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What is the History of Hemp and CBD?

What a loaded question...where to begin???  Would you believe me if I told you that Hemp helped mankind to stop being nomadic, to become farmers and plant roots so to speak.  Looking back into history and what the Hemp plant has meant to the development of mankind is fascinating.  The countless applications that hemp and all of its byproducts are astounding.  How about we start at the beginning.

What is Hemp? 

Hemp, which is a variety of Cannabis Sativa L is known for its stalky tall growth, extremely durable fibers and high levels of the cannabinoid known as Cannabidiol (CBD).  

Where did it come from?

Thirty-four billion years ago in the mountains of Kazakhstan cannabis evolved from the humulus lupulus plant which is more commonly known as the hops plant.  We still use the hops flowers to this day in the brewing process for beer.  Evolving and adapting to the high elevation, increased UV levels and low oxygen of the mountains required cannabinoids to help retain water, reflect sunlight and ward off predators.

In 1977 Carl Sagan stated that cannabis may actually have been the worlds first agricultural crop.

The first known uses of Hemp are found in 8000 BC in ancient Mesopotamia.  Archaeologists found a remnant of hemp cloth showing that Hemp was quite possibly the earliest plant cultivated for textile fiber.


Approximately 5000-3000 BC Ancient Egyptian depictions show Sheshat, the Egyptian Goddess of writing are brimming with cannabis-infused themes.  She is shown in many paintings with a leaf atop her head and a fibrous rope in her hand.  Over the years in Egypt cannabis salves were used to treat a variety of conditions.  The most famous discovery was that of the Ramesseum Papyri. These are some of the oldest medical records ever discovered.  It is likely that these Papyri are a culmination of the healing techniques of earlier generations.


There is written reference in the Lu Shi, a Chinese work of the Sung dynasty (500AD) speaking to the Emperor Shen Nung (28th Century BC) who taught people to cultivate hemp for cloth.  Chinese historic records show that China was the earliest region to cultivate and use hemp.  In the ancient Chinese writings The Book of Sons and The Annals there are records of six kinds of crops that the ancient Chinese generally planted. The crops were named "He, su, dao, shu, ma and mai."  "Ma" is Cannabis Hemp.


5000 BC records show that hemp stems were used for fiber to make cloth.  Its fruit used for food and oil and its resin was used for medicine.

It is believed that hemp made it to Europe around 1200 BC.  


Herodotus, a historian and contemporary of Socraates wrote regarding the use of hemp.  He stated that the ancient Scythians added the seeds to redhot rocks to smoke in their bathhouses.  The famous 5 volume medical text De Materia Medica was written sometime around 65-70CE and is believed to be the earliest account of the use of cannabis and hemp as a medical treatment in known existence.   

In the third volume he writes "Kannabis: is a plant of much use in this life for the twisting of very strong rops, it has leaves like to the Ash, of a bad scent, long stalks, empty, a round seed, which being eaten of reduces sexual activity, but being juiced when it is green is good for the pains of the ears.


The Roman Empire is credited with bringing Hemp to almost all of Europe.  The Romans looked at hemp more for its usefulness in making rope and textiles.   They brought it with them and planted whenever they settled.  The ever growing Empire had a voracious appetite and required all of their subjects to grow and contribute. As the Romans used hemp fiber for their boat sails, ropes, wicker-work, clothes, and shoes there was a never ending need for more.

As the Roman Empire fell the proviences no longer had to send their crops to the empire and were able to utilize for their own need.

North America

Hemp was first introduced into North America in the 1600's.  

The longest continuous history of Hemp cultivation is found in China, they show over 6000 years.  France Spain and Chile show use of Hemp for at least the past 700 years.  Russia was also a major grower/supplier for hundreds of years.

What is CBD?: Inspiration
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