Academics Drove the CBD Explosion

When Cannabis Prohibition 2.0 begun in 1970 with the Controlled Substances Act, it was Scheduled in the most-restrictive category, that of One. Although hemp stalk and nonviable seed had an exemption, that still meant all marijuana and hemp flower products such as CBD, terpenes, flowers, viable hempseed for food, an hempseed oil made from viable seed were equally illegal federally as much as LSD and Heroin, thus incapable of being researched easily.

But as far back as 1942 the government granted itself a patent on Cannabidiol (CBD), meaning from the first day it was Scheduled it was unconstitutional. Congress intended the Scheduling of Cannabis into “1” be temporary, adding this escape clause to ensure it:

“B. The drug or other substance has no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States.”

Schedule 1, CSA

By granting a patent 28 years earlier, plus all the intervening research findings (“marijuana helps epilepsy” said the headlines in 1947), the government clearly knew the medical value of Cannabis. And ironically, the use of Cannabis is considered by some historians to be our oldest cultivated medicine, as well as for food and oil, well-documented more than 5,000 years ago as medicine.

But more importantly, Schedule I also ignores the fact that the “safe, efficacious, popular Cannabis medicine in a consumer package sold by pharmacists” model is more than 100 years older than FDA. The likes of Parke-Davis and Eli Lilly sold little bottles clearly marketed as “Cannabis” remedies. Even Queen Victoria was known to have used them.

But Congressional intent was clearly to provide an escape clause for Schedule I, namely finding medical use, and 46 times these United “States” of America have said they found medical use accepted in their state. Thus continuing from Day One the unconstitutionality of its predecessor law, the Marihuana Tax Act of 1937, which was ruled unconstitutional on May 19, 1969 by the Supreme Court. (There was apparently no federal marijuana law for 526 days!)

Research on CBD was thus stifled until around 1997 when academics started writing about CBD at a rate significantly greater than the patents granted.

Previously, the academic studies were relatively consistent with the patents issued, meaning a stable body of work since 1967 and Mechoulam. But around about 20 years ago there was an explosion in published academic research on CBD. By 2017, that increase was an order of magnitude larger. CBD patents finally took off in 2014.

Today, approximately 15% of the CBD patents are owned by GW Pharmaceuticals.

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