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  • September 07, 2022 5 min read

    The History of Hemp in America

    The cannabis plant has been a part of mas journey for a long time, and some evidence shows it as long as 5000 years ago. However, what is the history of the hemp plant in America? This article takes a deeper look at the history of Hemp in America and the production of hemp today.

    Industrial hemp is a variety of the cannabis sativa plant that has been a part of human's journey throughout the years. Although there is a lot of evidence that suggests hemp has been used for a long time (5000 years ago), there is still much to be discovered about it. In the USA, in particular, there have been a lot of controversies regarding the legal stand of the cannabis plant; recent relaxation has enabled the usage of the plant's claimed benefits. But what is the history of hemp?

    The Hemp Plant

    Lu & Clarke (1995) showed that the hemp plant had been botanically classified as part of the species of cannabis sativa. However, there are many controversies over the plant's classification. The two main variations of the cannabis sativa plant are hemp and Marijuana. Although these two plants are classified together, there is a clear distinction between the two varieties regarding legality. The Hemp plant is considered to be legal when it has a THC level of lower than 0.3% and has been a preferred source of CBD by companies because of the high levels of CBD.

    The hemp plant is naturally occurring, and although the plant naturally occurs in many parts of the world, several states have placed hard-controlling laws on the cannabis plant. The recent relaxation of these laws that inhibit the plant's occurrence has resulted in a lot of research that has led to many findings on the various benefits of the plant. Although there is much evidence of the hemp plant being used in various parts of the world, what is the history of the hemp plant in America?

    The History of Hemp in America

    In the USA, the hemp plant is linked with colonization, although no clear dates showed when the Hemp plant was first introduced in America. Borougerdi (2014) showed that the attitudes placed on the hemp plant have greatly inhibited the production and cultivation of the plant throughout the years. The hemp plant was thought to be introduced in the USA around 1611 in the town of Jamestown, North America. Deitch (2003) established that the hemp plant was grown for many reasons, including making ropes, paper, shoe laces, and lanterns. Hemp was grown as a staple crop. It was being grown in colonies of England in the USA at that time, and leading up to the Revolutionary war, hemp was being grown and sent back to England by law; this led to the plant being used even as a currency and to pay taxes.

    By the 1800s, the Hemp plant had reached its peak in production, and as the world wars came into action, the hemp plant had been advocated and promoted by the government as they noticed how important the plant was in helping to finance the war. The use of hemp in people's daily lives in the USA continued as people used it for making paper, as researchers discovered that hemp produced 4x more paper than trees. However, in the mid to end of the 1900s, the production of hemp products had a slow production rate because the introduction of other fiber crops such as jute, sisal, and cotton reduced the demand for hemp.

    Rabinowitz et al. (2020) revealed that the Marijuana tax act was introduced in 1937, putting heavy taxes on Hemp products. The USDA initiated the hemp for victory program to help with the war; many people didn't quit knowing that the end of Hemp products was near the same as the last farmers planted their hemp seeds in Wisconsin in 1957. The controlled substance act in 1970 classified hemp as a Schedule 1 drug because of its strong ties with Marijuana; however, not many people were aware of hemp's difference from that Marijuana.

    The relaxation of these laws in the 21st century resulted in more research about hemp, allowing for more plant knowledge. In 2014, the Agricultural act, known as the farm bill, allowed hemp production under state-controlled pilot projects executed by different universities. This allowed for more insight into the plant, and by 2018 the government further amended the Farm bill, which removed hemp from the controlled substance act. This further allowed the production of hemp and resulted in a free movement and handling of hemp throughout the nation.

    The Production of Hemp Today

    The new farm bill in 2018 has encouraged many companies to business development in producing Hemp products. However, as the demand for Hemp products rises again in recent times, it's clear that states and companies have to go through regulations before being fully approved, and some of the derivatives of hemp, such as CBD, are regulated. CBD products are required to have a low THC amount of about 0.3% before being fully approved for consumption.

    CBD products have experienced a boom in production and demand; today, you can find a wide range of products such as CBD edibles, tinctures, and CBD oils. However, the recent surge has also put many companies on the wrong path, as some might go for a quick way of making money. This unstable and fluctuating market for CBD products needs monitoring; that is why it is advised that companies have third-party testing to ensure that the CBD products they are selling are of high quality. Companies are advised to be more transparent in the contents of their products and get their CBD from quality hemp that meets all the laws in terms of THC amount. When this quality is met, this will lead to more trust in users and the market for potential further growth of the industry.


    The production of hemp has been linked to 5000 years ago; evidence suggests that the use of Marijuana has been a part of man for a long time. In America, it has been a part of its history, from the nation's forbears to the endorsement of the plant during the wars to be used for its various advantages. However, hemp production experienced major setbacks when tight laws were introduced; the relaxation of these laws has resulted in a boom in the production and demand of hemp again.


    Borougerdi, B. J. (2014). Cord Of Empire, Exotic Intoxicant: Hemp And Culture In The Atlantic World, 1600-1900. The University Of Texas At Arlington.

    Deitch, R. (2003). Hemp: American History Revisited: The Plant With A Divided History. Algora Publishing.

    Lu, X., & Clarke, R. C. (1995). The Cultivation And Use Of Hemp (Cannabis Sativa L.) In Ancient China. Journal Of The International Hemp Association, 2(1), 26-30.

    Rabinowitz, A., Campbell, J., & Campbell, B. (2020). Proposed Georgia Regulations (As Of January 7, 2019): Not Finalized By Georgia And Currently Under Review By USDA.