In fact, it was one of the first plants to be domesticated by humans, marking mankind’s earliest industrial efforts.
While hemp’s exact geographical origin is unknown, archeological evidence suggests that its history can be dated back to the Neolithic age. Scientists have even recently discovered a relic of hemp cloth in ancient Mesopotamia (currently Iran and Iraq) which dates back to 8,000 BC. There is also a remnant of hemp cord found in Taiwan during that same era.
There’s no doubt that hemp has played a vital role in the history of the human race. But, what is it that makes this plant so special and why is it so valuable to our future?
A species of plant within the cannabis family, hemp is unique in that it can thrive in a variety of different climates with a growth cycle between 108 to 120 days. Not only does it grow fast and strong, but its strength and versatility can lend itself to numerous industries.
Through the ages, hemp has been used in day-to-day life for its protein-packed seeds, strong fibers, and highly absorbent hurds. Hemp seeds are typically used in dietary products, while the fibers and hurds are utilized in a variety of industrial and everyday products, such as rope, cement, insulation, clothing, construction materials, and paper.
Historically, hemp was a vital crop for North America, with 17th century farmers in Virginia, Massachusetts, and Connecticut being ordered by law to grow Indian hemp on their land. By the early 18th century, a person could be imprisoned if they didn’t comply.
Contrastingly, the Marihuana Tax Act of 1937 was drafted by anti-cannabis prohibitionist Harry Anslinger, and was passed with the intent of levying taxes on hemp products and on the commercial sales of cannabis products.
Even with hemp’s storied past, its industrial attributes are widely misunderstood these days, often being conflated with its THC-rich doppelganger—marijuana. Nearly 50 years after the Controlled Substances Act of 1970, which classified all cannabis species as a Schedule I Drug, the government still seems to have some confusion in distinguishing the two plants.
Recently, however, researchers and community members have become more vocal in identifying their differences and promoting the long-term benefits of hemp.
Currently, hemp can be used to produce over 50,000 products, including biofuels, traditional health supplements, and building materials, offering a cleaner and more sustainable solution compared to its counterparts.
With this newly acquired knowledge, the hemp industry is growing not only in the US, but in communities all over the world, with Kannaway leading the way.