A Brief History of Hemp
The hemp plant is the most versatile crop in the entire plant kingdom and has shown its uses throughout history. The first book was written in China on Hemp paper, and our country was founded on hemp. George Washington was the largest hemp farmer in the world during the late 1700’s and Thomas Jefferson called on farmers to “plant hemp seed, not tobacco”, in fact, hemp was legal tender for almost 200 years in the United States, that’s right, you could even pay your taxes with hemp!
The current laws against the cultivation of Hemp can be attributed to three men, Henry J. Anslinger, Lammont DuPont, and William Randolph Hearst, who made growing hemp illegal. Anslinger was the head of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics, DuPont and Hearst were the owners of the largest chemical company and newspaper, respectively. Hearst began printing outlandish stories with headlines such as “Marijuana goads user to blood lust” and “Hotel clerk identifies Marijuana smoker as gunman”. He also took advantage of the country’s prejudice against blacks and immigrants by printing that marijuana-crazed negroes were raping white women and by painting pictures of lazy, pot-smoking Mexicans. DuPont’s banker Andrew Mellon who happened to be Secretary of the Treasury under Herbert Hoover, also had a nephew-in-law, Henry Anslinger, who had the Marijuana Tax Law of 1937 passed allowing munitions maker DuPont to supply synthetic fibers for the domestic economy without competition.
These men succeeded in a conspiracy which ultimately added to the destruction of the environment, by them producing plastic and paper where hemp could have been more beneficial. In 1991 DuPont was still the largest producer of man-made fibers, while no citizen has legally harvested a single acre of textile grade hemp in over 50 years. The standard fiber of world history, America’s traditional crop, hemp, could provide our textiles, paper and be the premier source for cellulose. The war industries DuPont, Allied Chemical, Monsanto, and others are protected from competition by the marijuana laws and they make war on the natural cycle and the common farmer.
Remember this Hemp has been around far longer than synthetic substances and has endured much controversy, it is also 100% natural and is much better for our environment, you can not get high off of hemp it is not marijuana. But it still has many other uses and many that have yet to be discovered, can you imagine if they put as much time and research into Hemp as they have into plastic what uses they would have for it now.
# Hemp is 8 times stronger than cotton and requires no pesticides to grow.
# Hemp paper lasts 4 to 5 times longer than paper made from trees, is easier and causes virtually no pollution to grow or to make into paper.
# Hemp fiberboard is far stronger than similar wood products, and can replace almost every item used in building a house. (Except electrical wiring and glass windows.
# The Hemp plant has been used since the beginning of time as one of the worlds most nutritious plants, second only to the Soybean.
# Hemp can be grown in almost any climate, allowing for the world to be clothed, housed and fed!
# Hemp fiber when wet, swells and forms a natural water barrier.
# The Hemp plant reduces soil erosion thereby controlling mudslides and saving mountains and rivers.
# Environmental and Economic Benefits of Hemp – Marijuana Hemp is the same plant as marijuana, its scientific name is “cannabis sativa.” For thousands of years hemp was used to make dozens of commercial products like paper, rope, canvas, and textiles. In fact, the very name “canvas” comes from the Dutch word meaning cannabis, which is marijuana.
# The potential of hemp for paper production is enormous. According to the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, one acre of hemp can produce 4 times more paper than one acre of trees! All types of paper products can be produced from hemp: newsprint, computer paper, stationary, cardboard, envelopes, toilet paper, even tampons.
# THERE IS NO TREE OR PLANT SPECIES ON EARTH CAPABLE OF PRODUCING AS MUCH PAPER PER ACRE AS HEMP! HEMP IS NUMBER ONE!
# Paper production from hemp would eliminate the need to chop down BILLIONS of trees! MILLIONS of acres of forests and huge areas of wildlife habitat could be preserved.
# Trees must grow for 20 to 50 years after planting before they can be harvested for commercial use. Within 4 months after it is planted, hemp grown on most farmland throughout the U.S., where forests require large tracts of land available in few locations. Substituting hemp for trees would save forests and wildlife habitats and would eliminate erosion of topsoil due to logging. Reduction of topsoil erosion would also reduce pollution of lakes/rivers/streams.
# Fewer caustic and toxic chemicals are used to make paper from hemp than are used to make paper from trees–LESS POLLUTION!
# Hemp can also be substituted for cotton to make textiles. Hemp fiber is 10 times stronger than cotton and can be used to make all types of clothing. Cotton grows only in warm climates and requires enormous amounts of water. Hemp requires little water and grows in all 50 states! There are now many stores in the U.S. that sell hemp-derived products such as clothing, paper, cheese, soap, ice cream, cosmetics, and hemp oil. Demand for these products–not even in existence in 1990–is growing rapidly.
