In addition to exploring the physiology and biology of the different species, botanists carry out a taxonomy to analyze the characteristics of plants and classify them into families. In addition, paleobotany studies are being carried out, that is, the study of plant fossils.
These two branches of botany help establish the origins of certain species of plants. When it comes to cannabis, researchers have developed a detailed picture of the plant's family tree.
The official classification of cannabis occurred relatively recently. In 1753, the Swedish botanist and zoologist Carl Linnaeus classified the herb as "Cannabis sativa L" (L for Linnaeus). He chose this name because it described the physical characteristics of the plant; the word "cannabis" means "cane-like", while "sativa" means "planted or seeded". At the time, Linnaeus believed that this genus only included one species.
In 1875, Jean-Baptiste Lamarck (French naturalist and evolutionary biologist) questioned this opinion based on new specimens of the plant from India. Lamarck called this new version of the plant "Cannabis indica", and claimed that its fiber was of lower quality than sativa, but its psychoactive profile was stronger.
Over the next several centuries, various botanists strove to classify cannabis into other subspecies. But those minute differences created blurry lines that others disagreed with. In the 1970s, Harvard botanist Richard E. Schultes and Professors William Emboden and Loran Anderson established the main structural differences between three obvious subspecies: sativa, indica, and ruderalis.
More recently, during the 1980s, researchers placed cannabis in the cannabaceae family (Cannabaceae). This group contains 170 species, including hops, which are the terpene-filled cones.
Cannabis has more than 100 phytocannabinoids, or active principles, which are found in a greater or lesser proportion depending on the variety. The most common are CBD and THC:
CBD (cannabidiol) is a cannabinoid that is helpful in relieving seizures, inflammations, chronic pain, cravings, and nausea and more. It does not have the psychoactive effect of THC.
THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) is the main psychoactive cannabinoid in the plant. It has unique analgesic properties, which is
why it is very useful in the treatment of neuropathic pain. In addition, it can be an appetite stimulant and reduces the side effects produced by treatments such as chemotherapy.
Apart from cannabinoids, Cannabis has Terpenes and Flavonoids, compounds that have great therapeutic potential and that, in addition, allow to enhance the effects of cannabinoids.
Here we are going to talk specifically about the history of one of the cannabinoids: CBD.
Although the use of CBD is considered somewhat modern, it actually has a history dating back to 1940. In that year, Roger Adams, a Harvard chemist, first extracted CBD from the Cannabis sativa plant.
However, at that time he was not aware of his discovery. It was only years later that Adams and his team of scientists realized and began investigating the potential benefits of CBD.
In 1946, Dr. Walter S. Loewe conducted the first CBD animal experiment. Through his experiments it was discovered that CBD does not cause alterations in mental states.
In that same year, Dr. Raphael Mechoulam identified the structure of CBD and that is why he is known as the scientist who discovered this substance.
Research continued and in the 1960s the British Pharmacopoeia released the first CBD oil. In 1980, Dr. Mechoulam made another scientific breakthrough by discovering that CBD can be a key factor in treating epilepsy.
THE BOTANICAL ORIGIN OF CANNABIS
Subsequent research has made claims that CBD has great therapeutic potential. This component of Cannabis has been positioned for its effects:
Recently, CBD has been used to treat chronic and neuropathic pain, diabetes, cancer, and neurodegenerative pathologies, such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's.
Its potential to treat other disorders such as insomnia and social anxiety disorders is also being studied.