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History of hemp

History book and magnifying glass

The grand History of hemp

Discovering the history of hemp, we travel far and wide to find its origins.

A journey from the East to the West. Many ancient manuscripts are written on Hemp paper, and archaeological discoveries show Hemp was used in ancient daily life.

Hemp goes back 10,000 years we journey to the cradles of civilisation ‘Ancient China’ and ‘Mesopotamia’.

where was Mesopotamia

Today, Turkey, Syria, Iraq and Kuwait make up Mesopotamia, it was an ancient region in Asia.

This region’s many inventions remain crucial to our lives. For example the concept of time, Writing, The wheel, sailboats and maps.

Hemp played a vital part; grown and used for materials; cloth, fishnets, rope, paper and for the plant’s therapeutic properties.

Jerusalem

How far back does it go?

When the ‘Shekel’ was the first introduced to Mesopotamia as a currency, back in 3000BC.

Chinese historical records demonstrate that ancient civilizations used Hemp Oil for its therapeutic benefits.

Hemp rope is found in Italy’s homelands of the Romans.

Continue North

Continue North to Sweden and see Vikings using Hemp for rope and sails.

In Mesopotamia as a currency, back in 3000BC Chinese historical records show the ancient civilization using Hemp Oil for its therapeutic benefits.  They used it to create paper since 740AD; Hemp is used for paper, Teabags, writing paper, toilet paper, and rope. Not surprisingly, In 907AD China was the leading bookmaker.

Between 800AD and 1000AD

Throughout the 1000AD paper created with Hemp moved onto Korea with a Monk, most importantly along the Silk Road and then onto Japan, Tibet and India.

After that, Hemp rope is found in Italy’s homelands by the Romans. Consequently, it moved North to Sweden and then we see Vikings using Hemp for rope and sails

We move to Spain next, to the year 1150AD

Spain created the first paper industry in Europe, reaching the UK by the 12th Century. IN 1215 the Magna Carta was drafted on Hemp paper.

Right through to 1453 AD Byzantines; The East Roman Empire used Cannabis flowers for their therapeutic properties – Therefore, we can see CBD is nothing new, it just has a fancy new name.

Roman baths

In 1533 King Henry VIII

King Henry VIII made it compulsory

by Royal Order for Farmers to dedicate a quarter of an acre of land to Hemp (or Flax for every 60 acres)

Most Bibles of this time were printed on hemp paper, the famous Gutenberg Bible was written on Hemp paper

In 1563 Queen Elizabeth

Queen Elizabeth ordered all farmers and landowners to grow Cannabis.  Consequently, anyone caught not adhering to this law would have to pay a £5 penalty, to add some perspective, that’s around £1500 in today’s money.

Elizabeth insisted hemp was cultivated to build up her Navy and for her household.

There is a rumour Queen Elizabeth 1st also used the flowers to ease her pains, once a month.

1600s the early days of America

Hemp was a vital material for this newly developed nation, and the Founding Fathers insisted Farmers grow this fantastic crop.

Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin and George Washington flew the flag for the Hemp industry and assisted in its hearty creation in the early days of the US. 

The first drafts of the Declaration of Independence were also written on Hemp paper, the final copy was, however, written on animal skins.

So valuable was the Hemp crop it was used as legal tender, it became Mandatory to grow this product and as consequence, the American colonies grew.

In the 17th and 18th centuries, the plant became a part of American Law. But what blew me away was; It was illegal NOT to grow Hemp in some colonies.

Such is this valuable plant. Its assets were necessary to grow a developing nation.

Its properties are abundant, and so versatile, that we made ropes, sails, clothes, food, paper, and oils (that is just a snippet)

17th and 18th centuries

Queen Elizabeth ordered all farmers and landowners to grow Cannabis.  Consequently, anyone caught not adhering to this law would have to pay a £5 penalty, to add some perspective, that’s around £1500 in today’s money.

Elizabeth insisted hemp was cultivated to build up her Navy and for her household.

There is a rumour Queen Elizabeth 1st also used the flowers to ease her pains, once a month.

USA Four Fathers

By the By the 1700s

Hemp paper was used to make all the following books;

  •   King James Bible
  •     Works of Alexander Dumas
  •     Mark Twain
  •     Lewis Carol’s Alice in Wonderland 1865

18th Century Hemp War

During the 18th Century, Russia was the largest producer of Hemp producing around 75% of Europe’s Hemp.

Britain became so reliant on Russia for its Hemp Napoleon started ‘The Hemp War’ signing a treaty with Russia in 1807.

Russia

The Tilsit Peace Treaty, one of the conditions being, that Russia would no longer supply Great Britain with much-needed Hemp.  Napoleon’s attempt to weaken the British Navy. 

Just a few short years later, Russia resumed trade with Great Britain, the beginning of the end for Napoleon.

In 1865

In 1865, the beginning of the end in Europe

We began to use the Wood pulp.  As a result, hemp is phased out by the end of the 1900s. unfortunately, most printers in the Western world were using wood pulp.

history of hemp prohibition

Finally, in 1979 hemp was banned and labelled as a controlled substance.

It would appear hemp was banned by the Americans for corporate interests, namely a threat to the Oil and Fibre industries.

hemp cloth

Hemp fibre

Hemp fibre was relied upon as much as wood is to us today.

Hemp is frequently used as a medicine and for cloth, now that’s versatile!

So given all of the above

This plant giving so much proved itself a valuable asset through the ages. We are looking for an alternative to wood; this is a no-brainer.  It seems we tried to reinvent the wheel, and our depleted rainforests show we’ve made an error so let us reverse it!

This incredible plant can provide us with so much.

So given all of the above

This plant giving so much proved itself a valuable asset through the ages. We are looking for an alternative to wood; this is a no-brainer.  It seems we tried to reinvent the wheel, and our depleted rainforests show we’ve made an error so let us reverse it!

This incredible plant can provide us with so much.

It’s often as a replacement for environmentally harmful products – industrial products (paper and rope), textiles (bags and clothing), foodstuffs (milk, cold-pressed oil and tea) and herbal remedies (tinctures creams, balms, and other topicals).

Industrial Hemp is also cultivated for insulation, biofuels, car manufacturing, fabric and carpet production.

Biodiesel is created from Hemp Seeds and Stalks called ‘Hempoline’; You can produce alcohol by fermenting the whole plant.

There is a form of hemp oil that can power a diesel engine.

It transpires the first diesel engines were designed to run on hemp oil.

heard of Hempcrete

Have you heard of Hempcrete? It’s a thing! You can use Hemp materials to build a home; it truly never ends.

Today we have rediscovered another use for this amazing plant.  We are now around to using CBDs, and it’s all perfect for the environment and safe for all the family

Our conclusion

Let’s follow our colourful history. This industry can provide us with a sustainable product with a multitude of uses and be environmentally friendly and harvest Job creation, what’s not to like?!

For more information see our article Everything you need to know about CBD

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