# Hemp naturally repels weed growth and hemp has few insect enemies. Few insect enemies and no weed problems means hemp requires NO HERBICIDES and FEW or NO PESTICIDES!
# Hemp produces twice as much fiber per acre as cotton! An area of land only 25 miles by 25 miles square (the size of a typical U.S. county) planted with hemp can produce enough fiber in one year to make 100 MILLION pair of denim jeans! A wide variety of clothing made from 100% hemp (pants, denim jeans, jackets, shoes, dresses, shorts, hats) is now available.
# Building materials that substitute for wood can be made from hemp. These wood-like building materials are stronger than wood and can be manufactured cheaper than wood from trees. Using these hemp- derived building materials would reduce building costs and save even more trees!
# Hemp seeds are a source of nutritious high-protien oil that can be used for human and animal consumption. Hemp oil is NOT intoxicating. Extracting protein from hemp is less expensive than extracting protein from soybeans. Hemp protein can be processed and flavored in any way soybean protein can. Hemp oil can also be used to make highly nutritious tofu, butter, cheese, salad oils, and other foods. Hemp oil can also be used to produce paint, varnish, ink, lubricating oils, and plastic susbstitues. Because 50% of the weight of a mature hemp plantis seeds, hemp could become a significant source for these products.
# Unlike virtually all hemp substitutes, growing hemp requires very little effort and very few resources. Most substitutes for hemp (sisal, kenaf, sugar cane) grow in limited geographical areas and none have the paper/fiber potential of hemp. Hemp can be grown in all 50 states!
# Unlike many crops, hemp puts little strain on the soil and requires only moderate amounts of fertilizer. Less fertilizer use results in less runoff into waterways and groundwater; therefore, less water pollution.
# Hemp produces more biomass than any plant that can be grown in the U.S. This biomass can be converted to fuel in the form of clean-burning alcohol, or no-sulphur man-made coal. Hemp has more potential as a clean and renewable energy source than any crop on earth! It is estimated that if hemp was widely grown in the U.S. for fuel/energy, it could supply 100% of all U.S. energy needs!
Hemp is sustainable clothing, footwear, shelter, foods, tree-free paper, cement, gasoline, fuel, nutritious and delicious foods, paint, industrial sealants, industrial composites, and so much more. Its beauty, usefulness, and astounding versatility truly boggle the mind! Hemp oil, for example, has the highest percentage of usable essential fatty acids of any plant, period.
Why hemp? Because it is, by far, Earth’s premier, renewable natural resource. The hemp plant can single-handedly reverse the Greenhouse Effect, purify our air, water, & soil, and clothe and shelter us in a sustainable fashion.
Hemp paper lasts 50 to 100 times longer than most preparations of papyrus and is a hundred times easier and cheaper to make. It also does not yellow with age like acidic paper made from tree pulp.
If the hemp pulp paper process of 1916 were in use today, it could replace 40 to 70% of all pulp paper (from trees), including corrugated boxes, computer printout paper and paper bags. Imagine the effect this conversion to hemp paper alone would have on near-extinct species and all forms of wild life, on old-growth forests that are fast disappearing, on the quality of our water, air, and soil, as well as on our planet’s sensitive ecosystem!
Hemp stems are 80% hurds (pulp byproduct after the hemp fiber is removed from the plant). Hemp hurds are 77% cellulose–a primary chemical feed stock (industrial raw material) used in the production of chemicals, plastics, and fiber. An acre of full grown hemp plants can sustainably provide from four to 50 or even 100 times the cellulose found in cornstalks, kenaf, or sugar cane–the planet’s next highest annual cellulose plants.
Hemp will grow in any state in the US and most of Canada. In most places, hemp can be harvested twice a year and, in warmer areas such as southern California, Texas, Florida and the like, it could be a year-round crop. Hemp has a short growing season and can be planted after food crops have been harvested.
Farming only 6% of continental US acreage with biomass crops would provide all of America’s gas and oil energy needs, ending dependence upon fossil fuels.
Hemp is Earth’s number-one biomass resource; it is capable of producing 10 tons per acre in four months. Hemp is easy on the soil, sheds its lush foliage throughout the season, adding mulch to the soil and helping retain moisture. Hemp is an ideal crop for the semi-arid West and open range land.
Hemp is the only biomass source available that is capable of making the US energy-independent. Ultimately, the world has no other rational environmental choice but to give up fossil fuels.
