In this article, we will explore the changing nature of the usage of Hemp, its components, and its derivatives over the centuries. Why is this a crucial topic? Well, when talking about Hemp there’s, unfortunately, a staple of the misconception that Hemp is simply recreational or an illegal substance that should be stamped out in its entirety. However, this article seeks to make clear the long varied history of Hemp and its contribution to society, so as to convince modern-day nay-sayers that Hemp can have natural benefits for the current populace.
The Ancient World
Looking at the basin of mankind’s relationship with Hemp we should look no further than the ancient world. Firstly we shall talk about ancient China’s usage of the plant. Ironically during the time of Emperor Shen Nung 2000 years ago, Hemp was noted for its recreational benefits. In a rudimentary notebook during this time called Pen Ts’ao (The Herbal) which he wrote explained that Hemp when ingested
could “help reveal future events”. Such hallucinatory advice was received well by the general public, and Hemp’s usage here can be seen as something otherwise unaccepted today.
Similarly, the Indian Vedic cultures of India used Hemp leaves in excess. Especially during festivals like Holi or the festival of colors as dubbed by Western audiences, where “Bhang” a Hemp based concoction is consumed to the heart’s desire. This of course is wild grown Hemp that’s ingested and so the THC content is much higher than we are used to in today’s society. Although Bhang is still commonplace in modern Indian society.
However, Hemp wasn’t just used recreationally in the ancient world as the ancient Egyptians would use Hemp’s fibers to create cloth for holy purposes. This is found to be true via the unearthing of Pharaoh Alchanaten’s tomb in the 20th century where Hemp-based clothes were found draped over his body. Later on the Ancient Chinese would again pioneer a new use for Hemp. This time in 200 BCE to 500 BCE where they started creating paper from Hemp, probably due to the easy growth spurts of Hemp plants in small plots of land.
Other countries who use Hemp
Next, we will discover that Hemp usage hasn’t been isolated to the modern Western world or well-known ancient societies. Instead, we will look at Hemp’s lasting influence on some of the more obscure countries in order to prove that Hemp isn’t just a “stoners” tool or a middle-class utility, in order to convince the world that Hemp should have a comeback.
Firstly, did you know Chile is now open to Hemp Oil vendors and industrial Hemp cultivation? Before recent times Hemp Oil usage was outright banned in this South American country. This is because the commercialization
of Hemp Oil was obscured by lawmakers as a business for criminals and bandits. However this is no longer the case as Chile, which has some of the highest rates of poverty in Latin America, is capitalizing on the Hemp Oil industry to open up jobs and non-violent pathways for its youth.
Furthermore, a recent Latin American sponsored market report stated that the Hemp industry is likely to grow to $443 million by 2023. In fact, the new mass acceptance of CBD and Hemp Oil derivatives in Latin America will allow them to overtake the medical cannabis industry in the region. The latter is expected to be worth just
$109 million by 2023. This is because medical cannabis, although legal in most of Latin America is only accessible to certain patients via their doctors. On the other hand, Hemp Oil products and their food supplement status mean they are now freely available to all of the general public. Hemp lobbyists attribute this to the low volume of THC in Hemp plants that has been noticed by lawmakers.
Another example of new Hemp Oil usage and Hemp plant cultivation in Latin America is in Uruguay that opened up mass Hemp production in 2013. This has allowed Uruguay to blossom as a go-getter in the region because the nation is now a top exporter of Hemp in the global economy. Furthermore what’s really interesting is that the Columbian government now has state-licensed retailers that supply Hemp to the public. This is an example of the changing nature of Hemp usage as being manipulated and taken advantage of by the ruling elite themselves, whereas before most Hemp-based products were frowned upon and suppressed by the full hand of the law.
