One of the most versatile and industrious crops known to man, hemp is reclaiming its spot in the limelight. Although it is only recently gaining traction in our post-prohibition societies, it has been apart of human culture for thousands of years. With use cases ranging from industrial lubricants to food, recyclable fabrics to healthcare, this wonder plant has the potential to disrupt a number of industries and social norms.
Humans and Hemp- Cultivation and Creation
Recent discoveries have suggested that hemp could be one of the earliest domesticated crops known to civilization. With evidence advocating its use as both medicine and a textile fiber (fabric) more than 10,000 years ago, in a geographic region spanning across Asia, Europe, and the Middle East, it’s no surprise this adaptable plant holds a place in human history.
Archaeologists have uncovered evidence of hemp fabric dating back to 8000 B.C. as well as confirmation of its use in the creation/manufacturing of the earliest forms of paper, around 150 B.C. in China. In the middle ages, it quickly became vital to the expansion of our civilization thanks to a natural resistance to saltwater decay, utilized as the primary textile to create rope, riggings, canvas, and caulking.
In fact, hemp was so vital to our survival at the time that fines were issued to any landowners in the U.K. who did not grow at least ¼ acre of the crop, which was to be repeated in the colonial establishment of the USA (circa 1600 A.D.). Fast-forward 200 years and production in Canada and North America was actually sponsored and subsidized by the government at the time, providing equipment and even financing the development of mills to ensure viable production.
Versatility is Abandoned for the Sake of Profit
Although the use of hemp is prevalent throughout history, it was forced into the shadows following prohibition in the early 20th Century. After the failings of alcohol prohibition, and a capitalist society that was only just beginning to face human rights movements, it was sadly bundled in with its psychoactive cousin and banned from human use and consumption.
Couple this with huge restrictions on its use and efficacy as an industrial material- thanks to the bankrolling of other industries such as wood paper milling and nylon- and prohibition of hemp was supported to further the ambitions of the wealthy.
Humans and Hemp- A Shifting Paradigm
It is only recently that the prohibition on the growth and manufacturing of hemp-based products has been lifted in the United States. Thanks to the reclassification and identification of hemp as a separate species to its psychoactive cousin, as well as the establishment of research and pilot projects through the Agricultural Act (2014), it is once again being cultivated for commercial purposes.
Moreover, the recent enactment of the Farm Bill (2018) has allowed for the standardized production of the plant for use in manufacturing, healthcare, textiles and more. This legislative easing has resulted in close to 80,000 acres being grown in the USA across 24 states, up from a meager 10,000 acres in 2016, as domestic production shows no signs of slowing down.
The adoption of hemp isn’t just apparent in the USA, however, with a number of other developed and developing nations beginning to implement their own programs. As it stands, the use of extracts for tinctures and treatments represents the largest possible market sector, whilst countries like Australia have begun to approve cultivation for food and textiles, and many African nations are considering the crop for food and as a primary export.
Although the more recent history of hemp has been plagued with misunderstandings and hidden agendas, the plant represents one of the most sustainable and usable crops available today. With more than 25,000 reported uses, it’s hardy nature, and the ability to grow in a vast range of climates, the cultivation of hemp is rapidly being adopted the world over.
About ECS Brands
ECS brands is a Colorado-based company delivering true full-spectrum hemp oils, extracts and distillates.
With a focus on whole-body health and a balanced lifestyle, ECS brands are simplifying research and education through its range of hemp-based products, targeting the body’s endocannabinoid system to help restore both neural and physical homeostasis.
Moreover, ECS brands promote entrepreneurship and product integration with a range of wholesale extracts, oils, and distillates. The company also oversees the operations of a number of hemp-based brands, including Hemp Fuel, Care By Derma, and Enlighten Hemp, to further drive the adoption of hemp-based products and holistic health.