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A Brief History Of CBD & Hemp

A Brief History Of CBD & Hemp

It’s time for some history! 

People have been using hemp for around 10,000 years. Archaeologists have found evidence of hemp use in Mesopotamia (modern-day Iran and Iraq), Germany, Taiwan and China that dates back to around 8,000 BC. Hemp as a crop is truly diverse. It is used to make ropes, bags, clothes, insulation and bioplastics. In fact, it has thousands of uses across almost every industry you could think of.

Hemp was fundamental to early global industrialisation and there is evidence of cannabis being traded along the Silk Road. By the year 1,000 AD hemp was used to make ropes and Columbus’ own ships’ rigging was made from hemp.

King Henry VIII recognised hemp’s potential and in 1535 passed a law forcing every farmer to sow at least a quarter acre of hemp or face a fine! The American presidents George Washington and Thomas Jefferson, both landowners themselves, grew hemp and in colonial America, it was also a required crop - growers had to produce some or be fined.

So where did it all go wrong for hemp? It was widely used for making paper, sails, clothing and oil. It was grown all over the world and vital to the development of diverse cultures. Some people think hemp was a victim of its own success. As more uses were discovered in construction and energy, competing industries sought to tarnish its reputation by linking it closely to marijuana.

The United States largely led the move towards global bans on marijuana. In 1937, the Marijuana Tax Act was introduced to cut marijuana use but also imposed heavy taxes on hemp farmers, making the crop unprofitable. In 1970 the Controlled Substances Act specified cannabis, as opposed to marijuana, a schedule 1 drug, which meant hemp could no longer be grown at all, for any purpose.

Today, hemp is seeing a resurgence in popularity thanks to scientific evidence and changing public attitudes and relaxing of the laws around its growth in the UK, U.S. and Europe. With increasing pressure on our world’s natural resources, hemp is increasingly attractive as a sustainable option for construction materials, fuels, food supplements and myriad other things.

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