Humans have been cultivating hemp for 50,000 years. We started growing hemp 48,000 years before many of the world’s major religions. We were growing hemp 37,000 years before the advent of agriculture. Through these momentous changes, homo sapiens have maintained a connection to the hemp plant. And for good reason! Well, lots of good reasons: the fiber of the hemp plant, its nutritional benefits, and the impact of the plant itself are extraordinary. You just wouldn’t really want to smoke it. The hemp we are referring to here is the low-THC varieties of cannabis typically grown for that fiber and nutritious seeds.
To give you an idea of how widely hemp has been used, consider that the word “canvas” is based upon the word “cannabis.” While, in the past couple of centuries, the hemp plant has ridden the tumultuous waves of its changing legal status, it actually helped to grow many of the societies that have since banned it. When sailboats were the primary mode of international travel, canvas was required for sails and for rope. Hemp was needed to weave that canvas. So, even though hemp is currently fighting legal battles in many places, it’s important to remember that it is already woven into our shared history.
Hemp also treads lightly on the earth. Consider its environmental impact as compared to cotton. Cotton is found in a huge portion of the world’s clothing. But, it turns out that cotton is particularly polluting. It requires large quantities of water, and its cultivation zones must be regularly sprayed with chemicals. Hemp, on the other hand, requires comparably little water to grow. It is a remarkably hardy plant, sometimes taking as little as ninety days to mature. Practically, hemp also produces far more fiber per cultivated acre than does cotton. Perhaps most importantly, it puts nutrients back into the soil, giving our planet and our future a better chance.