If you know anything about cannabis, you’ll know that this famous plant falls into two categories: marijuana and hemp. While the former is the kind many use recreationally and medicinally, the latter is an important crop that has been used by humans for thousands of years. Although the stigma surrounding the plant feels as though it’s been around forever, the truth is that people have long depended on hemp as a source for textiles, food, and even spiritual rituals. Before the War on Drugs, hemp provided ancient civilizations with a means to clothe and feed themselves. Learn all about the ancient history of hemp in this article!
Hemp In Ancient History
10,000 BC – The first proof of hemp appears in Taiwan.
8,000 BC – Ancient Mesopotamians began using hemp cloth.
4,000 BC – Chinese civilizations are already using hemp widely.
3,500 BC – Archeological evidence shows hemp was in Egypt.
2,300 BC – The first written reference to hemp.
2,000 BC – Hemp begins to make its way across the globe.
1,500 BC – While raiding Europe, the Scythians uncover hemp.
1,400 BC – Indians start to use hemp.
800 BC – Archeological findings show that the Mediterranean Punic people utilized hemp.
500 BC – Mentions of hemp appear in the work of Greek writers.
200 BC – Greek ships begin to employ hemp rope.
79 AD – Hemp crops up in the Roman Empire.
100 AD – Proof of hashish use in Siberia.
140 AD – Hemp shows up in Britain.
400 AD – The British started cultivating hemp.
800 AD – The Vikings in Northern Scandinavia start to cultivate hemp.
900 - 1000 AD – Cannabis and hemp spread throughout Arabia.
1253 AD – The Army in Cairo attacks and closes the hashish Gardens of Cavour.
1533 AD – Britain mandates farmers to grow hemp.
1545 AD – The demand for hemp is so high that it leads to a shortage as only a few countries produce it at the time.
Hemp In Modern History
1600 – The first instance of hemp cultivation in the New World.
1630 – Hemp makes it to New England by way of the Pilgrims.
1700 – The colonies legally require farmers to grow hemp.
1762 – Hemp is viewed as a currency in the American Colonies.
1776 – The founding father write the American Constitution on hemp paper, and the continental arm is clothed in hemp.
1842 – Writing about marijuana by the Irish physician, W.B. O’Shaughnessy, appears in British Medical Journals.
1850 – The American colonies view marijuana as a medicinal drug, and approximately 8000 hemp farms are operating across the country.
1900 – Recreational use of cannabis spurred on by Mexican immigrants.
1916 – A report entitled “Hemp Hurds as Paper-Making Material” released by the American government predicts that the plant will soon replace all trees.
1937 – Marijuana becomes illegal with The Marihuana Tax Act.
1940 – Henry Ford used hemp panels in the Model T.
1941 – Pearl Harbour cuts off North America’s hemp supply from The Philippines.
1970 – Hemp and marijuana are considered the same under The Controlled Substances Act.
1976 – Medicinal cannabis research banned by the Ford Administration,
1990 – The War on Drugs escalates.
2004 – The DEA is beaten by Hemp Industries Association in Ninth Circuit Court, striking down the ban on hemp food.
2007 – The United States government issues two licenses for growing hemp in North Dakota.
2018 – Industrial hemp becomes legal again as The U.S. Farms Act goes into effect.