Who discovered cbd?

Updated: Oct 19

And Why the FBI Suspected Him of Being A Communist ...

The discovery of CBD (cannabidiol) is a very interesting piece of history.  Believing that THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) was discovered before CBD is a common mistake. CBD was discovered by a brilliant chemist, Dr. Roger Adams, and his team at the University of Illinois in 1940. THC wasn’t discovered for another 23 years. In the early 1940’s, American scientists were uniting to offer their trade to aid in the war effort. Many believed Dr. Adams to be the leading chemist in the United States, and he was elected to play a major role in President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s National Defense Research Committee. However, Dr. Adams was suspected to be a communist by the then head of the FBI, J. Edgar Hoover. Hoover claimed that Dr. Adams was a member of a communist group called Lincoln’s Birthday Committee for the Advancement of Science. ​


In the early 1940’s, American scientists were uniting to offer their trade to aid in the war effort. Many believed Dr. Adams to be the leading chemist in the United States, and he was elected to play a major role in President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s National Defense Research Committee. However, Dr. Adams was suspected to be a communist by the then, head of the FBI, J. Edgar Hoover. Hoover claimed that Dr. Adams was a member of a communist group called Lincoln’s Birthday Committee for the Advancement of Science.  Dr. Adams was highly suspect because of his continued research on the cannabis plant after it had been federally banned by the 1937 Marijuana Tax Act. Hoover suspected Dr. Adams even though Dr. Adams was able to legally obtain cannabis oil from the Department of Treasury for the purpose of his research. Eventually, Dr. Adams was granted his security clearance by the Army, but the Office of Naval Intelligence never cleared him because of his involvement with the studies of cannabis. So, Dr. Adams went to work on the national shortage of rubber. Natural rubber supplies had been suffocated by the war. Dr. Adams was then credited with the creation of synthetic rubber. By the way ... Dr. Adams was not a communist or a member of Lincoln’s Birthday Committee for the Advancement of Science. But he was a member of a group called Lincoln’s Birthday Committee for Democracy and Intellectual Freedom. This group was founded to discredit the Nazi’s policy



More research would be done on CBD by Dr. Siegfried Walter Loewe.  In 1946, building on Dr. Adams' research, Dr. Loewe tested the effects of CBD on animals, showing that cannabidiol did not have a psychotropic effect. Animal testing continued through the 1960’s until the first CBD oil formulated for the therapeutic benefits of humans was released by British Pharmacopeia.






Meanwhile in 1963, Dr. Raphael Mechoulam identified the molecular structure of cannabidiol in Israel. Dr. Mechoulam would lead cannabis research for several decades in Israel as the United States became more and more hostile to cannabis research; including the 1970 Controlled Substance Act, which lists cannabis as a Schedule 1 drug. Schedule 1 substances are described as those that have the following findings: A) The drug or other substance has a high potential for abuse. B) The drug or other substance has no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States. C) There is a lack of accepted safety for use of the drug or other substance under medical supervision.   (The Schedule of Controlled Substances, 2020) Ending on a bright note... the revival of cannabis research has been rapidly progressing in the last decade. The passing of the 2018 Farm Bill, which legalized the cultivation and sale of hemp at the federal level, was a huge step in pushing along these studies. Researchers continue to pinpoint some very specific FDA-approved medical uses for the plant, and many more findings are sure to come! Until next time,  Stay healthy, my friends! 

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