From the farmers’ point of view, hemp is an easy crop to grow and will yield from three to six tons per acre on any land that will grown corn, wheat, or oat. It has a short growing season, so that it can be planted after other crops are in. It can be grown in any state of the union. Hemp’s long roots penetrate and break the soil to leave it in perfect condition for the next year’s crop. The dense shock of leaves, eight to twelve feet above the ground, chokes out weeds, eliminating the need for chemicals or pesticides, 50% of which is used today on conventionally-grown cotton plant alone to produce cotton clothing products that are inferior to hemp clothing in terms of durability, thickness, softness, and sustainability. Two successive hemp crops are enough to reclaim land that has been abandoned because of Canadian thistles or quack grass.
The earliest known woven fabric was apparently of hemp, which began to be worked in the eighth millennium (8,000-7,000 BC).”
From more than 1,000 years before the time of Christ until 1883 AD, cannabis hemp–indeed, marijuana–was our planet’s largest agricultural crop and most important industry, involving thousands of products and enterprises; producing the overall majority of Earth’s fiber, fabric, lighting oil, paper, incense, and medicines. In addition, it was a primary source of essential food oil and protein for humans and animals.
Ninety percent of all ships’ sails (since before the Phoenicians, from at least the 5th Century BC until long after the invention and commercialization of steam ships–mid- to late-19th century) were made from hemp.
The word “canvas” is the Dutch pronunciation (twice removed, from French and Latin) of the Greek word “Kannabis.”
In addition to canvas sails, until this century virtually all of the rigging, anchor ropes, cargo nets, fishing nets, flags, shrouds, and oakum (the main protection for ships against salt water, used as a sealant between loose or green beams) were made from the stalk of the marijuana plant.
Even the sailors’ clothing, right down to the stitching in the seamen’s rope-soled and “canvas” shoes, was crafted from cannabis.
Additionally, the ships’ charts, maps, logs, and Bibles were made from paper containing hemp fiber from the time of Columbus (15th century) until the early 1900s in the Western European/American world, and by the Chinese from the 1st Century AD on.
Until the 1820s in America (and until the 20th Century in most of the rest of the world), 80% of all textiles and fabrics used for clothing, tents, bed sheets, and linens, rugs, drapes, quilts, towels, diapers, etc.–and even the US flag, “Old Glory,” were principally made from fibers of cannabis hemp.
From 70-90% of all rope, twine, and cordage was made from hemp until 1937. It was then regrettably replaced mostly by petrochemical fibers, but at what untold costs to the environment?
Hemp is the perfect archival medium for artists’ work, because it is acid-free. The paintings of Van Gogh, Gainsborough, Rembrandt, etc., were primarily painted on hemp canvas, as were practically all canvas paintings.
A strong, lustrous fiber, hemp withstands heat, mildew, insects, and is not damaged by light. Oil paintings on hemp and/or flax canvas have stayed in fine condition for centuries.
For thousands of years, virtually all good paints and varnishes were made with hempseed oil and/or linseed oil.
Until about 1800, hempseed oil was the most consumed lighting oil in America and the world. From then until the 1870s, it was the second most consumed lighting oil, exceeded only by whale oil.
Hempseed oil lit the lamps of the legendary Aladdin, Abraham the prophet, and in real life, Abraham Lincoln. It was the brightest lamp oil.
In the early 1900s, Henry Ford and other futuristic, organic, engineering geniuses recognized (as their intellectual, scientific heirs still do today) an important point–that up to 90% of all fossil fuel used in the world today (coal, oil, natural gas, etc.) should long ago have been replaced with biomass such as : cornstalks, cannabis sativa (hemp), waste paper and the like. Biomass can be converted to methane, methanol or gasoline at a fraction of the current cost of oil, coal, or nuclear energy–especially when environmental costs are factored in–and its mandated use would end acid rain, end sulfur-based smog, and reverse the Green house Effect on our planet–right now!
Hempseed can be pressed for its highly nutritious vegetable oil, which contains the highest amount of essential fatty acids in the plant kingdom.
Because one acre of hemp produces as much cellulose fiber pulp as 4.1 acres of trees, hemp is the perfect material to replace trees for pressed board, particle board and for concrete construction molds.
Practical, inexpensive fire-resistant construction material, with excellent thermal and sound-insulating qualities, is made by heating and compressing hemp fibers to create strong construction paneling, replacing dry wall and plywood. William B. Conde of Conde’s Redwood Lumber, Inc, near Eugene, OR, has demonstrated the superior strength, flexibility, and economy of hemp composite building materials compared to wood fiber, even as beams.
