Antony and Cleopatra. JFK and Jackie O. John and Yoko. Beyoncé and Jay-Z. There’s been an abundance of long-lasting romances across history. But has there been a longer harmony than the one between CBD and wellness? It may seem as if CBD became popular overnight, but that’s not exactly the case. Cannabis and wellness have been lovers for a long time — and if history is anything to go by, then this relationship is here to stay.
CBD’s history is deep rooted and takes us on an epic journey across continents.
Cannabis dates back almost 12,000 years, making it one of humanity’s oldest cultivated crops. The plant originated in Asia, where it was primarily used for medicinal and spiritual purposes, before becoming popular in the Middle East, Russia, and Germany. By the fifth century (during the Anglo-Saxon settlement), it was brought to Britain, and from there it traveled to Africa and South America, eventually making its way to North America via Mexico at the beginning of the 20th century.
Up until this point, cannabis and CBD (a derivative of the cannabis plant) had a long history of supporting wellness — for example, it was used during childbirth and for toothaches — and in various spiritual practices. American laws, however, never differentiated between the psychotoxic (marijuana) and non-psychotoxic (hemp) versions of the plant, and by 1931 cannabis became illegal in 29 states. By 1937, possession of cannabis was criminalized throughout the country.
Despite being used safely for centuries, the plant was suddenly being stigmatized simply because people didn’t fully understand it. But it’s since become clear that cannabis was following the same path as other ancient and alternative wellness practices, and — like Ayurveda, acupuncture, adaptogens — it was on the verge of a revolution.
In the 1960s, the chemical structure of CBD was discovered, initiating a new wave of research about the plant’s potential, and in 1970, CBD tinctures emerged as an all-natural remedy. Since then, public interest in CBD’s therapeutic qualities has steadily increased, and today more and more brands are providing people with safe and effective products that can be easily incorporated into their everyday wellness routines.
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If CBD has been carving out a name for itself in the wellness world for the last 40 years, why are we only seeing it now? And what made people decide to speak proudly about their experiences using CBD rather than keeping it a carefully guarded secret? Changing laws and the public’s shifting perception of CBD undoubtedly has a lot to do with this, but there’s another factor at play: the self-care boom.
CBD wasn’t considered a must-have wellness product until wellness itself became a must have. The concept of self care, much like CBD, has also been reborn in recent years, and it’s stronger than ever. Younger generations are facing a two-fold conundrum: how to work hard without burning out, and how to practice wellness in a desirable and shareable way. But it’s not just millennials who are interested in experimenting with CBD; older generations are also turning towards it as an alternative to more conventional remedies and wellness practices.
If history has taught us anything, it’s that CBD has proven it can stand the test of time. It’s already evolved from easing the toothaches of medieval vikings to easing the minds of a global audience. And now more than ever, CBD is thought to have an essential role in supporting a lifestyle of overall wellness — in a survey of more than 4,000 Americans, one in seven said they use it every day. The stigma is clearly dissolving; as research continues to uncover how CBD can be used to contribute to our wellbeing, lotions, oils, bubble baths, and more will only continue to be infused with it.
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Always consult a physician or other qualified health provider regarding any questions you may have about a medical condition or health outcome.