Hemp has been cultivated for thousands of years for its fiber, oil and seeds. The hemp plant has a wide range of uses, including making paper, textiles, clothing, food, building materials and biofuel. Hemp is also a very sustainable crop, requiring less water and pesticides than other fiber crops.
In the United States, hemp was once a major crop. However, it was outlawed in the 1930’s due to its association with marijuana. In recent years, there has been a growing movement to legalize hemp production. In 2018, the Farm Bill was passed, which legalized hemp production at the federal level.
This Hemp History Week, learn about the history and uses of hemp and celebrate the plant’s potential to help address some of the world’s most pressing challenges.
Here are a few quick facts about hemp to brush up your knowledge on this amazing plant:
1. Henry Ford built a prototype car in 1925 made out of agricultural fiber biocomposites, including hemp.
2. The United States Declaration of Independence was drafted on hemp paper, and the finest Bible paper remains hemp-based even today.
3. Hemp’s oil-rich seed has an exceptionally high content of vital Essential Fatty Acids (omega-3 and omega-6) that nutritionists have found to be deficient in human diets.
4. An estimated 55,700 metric tons of industrial hemp are produced around the world each year. China, Russia, and South Korea are the leading hemp-producing nations. They account for 70 percent of the world’s industrial hemp supply.
5. Carmakers Mercedes and BMW employ hemp fiber in their car manufacture utilizing hemp’s higher strength-to-weight ratios compared to steel.
6. Benjamin Franklin, who owned one of the first paper mills in America, processed hemp.
7. The War of 1812 was fought over hemp, as Napoleon attempted to cut off Moscow’s export to England.
8. Hemp has been used for sails and rigging of 19th century clipper ships, the canvas-covered wagons of the pioneers headed west and the sturdy hemp Levi’s pants of the original 49ers seeking their gold fortunes in the California hills.