A Brief History of Hemp

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Think you know the history of hemp? Let CanaXen guide you through the turbulent past of mankind’s favourite plant.history of hemp

History of Hemp

The human history of hemp can be traced as far back as 10,000 years ago. One of the oldest crops known to man hemp produces fibres, textiles, hempcrete, and paper to name just a few.  

From humble beginnings, there is no doubt hemp has walked side by side with the developing world.

Over the years the plant has received critical acclaim from some of the most influential people in the world. Just as frequently though, hemp has been the victim of vilification by those in power.

The history of hemp has recently experienced an upsurge in public, political and scientific interest. With many countries around the world now acknowledging the plant’s incredible attributes. With uses found from every part of the plant. The history of hemp will chart a brief but concise account.

Unfamous quotes from famous people on the hemp plant

”Herb is the healing of a nation, alcohol is the destruction.’ Bob Marley

Hemp is the first necessity to the wealth and protection of the country’ Thomas Jefferson 

‘Make the most you can of the Indian hemp seed and sow it everywhere’ George Washington

‘Two of my favorite things are sitting on my front porch smoking a pipe of sweet hemp, and playing my Hohner harmonica.’ Abraham Lincoln

‘Why use up the forests which were centuries in the making and the mines which required ages to lay down, if we can get the equivalent of forest and mineral products in the annual growth of the hemp fields?’  Henry Ford

history of hemp bob marley
‘Herb is the healing of a nation, alcohol is the destruction.’ Bob Marley

Ancient history of hemp

Hemp first appeared on the snow plains and mountainous horizons of Nepal and India over thirty-four million years ago. Sadly, the worlds first ‘stoned’ cow is lost to history.

Human use of hemp has been dated as far back as 10,000 years ago but it could be far older. Nearly every culture on Earth has its own history of hemp usage from the Egyptians to stone age man.

Evidence of hemp used in pharmacopeia in China dates from 2727 BC. In 1400 BC hemp was used as part of cultural ceremonies in India.

In fact, the history of hemp is present in historical texts from around the globe. Between the middle ages 1600-1800, hemp was widely used and a much-coveted commodity. Used as an important component for developing ropes, ladders, and sails for ships. The hemp plant revolutionised many industries.

During the 17th century, one of the founding fathers of the free world described Hemp as one of the most important agricultural products. Kings, Queens, political leaders and some of the worlds greatest innovators have celebrated its versatility and benefits to mankind.

history of hemp Egyptians
Ancient Egypt was fond of the cannabis plant and its properties as much as 3,500 years ago…

History of hemp a Timeline

For the purpose of this blog I wanted to chart a brief and by no means conclusive timeline, highlighting some pinnacle and astonishing moments for the history of hemp.  Much of this timeline details the influential thinkers and decision makers throughout history, who recognised the innumerable benefits of this plant.

This timeline leads to a pinnacle moment in the history of hemp. A change in the discourse which began in the 1900s in the western world.

  • 10,000 BC – Perhaps earlier. Evidence indicates stone-age man used hemp
  • 6000 BC – Hemp seeds used as food in China
  • 3500 BC – Egyptians use hemp for a multitude of reasons from practical to therapeutic
  • 1533 – Henry VIII decreed cultivation of the hemp plant to be a law of the land
  • 1765 – George Washington, Former US Pres. Encouraged landowners to grow hemp.
  • 1766 – The declaration of independence was also drafted onto hemp paper
  • 1890 – Queen Victoria prescribed Cannabis for menstruation cramps
  • 1926 – Nikola Tesla filed a patent in the USA for a Hemp Rectifying Modulator
  • 1941- Henry Ford constructed a prototype car using hemp to build and fuel it
history of hemp tesla
It was rumoured inventor Nikola Tesla and his mother were great advocates of the plant.

History of hemp & media hysteria  

During the 1900s the hemp plant became a scapegoat and easy target used by many highly influential figures, businessmen (sic) and political figures alike. This century perhaps saw the greatest contradiction in the history of hemp.

Two of the most influential businessmen of the industrial revolution and the head of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics were key players whom all stood to gain or benefit from this plants demise and subsequent criminalisation.

William Randolph Hearst and the Dupont conglomerate were leaders of the paper and fabric industries respectively. 

Altering the history of hemp for personal gain

This propaganda has left a legacy for the history of hemp that has demonised the plant successfully for 70 years. 

Hearst’s newspapers editorialised moral panics, Anslinger perpetuated them and eventually influenced government and affected law.

A targeted and systematic attack of the hemp plant ensued. With a period of allegedly educational and factual films such as the 1936 ‘Reefer Madness’ fuelling negative rhetoric. The prohibition effort was finally a success in 1937.

history the hemp
WRH and the media demonised the hemp plant

A history of hemp hypocrisy 

The history of hemp is certainly not without contradiction. Despite this campaign, which criminalised this magnificently versatile plant, there was a swift resurgence for its use in 1939. Hemp for victory, a USA government campaign called for the cultivation of the hemp plant once again.

The history of hemp played a vital role during the second world war. The temporary lift of prohibition did not last long, however. Hemp was once more cast into the criminal underworld. It is incredible to think that George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin whom all cultivated and had mills or fields of hemp. Today they could have been breaking the law in many countries. 

The history of hemp and the future

In recent times, this illustrious plant has continued to raise cultural, moral and political debate. A debate which ultimately influence’s public opinion. There has been a consistent contradiction of the status of this plant in terms of law worldwide.

These contradictions are often incorrect and pure fantasy at times. Despite this representation which is perpetuated by the media, policymakers around the world have interchanged opinion. What cannot be ignored, manipulated or misrepresented, I’m sure everyone would agree. Is that the History of Hemp has continued to bring a spectrum of uses to society.

Hemp Pioneers

Pioneers in this field include BMW car manufacturer, who are experimenting with hemp to create recyclable cars. Many, many countries are also starting to see the bigger picture with hemp.

And of course there is CanaXen CBD who make the greatest CBD oils in the world. (Probably)

It is truly a great time to be alive and the world is warming. Let’s make the history of hemp just that, history. Let’s start teaching the next generations the incredible benefits of hemp and stop the madness of criminalisation.

history of hemp future
We dream of one day offering our CBD oils to aliens in the future!

Colourlful history of hemp

The history of hemp is a diverse spectrum, as are the plant’s potential uses and benefits. Currently, 30 industrialized countries recognise hemp and allow industrial growth of the controversial plant. There is still so much misinformation, scaremongering and fake news surrounding this plant.

And to conclude our brief history of hemp

You can buy the best CBD oils in the universe from our shop. You can check out our company history or simply see where we make our incredible CBD oils!