The History of Hemp in the United States: From the 1800s to Today

In the late 1700s, hemp was an important resource in colonial life. It was used to make HEMPEN shirts, HEMP YARN, HEMP SEED, and other hemp products. Hemp was also strategically important for maritime use for lines, rigging, canvas for sails and caulking on ships. In fact, the first drafts of the Declaration of Independence were written on hemp paper.

Hemp crops spread rapidly and arrived in Kentucky with colonists from Virginia just before the War of Independence. Long before laws were enacted to regulate it, hemp was cultivated and used around the world for thousands of years, both for its long, durable fiber and for its versatile seeds. Hemp cultivation began more than 10,000 years ago in the region that is now Taiwan. Thomas Jefferson cultivated improved varieties of hemp and invented a special brake to crush the plant's stems during fiber processing. Every warship and merchant ship required miles of hemp yarn and tons of hemp fabric, which meant that the Crown was very eager for this product. The captains of the ships were ordered to widely distribute hemp seeds to provide fiber wherever they needed to be repaired in distant lands.

The colonies produced rope, cloth, canvas, sacks and paper from hemp during the years leading up to the War of Independence. However, a series of political decisions made it nearly impossible to legally produce hemp-based consumer products for nearly a century. Today, Charlotte's Web is known for its range of products that use a full-spectrum hemp extract, which contains higher levels of CBD, a non-intoxicating compound, as well as other compounds found naturally in hemp, such as terpenes and flavonoids. Most merchants and retailers found it unnecessary to differentiate between the different types of hemp, so unuseful entries such as “HEMP and Flax” are still the most common. Kentucky still produced much of the hemp seed, and Matt's factories in Wisconsin produced most of the fiber. Matt created a successful hemp milling business that included several plants and contracts with Wisconsin farmers for thousands of acres of hemp. Let's take a look at how the history of hemp in the United States has paved the way for its place in today's society.

Hemp has been used for centuries as a source of fiber for clothing, paper, rope and other products. It has also been used medicinally for its anti-inflammatory properties and as an alternative treatment for various ailments. With more states legalizing cannabis use and more research being conducted on its potential benefits, it is likely that hemp will continue to play an important role in our society.

Kelli Prellwitz
Kelli Prellwitz

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