Since the latter part of the 20th century, there has been a revival of industrial hemp production in Europe and Canada and parts of Asia. The European community even subsidises the cultivation of non-psychotropic hemp varieties partly because of it’s perceived environmental benefits over other crops.
"Uruguay became the first country to legalise Marijuana in December 2013."
More recently, Uruguay became the first country to legalise Marijuana in December 2013. Canada became the 2nd in October 2018 and a number of countries such as Uruguay, Canada, Australia, United States Netherlands, Colombia, Czech Republic UK & Germany have all amended their laws to allow consumption of Marijuana for medicinal purposes. The winds of change are blowing.
The U.S. “Farm Bill”, championed by the senate majority leader Mitch McConnell, aims to legalise Hemp and re-separate it from Marijuana (at the federal level) once again by removing Hemp from the list of schedule 1 controlled substances. This will enable domestic farmers to grow hemp freely across the U.S. and is expected to precipitate a surge in popularity of hemp and CBD based products.
Cannabis therapeutic uses were first introduced to western medicine in 1839, when the Irish physician William O’Shaughnessy published ‘on preparations of Indian hemp, or gunjah’. O’Shaughnessy’s initial results demonstrated the medicinal properties and the work of other physicians led cannabis to spread rapidly through western medicine in both Europe and into North America. It’s use continued to grow, peaking in the late eighteenth/early nineteenth century when it was widely administered in ‘over-the-counter’ pharmaceuticals.
In the U.S. by the 1930s, there was an increase in recreational use, leading narcotics officers to push for restrictive legislation on both the recreational and medical use of cannabis. Despite pleas from the American Medical Association - cannabis was outlawed as a schedule 1 drug. Similar moves were made in Canada and Europe.
Over the next couple of decades, cannabis use in medicine was essentially non-existent, and it was not until the 1970s that medical interests were revived. In 1988, the receptor CB1 was identified. It was found to be the biding site of THC and to be the most abundant neurotransmitter receptor in the central nervous system. This discovery was followed by the discovery of a second cannabinoid receptor, CB2, localised primarily in the peripheral nervous system and immune cells. The presence of cannabinoid receptors, concentrated in neural and immune cells, alluded to a possible mode of action that could be the source of cannabis’ analgesic sedative and immunoregulatory properties. Since then the medical Marijuana and CBD industries have continued to blossom with further research coming to support many of these initial theories.