Let’s dig into the history of the discovery of CBD or Cannabidioil! We’ll begin by defining CBD in relation to THC, or marijuana. THC is the psychoactive compound in marijuana. However, CBD is a non-psychoactive compound from the hemp plant, a cousin of the THC plant. In the same vein, CBD is an essential component of medical marijuana. The World Health Organization stated in relation to humans, “…CBD exhibits no effects indicative of any abuse or dependence potential”.
Discovery of Cannabinoids
In 1964, Gaoni and Mechoulam found the correct chemical structure of the main psychoactive ingredient in marijuana, THC. As a result, the same scientists were able to demonstrate that bioactivity resides in the l-stereoisomer of this compound (1967). The groundbreaking discoveries laid the foundation for future marijuana research resulting in the discovery of cannabinoids (CBD) (Howlett et al., 2002). Thereafter, Howlett discovered the presence of endocannabinoids and the subsequent identification of the CB1 brain receptor as the brain receptor for cannabinoids, or the GPRC – an orphan G protein-coupled receptor (Matsuda et al., 1990).
Cannabinoids in the Body
Furthermore, CB1 receptors are the most abundant receptors in the mammalian brain. In addition, peripheral tissues and cells contain low concentrations of CB1 receptors. A second receptor, CB2, was discovered primarily in the immune and hematopoietic systems by Munro et al., 1993. That is to say the immune system is the body’s defense against infectious organisms and the hematopoietic system is the body’s organs and tissues involved in the production of blood.
Similarly, CB2, was found in the brain, in the nonparenchymal cells of the cirrhotic liver, in the endocrine pancreas , and in bone. Consequently, the abundant presence of cannabinoid receptors excited the scientific community and paved the way for numerous studies on the endocannabinoid system (ECS). Most importantly, the ECS is found to play important roles in central nervous (CNS) development, synaptic plasticity, and the immune system response (Lu and Mackie, 2016)!
Finally, we will cover what CBD is in our next section!
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