A Brief (and Shocking) History of Hemp

Posted by Harmony on 1st Nov 2017

A Brief (and Shocking) History of Hemp

Hemp is one of the oldest used fibers in the world.

This plant has been commonly cultivated and used to make various items for centuries. Some historians even date the use of hemp as far back as 5,000 BC, when it was cultivated in an early region of modern-day China.

In recent years, however, there have been stigmas against the uses of hemp due to negative opinions about smoking marijuana. Hemp and marijuana are two different forms of cannabis.

In fact, long before people were getting high off marijuana, they were using hemp fibers to make paper and ropes, and oils for food and lotions.

Here is a brief history of hemp around the world and the many uses its fibers offer.

The Origins of Hemp

The strongest use of hemp in ancient times was in Central Asia.

There, the plant thrived in rich climates and was planted and used for thousands of years. It drove early economies, provided clothing and pottery, and much more.

As time went on, early Indian cultures started to find uses for hemp as well.

From there, the plant spread to Mesopotamia. Eventually, hemp reached lands as far as what we now know to be Persia and Russia.

By the time of common era, also known as AD, hemp was being cultivated and used from China to Northern Europe.

A History of Hemp Uses

Why all the fuss for this fiber?

Some cultures used hemp for paper and cloth. Others discovered the possible medicinal effects early on.

In China, the first recorded use of hemp for medicine was by Emperor Shen Neng in the year 2,737 BC. The Chinese had a purpose for each part of the plant, too.

The root helped to soothe pains and aches of the body. The stem was for textiles, ropes, and paper. Oils were made from the seeds, sometimes used for food as well.

Hemp can even be found in ancient Chinese tombs, where the people had left it as sacrifices for the afterlife.

Other Cultures

Ancient Indians and Egyptians had similar uses for hemp. They too found ways to turn its fibers into paper and scrolls, and discovered its healing medicinal powers.

Fast forward a couple thousand years and the history of hemp expands as far as the Great British Empire. The Royal Navy was using it to make sails, and many men and women had Bibles made of hemp paper.

Hemp was in such high demand, some early American colonies were required by law to grow it.

By the time of the early 20th century, hemp was a common plant in America. Henry Ford even used it as an alternative source for fuel.

Over the course of the political ups and downs from the 1930s to 1960s though, hemp became less and less popular in the states. Plantations and other operations slowly declined, and eventually all that was left was wild hemp.

Hemp in the Modern Age

In recent years, hemp has once again become more accepted in the US and around the world.

It is now normal to find companies using hemp oils in foods and fibers in clothing. Hemp can be found in almost anything from flour to chocolates and butters. There are even hemp hair care and skin care products available as well.

Many hemp products are easily found online, just like any other household item.

To experience the benefits of hemp for yourself, shop our selection of products today.