Drop Of Sunshine

Little Hemp History

By June 17, 2020 22 Comments

A Brief Guide to the History of Hemp


Hemp is one of the most dynamic of all plants. From its application in clothing manufacturing to the extraction of hemp oil for natural health support, this multifunctional plant is popular globally, but where did it all start?

The First Plant Cultivation

Hemp dates back to 8000 BC, where its primary use was in pottery and the creation of hemp cloth. It was first incorporated in agriculture in Asia, then Africa, Europe, and South America. The plant was the first to be cultivated by humans and, owing to its versatility, facilitate intracontinental trade.

Asia’s Sacred Grass

Hemp proliferated in Asia around 200 BC, where it was blessed among spiritualists as a holy plant referred to as: “sacred grass.” Hemp was also formally identified in Egypt as a crafted cloth in Pharaoh Alchanaten’s tomb.

First Scrolls

Around the year 1000, hemp was used as a paper to print Buddhist text. Hemp was then used for cord and rope across Europe and Asia.

Hemp Cultivation in North America

In the 1600s, hemp had made its way into North America, where it primarily used to make rope, paper, clothing, and as a source of food. The 1700s identified the importance of hemp as a valuable crop where farmers in North America were legally required to cultivate hemp as issued by the country’s founders. Hemp was also used in the paper that Thomas Jefferson used to write the draft Declaration of Independence.

The Term Marijuana is birthed in the 1900s

In the early 1900s, Mexicans were targeted for transporting hemp into the States. The term cannabis was replaced with marijuana in reference to deported Mexican populations.

A Change in the View of Hemp

The 1930s saw the initial US commissioner of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics, Harry Anslinger, claim that cannabis was a “devil drug” causing manic behavior, with no evidence to back his claims. He initiated the Marijuana Tax Act in the early 1940s and failed to make a distinction between hemp and cannabis plants. It also saw resurgence in the cultivation of hemp among American farmers, owing to the Hemp for Farmers campaign.

A Downturn in the Cultivation of US-Based Hemp

The year 1952 saw he last harvest of the hemp plant for commercial purposes in Wisconsin.

The Hemp and Cannabis Debate

The failure to distinguish the commercial property of hemp from the intoxicating effects of cannabis and the Controlled Substances Act was passed in 1970. Hemp is categorized as a Schedule 1 drug.

The Nineties Transform Hemp Use

In 1998, the pressure of consumer demand for the ignition of the hemp industry saw the easing of restrictions across hemp-based products, including its cultivation and oil production.

2014 Advocates Hemp Cultivation

In 2014, the issue of the American Farm Bill passed by Congress permits institutions across agriculture and research to initiate pilot studies for the cultivation of hemp.

Legalization of Hemp

Hemp was legalized across 40 US states in 2018 owing to the easing of hemp-related restrictions by Congress.

The Position of Modern Day Hemp

In the 21st century, hemp is cultivated across thousands of acres by farmers in the US and across the world. Its medicinal, textile, and manufacturing qualities have contributed to its popularity. With regulations under constant transformation and with ongoing research into the hemp plant, the future of the versatile plant remains incredibly bright.


Photo by Robert Nelson


  • Frank Jerry says:

    You did a good of giving a detailed history on help, never knew about some aspects you wrote. Good that hemps have been legalize too.

  • Glad says:

    Oh my, I never knew cloths and paper can be made out of hemp. This write-up is really educative. I have always thought of hemp negetively and never knew it had lots of positive use. Thanks for the information.

  • Meldred Judith says:

    This is a good way to know more about this plant and its origin. This write up is very educational.

  • Oyeyipo Oladele says:

    Information is life. Thanks for this reasonable and helpful post.

  • conrad says:

    Hemp, if properly regulated can help the industry. It can even equalize the production of illegal hemp farmers, thus making it profitable.

  • AJ says:

    Wow, I never realized hemp had such a very long and rather colorful history. This has been quite a very informative read.

  • jenny says:

    This history has made be know that hemp is a multifunctional plants and it is worth taking a look at. I know it can be very useful to one’s health.

  • Joe Moore says:

    Hemp is grown across several acres by US farmers around the world. It has got good medicinal qualities and this h as made it popular.

  • Erika says:

    Hemp seems to ve very helpful and pupular plant, I had no idea that it was used since so long ago but and I’m glad it still used for textil and medicine production.

  • Clarissa says:

    Thank you for sharing the history of hemp, so amazing. It was very useful back then and still very useful today. Hope more can be discovered from hemp.

  • Wilson Jake says:

    At this side of the world, there is no easing of restrictions across hemp-based products, including its cultivation and oil production. It’s like a death sentence here but people still get their hands on it though

  • Roy says:

    8000 BC is an incredibly long time ago. Looks like Hemp has been with us for longer than I thought.

  • Meg W says:

    So basically Hemp was in use even before the time of Jesus. That’s interesting to learn.

  • Patricia says:

    It’s fun to finally learn the origin story of this plant that we adore so much. Informative as well as entertaining. Great article!

  • Oliver says:

    Hemp was once used as a source of food? I wonder which part of the plant was being consumed.

  • Daphne says:

    It’s funny that there was a time when farmers in North America were legally required to cultivate hemp as issued by the country’s founders. How times have changed since then!

  • Teddy says:

    With such a rich history and its contribution to civilization, I see no reason why anyone would ban the use of this magical plant. The whole world should legalize it!!

  • Louis says:

    This is a great run down of the history of hemp. The most comprehensive one I have seen thus far.

  • Shantel says:

    I appreciate the research that went into this article. I have basically learnt all there is to know about hemp’s history 🙂 🙂

  • Anderson says:

    “Hemp was legalized across 40 US states in 2018 owing to the easing of hemp-related restrictions by Congress.” That was the best news ever and I hope even more states legalize it.

  • Storm says:

    Hemp should have never been illegalized in the first place. Its application in fields like medicine have contributed greatly.

  • Sylvia says:

    Hemp is so much intertwined with our history. It has always played a major role for humanity.

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