If you want to know what is CBD in NZ then you’re in the right place as we cover the re-emergence of cannabis and the cannabinoids found within this incredible plant.
In this article we’ll be covering how CBD was discovered along with THC, the research into how it was found to be a valuable cannabinoid, and how that, alongside the many stories from parents with children who were suffering from seizures, has helped paved the way for legislation to change across the world.
One of the first cannabinoids to be isolated wasn’t THC or CBD, it was actually cannabinol (CBN) near the end of the nineteenth century. It’s believed that CBN is formed from THC during storage of the harvested plant.
In 1930, CBN was first illustrated and in 1940 it was chemically synthesized in both the United States and the United Kingdom by R. Adams and Lord Todd. Next on the chopping block was cannabidiol (CBD), which was extracted in the same year. Then, in 1942, THC was extracted. CBD and THC are converted into their non-acid form by drying or heating, this is a process known as decarboxylation.
In 1963, Dr Raphael Mechoulam from a laboratory in Israel was the first to elucidate the stereochemistry of CBD with pure THC coming in fast just a short year later. Researchers initially placed their focus on THC, assuming that CBD was a non-active cannabinoid, or precursor to THC. What is CBD? We’ll, the truth was discovered later that CBD is the most abundant cannabinoid in all varieties of cannabis, including industrial hemp, with its immediate effects being more subtle than its psychoactive counterpart.
In the 1970s and 1980s researchers from Dr Mechoulam’s team discovered that both CBD and THC showed efficacy in treating seizure disorders and other health conditions. Unfortunately, due to the legal status of cannabis in the United States and many other parts of the world, meant that research was extremely limited. Even so, research still continued in laboratories located in Israel, the United Kingdom, Europe and some US universities. Since the 1970s, cannabinoids have shown promising results with regard to their anti-cancer properties.
A company called GW Pharmaceuticals was contracted in 1998 to grow cannabis for pharmaceutical grade clinical trials. They were really trying to answer what is CBD in relation to many other cannabinoids and how it could help with various conditions. The co-founder of GW Pharmaceuticals, Dr. Geoffrey Guy, believed that CBD-rich plant varieties could create very effective medicines for a variety of health conditions, with next to no psychoactive effect.
Later that year he reported his results to the International Cannabinoid Research Society, and it was self-evident that CBD not only counteracted the psychoactivity of the THC in cannabis, but also conferred benefits of its own and merited being tested for effect on a long list of diseases and conditions.
In the past two decades, CBD has become increasingly sought after in the US and many other parts of the world after parents of children suffering from seizure disorders began to find out about Dr Mechoulam’s work in Israel with children. In many cases, parents of these children weren’t responding to any current medications available on the market for epilepsy. They started asking, what is CBD and how can it help my child?
Catherine Jacobson was a neuroscientist and mother to a child who was having seizures and after pharmaceuticals failed her child, she began learning about the research being done in Israel and was able to source some CBD-dominant cannabis plants. She started making her own formulas from these plants and administering drops to her young son with epilepsy.
When his seizures began diminishing greatly in frequency, she directed her focus towards finding the absolute best medicine for him, which later led to her current position as head of clinical research for Tilray, a canandian company developing pharmaceutical-grade CBD medicines. She told a reporter that it is painful for her to think about “what might have happened if we had been able to do this (research) five or six years ago. I know for a fact he would be a different kid today if he hadn’t suffered all that brain damage.”
While much research was being undertaken abroad, many people living in countries where cannabis was illegal were awaiting their governments to change policy. Unfortunately up until 2009, there were no labs to test the levels of cannabinoids such as THC or CBD in products that consumers were importing, or growing in their backyard.
When analytic labs started testing the levels of CBD in cannabis products, they found only about 1 in 600 samples were found to contain a significant amount of CBD. This is based on a percentage of about 4% CBD or more, which equates to a 1:1 CBD:THC ratio or higher.
Eventually, several dozen labs in US states that had legalized medical cannabis were testing for cannabinoid ratios and finding the occasional CBD-rich strain. Project CBD defined “CBD-rich” as 4 percent of more CBD by dry weight.
Since 2014, several government agencies have begun approving and funding research related to CBD and seizures in children with treatment-resistant epilepsy. In that same year, the documentary series Weed was first aired on CNN, covering medical marijuana and this has a huge effect on influencing more of the population in the US to consider using CBD with respect to various conditions.
The incredible stories of children getting a second-chance at living a healthy life rich in wellness, when previous attempts at current pharmaceutical options had failed them, led to more headlines and moved thousands of families to states that had legalized cannabis.
Over the past decade, cannabis research has exploded making it near impossible for governments to slow the spread of people wanting cannabis products. Research and stories have been making headlines, causing a flurry of changes to policy with CBD now becoming more widely known and accepted worldwide. There’s now more hemp and CBD products available than ever before and there’s no signs of this wave slowing down.
We hope this answers the question of what is CBD in NZ and assists you in making a more informed choice about which hemp products to purchase. If you would like to learn more about hemp, cannabinoids and the endocannabinoid system, be sure to read our blog with the latest research on all of those things.
The most important part in answering what is CBD is in getting clear on what you want to use CBD for and then ensuring that the product you are purchasing is safe and effective, for personal use or with another. There are a lot of products available on the worldwide market and it’s important to be certain that it contains what you want it to contain.
Also, check your country's policy on CBD and hemp products so you can be sure you are following the policies and staying within the limits of what is permitted. If you need assistance with learning more about CBD and related products, you can contact us at NZ Hempress.
And of course, before trying any supplement or health food, consult with a licenced medical professional.