Healthcare has always been a system in need of change. From affordability to availability, it seems all but the elite have felt the struggle, and it’s nothing new. At the beginning of the 15th century it was the only the wealthy who could obtain modern healthcare from a professionally trained male doctor. It just so happened the ruler during this period was King Henry VIII, who was known for his uncommon interest in the methods of herbal healing. King Henry’s ideas of herbalism were not shared with the prominent doctors but were regular practice of the village “wise women.”
Throughout medieval times, wise women passed down their medical knowledge and the use of herbal remedies to serve the poor population. This practice was not protected, but was the only opportunity for health care available to those outside of the courts. In hopes of providing health care to all people, the king created the Charter of King Henry VIII, which made herbal medicine legal and guarded the rights of herbal practitioners. With the enactment of this charter the wise women were able to continue providing care for the rest of society and establishing what is now a prominent branch of alternative medicine. Besides aiding in the evolution of current day herbalism, King Henry’s charter protected the use of hemp and what we see today in the industry of CBD.
Wise women were not even the earliest female herbalists making a name for themselves.
Hemp, Marijuana, Cannabis, is there a difference?
Herbalism is a broad term for the use of herbs for healing purposes. With the history of hemp, the rise of medical marijuana, and confusion of cannabis, these terms can become difficult to separate. So, to get an understanding of what’s what we’ll start from the ground up. We begin with a flowering plant known as cannabis, which through thousands of years of human intervention was bred into two different forms we now know as hemp and marijuana. Think of them as cousins, if you will. Marijuana is intoxicating, while hemp is not. This is because each plant contains differing levels of THC (the element that produces psychoactive effects otherwise known as a “high”). Marijuana contains high levels of THC, while hemp does not. Instead, the hemp plant contains CBD, a non-psychoactive substance that is known for it’s medicinal purposes.
Hemp is nothing new
Throughout history the fibers of the hemp plant were used to make medicine, rope, paper, canvas, and due to its popularity, it was even used as a legal tender up until the early 18th century. Unfortunately, the growth of hemp was brought to a halt in the 1930’s when it was rounded up with marijuana in the wave of prohibition. Coincidentally, the refer madness hype occurred the same time as corporations began pushing for the production of; plastic made from their petroleum, paper made from their wood pulp, and pharmaceuticals made in their labs. All of which had previously been produced from hemp. With the government backed, big money companies controlling the new means of manufacturing coupled with the demonization of hemp, the once prosperous plant was lost in the race.
In the mid-1990s, cannabis made a comeback, as California legalized marijuana for medical purposes. The turning point was made possible in part by Valerie Corral, who authored the historical Compassionate Use Act. Due to a car accident, Valerie suffered from grand mal seizures. Even with medication, she experienced an average of 5 seizures a day and required round the clock care due to their severity. Her quality of life was regressing as she became dependent on pain medication and faced limitations from anti seizure medications. As a last resort, she and her husband began researching the benefit of cannabis for seizures. To her surprise, Valerie found smoking small amounts of cannabis completely controlled her seizures, without any negative side effects. She was soon able to replace her 15 pill a day prescription with cannabis and has not suffered a seizure since. Because of her own experience she became a national activist for the medical use of marijuana and is well known for her involvement in the 1996 legalization law. Since then many states have adopted their own regulations on medical marijuana, and the tax benefit of legalization.
Carly Chandler was the 3 yr old whose debilitating seizures influenced Carly’s Law. Passed in 2014, this law legalized the use of CBD oil in medical trials treating severe seizures. The first trial was performed over a 12 week period at UAB and included 72 children and 60 adults whose seizures did not respond to traditional therapies. Dr. Martina Bebin predicted that a 10 point improvement on the Chalfont Seizure Severity Scale during the trial would be clinically significant. However, after beginning the CBD oil treatment, the patients were showing improvement of 30-40 points, indicating significant improvements in seizure severity, adverse effects, and seizure frequency. This law and continued successful trial results strengthened the push for further CBD legalization.
In 2018, nearly a century after it’s prohibition, President Trump signed the Farm Bill federally legalizing hemp throughout the US. Since the blanketed legalization, CBD is the new hot item. However, roadblocks are guaranteed as the government does not have a hand in the production. A natural medicinal option for emotional and physical ailments means an alternative to pharmaceuticals. And just a reminder, the pharmaceutical market is currently worth $934 billion unopposed. Unfortunately, without media control, independent information on CBD can feel overwhelming. Finding an educated source and informing ourselves gives us credibility to our voice. Cannabis will continue to be seen rising the ranks and opposing big pharma. The politicians may be making the decisions, but the informed people are making the impact.
Author: Bethany Brenes, MPA, LPTA
Certified in Medicinal Cannabis and CBD Oil
founder, Establish Wellness
I do not personally endorse the illegal use of marijuana, but am merely presenting an educating in its history. Any information on benefits of CBD pertains to the legal product containing .3% or less THC.
Brodwin, Erin. Trump just signed a law that could spark a boom for the $1 billion marijuana linked industry. Busiessinsider.com 12/20/2018
Profile of Medical Marijuana Activist Valerie Corral. ACLU.
Roop, Lee. UAB study finds CBD oil reduces epileptic seizures. AL.com. 8/31/2018
Talamo, Lex, Swyter, Nick, Kelley, Calah. When all else fails for their children, desperate parents drive national push for medical marijuana. Washington Post. 8/18/2018
Tomashoff, Craig. Hyping Hemp. Centennial Spotlight Marijuana Goes Mainstream: The Power of CBD. 6/2019
Thomashoff, Craig. The Pioneers of Pot. Centennial Spotlight Marijuana Goes Mainstream: The Power of CBD. 6/2019