People have used hemp for thousands of years. Today, hemp is well-known for its CBD content. But hemp was being used by people long before they started extracting CBD from it.
Today, people often mistake hemp for marijuana. A while back, often in clandestine operations, people began selecting cannabis plants that would get them intoxicated. They bred the plants to be more and more intoxicating, resulting in modern marijuana which can have very high levels of THC. On the other side of the spectrum, we have hemp, which has been bred for other qualities and is not intoxicating at all.
History of Hemp
The earliest known fabric was woven from hemp between 8,000 and 7,000 BCE. Around 4,000 BCE, hemp was used to make pottery in China. Fast forward a few thousand years to 140 BCE, and the first known manmade paper was made with hemp.
Hemp usage in the U.S. dates all the way back to the first American settlements in Jamestown in 1616. In those days, hemp was used to produce ropes, sails, and clothing. Hemp made its mark in American history around the year 1631 when it became a legal form of currency. Hemp could even be used to pay taxes!
Towns across the nation such as Hempstead, Hemphill, and Hempfield reflect the deep history of hemp in the U.S. In 1776, the Declaration of Independence was even drafted on hemp paper!
But in 1937, the Marijuana Tax Act of 1937 passed, placing a tax on all cannabis sales (including hemp). This heavily discouraged the production of the plant. It seemed as though hemp wasn’t seen to be as deeply American, after all.
Following a brief hiatus, hemp production was back in full swing starting in 1942, thanks to the USDA Hemp for Victory program. The program was put in place to produce hemp ropes and textiles, which were used in World War II efforts.
In 1970, the hemp industry hit another roadblock in the U.S.: the Controlled Substances Act went into effect, leaving hemp with Schedule One Substance classification. Marijuana, heroin, and methamphetamines were all given the same classification.
It wasn’t until the Farm Bill of 2014 that pilot programs for hemp farming were allowed again. Under the Farm Bill, farmers could grow hemp under USDA and state supervision. Finally, in 2018, President Trump’s 2018 Farm Bill removed hemp as a Schedule One Substance
Hemp in America Today
Today, hemp is legal to grow and it is used for a variety of reasons. Here at Charlotte’s Web™, we breed hemp with high cannabinoid levels, specifically CBD, or cannabidiol. CBD is a common molecule found in hemp that will not get you intoxicated.
Humans have relied on hemp for thousands of years across the globe. Today, hemp has regained its reputation as a ‘wonder crop,’ and a new and exciting chapter is being written in this versatile plant’s history.