CBD: The Hottest Wellness Ingredient with a Nasty Racial History

Part 1- Demonization (1 of 4 parts)

You’ve probably seen CBD, or Cannabidiol, everywhere this year. From your face wash to body scrubs to topical creams to even green juices and smoothies, this hemp derived substance is becoming as mainstream as it gets.

ChillHouse, NYC

Praised for its wide benefits, CBD can be used to relieve physical pain, symptoms of cancer, anxiety and neurological disorders, and even epilepsy. Unlike ingesting the entire hemp plant, CBD does not have any psychoactive properties that get you ‘high’.

More than that, CBD is so attractive because it’s naturally derived plant substance making traditional chemical medications obsolete.

Sounds great doesn’t it? And it is. The recent legalization of cannabis has done wonders in the making plant medicine more readily accessible to the nation’s population.

However, we cannot celebrate this new medical hemp industry and its products without acknowledging its sordid racial past.

When hemp (cannabis/marijuana) plants were first introduced to the American Public, it was based purely in racism. While cannabis had been used by people for centuries, it’s demonization is pretty recent.

Socialites and artists consumed cannabis in supper clubs and tea houses in the 1800s. By the 1900s, the plant’s appeal was lost to these elites. Also at that time, the plant became more widely accessible to people of color.

Following the influx of Mexican immigrants to the states following the Mexican Revolution, the Spanish word for cannabis, ‘marijuana’ became widely accepted. This was used to make a social connection to these new immigrants, beginning stereotypes that perceived users were of Latin American descent.

Stay tuned for pt. 2 coming soon.

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