Iso-chanvre (chanvre is French for hemp), a rediscovered French building material made form hemp hurds mixed with lime, actually petrifies into a mineral state and lasts for many centuries. Archeologists have found a bridge in the south of France, from the Merovingian period, built with this process.
Hemp has been used throughout history for carpet backing. Hemp fiber has potential in the manufacture of strong, rot-resistant carpeting–eliminating the poisonous fumes of burning synthetic materials in a house or commercial fire, along with allergic reactions associated with new synthetic carpeting, which may outgas volatile toxic fumes for months or even years, endangering human health.
Plastic plumbing pipes (PVC pipes) can be manufactured using renewable hemp cellulose as the chemical feedstocks, replacing nonrenewable coal or petroleum-based chemical feedstocks.
So we can envision a house of the future built, plumbed, painted, and furnished with the world’s number-one renewable resource–hemp.
We believe that in a competitive market, with all facts known, people will rush to buy long-lasting, biodegradable “Pot Tops” or “Mary Jeans,” etc, made from hemp grown without pesticides or herbicides.
It’s time we put capitalism to the test and let the unrestricted market of supply and demand as well as “Green” ecological consciousness decide the future of the planet.
A cotton shirt in 1776 cost $100 to $200, while a hemp shirt cost $0.50 to $1. By the 1830s, cooler, lighter cotton shirts were on par in price with the warmer, heavier, hempen shirts, providing a competitive choice, thanks to government subsidies.
People were able to choose their garments based upon the particular qualities they wanted in a fabric. Today we have no such choice. Conventional cotton growing, which depletes and pollutes our nonrenewable resources, is still heavily subsidized by the government, masking the true costs of production and costs to the environment, whereas hemp is not allowed to be grown at all in the US (hopefully this is changing, for our planet’s sake!).
The role of hemp and other natural fibers should be determined by the market of supply and demand and personal tastes and values, not by the undue influence of prohibition laws, federal subsidies and huge tariffs that are designed to keep the natural fabrics from replacing synthetic fibers.
Sixty years of government suppression of information has resulted in virtually no public knowledge of the incredible potential of the hemp fiber or its uses.
By using 100% hemp or mixing hemp with cotton, you will be able to pass on your shirts, pants, and other clothing to your grandchildren. Intelligent spending could essentially replace the use of petrochemical synthetic fibers such as nylon and polyester with tougher, cheaper, cool, absorbent, breathable, biodegradable natural fibers such as hemp and flax.
China, Italy and Easter European countries such as Hungary, Romania, Czechoslovakia, Poland, and Russia currently make millions of dollars worth of sturdy hemp and hemp/cotton textiles–and could be making billions of dollars worth–annually.
These countries build upon their traditional farming and weaving skills, while the US tries to force the extinction of the hemp plant in the attempt to promote destructive synthetic technologies.
Additionally, hemp grown for biomass could fuel a trillion-dollar-per-year energy industry, while improving air quality and distributing the wealth to rural areas and their surrounding communities, and away from centralized power monopolies. More than any other plant on Earth, hemp holds the promise of a sustainable ecology and economy.
If all fossil fuels and their derivatives, as well as trees for paper and construction were banned in order to save the planet, reverse the Greenhouse Effect and stop deforestation…
Then there is only one known, annually renewable natural resource that is capable of providing the overall majority of the world’s paper and textiles; meeting all of the world’s transportation, industrial and home energy needs, while simultaneously reducing pollution, rebuilding the soil, and cleaning the atmosphere all at the same time…
And that substance is–the same one that did it all before–Cannabis Hemp!
Hempseed is the highest of any plant in essential fatty acids.
Hempseed oil is among the lowest in saturated fats at 8% of total oil volume. The oil pressed from hempseed contains 55% linoleic acid (LA) and 5% linolenic acid (LNA). Only flax oil has more linolenic acid at 58% , but hempseed oil is the highest in total essential fatty acids at 80% of total oil volume. These essential fatty acids are responsible for our immune response.
In the old country the peasants ate hemp butter. They were more resistant to diseases than the nobility, who shunned hemp butter as peasant food.
LA and LNA are involved in producing life energy from food and the movement of that energy throughout the body.
Essential fatty acids govern growth, vitality and state of mind. LA and LNA are involved in transferring oxygen from the air in the lungs to every cell in the body. They play a part in holding oxygen in the cell membrane where it acts as a barrier to invading viruses and bacteria, neither of which can thrive in the presence of oxygen.