History of Hemp: A Comprehensive Look at the Past and Future

history of hemp cbd

It’s hard not to browse a feed, turn on the television, or read a magazine without coming across news about CBD. CBD is a powerful compound found in hemp. While hemp-based products are soaring with popularity, using them was taboo just a couple of years ago. For over a century, hemp was outlawed throughout the United States. Yet, this crop was a source of food, clothing, and medicine for our ancestors who settled in this country. So, what led to the prohibition on hemp and inevitably, the lifting of the ban? Here is a comprehensive look at the complicated history of hemp.

History of Hemp Origins

The hemp and human connection dates back as far as 8000 BCE. Archeologists recovered hemp cloths in regions associated with ancient Mesopotamia (present-day Iran and Iraq). Indigenous people used the durable hemp fibers to create textiles. Meanwhile, those who lived in present-day China and Taiwan used hemp seeds and oil for food sources and to make pottery.

While hemp flourished in the areas that we know today as Asia, the hardy plant can be grown in a variety of climates. As our ancestors migrated west, they brought hemp along with them. The plant was used by our ancestors to make shelter, sails, food, and eventually, medicine.

Hemp was held in such high regard that ancient texts, The Vedas, dubbed it one the five essential plants. Records indicate the herb was christened with the name, “sacred grass.”

Early civilians grew dependent on hemp. In fact, King Henry VIII of England fined farmers who didn’t cultivate the crop. It was imperative that our ancestors brought hemp along with them on their journey overseas. It was in the New World that the value of hemp would hit an all-time high and a near-fatal low.

History of Hemp in the New World

Hemp made its way to the New World in 1606. By 1616, the first settlement of Jamestown was established. The first line of action was to transform the fertile soils of modern Virginia into robust hemp farms. In 1632, the Virginia Assembly mandated that farmers grow hemp on the farms–a practice that would continue as our ancestors colonized New England throughout the 1700s.

The plant was of such importance that hemp was considered a legal form of tender in early settlements. Even the Declaration of Independence was drafted on hemp paper!

Throughout the 19th century, America continued to rely on this durable plant. Congress was as far as enacting a law in 1841 that required the Navy to purchase hemp from domestic farmers.

The hemp industry was booming, requiring innovations in technology such as the hemp decorticator. This machine would strip the fibers and stalks off the hemp plant, making manufacturing more efficient. It also revolutionized the way we handle agriculture to this day.

By 1850, hemp was listed in the United States Pharmacopeia. In this important historical text, they recorded the uses of hemp for everything from hysteria to gout to tetanus. It wasn’t long before hemp was included in many over-the-counter products. All of these practices would continue until 1937. That was when a century-long prohibition went into effect, almost erasing the history of hemp forever.

History of Hemp: The Path to Prohibition

At the beginning of the 20th century, the New World experienced a cultural shift. Settlers leaned toward more conservative values. In the early 1900s, the use of mind-altering substances was frowned upon. These outlooks led to the prohibition of alcohol. Simultaneously, these actions helped foster the growth of a stigma that would bleed over into the cannabis industry.

Our ancestors didn’t have the technology in the 1930s that we have today. They couldn’t distinguish that hemp was a plant species in the cannabis genus. No one had a way of differentiating between hemp and marijuana. People figured out that smoking a cannabis plant will sometimes create psychoactive effects. Early civilians didn’t know they were smoking marijuana, not hemp.

Around the time of a national cultural shift, California was undergoing a local one as well. During this era, there was political unrest in Mexico. Many Mexicans were migrating to the border, and they were smoking cannabis recreationally.

Playing on the nation’s fear of immoral behavior, and in an attempt to thwart the colonization of immigrants, California became the first state to lay a hefty tax on hemp items. They signed into law the Marihuana Act of 1937.

marihuana tax act

With cotton being sewn for textiles, twine being used for rope, and the rise of pharmaceuticals, growing hemp wasn’t worth the tax. Eventually, hemp production started to slow down. By 1957, the last commercial hemp field was planted in Wisconsin. In 1970, growing hemp became illegal.

