May 07

9 Historical Hemp Facts

9 Historical Hemp Facts


Here are some more historical facts about hemp (with references), which are generally verifiable in the Encyclopedia Britannica – which was printed on hemp paper for 150 years:

  • The oldest known records of hemp farming go back 5000 years in China, although hemp industrialization likely extends back to ancient Egypt. Medical cannabis was described in print in a Chinese book of medicine, “Herbal,” in the 2nd century B.C.

  •  The first Bibles, maps, charts, Betsy Ross’s flag, the first drafts of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution were made from hemp; U.S. Government Archives.

  •  Founding fathers George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and others grew hemp. Jefferson smuggled hemp seeds from China to France and then to America; Washington and Jefferson Diaries.

  •  It was legal to pay taxes with hemp in America from 1631 until the early 1800’s; LA Times, Aug. 12, 1981. In fact, refusing to grow hemp in America during the 17th and  18th Centuries was against the law! You could be jailed in Virginia for refusing to grow hemp from 1763 to 1769; G. M. Herdon, Hemp in Colonial Virginia.

  •  The first crop grown in many states was hemp. HEMPstead, Long Island; HEMPstead County, Arkansas; HEMPstead, Texas; HEMPhill, North Carolina; HEMPfield, Pennsylvania, among others, were named after cannabis growing regions, or after family names derived from growing hemp; State Archives


hemp facts


  • In 1916, the U.S. Government predicted that by the 1940’s all paper would come from hemp and that no more trees would need to be cut down since one acre of hemp equals four and a half acres of trees; U.S. Department of Agriculture.

  • An article entitled ‘The Most Profitable and Desirable Crop that Can be Grown’ stated that if hemp was cultivated using 20th Century technology, it would be the single largest agricultural crop in the U.S. and the world; Feb, 1938, Mechanical Engineering Magazine.

  •  Paints and varnishes were made from hemp seed oil until 1937. America used 58,000 tons of hemp seeds for paint products in 1935; Sherman Williams Paint Company testimony before Congress against the 1937 Marijuana Tax Act, which outlawed hemp in the U.S.

  • Henry Ford built a car to run on hemp gasoline and the car itself was constructed of plastic made with hemp. On his large estate, Ford was photographed among his hemp fields. The car, “grown from the soil,” had hempen plastic panels whose impact strength was “10 times stronger than steel” and resisted denting though it was one-third lighter than steel; Dec 1941, Popular Mechanics.