Until the last 100 years, hemp was one of mankind’s most important crops. It has been a valuable tool since the beginning of history.
The fact that people today only think of it as a plant that “gets you high” is extremely worrying because it has been a vital part of history.
Hemp was probably the first plant ever cultivated for textile fiber.
Archaeologists found a remnant of hemp cloth in ancient Mesopotamia (currently Iran and Iraq) which dates back to 8,000 BC.
Hemp is believed to be one of the earliest examples of human industry: one of the first natural objects people turned into useful daily materials.
An old Chinese scroll from the Sung dynasty (500 AD) claims the Emperor Shen Nung (28th century BC) was the first to teach his people to cultivate hemp for cloth.
Somehow, hemp eventually made it to Europe in approximately 1,200 BC. From there, it spread throughout the ancient western world world.
China has cultivated hemp for the longest. An incredible 6000 years! France has cultivated Hemp for at least 700 years to the present day, Spain and Chile too. Russia was a major grower and supplier for hundreds of years.
That’s why it is completely ridiculous when someone suggests hemp is dangerous, foreign, or should be made illegal.
Humans have been farming hemp for almost as long as they have been farming anything.
The Chinese were the first people to fully embrace hemp’s usefulness. In 150 BC they made the world’s first paper, made completely from hemp. The world’s oldest existing documents written on paper are also written on a mix of bark and hemp.
Hemp has been used as a medicine for thousands of years. Folk remedies from cultures all around the world praise the plant’s leaves, seeds, and roots for their restorative properties.
The seed and flowers were recommended for difficult childbirth, convulsions, arthritic joints, rheumatism, dysentery and insomnia.
Hemp took the spotlight in the middle ages. It was an extremely valuable crop and supplied much of the world’s need for food and fiber.
Sailing ships became dependent on Canvas (from the word cannabis), hemp rope and oakum because it was 3 times stronger than Cotton and resistant to salt water.
Unlike today, where hemp and CBD have a bad reputation because of a lack of knowledge, in the past it was illegal to NOT farm hemp!
In the UK, in 1535 Henry VIII passed an act compelling all landowners to sow 1/4 of an acre, or be fined!
During this period hemp was a major crop that was crucial for Europe’s economic success. Even up until the 1920’s 80% of clothing was made from Hemp textiles.
Jacques Cartier, the explorer who claimed Canada for French, wrote in the 16th century that the land was “frill of hempe which groweth of itselfe, which is as good as possibly may be seen, and as strong.” Hemp had been in America long before the Puritans landed on Plymouth rock.
It’s extremely useful properties for clothes, rope, and sails made it a popular crop with early Americans. Hemp was grown in nearly every state at one time or another, including California, Kentucky New York, Oregon, Utah, Texas, New England, Virginia, Massachusetts, Louisiana, and Missouri.
The same goes for Canada. Hemp was the first crop to be subsidized in French Canada. Hemp was the cornerstone of a plan for Canada’s future economic success.
In 1801, the Lieutenant Governor of Upper Canada distributed hemp seeds to farmers to popularize the crop.
Edward Allen Talbot, Esq., an author in 1820s Canada, wrote that if Canada produced enough hemp to supply Britain, it would give them the economic prosperity they needed to be independent. In 1822, the provincial parliament of Upper Canada allocated £300 for the purchase of machinery to process hemp and £50 a year over three years for repairs.
The Canadian government depended on hemp for over a hundred years.The 1923 budget again offered incentives to domestic producers. Mr. Fielding, the finance minister, said that there was a market in Canada and with some government encouragement a hemp mill could be established in Manitoba to draw from crops in the vicinity.
There were six hemp mills in Canada at the time, and the government financed a seventh, the Manitoba Cordage Company.
Eventually, hemp was overshadowed by cotton. Hemp harvesting was extremely labor-intensive. When the invention of the mechanical cotton gin at the end of eighteenth century made it easier to process cotton, hemp could no longer compete.
It simply became much more profitable to farm cotton instead.
Hemp is a great plant. It has medicinal properties and its powerful fiber can be turned into all sorts of things.
This is good for the country, but was bad for big companies who saw hemp as a competitor.
In the 1930’s companies new petroleum based synthetic textile companies and lumber barons saw hemp as the biggest threat to their businesses.
This was especially true because of new hemp machinery which was invested at the same time. It made it extra easy to separate
hemp’s fiber from the rest of the plant. Harvesting and processing hemp became easier, making hemp fiber much cheaper.Too cheap for the liking of the lumber and synthetic textile companies.
In September 1937, the United States government, under the influence of the lobbying of synthetic textile companies (like DuPont) and several other powerful groups who saw hemp as a big threat to their businesses, proposed prohibitive tax laws, and levied an occupational excise tax upon hemp dealers.
Later that year hemp production was banned altogether.
The Canadian government, following the American lead, prohibited production under the Opium and Narcotics Act on August 1, 1938.
World War II provided a new chance. The 1942 Japanese invasion of the Philippines cut the U.S. off from their major source of imported hemp.
Yet hemp was still important for the production of war-related textiles and cloths.
To meet demand for war production, the U.S. and Canadian governments lifted restrictions. Until the end of the war, farmers with special permits grew hemp to supply the war effort.
To encourage farmers to grow hemp during this period, the United States Department of Agriculture released the film “Hemp for Victory”.
It stated, “In 1942, patriotic farmers at the government’s request planted 36,000 acres of seed hemp, an increase of several thousand per cent. The goal for 1943 is 50,000 acres of seed hemp.”
Hemp, has historically had over 25,000 uses ranging from paints, printing inks, varnishes, paper, Government documents, bank notes, food, textiles (the original ‘Levi’s’ jeans were made from Hemp cloth), canvas (artists canvases were used by the great masters) and building materialsstill remains banned in this country whose Declaration of Independence was written on hemp paper.
Until very recently, hemp continued to be banned.
This was no longer because of support from large paper and synthetic companies, but from big pharma.
They are aware of hemp’s fantastic uses for changing lives. It is a plant that can boost your immune system, fight pain, and help protect you from many diseases.
Hemp is completely natural and has no side effects, while prescription medications are extremely addictive and have caused the tragic deaths of everyone in the opiate epidemic.
That’s good for you but isn’t good for the profits of billion dollar pharmaceutical companies.
Unless you don’t want to improve your health, or are on the side of huge pharmaceutical companies, don’t be afraid to give CBD a try.
If it was good enough for George Washington, It's good enough for you.