Hemp has been used for many years—as early as 8,000 BC—and to this day, is grown and harvested for a multitude of uses. Up until this last century, it has played a significant role in our history and industrial progression, acting as one of the earliest plants cultivated for textiles.

Many of us know and love hemp CBD as a consumable product, but hemp is a very multipurpose plant, helping create things like clothing, paper, insulation, and biofuel, to name a few.

Today we’re exploring the hemp’s origins with Leafly’s “Timeline of Hemp and Human History.” Read on!


8,000 BC: Hemp fiber and seeds are found in human tombs. This marks the first known evidence of hemp.

300 BC: Hemp is introduced to Japan and Korea.

600: Hemp is cultivated and used to make ropes and clothing by Frankish tribes, Vikings, and Germans.

1492: Hemp makes its way back on the scene, sailing on Christopher Columbus’ ships. It is ordered that hemp be sewn in the New World by 1545.

1600s-1800s: Hemp flourishes, growing throughout North American colonies helping to produce fabric, rope, and paper.

1776: Farmers in Colonial Virginia are able to pay taxes to the government in hemp. Drafts of the Declaration of Independence were supposedly written on hemp paper.

1936: “Reefer Madness” is released, depicting cannabis in a negative light and successfully pushing an anti-cannabis agenda.

1937: The US Marijuana Tax Act is passed, destroying the domestic hemp trade and marking the beginning of the war on cannabis.

1941: Henry Ford creates a car with panels made from hemp and other material.

1942: Hemp production is ramped up to help with shortages in fiber during World War II.

1970: The Controlled Substances Act is passed, classifying cannabis as a Schedule I drug—a high potential for abuse and no accepted medicinal use—making it illegal to grow without a permit from the DEA.

1985: Author and activist Jack Here releases his book The Emperor Wears No Clothes, discussing the cannabis plant and its numerous uses.

1998: Industrial hemp is legalized in San Fransisco by Mark Leno. Canada also legalizes industrial hemp, issuing the first license allowing farmers to grow it for commercial purposes.

2014: Hemp can legally be grown for research by universities and state departments of agriculture under The Agricultural Act of 2014.

2018: The 2018 Farm Bill is signed with a hemp pen, re-legalizing industrial hemp in the U.S. This removed hemp from the Controlled Substances Act, allowing states to regulate hemp farming.


Photo by Harrison Haines from Pexels