Hemp History 2022: The Cannabis Plant’s Long Past and Bright Future

A pile of multicolored hemp fabric pieces are stacked in a neat pile.
Photo by Mel Poole on Unsplash

Hemp history goes way back: Industrial Hemp (Cannabis sativa L., Cannabaceae) has been around for over 10,000 years. According to scientists who study the history of hemp, it originated from Central Asia. It was first cultivated in ancient China around 2700 B.C. for various uses, including fiber, food and medicine. 

With seeds high in nutritional value, fibers that make excellent textiles, and therapeutic potential, it’s easy to see why hemp gets a lot of hype. We will explore the rich and long history of hemp in the United States, but first, we must ask ourselves: what’s so special about industrial hemp in the first place?

 

Industrial Hemp and Its Many Uses

Industrial hemp does not possess psychoactive cannabinoids such as delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) found in cannabis. Cannabidiol (CBD) is found in industrial hemp, and it is studied for its therapeutic properties, such as an anti-inflammatory, antioxidative, anxiolytic, and antidepressant.

Hemp seeds are a rich source of protein. According to one study that breaks down the different nutritional properties of hemp, “pressed seeds release an oil that contains >90% polyunsaturated fatty acid,” and “hemp seed oil is a valuable addition to human and animal diets.”

Hemp is a fantastic textile used to make various consumer goods such as clothing, paper, and even structures such as houses. 

Hemp and kenaf are two plants investigated for use in manufacturing molded car parts. Kenaf is a tropical plant that can be grown in warm climates. It has high levels of fiber and can be used to make paper, cardboard, and other products. Both hemp and kenaf are lighter than wood and more recyclable. Manufacturers could use them to make parts such as door panels, dashboards, or trim pieces. Using these materials would help reduce the weight of cars, which would improve fuel economy. They would also help reduce the amount of plastic waste that ends up in landfills.

 

When and Why Was Hemp Made Illegal in the U.S.?

Some of the founding fathers of the United States of America, such as George Washington, cultivated hemp. According to the Hemp Industries Association, “(industrial hemp) was such an integral part of America that you could, for more than 150 years, pay taxes with hemp.” 

So, how did we get from hemp being a staple in American life to decades-long prohibition and demonization of the crop?

In 1937, Congress passed the Marihuana Tax Act, which made hemp cultivation difficult for American farmers, ushering in the era of cannabis prohibition. 

Harry Anslinger,  Commissioner of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics during this time, began promoting anti-marijuana legislation around the world, which led many other countries to pass their own laws limiting the production and sale of hemp products.

Though industrial hemp and cannabis are different varieties of Cannabis sativa, in the 1970s, legislators erased the legal distinction between industrial hemp and cannabis in the United States. The two continue to be conflated in popular discourse today.

 

Hemp Advocacy in 2022

In 2018 President Donald Trump signed the 2018 Farm Bill into law, which removed legal restrictions on the cultivation and sale of industrial hemp. This piece of legislation was the first bill passed into law to protect hemp cultivation, given that it tests below a 0.3% THC threshold.

Drug policy reform advocates and farmers are not the only proponents of legalizing industrial hemp. Environmental advocates passionate about a sustainable future have championed the cause of industrial hemp because it can be used as a sustainable alternative for building materials, paper, and clothing

If you’re interested in getting involved with hemp lobbying or activism, check out organizations like VoteHemp or the National Hemp Association to see how you can fight for a brighter, hemp-friendly future.  

 

Need Hemp SEO Services?

At NisonCo, we’re not just a cannabis communications agency and SEO experts. First and foremost, we are cannabis and hemp advocates willing to work hard to fight for improved legislation and regulations to create an industry that is both just and profitable. If you’d like to know more about our pro-bono work and how we help nonprofit organizations with SEO and marketing, check out our service page here

Suppose you have a CBD, cannabis or hemp brand or organization struggling to market itself and get good results with search engine optimization (SEO) tactics. In that case, you may consider hiring an agency specializing in hemp SEO to rank better on Google. 

The current marketing and advertising laws surrounding cannabis and hemp have limited the available avenues to market hemp brands, products, or organizations. With hemp SEO services, you can take your business to the next level.

Industrial hemp and its numerous by-products have come a long way, but there is still a long way to go to fully utilize and celebrate this amazing plant with so much to offer. 


Are you seeking help from our experienced psychedelics, cannabis, CBD, crypto/blockchain PR, SEO, and marketing team? Let us know if you need help researching trends and topics, crafting communications, or securing news spots by contacting NisonCo here.

Olivia Swann specializes in research, writing, and education. She is a lover of travel and yoga; and is passionate about social equity and drug policy reform.