CBD Oil is now also legal in Brazil and has been since 2015. This nation has followed suit with the majority of the West by strictly regulating the threshold of THC in Hemp Oil products at 0.2%. However medical cannabis is outlawed in this particular South American country leaving Hemp Oil as the only window for people to gain cannabinoid supplementation in their daily lives. This means greater appreciation for Hemp Oil usage. The result has been a surge in demand for Hemp Oil products in Brazil, allowing it to become one of the world’s greatest importers of Hemp plant stock and CBD products for mass consumption.
Moving onto another part of the world- most people overlook North Korea in its activities other than controversial nuclear programs and human rights abuses, but did you know Hemp has a place in North Korean life? Hemp fibers cultivated through Hemp plantations in North Korea are used for wearable clothing and textiles. Furthermore, in Korean cultural history, we see Hemp fiber converted into “sambe” that was worn by Korean funeral mourners. Strangely as time has gone on this attire has been replaced by cheaper Chinese made Hemp cloth. This is odd as Hemp use
recreationally is collectively banned and thought as cannabis use in China. However, Hemp’s conversion into fibers and Hemp seed oil is actually encouraged by the Chinese government.
In fact, as we now look towards the modern age of Hemp use we can see China as a manufacturing giant using Hemp as a gateway to increased business and industrial growth.
Hemp use in the 21st century
China has been dominating Hemp as a crop for most of the 21st century. They have proposed 200,000 to 250,000-acre clearings set for Hemp cultivation. However, during coronavirus and indications of the coming bubonic plague the progress of this may be hindered. That said most of America’s Hemp stock comes from China, and China exports 40% of its Hemp plant stock to the world.
For the US to compete with China’s export market during the upsurge in Hemp Oil appreciation they would need to match the vast amounts China pumps out to the world. Even though the 2018 farm bill may have opened up liberal Hemp cultivation for farmers, the US still remains the largest importer of Hemp plants in the world. This includes a lot from China.
However, with the newest crackdown of buying produce sourced from China amid bilateral tensions on a global scale- the US could capitalize on using Hemp as a new avenue for business by filling China’s void in exiting the scene. The free industrial Hemp cultivation laws in states like California mean that the US has the capacity to become the new main Hemp producer for the world and of course curb their reliance on Chinese Hemp at the same time.
But what does all this show about Hemp’s usage over the years and the aims of this article? Well, it shows that Hemp is no longer a plant used in the fringes of society or used in secrecy. In fact, Hemp is now utilized as a commercial product in order to extract Hemp Oil on a massive scale. The aforementioned usage of Hemp seen by some people as a gateway drug or substance with a negative stigma is quickly diminishing. This is because governments and companies now see Hemp as a stepping stone in kick-starting their economies in the current climate.
This is a huge benefit in renewing the global appreciation for Hemp, as the banning of Hemp products in the early 20th century known as the Marijuana Tax meant that all Hemp cultivation was met with a fine. This sent shockwaves through the farming industry as Hemp was no longer a viable crop as it had been before this point. The main reason behind this tax, advocated by the DEA was due to the generalization that those growing Hemp were doing so to create drugs for
recreational purposes. This of course isn’t the intention of the vast majority Hemp farmers!
Arguably this step may have decreased the momentum of Hemp making its mark in the West. However, now that we potentially have a new role in Hemp usage as an industrial component for making wonderous Hemp Oil products- the old stereotypes of Hemp can be reduced to the past.
Another important point has been the usage of Hemp in more commonplace ingredients and recipes in the world. For example, Hemp Oil is being integrated as a topical cream or mixed with Turmeric to create Turmeric based Hemp Oil for added benefits. Therefore the usage of Hemp is becoming an ideal of daily domestic life.
The final word on Hemp usage
From this article hopefully, you can see that Hemp over the years has had varied usage. From recreational usage in the ancient world and cultural processions in more obscure countries, Hemp’s usage today is mainly to extract Hemp Oil as a food supplement. Hopefully by making a clear distinction between the uses of
Hemp in the past and modern-day, we can clear up the misconceptions of Hemp in some communities in order to spread Hemp’s appreciation across the globe again.