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Hemp, is it a drug? The billion dollar product that came from Cannabis and changed the world.

Updated on August 12, 2010
Hemp uses in history.
Hemp uses in history.

Throughout history, the hemp fiver has changed empires and has been used industrially throughout time. And all this changed because of the greed of one man. Hemp comes from the plant Cannabis sativa better known as Cannabis. We have used almost every single part of this plant for uses in industry, medicine and recreation that has changed the world. Today we will be looking at the history of hemp and how it affected mankind throughout time.

Chemical Properties

Hemp does come from cannabis, the plants also know as marijuana and this has created different ideas to people around the world. Many may think that this is dangerous because it might create intoxication from the plant. However, this is wrong. The main psychoactive ingredient in marijuana is a compound called tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC. So you can see the difference, marijuana has a concentration of 2% of this compound therefore creating a mild psychedelic reaction. However, hemp has a concentration of as low as 0.15% of THC. This means that you could smoke a whole field of the plant with this intoxication and have no intoxication.

Hemp’s industrial use

There are 4 major industrial uses of hemp. These are Fiber, Fabric, Paper and Food.

Fiber is probably the first in history. It is though that hemp fiber is used since 8,000 b.C. It is impossible to know the genius who created the hemp fiber but we do know its industrial uses from the last 10,000 years. It has been used for many things including the creation of ropes so strong that the Vikings stole hemp fabric to create ropes that could survive trips to Iceland through storms and cold. Later Venice, Italy grew popular because of their use of hemp to create ropes and in 100 a.D. England would make their farmers grow hemp because of their varied industrial uses. Chinese used hemp for bowstrings during war. Hemp hit America around the civil war and the Union preferred the hemp fivers to fight. Even the parachute, in which Jorge Bush senior used in the World War, was made out of hemp!

Fabric came next in the last 2,400 years people have developed the hemp fabric into clothing durable and warm or thin and comfortable. The hemp fiver replaced animal skin for clothing since it was discovered it was even warmer and more durable during winters and obviously much easier to get. Later the Chinese even used the plant to make durable shoes.

Paper was developed in a time were authors would write in stones to which this new invention came incredible handy because of its light weight and its strength. It is thought the Chinese developed the hemp fiver that was used to create paper in 105 a.D. It’s illegal status; however, now a day’s prevents the large production of hemp paper all around the world which would create a more economical way to print money and the all around use of paper. We can see its use in America since the original Declaration of Independence, was printed on hemp.

Food is unknown were it first started to be used but it is known that the Romans enjoyed a hemp seed dessert, the Polish created a special dish that would be served during Christmas eve that involved hemp and the Natives of India say hemp is the favorite food of their god Shiva. The seed itself is incredible good for the body since it has a concentration of about 25% of protein and amino acids. It also includes essential fatty acids that help the human digestion. Animals like birds enjoy the plant in their food and many other have used the plant for survival during time.

Hemp today

After the illegalization of marijuana, hemp’s use has decreased and the incorrect influence of the media has made the hemp product decrease in the market. However, we might still see some of the uses of hemp around us. As for fiber, many of the ropes made today are from cotton or nylon but the hemp ropes are still available in the market today and many other products are made with a percentage of hemp fiber and other products. For the fabric we can still see many products on the market today including hats, shirt, pants and even wedding grows and many Americans companies are experimenting with hemp fabric; however, since the product is illegal in America these companies must take their materials outside of the US to manufacture. Paper today is mostly made of wood but hemp is far much better product, it is known to be a far faster product to make into paper and damages the ecosystem much less in its production than cutting down trees, but since it is illegal in America trees are being destroyed and hemp is left behind. Food made of hemp is all around the world even in illegal places, some companies use the seed to make protein full nutrition bars and many others mix it with oils for great snacks. As you can see the hemp’s industrial use is being still used today by many and even as an illegal plant it is far more economic and environmental friendly than many products and this is why it is preferred.


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