al. found evidence from fossils that people had been growing and processing hemp oil in England by as early as 2000 BCE. Thus, hemp, and hemp oil, had spread from Asia all the way to Europe before most cultures had even developed writing!

Hemp oil consumption had been a part of cultures for millennia before it began to be recorded. In Russia, specific types of hemp plants were bred for their oil production, while China, India, and the rest of Europe tended to select plants for both oil and fiber capacity. These early oils may well have been used as supplements, given that they seem to have had low THC levels in many locations. It was not until 400 BCE that written records begin to refer to consumption of hemp oil and other products. During the medieval period, improvements in agriculture allowed oil- and fiber-rich plants to be selectively bred even more effectively.

In the modern era, advances in chemistry have allowed people to consider both raw CBD oil, closer to its minimally filtered historical form, and more refined extractions that increase the levels of CBD. Moreover, developments in packaging have created a variety of formulations, like dabs and edibles. Today, we have choices in CBD oil supplements that the first farmers could never have dreamed of, but of course, this also requires that each person carefully investigates the supplements that are right for them.

Do you have a question or comment about CBD? Let us know, and we will respond right away. In the meantime, sign up for our newsletters and visit our website regularly for the latest updates on research, legislation, and other news impacting you and cannabidiol.

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