Hemp Becomes Illegal

The Controlled Substance Act was drafted in 1970 as a replacement to the 1956 Narcotics Control Act that cracked down on drug arrests. Most notably, the Controlled Substance Act put drugs in tiers based on how dangerous they were to the community. Cannabis was declared a schedule 1 drug, making punishment comparable to those who possess heroin, LSD, and cocaine. This is perhaps one of the worst things to happen in the history of hemp.

Since cannabis landed on the list, that meant hemp was treated the same as marijuana. This ban would take place just as science and technology would hit an evolutionary boom. While scientists discovered CBD and THC in 1946, they didn’t realize how these chemical compounds potentially interacted with the body.

In 1964, scientists defined the molecular structures of both THC and CBD. It was in those moments that the differences between hemp and marijuana started to become clear. Dr. Raphael Mechoulam concluded that cannabis plants with high concentrations of THC caused psychoactive reactions.

Whereas, plants with low levels of THC seemed to have elevated amounts of CBD. Dr. Mechoulam noted CBD didn’t exhibit euphoric side effects but may have other benefits.

With advances in technology covering all of our ancestors’ uses of hemp, the plant wasn’t missed. Coupled with the War on Drugs and propaganda against cannabis, hemp was merely an afterthought until the end of the 20th century.

Industrial Hemp Movement Begins

In 1998, the very state that closed the door on hemp was the first to reopen it. California enacted a medical marijuana program. This gesture would open the door for hemp legalization a crack and therefore one of the best things to happen in the history of hemp. However, it would take almost 20 years to bust it down.

By 2012, several states enacted medical marijuana laws. With each passing state, education about cannabis became more available. People started to see firsthand that those using hemp-based products didn’t act high.

Simultaneously, the opioid crisis grew to epic proportions. The very products that were created to save people from cannabis were killing them. Desperate for an alternative, millions got behind the hemp movement. President Obama couldn’t ignore the demand and signed a 2014 Farm Bill that called for a pilot farming program.

Following the 2016 election, many perceptions of hemp changed. With medical marijuana becoming legal in over half of the nation, it became time to readdress how we categorize the two separate cannabis plants.

At the end of the 2018 calendar, a new Farm Bill entered Congress. With a hemp pen, Mitch McConnell lifted the federal ban on hemp cultivation. Thanks to the new Farm Bill, hemp was downgraded from a schedule 1 controlled substance to a schedule 5 under the Controlled Substances Act. Now, hemp-derived products are legal in all 50 states.

The Future of Hemp

Many companies are taking advantage of the ban lift on hemp and growing interest in CBD products from consumers. CBD products are popping up in everything from supplements to cosmetics to pet treats. Suffice to say; the sky is the limit for hemp.

While hemp is no longer criminalized, it is still under a watchful eye. The Justice Department no longer holds jurisdiction over hemp cultivation. It is now regulated by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). All hemp products must contain 0.3% THC or less. Otherwise, it will be classified as marijuana and you run the risk of breaking local laws.

Currently, CBD products are not regulated. However, the demand for hemp-based products continues to grow. That means stricter guidelines and transparency will be required of anyone attempting to sell hemp products in the near future. Until that day comes, you should buy products from reputable brands you can trust.

Contributed Post. Article originally posted on https://madebyhemp.com/

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Turn Your Home Into A Castle – Literally

Castles were bulwarks of the medieval era, dominating the landscape wherever they were erected. In the middle ages, they were primarily designed to be battlements and to defend vast tracts of land, but they still doubled up as homes.

Pixabay

 

With the invention of the cannon, castles ceased being defensive installations, but they didn’t end there. In the eighteenth century, people looked back on the castles of the medieval period with a kind of romantic fondness. They loved the chivalry, the tales of Arthur and the majesty that battlements evoked. As a result, they began building their own mock castles – homes that included elements of castles like rounded towers but were still luxury living accommodation nonetheless.

 

Golden Fort

 

One example of a castle that was built for living was Golden Hill Fort. This fort was built on the Isle of Wight back in the 19th century to defend against a French invasion. The fort itself was never actually used in battle. More than a hundred years later, after the Second World War, Golden Hill was converted into a series of beautiful apartments. These apartments became holiday homes where people could enjoy all that the Isle had to offer.

