History Hemp originated on the steppes of Central Asia and was first cultivated by the Chinese.

It was found in tombs used as swaddling cloth or funeral shrouds as early as 4000 BC. In 2000 BC hemp was so important to ancient China that it was considered one of the ‘5 grains’, 5 cultivated crops that were thought to be sacred.

There were many uses for hemp such as oil or fuel, cloth, and building materials. It was imported to Japan and is still used to this day to dress
buddhist monks and sumo wrestlers.

From 200 BC to the late 1800’s hemp was used in the production of paper. Around 600 AD hemp cultivation techniques were extensively covered in the ancient Confucian text “The Essential Arts for the People” (Qi Min Yao Shu).

This text is one of the first texts to mention crop rotation and the use of “potash fertilizer” which are both farming techniques still used today.

Hemp was first introduced to Europe around 500 to 1000 AD. Hemp then grew in popularity in Europe, being used mainly in the production of paper, even being used to print bibles.

In 1533 King Henry VIII fined farmers if they didn’t grow hemp
for industrial use. In the 1700’s in Virginia and other American colonies, it was required by law for farmers to grow hemp.

“Make the most of the Indian Hemp Seed, sow it everywhere” George Washington 1794. Hemp production didn’t wane until after the industrial revolution where petroleum products were being developed and other fibres were being processed mechanically.

The beginning of the 20th century marked the turning point in the history of hemp. By 1915 in Utah, hemp had been outlawed due to prejudice against Mexican immigrants and their long history of use of the plant.

It was not recognised by the U.S government at this time that there were
subspecies of the cannabis plant (Hemp) that did not contain any psychoactive component.

Hemp was first grown in Australia in the Hunter Valley of New South Wales in 1840 to make sails for English Navy ships.

Tasmania was also growing hemp at this time. Today hemp (Cannabis sativa) is making a comeback as people all over the world are reconnecting with the old knowledge and learning from the new science the true value of the whole cannabis plant.