A Brief History of Hemp: From Ancient China to Modern Times

Hemp is one of the oldest cultivated fiber plants, with archaeological records of its use dating back to ancient civilizations in northern China as early as 10,000 BC. C.

The cultivation of hemp

for fiber was recorded in China as early as 2800 BC. and spread to the rest of Europe during the Middle Ages.

It was planted in Chile in the 16th century and a century later in North America. The seed and fiber of the hemp plant were exempt from the definition of marijuana and, therefore, those products could be imported and sold in the United States. Australia's first governments actively supported hemp cultivation with land donations and other grants, and cannabis use in Australia in the 19th century was believed to be widespread. The USDA introduced the Hemp for Victory campaign, which encouraged farmers to grow hemp for the manufacture of ropes and canvases during World War II.

The oil obtained from hemp seed can be used to make paints, varnishes, soaps and edible oil with a low smoke point. Modern technological advances have made possible a wide variety of foods that can be prepared from hemp seeds, including cheese, milk, ice cream, flour, hemp tofu, butter and oil. Researchers from China and Taiwan have discovered that hemp was used daily for ceramics, as a food both in the form of seeds and oil, and as a medicine as early as 8000 BC. In 1970, the Controlled Substances Act included marijuana as a Schedule 1 narcotic and made no distinction between marijuana and hemp. After the end of World War II, hemp was cultivated very irregularly until 1957, when the United States saw the last commercial production. The novel “hemp concrete”, a composite material of hemp and a lime binder, can be used in a similar way to traditional concrete in applications that do not withstand loads.

Since then, American farmers have grown hemp which has been used in several different products such as paper, lamp fuel, and cords. Around 600 AD, hemp cultivation techniques were extensively addressed in the ancient Confucian text “The Essential Arts for the People” (Qi Min Yao Shu). Markets and supply chains for foods made from hemp seeds and industrial products made with hemp fiber and fiber are in their infancy. Although hemp was an important part of the early history of the United States, attitudes toward cultivation began to change in the early 20th century. Hemp has been used for centuries for its fibers, oils, seeds and medicinal properties.

Today it is being rediscovered as an important crop with many uses.

Micaela de Gallardo
Micaela de Gallardo

Friendly sushi ninja. Award-winning bacon advocate. Avid food junkie. Hardcore zombieaholic. Award-winning tea expert. General coffee ninja.