 

When Golden Hill was first bought by Kevin Clarke and Sean Cousins, it was a shell of a building. They worked tirelessly with local planning officials to return the building to its original state. That meant extending the building and getting a roofer to extend the roof, and making sure all 22 chimneys were of uniform height. According to Kevin, the roof was made waterproof for the first time in over a hundred years.

 

Features

 

Now that the roof and the foundations are secure, Golden Hill Fort has been transformed with all manner of luxury conveniences. Guests enter the compound through a trick tunnel with electric gates at either end. When they’ve been through both gates, they enter the refurbished central courtyard, originally designed as a parade ground to muster the troops.

Wikimedia Commons

 

There’s also other mod-cons like CCTV, allowing all entrances to the castle to be monitored remotely. On the roof, guests can enjoy communal gardens and stunning views of the island and the sea all around.

 

Prices

 

Having your own castle is by no means cheap. The average unit, which is just 1,386 to 3,250 square feet will set you back more than $600,000 to $1,500,000. When you consider the types of properties you could get for a similar cost, that’s a lot. But it’s not often that you get to live in a gated community from the middle ages, complete with battlements that’ll keep the riffraff and the French at bay.

 

According to David Brock from the heritage foundation, converting industrial forts into modern homes is relatively easy. Thanks to their modern designs, they share a similar design language with modern homes. But converting castles with stone towers is a lot more difficult. If you want to do this type of thing, you’re better off doing it yourself.

Contributed Post.

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Leapin’ Lizards, It’s Leap Day!

So, its February 29th, that special day that comes every 4 years. A year with a February 29th is, as we all know, a “leap” year.

So, where did this come from? Well, there is a lot of history behind it, but, basically, in earlier times, they found that calendars, growing and planting seasons, and so on, were getting further and further off until it was realized that our planet’s year is not exactly 365 days. It really is closer to 365 ¼ days.

So, to insure that Christmas doesn’t eventually drift into what would now be July, an extra day was added to February every 4 years to catch up, or “leap” back to the correct time. Hence, the leap year, and leap day, February 29th.

Now, to be sure, the Earth doesn’t complete an orbit exactly in 365 ¼ days, and, the planet’s orbital speed and daily rotation changes imperceptibly over time, so, every so often the correct time is adjusted by a few seconds here and there. This so our days and years continue to match the seasons and our calendars.

So, Happy Leap Day, everyone!

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State of the Art is Always Moving

Here in the Portland area, antiques are a big business, and you can find lots of antique shops and you can also find antiques at flea markets as well. I like looking at antiques to see the things people used, as well as the precursors to many things we have and use today.

One of the things I’m struck by as I get older is, when I’m in an antique shop, I see more and more things that were once “state of the art”.

Last week, I was in an antique shop and saw this orange phone, pictured below, with a clear plastic dial. It was from about the early 1970’s. And I remember when these phones came out, as an upgrade from the phones which had a dial the same color as the phone and looked more antiquated when compared to the “clear plastic” dial phones. They, the clear plastic dial phones, were state of the art of that time and I remember thinking they were forward-looking.

Phone at Portland antique shop. Circa 1971

Phone at Portland antique shop. Circa 1971

Ah, but how time has really marched on. Push button phones came soon after, followed by hand-held phones with a central base. Then the first useable cell phones, like the large black Motorola phones of the early and mid-1990’s, arrived. Then smaller cell phones came out, each new version able to do more and be less bulky, followed by the blackberry and smart phones after that we now have.

(Yes, I know smart phones have gotten larger, but, they have stayed thin and light, and no doubt, one day, maybe sooner than anyone thinks, a smart phone that can have changeable size will be invented!)

And now, the smart watch has come out, though it may be too small to make a big splash just yet, however, with improvements, and technology that we haven’t thought of yet, it still can make a splash later on, even if it doesn’t now.

And the thing is, one day, even these, along with smart flat screen TV’s, tablets, kindles, dual purpose laptops, and the top of the line home theater systems now available,  will all find their way into antique shops, replaced with something we possibly can’t even imagine yet!

Today’s “state of the art” is tomorrow’s antique.

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