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A Brief History of CBD: CBD Oil, Topicals & New Trends

CBD is a popular three-letter acronym — but what exactly is it, and what does it do? CBD stands for cannabidiol, one of the most prevalent cannabinoids in hemp and cannabis plants. While it’s an essential component of both plants, it doesn’t cause the well-known “high” that many people associate with medical and recreational cannabis. In fact, according to the World Health Organization, the cannabinoid doesn’t show any effects “indicative of any abuse or dependence potential.”

You’ve no doubt noticed the vast array of CBD products on the shelves at stores. Unlike cannabis-derived CBD, you can find hemp-derived CBD in all 50 states. The Farm Bill of 2018, a bill that effectively removed hemp from the list of controlled substances, defines these products as having 0.3% or less THC, the well-known high-inducing cannabinoid prevalent in medical and recreational cannabis. Any product that contains more than 0.3% (even if it’s only 0.4%) gets classified as cannabis, even if it’s grown with industrial hemp. 

The popularity of CBD — a compound that almost seems to have appeared overnight — has many people wondering where it came from and why users choose it. Here’s a closer look. 

The History of CBD

CBD might be a relatively new term to most people, but it’s been around for centuries. The use of cannabis, which includes CBD, goes back thousands of years. Its exact history is unknown, but its first recorded use was around 2727 BC. The emperor of China at the time used cannabis tea to treat different health ailments. Cannabis spread west in the 1500s when the Spaniards brought it over to Chile for fiber use. Plantations in North America grew it for use for products such as rope, clothing, and more. 

Scientists first isolated CBD in 1940. That move showed that there were compounds in cannabis that weren’t psychoactive. Then, in 1970, President Nixon signed the Controlled Substances Act into law. That law made cannabis a Schedule 1 drug. At the same time, it lumped hemp in with cannabis, thereby making it a federally controlled substance, too. 

In the 1980s and 90s, CBD began attracting attention as a potential pain-reliever. Over the years, individual states began legalizing cannabis for medical use, starting with California in 1996. Then, in 2012, CBD (and medical cannabis) gained a lot of attention — particularly when the Figi family was able to successfully cut their daughter Charlotte’s more than 300 weekly seizures with it to just a few a week. 

In 2018, President Donald Trump signed the Farm Bill into law. That bill removed industrial hemp from the list of federally controlled substances, opening the door to all kinds of hemp-derived CBD oil and other products. While the FDA is still waiting on more research to take an official stance on the cannabinoid’s use, every state has its own laws and regulations regarding hemp-derived CBD’s production and use. For the most part, however, it’s legal in all 50 states in some capacity. 

An essential factor to keep in mind is that hemp-derived CBD products are different than cannabis-derived ones. Cannabis-derived products are still illegal on the federal level (as cannabis is still a Schedule 1 drug). While many states have legalized cannabis for medical and recreational use, it has more (and different) laws and regulations than hemp.  

The Many CBD Products Available Today

Today, there are numerous hemp-derived CBD oil and other products on the market. You’ve probably seen several on the shelves of your local grocery or health food stores. There are also CBD stores popping up across the country, which sell an even broader selection of items. Let’s take a look at some of the most popular ones available:


CBD tinctures are liquid products. Their production traditionally involves soaking hemp in alcohol to extract CBD and other cannabinoids. Many tinctures on the market, however, use MCT (or another type of) oil. They come in opaque bottles with dropper tops for easy, discreet application. The most common way to take a tincture is by mouth. You can either apply it under your tongue or swallow it. Some people also mix tinctures into their food or drink. 


Edibles are another well-known CBD product, with CBD gummies being one of the most popular options. You can find all kinds of products, including chocolate, hard candies, coffee, and more. They’re tasty, discreet, and easy to use. 

For those that want to swallow their dose of CBD but don’t want to eat something, you’ll also find CBD capsules. They look no different than any other oral supplement or medication you might take. 


You can also apply CBD directly to your skin using CBD topicals. These products include CBD creams, lotions, and balms, as well as CBD-infused patches. They typically contain other ingredients that may help provide specific results.

We’re still in the early stages of discovering what CBD can do. There isn’t a ton of concrete evidence out there right now, however, many people say that using it helps with a variety of ailments. People use CBD oil to help alleviate chronic pain, inflammation, stress, anxiety, and more. Unfortunately, we need more research to get a better understanding of exactly how it works. 

While we don’t have a lot of scientific evidence yet, the increasing popularity of CBD oil has spurred more research. We’re also beginning to see new trends emerge as opinions of the cannabinoid shift. For one, more and more states are starting to require manufacturers and distributors (physical stores and online retailers) to have a license. They’re also creating advertising, labeling, and claim restrictions.

Another significant trend is that states are implementing more rigorous testing and safety requirements. They’re also restricting the production and use of synthetic cannabinoids and cannabinoids created through isomerization. These standards and requirements allow consumers to know what they’re buying and ensure they’re getting safe products.

Find Quality CBD Products

There’s no getting around the fact that interest in CBD products is growing. While we still need more research, users say the products provide them relief from various ailments. As scientists dig deeper into the cannabinoid, it’s only a matter of time before we understand all that CBD can do. The views are shifting. 

‌If you’re interested in trying CBD, one essential thing to keep in mind is that you should always buy from a reputable source. Look for companies that disclose product ingredients and lab test results. CBD Direct Club sells high-quality, lab-party lab-tested CBD products, ensuring that you always get safe, consistent products — whether that’s a CBD tincture, gummy, or topical. Check out our selection today!

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