• Eric I Mitchell MD MA FAC

The Truth be Told: Cannabis Sativa L and CBD 2019

Updated: Feb 27, 2019

Most people have heard of this phytoceutical, plant-based medicine called CBD. Cannabinol (CBD) is one of over 100 Cannabinoids derived from the hemp plant. These cannabinoids come from the resin of the unfertilized female fruit of the hemp plant and are extracted into an oil form by distillation. The most common Cannabinoid is 9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). This is the psychogenic (bad boy) agent which has caused so much contention for so many years, from “Reefer Madness” to Woodstock.

The second most common Cannabinoid is CBD and the subject of this article. CBD with all its many medicinal benefits coming from this age-old plant have been stuck behind a history of fear of the unknown. THC and CBD have been linked hand in hand, with the latter being over shadowed by the former. It has taken almost 100 years to get some separation which the Farm Bill of 2018 has now done.

The world has not stopped its exploration of the many uses of CBD because the United States put a halt on its use when it was made a Schedule 1 narcotic back in 1970. Global medical research has shown a wide myriad of applications for the use of CBD which were similar to or the same reasons that Americans had cannabis in their medicine cabinet for 100 years before it was moved from the United States of America’s pharmacopoeia in 1942.

If you do not know history, then you are bound to repeat it. This absence of history is where fiction becomes facts. This is where opinions become facts because I heard it from a reliable source but I cannot remember who, what or where. Cannabis sativa L has been one of those victims for a number of reasons over the last 82 years.

Let’s take a quick look at Cannabis sativa L’s history and see if we can find some truth to be told in 2019. Why? Because three weeks ago Cannabis sativa L with less than 0.3 THC was declassified and taken off the Controlled Substances Act of 1970. For sure it will take some education and time to counter all the negatives and pull out the good that Cannabis sativa L has to offer to the public—its love portion CBD. So, let’s get to it!

Let’s go back in history to the 19th century where we did not have to do carbon dating even though this botanical has a very long history going back thousands of years. However, it is shocking, almost horrifying to note, just how little medical use was made of Cannabis sativa L and recorded before the 1840s. In other words, within the first 300 years of what has become to be known as Western Medicine, though readily available throughout Europe, Cannabis with all its incredible medical uses was all but ignored.

However, the years 1840-to-1880 were considered the "Golden Age" of Medical Cannabis. Just a few years earlier, O'Shaughnessy, an Irish physician working in India, began writing numerous articles about his findings on the subject and use of Cannabis as a medicine. After that, numerous other Western Doctors began their own experimentation and usage of Cannabis. Many of their findings made their way begrudgingly into a number of medical journals.

Unfortunately, due to the hysteria campaign these same journals remained quiet about the whole subject matter. Victor Hugo once said: "All that the forces of Evil need to win in this world is for enough good men to do nothing.”

The Marihuana Tax Act (MTA) of 1937 was drafted by the infamous anti-cannabis prohibitionist Harry Anslinger, and signed into law on August 2, 1937, as the AMA railed against this bill, but passed it in a late-night session. As head of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics, Anslinger took note of the rising use of cannabis in the 1930s. In 1935, he urged Franklin D. Roosevelt to adopt the Uniform State Narcotic Act, using the William R. Hearst newspaper chain to promote his campaign against Cannabis with propaganda films like “Reefer Madness”.

Up until the MTA law was passed, cannabis products were legal to sell in pharmacies, Sears and Roebuck and drug stores, so long as they were properly labeled and regulated, but it was during the 1930s that the mainstream attitudes towards cannabis began to sway greatly towards negative opinion, resulting in the MTA that placed a $1 per oz charge on cannabis products.

Anslinger even played the race card, “Reefer makes darkies think they’re as good as white men.” Anslinger also said, “the primary reason to outlaw marijuana is its effect on the degenerate races.” He also offered a charming portrait of the average cannabis consumer, to his knowledge. “Most are Negroes, Hispanics, Filipinos, and entertainers. Their Satanic music, jazz and swing, result from marijuana use. This marijuana causes white women to seek sexual relations with Negroes, entertainers, and any others.”

In 1937, at the height of the depression and the recent reversal for alcohol use by the 18th Amendment, the Federal government placed a special tax and also placed some odious record-keeping requirements. And thus, Cannabis use started to rapidly decline. However, contrary to popular belief, at least technically, it wasn't until 1970 that Medical Cannabis was officially outlawed by the Controlled Substances Act (CSA), and then only in the United States. The American Medical Association again in 1970 was strongly opposed to the CSA, arguing against the measure in court and proposing instead that cannabis be added to the Harrison Narcotics Tax Act.

The paper industry, and more specifically, the newspaper industry, led the charge against cannabis with Anslinger. William Randolph Hearst, Andrew Mellon, and the DuPont family all had major investments in the timber and newspaper industries, and a rise of hemp would have seemingly undercut their profits.

“Reefer Madness”, originally titled “Tell Your Children”, but also known as “The Burning Question”, “Doped Youth”, and “Love Madness” was financed by a church group before being widely released as an exploitation film to warn the public about the dangers of cannabis use. It was just one in a long line of education-exploitation films of the era, including “Marihuana” (1936), “Assassin of Youth” (1937), and “Devil’s Harvest” (1942).


he first person to be arrested under the Marihuana Tax Act of 1937 was precisely the person Anslinger and his cohorts sought to target with their cannabis crusade: a young, Mexican-American named Moses Baca. In 1942, under what most now consider to be more than just a little bit of political pressure, Cannabis was officially removed from both the U.S. Pharmacopoeia as well as the National Formulary. However, it would be another 30 years before its medical use would officially be outlawed by President Nixon making Cannabis sativa L a Schedule 1 drug—in accordance with the Controlled Substances Act of 1970, but for all practical purposes, the era of its (legal) medical uses was over for the next forty-eight years.

Welcome to 2018 and the 2018 Farm Bill recently passed into law. This was a long sojourn with a lot of baby steps to get Cannabis sativa L with less than 0.3 THC back on the drawing board of healthcare. While the rest of the world was speeding ahead on the research of this plant, American research was constrained by DEA oversight. Well, there is a new day because the Farm Bill of 2018 has now removed the less than 0.3 THC version of CBD into the commodities marketplace with cotton, corn and wheat.

This doesn’t mean that the FDA won’t put their fingers into this CBD pie. Time will tell all, but in the meanwhile learn what Vitamin CBD™ can do for you in our next CBD update.

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