10 Facts About Hemp
When we’re talking about hemp in this post we’re not referring to the special type of smokeable hemp that most of us know and love. Although the both types of hemp belong to the same group of plants known as Cannabis, the other type of hemp doesn’t actually get you high, but this doesn’t make it less useful!
Industrial hemp is one of the most versatile plants known and it is for this reason that humans have cultivated it for many thousands of years. Hemp is used for a myriad of things, from textile and paper production to construction or for making renewable fuels. Let’s take a look at 10 curious facts about hemp.
THE MANY USES OF HEMP
1. Hemp is is one of the fastest growing plants and was one of the first plants to be spun into usable fibre for textile production many thousands of years ago. It is commonly believed that hemp farming originated 5,000 years ago in China. The ancient Egyptians are said having cultivated industrial hemp as well.
2. Up until the early 19th century when machinery made it easier to harvest cotton for industrial use, almost all textiles, clothing, shoes and fabrics were made from hemp. At about the same time, most schoolbooks in the US were made from hemp as well.
3. One of the first paper mills in the USA was owned by Founding Father Benjamin Franklin. His mill processed hemp for paper production. The War of 1812, a war between the United States and the United Kingdom was actually fought over hemp.
4. At some point it was mandatory by law in America that people grow hemp. In Virginia, in the early and mid-18th century one could actually go to jail if they didn’t grow hemp. For about two hundred years in the early days of the United States you could pay your taxes with the hemp you grew.
5. The first popular automobile, Henry’ Ford’s famed Model–T run on gasoline made from hemp and the car itself was mostly made from hemp. Henry Ford also owned vast hemp fields. The Model-T was sometimes also referred to as the “car grown from soil”. Most parts of the Model-T, including its panels, that were made from hemp, were stronger than steel.
6. For thousands of years, hemp played an important role in naval discovery, transportation and warfare since almost all rope and the sails of most ships had been made from hemp.
7. Most early paintings, including those by the classic masters, such as Van Gogh or Rembrandt, had been painted on hemp linen. The word “canvas” comes from the Middle English word “canevas”, which is a variation of the Latin word cannabis.
HEMP SEED OIL
8. Up until 1937, most paints and varnishes in America had been made from hemp seed oil.
9. The US government predicted in the early 20th century, that all paper within just a few decades would be made from hemp and there wouldn’t be a requirement for cutting down trees any longer. The US had plans for hemp programs in place since studies showed that hemp would yield 4x as much for paper production as compared to trees.
10. Most early books, charts, maps and flags, as well as the US Constitution and drafts for the Declaration of Independence were made from hemp.