Even as scientific proof mounts regarding the medicinal benefits of CBD, an unhealthy stigma lingers around it. Much of this stigma results from systemic racism and classism, as cannabis use is rooted in the medicinal, spiritual and recreational practices of indigenous communities. Starting in the 1930s and intensifying in the 1960s and 70s, lawmakers sought to paint cannabis as intrinsically associated with crime, debauchery, madness and violence.
All of this propaganda stands in stark contrast to the reality of cannabis, and CBD in particular. Ancient Chinese, Egyptian and Indian cultures document the use of cannabis to relieve pain, provide internal cleansing, calm the mind and body, and improve everything from depression to insomnia. Most of these uses came from the hemp plant, which also offered myriad uses as a source of clothing fiber, rope, canvas and paper. As the plant made its way to the Americas, its medicinal use only expanded. By the 1930s, cannabis-derived products were a standby of the local apothecary, showing up in at least 2000 different mass-produced medicines. And the active ingredient that made these medicines so potent? Cannabidiol, or CBD.
Even now that recreational use of marijuana is legal at the national level, there can be a negative reaction to patients who apply CBD oil topically, take CBD capsules internally, or perhaps most of all, those who “smoke” CBD cartridges through a vape pen. The fact is that some people hear “cannabis” and immediately think of THC, the psychoactive component of cannabis. (Though it should be noted that THC also offers significant medicinal applications, not just a “high.”) But patients who use CBD to treat mental and physical illness should not have to suffer shame or guilt in addition to their ailments. Compared to the well-known destructive effects of opioids and other mass-market pharmaceuticals, CBD provides a gentle, nonaddictive, holistic solution for promoting wellness.