As hemp steps into the national spotlight, more people are beginning to ask important questions about exactly what hemp is and why there’s so much conflict around such a harmless and useful plant. If you’re looking to grow your knowledge about hemp, take a look at some of these facts and spread them far and wide.
1. HEMP CULTIVATION DATES BACK MORE THAN 10,000 YEARS.
Many civilizations across human history have grown hemp and utilized the plant for various purposes, from eating it to using its fibers. The ancient use of hemp has been traced to many countries including China, Egypt, Russia, Greece and Italy.
2. IT USED TO BE ILLEGAL TO NOT GROW HEMP.
There was once a time in American history when farmers could be fined or jailed for not growing hemp. Because it was such a valuable crop in Virginia, the Assembly of Jamestown Colony passed legislation in 1619 making it mandatory for every farmer to grow Indian hempseed.
3. HEMP WAS HAILED AS A BILLION-DOLLAR CROP BEFORE THE GOVERNMENT BANNED IT.
In an article written in 1938, “Popular Mechanics” declared hemp a new cash crop. It was touted as the standard fiber of the world because it was easy to grow and could replace imported materials and manufactured products.
Because it was such a valuable crop in Virginia, the assembly of Jamestown colony passed legislation in 1619 making it mandatory for every farmer to grow Indian Hempseed.
4. HEMP CAN RESTORE UNHEALTHY SOIL.
Thanks to its botanical properties, hemp can improve the soil it is planted in by rejuvenating the dirt with nutrients and nitrogen. Through a process called phytoremediation, the nutrients and nitrogen from the hemp help clean up toxins, heavy metals and other pollutants from the ground.
5. HEMP OIL IS GOOD FOR YOU.
For people looking to reduce bad cholesterol levels, neutralize free radicals and improve nervous system function, the abundance of nutrients found in hemp oil can help. It’s packed with antioxidants, vitamins and minerals including magnesium, calcium, vitamin E and carotene. When it comes to oils, hemp oil also has the highest level of polyunsaturated fats (healthy fats) at 80 percent, with flax seed oil coming in second.
6. MANY EARLY ARTISTS MADE ART ON HEMP.
The word “canvas” is derived from the word cannapaceus, a Latin adjective that literally means “made from hemp.” For centuries, painters used hemp canvases, most notably Rembrandt and Van Gogh.
7. HEMP IS CURRENTLY LEGAL TO GROW IN 17 STATES, AND 32 STATES HAVE PRO-HEMP LEGISLATION PRESENTLY ENACTED.
According to recent agricultural reports, it is lawful to grow hemp in California, Colorado, Hawaii, Indiana, Kentucky, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, Nevada, New York, North Dakota, Oregon, Tennessee, Vermont, Virginia and West Virginia.
8. PLANES CAN BE MADE FROM HEMP.
Earlier this year, Derek Kesek, the founder of Hempearth, announced that he would produce the very first airplane made almost entirely of hemp that will run on hemp-based biodiesel. Though the project has yet to take flight, many have high hopes about what its successful execution could mean for the future.
9. ANNUAL RETAIL SALES FOR HEMP GREW 21 PERCENT LAST YEAR.
People across America are starting to incorporate the plant into their lives in a big way. In 2014, a total of $620 million worth of hemp products sold in the U.S. alone, with food and personal care items totaling about $200 million.
10. HEMP IS USED IN OVER 25,000 PRODUCTS.
Although it may seem like hemp has been hiding out, the multifaceted fiber is used in everything from suits by Giorgio Armani to interior car parts by BMW. Hemp can also be found in everyday items like yarn, paper, carpeting, cosmetics, nutritional supplements and body care products.