A Brief History of the CBD Craze | The Hemp Dispense

A Brief History of the CBD Craze

A Brief History of the CBD Craze

A recent New York Times article written by investigative reporter Amanda Chicago Lewis traces the wild history of the booming CBD industry from its humble origins to a projected $16 billion industry by 2025. 

Along the way, the true purpose of bringing CBD mainstream has unfortunately been overshadowed by the desire for financial gain. The result of this combined with lack of regulation has led to a proliferation of products that don't contain any CBD at all. 

Bringing CBD mainstream was the life's calling of early activists, farmers, scientists, doctors, chemists, and anyone suffering from illness or pain. This new world isn't quite what they imagined.

Below is a timeline of key milestones as laid out in New York Times article "A Hidden Origin Story of the CBD Craze. Click HERE to read the extensive article in its entirety; it's definitely worth the read.


Cannabis analysis lab Steep Hill begins operations.


Steep Hill lab identifies five strains with significant CBD and THC. Efforts are referred to as “Project CBD”


Biochemist Samantha Miller, opens her lab, Pure Analytics. A few months later, she called Mr. Ringo, the hippie grower, to let him know a pot sample he sent in was a strain with a lot of CBD — as much as 11 percent.

In the fall of 2010, Project CBD website was set up where anyone could look through studies organized by disease or condition.


CBD’s big launch into the mainstream comes when the world saw evidence the compound’s ability to quell seizures.

An epileptic child used CBD on the Discovery Channel’s “Weed Wars,” a show featuring the co-founder of the Steep Hill lab, Steve DeAngelo.


Parents of an epileptic boy in San Francisco bought CBD from a pot shop. Then, looking for a better quality product, they contacted GW Pharmaceuticals. The company developed a 98 percent CBD drug for the boy and others like him.


A CNN special hosted by Dr. Sanjay Gupta profiled a 6-year-old girl in Colorado, Charlotte Figi (who sadly passed away in April 2020 at the age of 13), who used CBD to treat her epilepsy, as well as the brothers who grew her CBD, the Stanleys. Hundreds of families moved to Colorado to gain access to the Stanleys’ CBD oil, Charlotte’s Web. Wait list peaked at 15,000 names. Due to public demand, the FDA. fast-tracked clinical trials of GW Pharmaceuticals’ 98 percent CBD drug, Epidiolex.


Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell includes a hemp pilot program in the 2014 Farm Bill.


Over 60% of the hemp crop in Kentucky was grown for CBD. 

Mr. McConnell inserts language into the 2018 Farm Bill explicitly making hemp federally legal.


CBD is available three ways: over the counter; at state-licensed marijuana dispensaries; or if you have certain forms of epilepsy, from GW Pharmaceuticals. Most Americans encounter CBD in the first and most unreliable way — at, say, a bodega in Brooklyn or a health food store in Indiana. A consultant hired to do an investigation by a corporate chain recently said that the percentage of over-the-counter CBD products that contained the amount on the label was “in the single digits.”

Here at Hemp Dispense, we only partner with brands who produce high-quality, lab-tested hemp products. For more information on how to determine the best brands, read our blog post CBD Consumer Confidence: What to Look For.